Removing the old floor or wall coverings, making sure the underlying substrate is sound, and installing the tiles are all part of a bathroom remodel; but don’t think your project is complete. You still have some important decisions to make. Your newly installed tiles needed to be grouted before you can stand back to admire your handiwork work, and since all grouts aren’t the same you still have some decisions to make.
Sanded vs. Unsanded
First you must choose between sanded or unsanded grout. This decision is fairly straight forward since your tile design or layout will make your first choice easy for you. Depending on how wide the gaps between tiles are, you should use either unsanded grout (for tile seams less than .25-inches) or sanded grout (for joints wider than .25-inches”). Unsanded grout is finer in texture; it can get right down into the tile seams and form a strong, solid bond. Thicker sanded grout would end up leaving holes or open spaces in a thin grout line.
In addition to choosing between sanded and unsanded grout, there are some other choices to make. Determine what type of grout and what color you want to use to finish your tile job. Here’s a quick primer on tile grouts.
Cement Based Grout
Cement-based grout is the most common type of grout used in homes. It’s inexpensive, relatively easy to work with, and available at home improvement stores in a variety of colors.
Cement-based grout is available in both sanded and unsanded forms as well as in a powder. Although premixed is more expensive than the powder, since it’s ready to use, it has the advantages that you don’t need to worry about mixing in the proper proportions or whether the grout is the proper consistency.
You can also get Portland cement grout that’s been modified by adding latex to increase the grout’s water resistance, which makes it better for use in a bath or shower.
Epoxy and Furan Grouts
Primarily used for industrial purposes, these grouts don’t use any cement. They are expensive and difficult to apply. They are highly resistant to chemicals and acids which makes them ideal in certain applications. It’s unlikely a homeowner would need to use either an epoxy or furan grout in a home project.
Epoxy Resin Grout
Although they are more expensive than cement-based grouts, epoxy resin grouts will resist water absorption and staining, and are stronger than cement grouts making them ideal for use in a home project. It’s made from epoxy resin, a hardener, silica fillers, and colored pigments. The grout color won’t fade over time, meaning it will save you work in the long run.
Light colors tend to show dirt quickly, making them a poor choice for areas such as a floor, but ideal for a shower or walls. Light-colored grouts make the tiles themselves more noticeable, which conceals uneven tile spacing.
Dark grout shows dirt or stains easily, making it a good choice for a floor. Because of the darker color, it is a better choice for wide tile lines.