Using the Correct Type of Grout
by RogerThere are three basic types of grout available for your tile installation. They are:
Non-Sanded (also known as Unsanded)
Choosing the correct grout for your particular installation will not only complete the jobcorrectly, it will also cut down on maintenance. Properly installed and sealed grout will lastfor the life of your tile. So which to use and when?
Non-Sanded (or Unsanded) Grout
Unsanded grout is made specifically for grout lines smaller than 1/8 inch wide. This is a
general rule. I use unsanded grout only in tile with grout lines smaller than 1/16″. Unsanded
grout (all grout to different degrees) will shrink as it cures. The reason for only using it insmaller grout lines is the wider the grout lines, the more grout must be used to fill them. Themore grout you have, the more it will shrink. If you try to fill grout lines that are too large thegrout will shrink enough to pull away from the sides of the tile.Unsanded grout is easier to work with, especially on vertical surfaces such as a shower wall,because
it is “stickier” than the sanded variety. You can spread it onto the wall and it will
stick there while you force it into the grout lines. It is also much easier on the hands thansanded. Although it is easier to work with, you need to make sure that the application forwhich you are using it is correct.
Sanded Grout is used for any size grout lines 1/8″ and wider. Although the
state unsanded grout be used in grout lines that are exactly 1/8″, you really should use sanded
for them. It will ensure proper adhesion to your tile and guard against too much shrinkage.No, not Seinfeld shrinkage, grout shrinkage.Sanded grout has fine sand added to it. This prevents the grout from shrinking too much as it
cures. That’s why it is used for larger grout lines and should be used for the majority of tile
installations.If you have a polished stone such as granite, marble, limestone, and some polished travertine,you should be careful about using sanded grout. While sanded may be the correct choice forthe size of grout lines, it may not be the best choice. Depending upon the polish of the stonethe sand in the grout may actually scratch it. If you decide to use sanded make sure you test itin an inconspicuous area first to ensure it will not scratch your finish. Or use epoxy whichwould be a better choice anyway.