Grout Tips for the Homeowner

Our friends at Wikipedia define grout as “a construction material used to embed rebar in masonry walls, connect sections of pre-cast concrete, fill voids, and seal joints (like those between tiles). Grout is generally composed of a mixture of water, cement, sand, often color tint, and sometimes fine gravel (if it is being used to fill the cores of cement blocks). It is applied as a thick emulsion and hardens over time, much like its close relative mortar.” That is all fine and well, but what we really want to get to is what the homeowner needs to know about grout. So here are a few grout tips for the homeowner!

Usually, the homeowner  will view grout as the “stuff” between the tile or stone. A little more knowledge is obviously very helpful. Typically you will find either sanded or unsanded grout as a choice. As a rule of thumb, the wider the joint the more likely that sanded grout should be used or has been used. Quite often very thin joints, like those used in marble installations, are filled with unsanded grout. The grout joint is of course the “space” between the tiles or stones. Please take some time to understand this distinction.

The grout color is a supremely important selection for the user to make. In its natural state, absent of colorants, grout is sort of a dull grey. However, fashion forward design trends demand more color options and they are certainly out there. But a word of caution here. Some grout colors can be a little bit unstable. After mixing and installing, the “moody marine” color  that you thought you were getting may end up as a mixed up blotchy mess. So, not to be too conservative, but you might want to stay with more neutral color values in the cream, light brown, off white and gray families.

Also of great importance is the potential contrast between the color of the grout and the color of the tile or stone. Usually, the installation of grout entails a still moist material being “smeared” over  the entire surface of the tile or stone. This serves to fill the open joints. The grout then cures or hardens. In an alternative and perfect universe, gray colored grout over a gray colored tile or stone would be really neat and quick.

However, outside of that perfect universe, let’s imagine that a member of the design team  has a black/white combination planned. The idea might be for  a black grout joint and a white country type ceramic tile. This might be successfully accomplished by painstaking effort from a real pro….but maybe not! In truth, this is probably not the greatest  idea since in the installation process that black grout might linger as a haze over the white tile. So, please dance very gingerly with this devil of a design concept.

In closing, these are but a few grout tips for the homeowner.Country Floors has showrooms across the United States and now in Puerto Rico. As always, thanks for reading!