Your tile needs a hero, and GROUT is that hero!
Grout is that special gunk that fills the mini canyons between your tiles - more commonly known as "grout joints". You need grout to hold your tiles together and to protect them from substances that would otherwise ruin your tiles and the surface beneath them. Water, dirt, debris...grout takes these foes head-on to protect the porous grout joints. As if its practicality wasn't enough, it can also add to the overall look of your room and determine how long your tile will last! Pretty nifty, right?
Now, while all grout fights against the same substances, they are not all appropriate for the same types of grout joints. Some grout joints are wider than others or have a different purpose in one room than they would in another. So, before you even start your home improvement project, ask yourself these questions:
1) What will the tiled surface be used for?
2) How far apart will my tiles end up?
3) How much am I willing to spend for good grout?
4) What color will make my tile look FABULOUS?
To answer question number one, you simply have to think about whether or not there will be a lot of moisture around your tile (bathroom) or if there are many opportunities for stains to develop over time (kitchen). Will there be heavy traffic on your tile (hallway)? If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, then you should definitely look into an epoxy grout. This type of grout has the strongest defense against both offenders and will last the longest. Beware, though! While epoxy grout is durable, easy to clean and resistant to damage, it can be pricey and tricky to install.
Question number two is extremely important if you are looking into a non-epoxy grout. Your choice between an unsanded, finely sanded, or quarry-type grout will depend on the width of your grout joints. The wider the grout joint, the coarser the sand in the grout. To avoid confusion we won't go into a ton of detail, but here is a quick guide for picking your grout:
Grout Joint Width Grout Type Typical Use
3/8" to 1/2" wide Quarry-type Grout Large Tiles
1/8" to 3/8" wide Sanded Grout Floors
Less than 1/8" Wide Unsanded Grout Walls and Countertops
The third question is pertinent to every purchase you will ever make. It basically comes down to the kind of quality you want to pay for. As mentioned above, epoxy grout is typically more expensive but is the most resilient of the grout types. The other kinds of sanded and unsanded grout aren't bad, but what you save in the price for grout may show up again for the sealers you'll need to get the most life out of your tile. When in doubt, ask a professional.
The final question is one only you can answer. Grout comes in many different colors, so think about which option will compliment your style the most. Often people will go with a neutral beige, white or sandy brown, but some more adventurous options do exist. We recommend those "free spirits" looking at the unconventional colors ask their tile installer to put together a sample first. This way you can see the end result before implementing your vision. This may cost you a little extra, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.
With the right grout and the right team of installers, your tile is going to last for years to come and look great while do so. We want to congratulate you for taking the time to do your research before jumping in. For more guidance, contact us at 616-826-6668. Happy flooring!