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Understanding the Difference Between Sanded and Unsanded Grout

When it comes to tiling projects, one crucial decision is choosing the right type of grout. Grout not only fills the gaps between tiles but also plays a significant role in maintaining their durability and appearance. Two common types of grout used in tile installations are sanded grout and unsanded grout. In this blog post, we will delve into the differences between sanded and unsanded grout to help you make an informed choice for your next tiling project.

man grounting tile

Sanded Grout: Sanded grout is a popular choice for wider grout joints, typically ranging from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch. It gets its name from the fine sand particles mixed into the grout mixture. The sand adds strength and stability to the grout, making it ideal for projects involving larger tiles or wider spacing between tiles. Sanded grout is commonly used in areas subject to heavy traffic or where movement is expected, such as floors, countertops, and outdoor installations.

Benefits of Sanded Grout:

  • Enhanced durability and resistance to cracking

  • Excellent bond strength, reducing the likelihood of grout shrinkage

  • Suitable for wider grout lines and larger tiles

  • Better resistance to moisture and staining

Unsanded Grout: Unsanded grout, as the name suggests, does not contain sand and is typically used for smaller grout joints, generally less than 1/8 inch wide. This type of grout is commonly employed in vertical applications, such as walls and backsplashes, as well as delicate tile materials like glass or polished stone. Unsanded grout provides a smooth and uniform finish, giving the tiled surface a seamless appearance.

Benefits of Unsanded Grout:

  • Suitable for narrow grout joints and smaller tiles

  • Smooth and consistent texture for a polished finish

  • Less likely to scratch delicate tile surfaces

  • Easier to work with when applying to vertical surfaces

Factors to Consider: While understanding the basic differences between sanded and unsanded grout is essential, it's important to consider other factors when making your choice:

  1. Tile material: Some materials, like natural stone, may be prone to scratching when using sanded grout. Unsanded grout is typically recommended for these types of tiles.

  2. Grout joint width: The width of your grout joints will dictate the type of grout you should use. Sanded grout is suitable for wider joints, while unsanded grout works best for narrower joints.

  3. Location and purpose: Consider the specific location of your tiling project and the level of traffic or moisture exposure. These factors will help determine the appropriate grout type.

Choosing the right grout for your tiling project is crucial for achieving both aesthetic appeal and long-lasting durability. Sanded grout is ideal for wider joints and areas subject to heavy wear, while unsanded grout is suitable for smaller joints and delicate tile surfaces. By considering factors such as tile material, grout joint width, and project location, you can confidently select the right type of grout to ensure the success of your tile installation.

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