You have taken the decision to do some DIY work at your home such as adding tiles to your kitchen back splash or shower enclosure, installing flooring in a room etc. Being a first-time DIYer, you are planning on having plenty of extra tile on hand in case of a redo.
However, in selecting the grout you see a difference in products. Should you pick up the sanded or the unsanded type for your project and what is the difference?
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Sanded grout is the most popular choice for DIYers. It is less expensive than the unsanded type and comes in an assortment of colors. The type of tile that you plan on installing is what makes the difference in its use.
Fine sand, along with polymers, has been added to cement-based sanded grout. The sand acts as an adhesion and prevents too much shrinkage as the grout dries. It is recommended for grout lines measuring 1/8″ wide or more.
Because sand is gritty, it can only be used with tile that is not easily scratched.
Some cases of using sanded grout include the following:
- Any flooring project. Because this type of grout is more resistant to pressure, installing flooring surfaces with sanded grout is the way to go.
- Thick joints (in horizontal surfaces).
- There are also certain types of ceramics that are more scratch-resistant than others that can use sanded grout without causing damage.
Unsanded grout is easy to work with on vertical surfaces and is recommended for grout lines that are less than 1/8″ wide.
It does not have the slump that is often associated with sanded grout in getting an even coverage. This is due to the pudding-type texture without the added sand.
However, sand is a cheap filler for grout and when it is absent more polymers make up the difference. The reflection in price is also substantial. Unsanded grout usually costs more than its sanded counterpart.
Use Unsanded Grout in the following cases:
- Certain soft tiles and materials that may be scratched such as:
- polished or honed stone
- Narrow joints (less than 1/8″ wide).
- Vertical surfaces such as shower wall, kitchen backsplash etc.
Some Other Differences
All grouts based on cement are of porous nature and can stain. You may find many more colors available for sanded grout than unsanded grout. This is merely a choice of the retailer to stock the most popular shades.
However, there are hundreds of shades in both grout types to choose from. Visit the manufacturer website or a DIY store for a complete list.
Price wise, sanded grout is the way to go, especially if you are a DIYer, since is cheaper and also easier to work with (if you don’t have much experience).
Grouting is a learning process and can get very costly by using unsanded grout. Also, you may want to reconsider that shiny glass back splash that you have selected for the kitchen until you are sure that you are a pro at grouting.
There are many different types of tiles that are coated to protect against scratching. This could be an option especially in a busy kitchen area.
Best Grout Type for Shower and Bathrooms
This must be waterproof and mold-resistant. Usually unsanded type is used because tiles in showers are installed very close together (narrow spacing).
Another option that we haven’t talked before is epoxy-based grout which is much stronger than other types because of its chemical composition. These are also waterproof as well.
Another option is to apply standard cement-type grout but you must also apply sealing agent on top of it
Best Grout for Kitchen Backsplash
Again, its better to go with Unsanded option here since you will be working with vertical surfaces and joints are very close together. Moreover, some home owners select also Acrylic option (grout that is pre-mixed with Acrylic and does not need any sealing) which is great also for outdoor kitchen backsplash.
Mortar Vs Grout
Although these two materials are both used in masonry and tile work, they have different purposes.
Mortar is used as the base in order to make one material stick to another. For example, when laying wall tiles, mortar can be used to stick tiles on the wall.
Grout on the other hand is used as filler to close the gaps between joints of tiles etc.
Mapei Grout Colors
Mapei is a global and popular manufacturer of grouts, sealants, caulk etc. They have hundreds of colors when selecting the above material found on their website here.
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