Grout is the filler squeezed in between tiles
to keep tiles from twisting or
to keep moisture out. Grout can
also be used
as an integral part of the decoration.
When selecting a grout, here
are some characteristics
- composition - while most commonly used grouts are concrete
based, grouts can be made from epoxy and
resin. Pick one of these more exotic grouts
if you have special requirements such as
stain or heat resistance. Application of
these grouts is more difficult in part because
they bond to the glazed tile surfaces, so
in most cases, choose a concrete based grout.
While caulk can be used for minor repairs
and in places where flexibiilty are required
(such as between the bathtub and the tiles),
caulk does not provide the rigidity needed
to keep tiles from twisting under pressure
and so does not make a good substitute.
- sanded vs non-sanded - grout lines are nomally kept thin to avoid
the tendency of grout to crack. When using
grout lines over an eighth of an inch in
width, use a grout that has sand added to
increase its strength.
- color - grouts are available in an array of colors
to match, complement, or contrast the color
of your tile. Buy pre-colored grout or follow
the grout manufacturer's directions closely
for tinting. If you want satisfactory results,
do not attempt to color the grout mixture
by adding paint or to blend various grouts
to make your own colors; introduction of
chemicals can affect the curing of the grout.
- waterproofing - most grouts are porous, which can be a
problem in wet or very humid environments
(e.g., swimming pools and saunas) because
over time moisture can get to the backing
behind the tiles. The propensity of grout
to absorb moisture also provides a place
for mold and mildew to root and grow. For
most applications, sufficient waterproofing
can be accomplished by applying a sealer
to the grout once the grout has cured.