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Ceramic grout: products and maintenance

Last modified: 2022-06-16 | Approximate reading time 6 mins

Christine Simard

Have you decided to change your floor covering and your choice fell on ceramic? Regardless of the specific tile pattern that caught your attention, you will need to purchase grout.

As there are so many varieties on the market, it can be difficult to navigate! We have therefore decided to present the different options available to you as well as some very useful tips so that you don't regret your choice.

How to choose your ceramic grout

Aspects to consider before choosing your grout

Before going ahead with an overview of the various types of grout, it is important to consider the guidelines of your tile manufacturer. Indeed, some manufacturers offer a conditional warranty on the use of a particular type of grout.

The reason behind this requirement is that some grouts are not compatible with all types of tiles and can sometimes damage the surface. For example, be aware that polished stone is particularly at risk of being scratched if a sand-based grout is used to fill the joints.

Secondly, it is advisable to take into account the design of your tiles. Did you choose patterned or plain tiles? In the first case, it would be to your advantage to choose a white grout to avoid the whole thing being visually overloaded. Keep in mind, however, that white grout will likely turn yellow or grayish over time, which is why we also recommend using a light gray grout when possible.

On the contrary, if your tiles are plain, choosing a coloured grout shouldn't be a problem. However, it is preferable to choose a grout whose colour will be similar to that of your tiles. Remember, however, that cleaning up dust from black, red, or green grout may take extra effort. In either case, orient your choice towards creating a harmonious pairing.

Finally, it's important to take into account the width of the joints of your tiles. Certain types of grout will be more suitable for very thin joints while others for larger joints. For example, for joints whose width is 1/8 inch or more, we recommend using sand-based grout. As for the use of sandless grout now, note that it should be reserved for joints that have a minimum width of 1/16 inch.

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Types of ceramic grout

Now it's time to present the various types of grout you will need to choose from:

With sand: Sanded grout is recognized for its great durability, which is due to the fact that the product is very consistent. Once hardened, it is very unlikely to crack.

Sandless: It is usually chosen for thinner joints because of its ability to fit well into narrower gaps. Also, it is suitable for tiles with a glossy finish because of its fineness, which eliminates the possibility of scratching the surface of the tiles.

High-Performance: As this one dries quickly, it's especially popular for people in a hurry to finish jobs. Why is that? Simply because, due to its finer grain of sand, it dries faster. However, this makes it more difficult to apply. It should also be noted that due to its thinness, it is better suited for smaller joints. Finally, note that this is a great choice for an outdoor installation.

Pre-mixed: This grout is also known for its ease of application, which makes it a favourite among non-professionals. Another point in its favour: it is particularly resistant to stains. Finally, there is no need to add anything to the preparation.

Caulking grouts: This type of grout is often used for shower joints, especially because it is flexible, water-resistant and will not crack. Moreover, it is particularly recommended for joints located at the junction between the wall and the floor, precisely because of its great flexibility which characterizes it.

Note that there are caulking grouts with or without sand, which look similar to these types of grout. This choice can be useful to those for whom the difference in appearance between the putty and the grout used for the rest of the tile could be a problem.

Epoxy grouts: Due to their antibacterial character and high waterproofness, it is often a preferred option for installation in the bathroom or in the kitchen. Note that it can replace the grout with sand just as much as grout without sand and that it is resistant to wear grease and acid.  

However, epoxy grout will tend to dry relatively quickly and is difficult to clean, which can complicate its application. Moreover, it may damage some furniture nearby if you are not vigilant. This is why some contractors prefer to avoid its use in residential projects and preferred to use them only in commercial projects.

Cementitious: This type of grout is mixed with water and a sealer to make it stain resistant. Easy to apply, it offers good value for money.

Would you like to have an estimate of the cost of your floor renovation project? Try our price estimator!

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Applying a sealant

If there is one criticism that is often made with ceramic grouts, it's that it will inevitably get stained! This is a very real risk, especially with light-coloured joints.

To limit the likelihood of facing this type of problem, it is advisable to apply a liquid sealant to the joints once a year. Also, it is essential to clean them from time to time.

Take a look at our article 4 Reasons Why Ceramic Tiles Are a Great Option for Entrance Floors to find out why this coating is ideal for this area of ​​your home.

Maintenance of ceramic grout

Before going any further with the different ways of cleaning techniques for your ceramic joints, be sure to heed these precautions:

  • avoid applying a chlorine bleach product to coloured grout (its colour will be altered);
  • regardless of the cleaning technique chosen, test it on a small section before you start;
  • never use household cleaning products on granite or natural stone tiles;
  • avoid the use of metal bristles for cleaning so as not to damage the ceramic tiles;
  • before starting to clean the joints, remove any dust or small debris from the surface of the tile. To do this, vacuum the floor or wipe the wall with a damp, soft cloth.

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Cleaning ceramic joints: techniques to use

Hydrogen peroxide

If you want to use hydrogen peroxide to clean your ceramic grout, you must mix it with water (in equal parts). Add a few drops of dish soap to this mixture. Then just spray this mixture directly onto the grout and wait patiently for it to take effect, which should take about 15 minutes. Finally, use a clean cloth to wipe everything off.

White vinegar

To practice this cleaning method, dilute one part water to two parts vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap to the mixture. Once again, you will need to spray your solution directly onto the grout and wait 15 minutes.

Then sprinkle a little baking soda on a sponge and rub it on the ceramic joints. Lastly, wash off with clean water. Note that this technique is to be avoided for limestone, marble and travertine.

Baking soda

For the baking soda method, you will need to mix the soda with water to create a consistent paste. Then spread the latter on your grout and leave to act for 15 minutes. Once the waiting time has elapsed, use a toothbrush (electric or not) and scrub. Finally, rinse with clean water and pat dry.

Be careful not to over clean!

While we recognize the importance of cleaning ceramic joints to prevent them from blackening, it should be remembered that too frequent cleaning can damage the grout prematurely. This is why it is recommended not to go overboard!

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