EASY ANSWERS FOR ALL THINGS GROUT
Grout may play a secondary role to tile, but when it goes wrong, it can become all you see. There are so many types of grout from which to choose. So which one should you use?
It all depends on what is important to you and what grout failures you have experienced in the past. Let us fill in the gaps for you.
Here is the break down
This is grout that has been used for many years and it hasn’t changed much, although there are some high-performance types available.
Sanded & Unsanded Grout
Sanded grout is classified as a cement grout that has 1/8” or larger grit to it. Unsanded grout is a cement grout with less than 1/8” grit.
Generally, unsanded grout is used for tile applications with narrower grout joints, from 1/16” to 1/8”. The additional structure of sanded grout is needed for wider grout joints from 1/8” to 5/8” and some even can go as wide as 1”.
Sanded and unsanded grouts are usually sufficient for residential uses but many homeowners and builders are moving completely away from it. There are so many options available now that remove many of the difficulties that come with traditional grout--it is worth it for most people to go with at least a high-performance or epoxy grout.
High-Performance & Polymer Cement Grout
Grout designed for more demanding spaces, like basic commercial or high-traffic residences, must meet higher standards for shrinkage, water absorption, and strength. It is available in both sanded and unsanded.
Cement grout is now also available with added polymers, which does all the things high-performance grout can do but with the added benefits of what plastic can offer grout. The polymers are activated once the grout is mixed with water. The chemical reaction increases this grout’s water resistance and strength compared to traditional cement grouts. It also adds abrasion resistance and chemical resistance, which grouts that are not high-performance may not offer.
High-performance grout also offers better color consistency and resistance to efforescense (the salty look that sometimes comes along with cement products) that is a common problem with cement grouts.