Grout is the unsung hero that upholds the beauty and appeal of tiles
Grout is as important as the tiles used on the floors because it plays many different roles and impacts the longevity of floors. Grout helps to lock tiles and hold it firmly in place. It creates a waterproofing surface between tiles while filling the joints that form the grout lines that give a beautiful outline to the tiles that enhance the aesthetic appeal of floors.
Most importantly, grout lends the desired finished looks to floors and walls. However, the role of grout, though important, often escapes the attention of most people who only start caring for it when they face any problems on the floors or walls. Only when people encounter stained or cracked tiles that have chances of falling apart that they stand up and take notice of grout.
Grout is often the unsung hero and deserves more respect because it just not only fills voids it adds to the strength of floors, walls, and countertops as it prevents chipping and cracking of tiles from the edges. Generally, the choice is between Cement based grout and epoxy grout and here is a grout comparison that should helpin selection.
By and large, what we see around us is all cement-based grout that is widely used for filling the voids created between tiles when laid on the floor or wall. Although used for setting tiles, tiles have no role to play in selecting the type of grout that would be suitable for the application. Unsanded grout is the staple choice for joints that are up to 1/8 inch wide. It comes in the form of a smooth pudding-like blend of cement and powdered pigments used for imparting color to it. For wider joints, the recommended material is sanded grout which comprises the same materials, but sand gives it more strength that is necessary to fill wider gaps. Sand also prevents shrinking of grout by bulking it up.
Grout material has improved over the years and what you find today is no comparison to the poor quality of grout that was available a few decades ago. By using polymer additives, today’s grout is more flexible and has a consistent color that can work well in large gaps up to 1 ¼ inch. However, cement- based tiles are porous and susceptible to staining.
In areas exposed to acids and greases, even the additive enhanced grout might not work well. The conditions are so harsh that only epoxy- based grout can withstand it. Epoxy grout is made from two parts of resin and hardener is available in both sanded and unsanded variety, and it is resistant to stains and most chemicals. Epoxy based grout has detergents mixed with it that makes it easy to clean with water as well as it improves workability. When using on unglazed tiles or limestone, sealing of the surfaces is necessary to avoid discoloration of the porous surfaces.
Grout has fixed longevity and depending on the nature of the exposure it receives, regrouting is necessary.