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Choosing The Right Grout: All Your Questions Answered

Choosing The Right Grout: All Your Questions Answered

Image Source: The White Haus

 

Picking tiles is an important part of the bathroom, kitchen, laundry and living design process. It involves considering size, style, functionality, colours…the list goes on! Equally important to tile choice is deciding the right grout. Grout plays an essential role in achieving your ideal finished tile look. It can majorly influence the overall style of your design, and is essential for functionality and longevity of grout joints between tiles. 

We had a chat with Ardex Australia, a leader across the construction industry, to develop advice and recommendations for you to make a better informed and confident choice when it comes to understanding grout options available to you and how best to match your tile and grout. 

 

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First Off…Why Do We Need Grout? 

Grout is the filler for the gaps between tiles. It is so important for tiles to have movement joints to accommodate for the slight differences between tile sizes and expansion during temperature changes. Without joints, placing tiles directly next to each other would increase chances of cracking and lifting.

 

Epoxy and Cement Grout – What Are The Main Differences? 

Today’s grout has come a long way from previous products. That being said, most people don’t think twice about grout choice and will often leave it for their tiler. Whilst most tilers will point you in the right direction, having a tiler who selects a cheaper and lower-quality grout could cost you big time in the long run! Knowing your options will best equip you to choose the right grout for your needs. 

The main grouts used in residential projects are cement based and epoxy grout. Ardex Australia defines “cement based grout (as being) made up of cementitious powder, while epoxy grout is made from epoxy resin, and a filler powder”. Epoxy grouts are “highly resistant to most chemicals including acids, whilst cement based grouts will deteriorate when exposed to harsh chemicals”. They do not need to be sealed as they are made of epoxy which repels water. Typically cement is the “cheaper grouting option compared to epoxy grout because of its porous nature…it is also easier to install and the clean-up process is simpler”.

 

Image Source: Salt Design Co 

Sanded Grout Versus Unsanded Grout – Which Is More Durable? 

Cement is more of a traditional mix grout and needs to be sealed within 24 hours to avoid liquid contact. It is available in a sanded and unsanded variety. Sanded contains silica sand whereas unsanded is finer, producing more of a non-gritting final surface.  Sanded is typically thicker than unsanded grout as it has added aggregate material making it more durable and less susceptible to shrinkage and cracking. As the grout cures, the sand becomes more locked into place which ensures better adhesion for tiles. It is so important to make sure your tiles have adhesion especially in places with heavy foot traffic. 

 

What Tile Grout Is Best For Low Maintenance and Easier To Clean Wet Rooms?

Both epoxy and cement based grouts are a great option for residential projects, however offer very different benefits. Epoxy grouts were “designed for use where strict hygiene is required and need to resist the harsh cleaning chemicals which tiles and grouts are exposed to (typically) in environments like a commercial kitchen. As such epoxy grouts are extremely durable, highly resistant to water, mold and staining. Whilst this may be an attractive option for some, it does come with typically a higher price tag. Epoxy grout also has most of a plastic look, whilst some desire this look others suggest it can highlight imperfections in tiles more vividly than cement options.

 

Comparatively cement grouts absorb water when wet, and absorb stains so much more than epoxy. They require a lot more scrubbing to clean than their epoxy counterpart, however are still a very viable and affordable option. For residential applications Ardex Suggests “a cement based grout like ARDEX FS DD or ARDEX F G8 mixed with ARDEX Grout Booster will produce a very strong and resilient grout finish.”

 

Image Source: @joshewartconstructions

To Compliment Or Contrast? 

Functionality aside, there is a lot of importance in choosing a grout colour to match your tiles effortlessly. Not only can this serve on a design aesthetic for your overall tile look, but for cement based grouts which typically darken overtime, choosing a grout which is a suitable colour tone will ensure it does not look mismatched and severely discolored as it ages! 

A complimentary grout color means choosing a colour very similar to the tile. If you are unable to find an exact match, a typical rule of thumb is to choose a colour slightly lighter than the tile as the grout can darken overtime, especially in high traffic areas. Choosing a grout which ‘blends in’ to the tile is a good idea if you have a tile with a lot of detail. Ardex suggests choosing a “grout colour which complements the base colour of the (tile) is a (good) choice”.

 

Image Source: @asprohouse

Contrasting colours fall on the opposite end of the spectrum. When choosing contrasting colours there are endless options. For example, pairing a white grout with a red, blue or another bold colour can bring the tile to life. Pairing a pastel or white tile with a darker grout can create a dramatic contrast. We see in a lot of industrial designs and especially kitchen splashbacks this scheme is extremely well suited to the style. To make a statement Ardex suggests choosing a contrasting grout colour (such as) “black grout matched with handmade subway tiles”.  When wanting to draw attention to a shape such as a fan tile or hexagon, contrasting colours are a great option to emphasise the outlines. 

At the end of the day “colour choice really does come down to the type of tile chosen and the end result you’re trying to achieve”. Using the Ardex Grout Colour Selection is a great way to make a thought out choice. 

 

Image Source: @sarahwooddesigns

Ready To Mix The Grout, Is It Really Worth Doing Yourself? 

 

Before you get the grout float and damp sponge ready to DIY your tile job, it’s important to get educated. Ardex emphasise a good grout is crucial to a flawless finish.  “Grouting is one of the final steps of tiling, and arguably the most important. A bad grouting job can make a good tiling job look horrible.”

 

To make sure your floor tile has that smooth tile surface and seamless grout lines, make sure to prepare efficiently. Knowing how to properly mix the grout without clumping, remove excess grout and prevent grout haze are a few issues you best be ready to tackle. We recommend watching online tutorials to make sure you understand how to get the job done right and ultimately make it a much smoother process. 

 

For our budding renovators, Ardex advise timing is key. “Don’t get ahead of yourself, grout should be washed with a lightly damp sponge before the grout starts to dry on the surface of the tiles. Wipe (grout) diagonally to the tile joints, and remember, 1 wipe in 1 direction, on each side of the sponge, no more.” 

 

Image Source: How To Nest For Less 

Want More Help With Your Grout Choices? 

 

For any further questions on the various grouts available including sanded grout, unsanded grout, epoxy grout, urethane grout and all things grout mixture and how to grout tile… make sure to head to Ardex System Selector; a super easy product system recommendation tool for your residential or commercial projects. 

 

Check Out The Ardex Online Resources To Help You Choose The Right Grout For Your Next Project: 

 

ALL ABOUT GROUT – Everything you need to know before you start grouting! https://ardexaustralia.com/all-about-grout/

GROUT COLOUR SELECTOR – Not sure what colour grout goes best with your tile? Visualise it online here! https://ardexaustralia.com/tools/grout-colour-selector/

PRODUCT CALCULATOR Don’t get caught short, calculate exactly how much grout you will need for your project: https://ardexaustralia.com/calculators-and-downloads/

SYSTEM SELECTOR – Not sure what other products will work best with your chosen grout? Create a whole customised product system here: https://www.ardexsystemselector.com.au/

For Further Assistance With Your Next Tile Project Reach Out To Our Team 

For expert assistance on picking tiles on budget or needing design ideas make sure you speak to our team at Elegance Tiles. They can assist you with any project big or small; whether it be your first family home, a dream bathroom, kitchen or laundry – we’re here to help. Check out our website to view our range of porcelain tiles, ceramic tiles, hybrids and more. You can find your closest store online or reach out to us at enquiries@elegancetiles.com.au.  

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