Can you use sanded and unsanded grout together?

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Old 02-17-16, 09:58 AM
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Can you use sanded and unsanded grout together?

I'm getting ready to tile my bathroom (floor/tub surround) that a just renovated. I built several niches to accommodate the wife. When I bought the tile they sold me unsanded grout for the walls. Now I know that unsanded grout can only be used in gaps 1/8" or smaller and vice vera for sanded. After laying out my starting point and anticipating cuts around the niches, I suspect that I will have a difficult time getting all cuts within 1/8". My question is, can i use unsanded on most of the wall and a sanded for the grout lines around each niche. Is there any potential problems with this. Thanks in advance for your advice.
 
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Old 02-17-16, 10:21 AM
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Several points:

You can go a little larger than 1/8 with unsanded grout. Remember, the 1/8 is the space between the flat sides of the tiles, the joint may be wider at the surface depending on how rounded they are.

There will be a noticeable texture difference between the two; I would not use both in same area.

There will probably also be a color difference, although if both are white it will not be too bad.

If you joints vary in width a lot in an area, it will stand out. The eye is pretty sensitive to the variations. If the joints in question will be back in the niche, it's not so critical.

IIWM, I'd try my best to maintain regular joint size and use unsanded for the whole area.
 
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Old 02-17-16, 01:42 PM
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Thanks for your response. Is there any advantage to planning on sanded or unsanded? I'm just thinking if I was to plan larger grout lines throughout the entire project then I could use sanded. This would allow more tolerance in cuts and in turn be less mistakes and wasted tiles. If unsanded is the way to go on tub walls then I'm gonna likely do this and hope for the best. If it is, my other question would be that if I find it impossible to get a tighter joint and plan on caulking, cause the joint is over 1/8", at least in some areas, should I grout with unsanded and then caulk or just caulk? I don't want the grout to fail and cause the caulk to fail. The places I'm referring to would be the outside corners and inside corners of the niches and the corners of the walls. Thanks again for your time and response.
 
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Old 02-17-16, 01:49 PM
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Use the following grout that you can find at select tile stores. It can be used in both sanded and non-sanded applications fro grout lines of 1/8" up to 5/8". Mapei Kericolor - Products

What is it about the layout that screws with the niches? Adjust the tile to accommodate the openings so everything is balanced. I am not a fan of niches unless I personally framed the wall. Otherwise, they end up where ever in the wall cavity and are usually off center and not balanced. To me that then distracts from the overall job.
 
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Old 02-17-16, 01:59 PM
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As you know, choice of sanded or unsanded is mostly driven by joint size, and that in turn is mostly driven by tile size. Big joints on small tile looks silly. Larger tiles can look OK with smaller joints, but because the tiles tend to vary a bit in size, it's hard to maintain uniform small joints on large tiles.

I don't like sanded grout on tub surround walls, it's harder to clean and keep clean.

You should be caulking joints where there is either a direction change or a material change; I wouldn't caulk elsewhere. For one thing, it's a pain in the butt to do a decent job.

If you have used proper substrate and it's stiff enough, cracking will not be a problem. Cracking is primarily caused by movement, not because the joint was a little too big. If you have joints that are 3/16 with unsanded grout, the grout is not going to crack and disintegrate just because of that, as long as the underlying substrate and structure is solid.
 
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Old 02-17-16, 02:08 PM
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That is the grout that I have. Keracolor S for the floor and Keracolor U for the walls. I'm trying to decide whether to take the U back for another bag of S and plan larger grout lines for the walls. The niches have me concerned due to the amount of them and the tile that my wife picked out does not come in a matching bullnose so I'm trimming them with schluter edging. The tile is 10x16 and a few pieces will have cuts to accommodate more then one niche. That's seems nearly impossible, at least to me, to have all within 1/8". I did frame all of the niches, but had to work with existing 90 y/o framing so they aren't perfectly square (close though). I'm hoping for minimal mistakes and spot on cuts, but I'm also a very realistic person and have tackled enough construction related jobs to know it doesn't always (in my case, never does) work out as planned. I give contractors a lot of credit. I guess if you do jobs day after day you learn tricks and can anticipate problems before they become a reality. I'm just glad I have a day job that pays the bills cause I'd be a starving contractor if I had to make a living of it.

The underlayment is good. I nailed horizontal 2x4's to the existing wall framing every 12". I then attached 1/2 durock to that.
 
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