Tile is a great option for many flooring needs. Unlike other types of flooring, it can do well in just about any room, including those with a higher moisture levels or that see more foot traffic. It is durable, water resistant, and requires very little maintenance. There are also so many choices for colors, patterns and even tiles that mimic wood and stone, meaning that everyone can find a tile to fit their design aesthetic. With proper care, tile can last a very long time. When you have made the decision to go with tile, you must also think about grout. While some may tell you that it isn’t always necessary, grout should always be used with tile.
Types of Grout
There are two types of grout. Cement-based grouts are available unsanded, which is intended for very small gaps between tiles. Sanded grout (cement with added sand), is meant for larger spaces, and the sand prevents the cement from shrinking between tiles. Cement can stain and used to be quite brittle, prone to cracking. Polymers have been added in newer grouts to increase flexibility.
Epoxy grout, made of resin and hardeners, is stain resistant and therefore used often in areas that are prone to grease, acid, and more traffic. It tends to be more on the expensive side and can discolor unsealed tiles. It also used to be very difficult to work with, but added detergents have increased the its workability.
#1. Grout Creates a Finished Look
When a tile is laid, no matter what the space between, the gap is noticeable. Grout fills the gaps, giving the floor a neat, finished look. Since it is available in different colors, you can customize the look of your floor allowing you to find something that closely matches the tile or a color that gives you an interesting contrast.
While all tiles are made to be the same size, there are some instances where there is a slight variation. While you might not be able to see the difference in size just by looking at the tiles, once you start installing them directly side by side, it becomes obvious. Lines become uneven, and the tile looks messy. Grout allows for all lines to be even, and even the slightest differences in tile sizes won’t be noticeable.
#3. Keeps the Areas Between the Tiles Clean
Without grout, the gaps between your tiles, which will be present even if you try to lay the tiles directly next to each other, are likely to collect anything that falls to the floor. This might be dust, dirt, or spilled food. And these spaces are difficult to clean. Grout closes the gaps between tiles, making cleaning, whether a regular sweep or picking up a giant mess, a breeze. It also prevents water from collecting between tiles which could otherwise lead to mold.
#4. Prevents Damage
Without grout, tiles are going to shift, even when placed directly next to each other. When tiles rub up against one another, they create pressure, and the tiles will eventually crack or chip. Grout prevents shifting, not just acting as a buffer between the tiles but holding those tiles firmly in place and preventing movement in the first place.
Grout is a very important part of your tile floor or backsplash. If you need help installing your tile or finding the best grout for your needs, contact Windows Floors & Decor. We can connect you with a flooring expert that will leave you with a floor you will love and will last for many years to come.