So, you’ve navigated your way through the maze of 1000′s of tile selections and have narrowed your choice. Now it’s time to choose the right grout, a choice that can be equally intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are 4 basic tips for how to choose the right grout:
1) Determine Tile Spacing
Most home improvement and flooring stores have packages of tile spacers that will help you ensure a nice square fit and even spacing between tiles.
Larger floor tiles are usually spaced 1/8″ or wider and smaller tiles usually are better suited for grout lines 1/8″ or less. Smaller grout lines minimize the tile pattern that is laid out and tend to be easier to clean; consider smaller grout lines for back-splashes, shower walls and countertops.
2) Sanded or non-Sanded
Once you have determined tile spacing, usually the next question is always, sanded or non-sanded and what’s the difference? For tiles that will be spaced 1/8″ or less, you should choose a non-sanded grout. For tiles that will be spaced greater than 1/8″, a sanded grout should be your choice. The sand helps bind and strengthen the larger grout joint thus why spacing is usually bigger for floor tiles.
3) Choosing a color
There are a wide variety of off the shelf colors available that mix easily with water. Follow the manufacturers guidelines for determining how much you will need. There are two rules of thumb when choosing a color:
a) If you want to create contrast and emphasize the pattern, you should use a contrasting grout color
b) If you want the tile pattern to be more subtle and visually blended, choose a color that matches closely to your tile.
Unless you have superpower cleaning skills and don’t mind regular scrubbing and cleaning with bleach and otherwise, I don’t recommend white grout for floors.
4) Seal it
Unless your tile won’t be subjected to moisture and traffic, I highly recommend sealing the grout after it has cured at least 48 hours. There are a wide variety of choices. I recently tried the spray on, no wipe off aerosol kind and was very happy with it. You should re-seal your grout about once per year if it’s in a wet or high traffic area.