Choosing The Right Tile Grout

Choosing the right grout to use on your tile floors is as important, and sometimes as difficult, as choosing the perfect frame for a piece of artwork. At first glance, the grout lines around a piece of tile may seem insignificant when compared to the tile itself, but they are not. Choosing the right type of grout for your tile job, not to mention the right color, can really affect how your tile floors will look and perform.

Tips For Choosing Grout Type:

  • If the space between your tiles is narrow, with a width of about one eighth inch or less, then choose a non-sanded cemenoort based grout. A thin grout line will help de-emphasize the tile pattern and produce an easy-to-clean surface, which is perfect for shower walls or countertop backsplashes.
  • For grout lines that are wider than one eighth inch, a sanded grout may be your best choice. The added sand will help bind and strengthen the larger grout joint. Big grout lines work best with floor tiles, especially natural stone tiles that have rough edges.
  • Although expensive and difficult to work with, epoxy grouts are an ideal choice for tiled surfaces that will be subjected to harsh conditions. Epoxy grouts are very stain resistant and durable, making them perfect choices for commercial kitchens or locker room showers.

After you have picked the type of grout you will use, you can select a color. Although colored dyes may be mixed with white grout to create a custom color, there are dozens of premixed colored grouts available.

Tips For Choosing A Grout Color:

  • If you want to emphasize a tile pattern or accent individual tiles, choose a grout color that contrasts the color of your tile. A good example of this would be to use a light gray grout with red, earth-toned saltillo floor tiles--sometimes referred to as Mexican tile. The gray color will highlight the uneven edges of these handmade tiles and create a rustic pattern that is eye-catching!
  • Choosing a grout color that matches the tile color will create a more uniform aesthetic, as individual tiles will blend with the larger field. For example, choosing a dark blue or dark gray grout for a gray slate tile floor will produce a uniform backdrop which will highlight the room's area rugs and furniture much more than the tiles themselves.
  • Try to avoid stark white grout, as this color shows the most dirt and discoloration. Instead consider an off-white, beige, or light gray.

No matter what color you choose, be sure to make a test board so that you can judge an actual grout sample against your tile choice.

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