Grout for ceramic tile is a cement-based bonding material used for filling joints between tiles. The space left between tiles to be filled is called a grout joint. The grout joint between the tiles is usually very porous, therefore, it needs to be sealed and properly maintained to prevent stains and discoloration. If properly protected, ceramic tile and grout will be easier to clean, more resistant to staining, and will provide a safer and healthier environment.
Types of Grout for Ceramic Tile
There are four basic types of grout for ceramic tile: unsanded, fine sanded, quarry type, and epoxy.
- Unsanded grout for ceramic tile: This is used for wall tiles where the grout joint is less than 1/8” wide.
- Finely sanded grout for ceramic tile: This is used for floor tiles where the joints are 1/8” to 3/8” wide.
- Quarry-type grout for ceramic tile: This is the same as finely sanded grout for ceramic tiles except that a coarser grade of sand is used. The quarry-type grout for ceramic tile is used for joints that are 3/8” wide to 1/2” wide such as those used with Saltillo tiles.
- Epoxy grout for ceramic tile: This consists of an epoxy resin and hardener. Epoxy grout for ceramic tile is highly resistant to stains and chemicals and has a tremendous bonding strength. It is ideal for countertops and other areas susceptible to stains.
Important Considerations When Choosing Grout for Ceramic Tile
- The wider the joint, the coarser the sand has to be. The sand prevents the grout for ceramic tile from shrinking and cracking.
- Grout for ceramic tiles comes in a wide variety of pre-mixed colors.
- The standard wall joint size is 1/16” wide.
- The standard grout joint size for floor tiles is 1/4″ wide (finely sanded).
- Because floor tiles may vary slightly in size, grout joints in the floor tiles should not be smaller than 3/16”. The installer will not be able to keep a straight line if the joint is too narrow.
- Impregnating sealers go into the grout joint and protect against water and oil-based stains.
- To prevent or limit staining problems in grout for ceramic tile, latex additives or sealers are recommended. The latex additive forms a rubber-like film over the pores in the grout for ceramic tile, thus limiting its tendency to absorb stains. However, it is not completely stain proof.