Grout is the stuff you pack in between floor or wall tiles to protect the subfloor from damage, tightly connect the individual tiles, and provide aesthetic appeal to the entire tiling project. But while everyone knows that grouting is included in the process of tiling, you may not have considered pondering your grout choices too deeply. Like a strong supporting actor next to the dramatic lead of best tile in Raleigh, NC, grout choices can determine the durability and lifespan of your tiling project as well as contribute to its overall aesthetic appeal. Here are a few things about your grout that you need to consider before you start your project.
The Durability Factor
By far, the most common type of grout used by contractors and homeowners is cement grout. It is easy to find, very cost-effective, and stands up very well to traffic, and you can choose between sanded or sand-free grout products depending on the particular project needs. If it is sealed properly and cleaned with the correct products, it will also resist staining, chipping, and cracking. If you want extreme durability, however, you can look for an epoxy grout. Epoxy grouts are harder to find, more expensive, and require more intensive installation work, but the results are often worth it for those who are grouting areas that need to withstand very high traffic. For residential applications or office buildings that don’t see heavy traffic, cement grout is usually just fine.
Keeping It Clean
One of the biggest complaints about grout—especially light-colored grout—is that over time it becomes stained and discolored. When white grout turns gray and dingy, it no longer looks attractive, and it can be a real pain to restore dirty grout to its former glory. Choosing the right sealant to apply on freshly installed grout is important for this reason. A sealant that penetrates into the grout’s pores and leaves it with some breathability is usually preferred to sealant that creates an impenetrable barrier. In addition to the right sealant applied as necessary, the right grout cleaner used on a regular basis will keep grout looking fresh and neat.
Choosing a Color
Finally, the color you choose for your grout makes an enormous difference in the final appearance of your tile project. There are no hard-and-fast rules about choosing grout color except for your personal preferences, but this means that you can become overwhelmed with possible options. You can filter your choices by looking online and in books to see what effect different colors of grout will have against various colors of tile, and looking at images and pictures will help you figure out what style you like best.
For instance, black grout against white tiles makes a bold statement while being reminiscent of homes built in the early 1900s. It’s a great look, and the dark grout color hides dirt and stains. White grout with white tile looks bright, clean, and hygienic, which is a wonderful look for bathrooms and kitchens; be aware, however, that consistent upkeep will be needed to maintain the bright white color of the grout over time.
If you have the budget, you can try small samples of grout colors with your tile. You can also help yourself visualize the final effect by using colored pencils or computer software to add color to a sample drawing. Whatever you do, make sure you pair the best tile in Raleigh, NC, with the best grout possible for your project and protect it well so that your floor, backsplash, shower surround, or tiled wall continues to look as good as the day you put it in.