TYPES OF GROUT USED FOR TILE INSTALLATION
Tilers typically use three types of grout when installing tiles: cementitious grout, chemical grout, and acrylic grout. Each type of grout has unique properties that make it appropriate for particular applications.
What is grout?
Grout is a thick paste used to fill in gaps, voids, and joints. It is mainly a composite material used for grouting, filling gaps and sealing the joints between tiles, repairing concrete cracks, waterproofing, soil stabilization, etc. Different types of grout materials used in construction, tile installation, and other projects will be covered in this article.
Grout differs from mortar in that it has a lower viscosity and lack of lime, which make it thinner and simpler to work with.
Types of Grout
There are various types of grout that you can choose from. Most grouts are composed of a powdered mixture of cement, lime, color pigments, and sometimes sand that hardens when mixed with water and allowed to cure.
Grout enhances more than just the appearance of your wall. It also provides a number of valuable benefits such as:
- Giving your floor or wall a crisp finished appearance.
- Prevents dirt and debris from entering the spaces beneath and between your tiles.
- Adds strength and rigidity to the tile installation.
When tilers install tiles, they use one of three types of grout. Each grout type has its own different properties, which make them suitable for specific applications. Let’s take a closer look at these three grout types to see which one is best for your next tiling project.
Cementitious grout is a type of traditional grout material that is used in both residential and some commercial applications. It is also called as hydraulic cement grouting or slurry grouting.
The following materials are used in cementitious grout:
- Portland cement
- Water- retentive additive
- Filler particles of various sizes
- Colored pigments
Cementitious grout comes in a variety of colors that can be used to match or contrast with the tile. The grout is mixed with water and then applied with a trowel.
Cementitious grout is further divided into three types:
- Sanded grout
- Unsanded /Non-sanded grout
- Latex modified grout
1. Sanded Grout
Sanded grout is mainly composed of Portland cement, sand, and other additives. Sand that is used is generally larger in size.
It is typically recommended for tile floors with joints ranging from 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch wide. Sand is one of the best building materials and adds additional strength to the grout joints.
Sanded grout is absorbent and easily attracts dirt; therefore, it’s always better to seal the joint when grouting is done. This type of grout shouldn’t be used on tiles that are likely to scratch easily, such as marble, because sand easily causes scratches.
Sanded tile grout is less expensive than unsanded grout because sand is a cheaper filler than polymers. Therefore it provides a tight lock and a clean and neat finish.
Sanded grout is perfect for use in shower pans, bathrooms, kitchen floors, and other areas.
Unsanded grout is made up of Portland cement and powder pigment. Because no sand is used, this type of grout is also known as non-sanded grout.
This grout is appropriate for joints with thicknesses ranging from 1/8 to 1/16 inch. It works well on scratchable surfaces like metal, glass, marble, and natural stone tile, unlike sanded grout.
Unsanded grout has a much smoother texture because the mineral particles in it are very fine powders with no grit.
However, due to a lack of binding power, this type of grout is prone to cracking. Unsanded grout is more expensive than sanded grout, and color options may be limited.
Unsanded grout can be used in a variety of applications, including rectified tiles, polished stones, bathroom walls, shower walls, and so on.
3. Latex Modified Grout
Sanded grouts may contain a latex polymer additive that improves the grout’s strength and water-proofing properties. The additives can be combined both dry and wet.
Chemical grouts are made of polymers like sodium silicate, epoxy, acrylic, polyurethane, and other suitable polymers. It usually requires the injection of chemical grouts into finer cracks that are not groutable with cementitious grouts. Some useful chemical grouts are discussed further below.
- Epoxy grout
- Furan grout
- Acrylic grout
The components of epoxy grout are epoxy resin, silica fillers, pigments, and a hardener. During the mixing process, neither Portland cement nor water are used.
Epoxy grout is very robust and long-lasting. Furthermore, it is highly resistant to stains, cracks, chemical attack, extreme weather conditions, and climatic changes.
Epoxy grouts are significantly less porous than cementitious grouts and set up much faster. Furthermore, it is much more expensive than any type of grout.
If applied correctly, epoxy grout can last a lifetime with little maintenance. Its strength and other properties make it ideal for any tile work, indoors or out.
Useful applications include:
- High-traffic areas such as entrances, hallways, and foyers.
- All types of flooring are exposed to harsh conditions such as grease and acid.
- Kitchen counters and backsplashes, bathrooms, and so on.
Remember that porous and unglazed surfaces, such as limestone or quarry tiles, must be sealed before applying epoxy grout; otherwise, it will stain the tile surfaces badly.
Another significant disadvantage is that it is significantly more difficult to shape and slope. If not done correctly, it will appear plastic.
2. Furan Grout
Furan grout is similar to epoxy but is made up of polymers derived from fortified alcohols. In this style of grout installation, no water is used.
The basic components of furan are an acid catalyst, a filler powder, and furan resin. The acid catalyst aids in the curing of the resin, resulting in a thermosetting resin with unsurpassed chemical, physical, and thermal resistance.
Since the tile surface can be smooth, abrasive, or non-skid, it should be sealed with wax coating immediately after furan grout installation to prevent staining.
Furan grout is the most durable and expensive grout material on the market. Due to the difficulty of installation, proper precautions and skilled labor are required.
This grout is appropriate for the following applications:
- Brick pavers
- Quarry tiles
- Industrial projects such as laboratories, factories, diaries, and meat-packing plants
- Locations with a lot of chemical or grease exposure.
Acrylic grout is an acrylic latex admixture that is designed to be used as a water substitute when grouting ceramic tile.
It is made specifically for use with AccuColor Portland cement grouts.
Acrylic grout aids in making joints less prone to water penetration. When grouting wet areas, it is absolutely essential.
The additive also aids in the grout’s ability to maintain color and resist stains. It has good stability in freeze-thaw cycles. It also improves grout flexibility.
It has better adhesion properties. Additionally, you only need to apply it between tile joints rather than covering the entire work surface.
Another benefit of using acrylic grout is that it can be used in small spaces. It is most commonly used for joints with a thickness of less than 1/8 inch.
These grouts are suitable for use in
- Outdoors, like garage or deck projects
- Fast-food restaurant floors
- Marble work etc.