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Tile Grout Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Are you wanting to spruce up your bathrooms and kitchen with some shiny new tiles and tile grout? Adding a tiled feature to any room can bring an extra layer of life and texture, but it’s the grouting that makes it look complete. Grouting is the key step in achieving a professional finish, so if you want your tiling job to look top-notch, this Tile Grout Guide is for you. 

In this article we will run through everything New Zealanders need to know about grouting – the materials used, steps involved and even our top tips on how to achieve flawless results. So no matter where you are in the planning stage of your tile laying project, read on!

What is Grout?

Grout is a type of cement-based material used to fill the gaps between tiles in tiling projects. It can be smooth or textured and is available in various colours. Grout stops water and debris from getting between the gaps in the tiles. Grout also allows for the expansion and contraction of tiles in accordance with temperature changes.

Why Do You Need Tile Grout?

Tile grout is essential for the longevity of your tile installation. Grout helps to create a seamless surface and creates a waterproof seal, preventing water from seeping behind the tiles and causing damage. 

It also prevents individual tiles from rubbing against each other, which can cause friction that can eventually lead to them cracking or chipping. By filling in the gaps between tiles, grout helps to stop dirt and debris from getting in and causing staining or discoloration.

Types of Tile Grout

When it comes to tiling, the choice of grout is just as important as the tile itself. The type of grout used can determine its performance in a space and how easy it is to maintain over time.

Here is an overview of the different types of tile grout available for you to choose from:

Sanded Grout

Sanded grout is composed of a mixture of cement, water, and fine-grade sand. It is most commonly used for tile installations with wider joints. The addition of sand makes the grout more durable and less likely to crack over time, however it can be difficult to work with as it may leave a film on the tile once applied. It is important to ensure that sanded grout is sealed with a protective layer to prevent staining.

Unsanded Grout

Unsanded grout is composed of a mixture of cement and water, and does not contain any added sand or other materials. It is best suited for tile installations with narrow joints. This type of grout is easier to work with since it does not leave a haze or film on the tile, however it is not as strong and can be more prone to cracking. As with sanded grout, unsanded grout must be sealed to prevent staining.

Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is composed of an epoxy resin and hardener, which form a strong bond when mixed together. It is often used in wet areas such as showers and can withstand extremely high temperatures. Epoxy grout also resists staining and most chemicals, making it very easy to maintain. However, it can be expensive and difficult to work with as it sets quickly, so it is not recommended for DIY projects.

Selecting Tile Grout Colours

When selecting grout colour, there are several factors to consider. The first is tile colour; lighter grouts generally provide a more subtle contrast with lighter tiles, while darker grouts work better with darker tiles. 

It’s important to also consider the light in the room when making your decision. Darker colours can absorb more light and make the room look darker, while lighter colours can make a room feel brighter and more airy. 

Finally, it’s important to consider your own personal preference when selecting grout colour. Greys are often chosen as they provide a subtle contrast with most tile colours; however, if you prefer a cleaner look, you may choose to use the same grout colour as your tile in order to make the grout lines less noticeable.

Grout Width

When determining the width of the grout line, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, the size of the tile being used will help determine the appropriate grout line width.  

The larger the tile is, the wider the grout line should be in order to take into consideration thermal expansion of the tile. The installation location of the tile is important to consider – for example, wall tiles typically require a narrower grout line than floor tiles.

Grout Sealing

Grout sealing is an important part of maintaining the beauty and integrity of a tile installation. Sealing the grout not only protects it from dirt and staining, but also helps to prevent mildew and moisture damage. 

Grout sealing should be done at least once every 6-12 months in high-traffic areas such as the shower, or 3-5 years in areas like kitchen backsplash or floor. GroutPro has a special sealer that recolours stained grout and lasts for years.

DIY vs. Professional Tile Grout

If you’re considering a DIY grouting project, it’s important to take some time to ensure that you have the right knowledge and tools for success. Grout is an essential part of any tiling job but must be handled with care, as a wrong choice or incorrect mixing can lead to costly mistakes down the track. 

In addition, it’s important to use the right type of grout for your tiling job and to avoid introducing contaminants that can cause the grout to fail. If done correctly, a DIY grouting project can look professional and be long lasting.

On the other hand, it may also be wise to consider leaving the grouting in your tiling job to the professionals. Here at GroutPro, we are highly skilled in selecting and mixing the right grout for your job, as well as cleaning up properly afterwards which can help to prevent grout from hardening and creating a mess. Taking this approach also helps to ensure that there are no differences in shade from one area of tiling to another.

Grout FAQ

What is Best: Tile Grout vs. Caulk?

Grout is best used in areas that will be subjected to a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens, as it is resistant to water. Caulk (or silicone) is flexible and can expand and contract with temperature changes, making it essential for areas that are subject to movement.

Does Vinegar Damage Grout?

Vinegar is acidic and can potentially damage grout if it is used in excessive amounts or too frequently. The acidity of vinegar can weaken the grout and cause it to break down over time, leading to cracks and other damage.

If you wash your tiles with a vinegar solution, be sure to dilute it with water prior to application.

What are Common Mistakes to Avoid When Grouting?

  • Using the wrong type of grout
  • Mixing the grout incorrectly
  • Adding water to the mixed grout
  • Not cleaning up the grout residue before it hardens

Does Steam Cleaning Damage Grout?

  • Steam cleaning is generally safe for grout, as it uses hot water vapour to clean and sanitise surfaces without the need for harsh chemicals. Steam cleaners, however, are often too flat to get into the groutlines.

Will Grout Hide Uneven Tile?

  • While grout can help to minimise the appearance of unevenly installed tiles, it cannot completely hide them. If the tiles are significantly uneven or have large gaps between them, using the same colour grout may make the problem less noticeable, but it will not completely conceal it. It’s important to properly install the tiles and ensure they are level and evenly spaced before applying the grout to achieve the best possible result.

What is the Best Way to Maintain Grout?

  • Maintaining tile grout is important to keep it looking clean and prevent it from deteriorating. Tile cleaning can prevent dirt and grime from building up on the grout. Regrouting your tiles is typically necessary when the existing grout is damaged, cracked, discoloured, or deteriorating.

Grout Pro

At GroutPro, our professional technicians are highly trained and experienced in all aspects of tile and grout restoration. We use the latest in industry-leading technology to ensure that your tiled areas look as good as new again. Our methods will not only restore the original beauty of your tiles, but they also offer a long-lasting protection to help keep them looking great. 

In addition, GroutPro offers solutions to protect newly grouted areas, so that they stay looking fresh for longer. Our experienced and helpful staff would be glad to provide a free consultation so you can find the right solution for your needs – with no obligation to purchase!

Give us a shout at GroutPro to discuss your tile grout needs.

The Progroup - “making the place you live, a place you love.”

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