4 Types of Grout Commonly Used in Bathrooms and Kitchens
Grout is an essential part of tiling. It’s what holds the tiles together, prevents moisture buildup from the layers underneath, and fills in joints where applicable. It’s made out of a mixture of sand, water, cement, and other synthetic materials like epoxy and polymer. Think of grout as a supporting structure that strengthens the entire foundation of your tiles. Just like tiles, grout is very versatile and it comes in several different types to suit different applications.
With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the right professionally installed grout for your bathroom and kitchen. Thankfully, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at the four most common types of grout available to help you make an informed decision.
1. Unsanded grout
As the name suggests, unsanded grout is a type of grout that’s mixed by using water, cement, and non-sand particles. It’s very sticky in nature and holds up well on vertical surfaces due to the lack of sand or aggregate content. Also, since vertical applications don’t receive as much foot traffic compared to horizontal applications, the reduced durability of unsanded grout doesn’t act as a compromise.
Unsanded grout is often used in grout lines that are smaller than an eighth of an inch because it tends to shrink after drying. A noticeable characteristic of unsanded grout is that it’s fairly smooth to the touch. When applying grout on scratchable surfaces, we recommend using unsanded grout to avoid accidental scratches. For this reason, unsanded grout is perfect for ceramic tiles, polished marble, and mother of pearl tiles.
2. Sanded grout
Sanded grout offers more stability and durability than unsanded grout thanks to the fine sand particles. It feels gritty to the touch and is less sticky than unsanded grout. Some of the most notable qualities of sanded grout are less grout shrinkage, better cracking resistance, overall more budget-friendly than unsanded grout.
Usually, sanded grout is used in applications that are larger than a one-eighth inch since it bonds better and doesn’t suffer from shrinking problems. The added sand is what makes this type of grout more resilient to wear and tear, making it the perfect grout for thick joints as well as flooring applications for your bathroom or kitchen.
Do note that sanded grout is porous in nature and may attract dirt more easily than unsanded grout. This is why it’s important to seal sanded grout once it dries up to not only repel dirt, but also keep moisture and germ buildup at bay. Also, avoid using sanded ground
3. Epoxy grout
Epoxy grout is hailed as the mother of all grouts thanks to its superior strength, durability, and flexibility. This type of grout is made by mixing epoxy, hardeners, and resins to form a long-lasting, stain-proof grout. It’s impermeable to all kinds of moisture and liquids, which makes it an ideal choice for kitchen and bathroom applications. You don’t need to seal epoxy grout as its bulletproof characteristics are more than enough to repel any kind of contaminants.
Epoxy tends to solidify shortly after being activated, which makes it extremely important to apply it quickly. Applying epoxy grout is best reserved for experienced professionals to achieve a smooth, clean finish. Epoxy grout is available in a wide range of colours, making it more versatile than the aforementioned grout types and will suit non-patterned tiles just fine.
While epoxy grout generally does not scratch tiles, it’s best to err on the side of caution and test it out on an inconspicuous area first.
4. Furan grout
You may or may not have heard of furan grout, but it’s an excellent grout that shares plenty of characteristics with epoxy grout. Instead of epoxy, furan grout uses polymers from fortified alcohols that are very chemical resistant. The name stems from furfuryl alcohol added in the grout’s formula. No water is added when mixing furan grout. Instead, it’s a two-component system that uses a furan resin and a filler powder containing an acid catalyst. The acid catalyst is what cures the furan grout, which then forms a thermosetting resin that has superior thermal, physical and chemical resistance than all of the three aforementioned grout types combined.
Furan grout is commonly used in grouting quarry tiles and brick pavers. It’s also recommended for areas that are frequently exposed to grease, meaning it’s more suited for kitchen applications instead of the bathroom. Prior to installing furan grout, a wax coating should be applied to the tiles to protect them from stains.
Like with epoxy grout, furan grout requires the expertise of a professional as mixing furan grout creates harmful vapours. Installation is also a bit of a tricky procedure as the temperatures should be around 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the mixture to cure properly.
Choosing the right grout for your applications requires careful planning and consideration and knowing the differences between these grout types can definitely ease your decision-making. If you’re unsure of which grout type is best for your bathroom and kitchen, we recommend discussing everything with a professional grout installer near you.