There’s a lot of grout out there. Picking the right grout for the job can be trickier than it first seems. There are more choices to make than selecting the color and it can get confusing without some guidance.
Guidance is just what we have for you. We recently talked to Dale Penland of the grout manufacturer, Mapei, to find out the most important things you need to know. Here they are.
#1 Stain Resistance is Key
Traditional cement grout is a porous material so anything liquid can be absorbed and if that liquid happens to be something like red wine, your grout is in serious trouble.
A Penland told us, "there are two simple solutions to this problem: sealing your grout or using a non-porous grout."
If you have cement grout, seal it as soon as it’s dry after installation (usually 24-48 hours). Reseal it periodically according to sealer directions to keep the grout from getting stained.
Another option is to go with an epoxy grout or a single component grout, aka: pre-made, or ready-to-use. "Epoxy grout is mostly resins and is non-porous so it doesn’t have the same stain risk. Single component grouts have similar characteristics to epoxy. Once they dry, they are stain-resistant, chemical resistant, and never need to be sealed," says Penland.
#2 Clean it Right
There is a lot of talk around social media about how to magically clean grout, but Penland says, "you should only take advice about cleaning grout from people who make grout. So steer clear of homemade concoctions."
Most manufacturers, including Mapei, produce appropriate cleaning and sealing supplies made specifically for grout. You can also go to your tile manufacturer for information about proper care of tile and grout since you don’t have one without the other.
The mop and bucket approach isn’t the right approach for grout and tile. It doesn’t always get things clean. It spreads surface dirt around. Change out water frequently and clean mop head to get rid of dirt rather than redistributing it.
Penland tells us, "because installed grout is concave, it’s like a channel where dirt collects. Often grout looks dirtier than the rest of the floor because of that. It’s also usually superficial dirt, not staining that has been absorbed. A proper cleaning is all that’s needed to get it into shape."
#3 Understand Sanded and Un-sanded Grout
Some tile calls for un-sanded grout because it might be scratched by some grouts. A grout with a larger aggregate, like sand, can scratch glass tile and even some glazed ceramic. Un-sanded grout has a finer aggregate material that won’t scratch delicate surfaces. Read packaging on your grout and fine print for the tile to make sure you know which grout to get.
If you’re grouting glass or any tile that you’re concerned about scratching, do a little test in an unnoticeable area. It’s better to have a small scratch in a corner rather than grouting the whole floor and ruining your floor or wall.