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Grout is the finishing touch on your new tiles. You'll most likely be putting them in your kitchen, bathroom, or spa area. If you're looking to upgrade the walls and floor, you can find yourself asking if you can use the same grout for both. We've taken an inside look to bring you the answer!
Floor and wall grout are often interchangeable. Using a powdered mix will give you a stronger grip than the premixed containers. You will also need to check the size difference of your grout lines to see if the grout should be sanded or unsanded. Too large of a difference in grout line width can require two different grout types.
In most cases, you'll be able to mortar and grout your tiles by yourself within a few days, but there has been a recent interest in epoxy grout that professionals use. In this article, we'll look at types of grout and the right grout wet areas. Keep reading to learn the ins and out of grout!
Is there a difference between wall and floor grout?
While there is no set factor separating wall and floor grout, there are different formulas for grout. Which grout you need for your project can depend on joint lines and the size and weight of the tiles. Powdered mixes give you a better way to control how much water is or isn't being added to allow you the best strength for your tiles. It also isn't as wasteful since you can save any unused powder.
Sanded vs. Unsanded
Sanded grout is just as it sounds, grout with sand in it. The addition of sand makes the mixture more coarse and helps reduce shrinkage in larger grout lines. You'll more than often use sanded grout for floor tiles to help blend in any imperfections. While it can be used for wall tiles, it's not recommended for small tiles with thin joint lines.
Unsanded grout is a much more smooth mixture that is used for smaller joint lines. This version of grout is typically used for wall tiles. It is softer but has the direct surface area to hold tiles vertically. In the event you are using rectified floor tiles, you can use unsanded for those as well. This is because the very even edges can still hold with thinner grout lines.
Grout line size
Small grout lines are classified as 1/8th or smaller joint width. You'll be able to use unsanded grout in this scenario. Since unsanded grout is so much smoother, you'll be able to fill in any small holes easier.
Medium grout lines are seen as 1/8th to 1/4th width joints. The medium sizes are the easiest to work with and can be used with either grout type, though contractors usually favor sanded grout with it. The sanded grout will still be forgiving to imperfections at this size.
Large lines are those with widths measuring from 3/8ths to 1/2in. Sanded grout gives you more long-term stability for larger lines. The sand can hold the grout in place, helping it resist mildew and future shrinkage. This will also be a good option for different sizes of tiles or ones with patterns.
They are named this because the tiles go through a grinding process to remove any errors from firing. Instead of having small variations on the edges, you'll have a smooth and even edge. Rectified tiles also are sized more accurately during the process to erase the changes made during firing.
Rectified tiles are a double-edged sword. If you have a perfectly level surface to put them on then, you're in the clear. However, if you have uneven floors, the imperfections and slight tilts will be much more noticeable. This type of tile will be a good choice if you want minimal joint lines, as they can butt up against each other more easily.
What grout should I use in my shower?
When it comes to your shower, you want the first choice to be the best. There are three main options to choose from: cement, epoxy, and acrylic. All three will work in wet spaces; however, cement will need to be sealed afterward.
Cement is the most used grout for laying tiles. As you bring it into your bathroom, which has high moisture rates, keep in mind it is a porous material. No matter sanded or unsanded; a cement grout will need to be sealed once it's cured. By sealing the cement, you help it become water-resistant and reduce the chance of mold.
Made of resins and filler, epoxy grout is very durable and water-resistant. Epoxy grout doesn't need to be sealed and can withstand hard cleaning products. It's been on the rise recently with contractors but is not very friendly to first-time DIYers, both in the process and price. Epoxy grout dries very quickly, meaning you'll have to work in small batches, which can be a pain for larger showers.
In addition, since it dries so fast, you'll need to immediately clean off excess grout to prevent it from giving your tile a haze. It can also discolor porous surfaces, such as stone, which will need to be sealed beforehand. It does have a slightly glossy finish which could look plastic unless you go with white grout and glossy white tiles.
A runner-up in the grout selection, acrylic is a middle ground option. It has the durability and self-sealing quality of epoxy but has more of a matte finish, as seen with cement. It is also more budget and DIY friendly than epoxy. Acrylic grout will hold its color well and significantly reduce the risk of mildew.
Tip: Wait to caulk around fixtures for at least 24 hours after setting tile.
Should floor and wall grout lines match?
Floor and wall grout lines do not have to match in size, color, or where they meet each other. Chances are you'll be doing different sizes of tiles in the bathroom. For example, having larger rectangle floor tiles and a smaller, more decorative tile on the walls. Or vice versus.
By having a mixture of grout lines, you'll add more dimension to the room. If you have a smaller bathroom, having all the tiles line up will give the illusion of a tight box. Slightly staggering the tiles will trick the eye into seeing more space.
Another factor to consider is that all rooms are not going to be evenly spaced. You'll have to cut tiles at some point, and having a chunkier edge piece that's off-center looks better than a very thin edge that's lined up. Also, walls that don't lay flat can hide the fact better with tiles that aren't matched.
You can use floor grout on the walls as long as it called for the same grittiness of being sanded or unsanded. A powdered cement mix gives you more control and time to clean the surface of the tiles. Cement is the most popular choice for grout, but you can also use epoxy or acrylic. Don't forget to think about what color grout you want with your new tiles too!
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