How can there be tile without grout? So what is grout? Our experts wrote an entire article just to tell you…
Tile, tile and more tile. Tile is an increasingly popular choice in home construction and renovation and it’s not hard to see why. A multitude of uses, designs and types, it can almost give you a headache trying to choose the right one. In our last newsletter, we touched on some of the most common tile types, some of their uses and price ranges. This month, we want to focus on the unique glue that keeps your tiles together… tile grout.
So what is tile grout?
The simplest way to describe grout is as a mixture that helps hold your tiles together. The biggest misconception about grout is that it’s used to secure your tiles to your subfloor/walls but in fact that function is provided by tile adhesive. Instead, grout is used to fill the gaps between tiles. Grout is important as it provides a water-resistant seal to prevent moisture from getting under the tiles and causing the adhesive to lose effectiveness. Aside from that basic function, the color of tile grout can be customized to improve the overall aesthetic of your tiles.
So what is tile grout made from?
Generally, tile grout is a mixture of cement, sand and water, but there could be some other materials mixed in there to create an even more unique solution. Tile grout is usually classified into two types: Cementitious grout and Epoxy grout.
- Cementitious grout. This is the most common type of tile grout. It gets its name from its main ingredient: cement, which is combined with water and filler particles. It is usually the first choice for residential projects and some commercial projects. This type of grout is further classified by the filler particles. Cementitious grout may either be sanded, unsanded or latex modified. Sanded grout uses fine sand particles, unsanded grout doesn’t use sand, but instead uses other types of additives and latex-modified grout are basically sanded grouts with a latex polymer additive.
- Epoxy grout. Epoxy grout, while not as popular as cementitious grout, is a lot less porous which makes them extremely impermeable and a perfect choice for wet areas like bathrooms, kitchens and pool decks. Usually made from a combination of epoxy resin, pigments, silica fillers, and a hardener.
What’s the best way to clean grout?
This is the million dollar question we get ever so often. There are lots of conventional products out there designed specifically for cleaning your tile grout. Because grout is porous and can often become a habitat for mold and mildew, choosing an antifungal cleaner from your local store is the easiest option. If you’re looking for an option that’s probably already in your house, then bleach is the next best answer. For white, and light colored grout, bleach is a great cleaner. However, bleach should never be used on black or dark grout and if you do decide to use bleach, rinse your tiles with cold water afterward.
Note: Whenever using bleach, keep the room well ventilated and use rubber gloves.
Another way to clean your grouts is using baking soda and vinegar. A solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part baking soda can be applied to your tile grout to clean. Optionally, you can make a paste using 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water.
We also suggest getting your tile grout (and your tiles) professionally cleaned at least once a year.
Well that’s basically what grout is and some of the ways to care for it. If you’re still unsure of what type of grouting to use for your next renovation project or you’re not sure how to clean your tiles, after your professional cleaning, our expert tile and grout technicians are here to give you specific advice and tips specially based on your unique situation. Look out for our next newsletter where we’ll wrap up our tile series with a rundown of the tile trends for 2019.