HOW TO CHOOSE GROUT LIKE A PRO
Grout. It’s not the sexiest of words. Nor the sexiest thing you’ll have to choose in your renovation. But, believe me, those gorgeous feature tiles could end up looking pretty damn unsexy if you leave the choice in the hands of your tiler.
Many people actually miss the opportunity to specify their own grout altogether, assuming that they don’t have much choice other than white or grey. Wrong! These days, grout comes in so many shades that you’ve got the option to choose a colour that will totally impact the finished look of your tiles.
So, now you know that you need to be in the know when it comes to choosing your grout… let’s get down to the nitty grouting gritty.
What even is grout?
In a functional sense, grout’s the guy who holds everything together #abitlikemyhusband Whether they’re hand or machine-crafted, tiles are never going to have perfectly straight edges to line up seamlessly, so it serves the purpose of filling the gaps between the tiles. Grout also helps hold your tiles to the walls or floor and acts as a sealant to help prevent water getting in behind.
And then there’s how it looks (the part that I’m all about!). Grout can actually make or break the overall impact of your tiles. This is why you really need to make a conscious decision about it for yourself. You can play around with colours and the size of the gap between tiles to dramatically change the look of your layout.
How do I pick
my grout colour?
The truth is, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing grout. It’s all about the look you’re going for and, of course, your reno vision board. What’s a vision board? We teach you all about it here.
A good way to start is to think of the three different looks you can achieve with grout. Do you want to contrast, complement or camouflage?
Working through the three Cs might help you make your choice:
Contrast: If you want to make a statement, use contrasting grout to make your tiles POP. We’re talking black grout on white subway tiles, in your face, no hiding from anyone.
Complement: Perhaps you’re using a gorgeous multi-coloured patterned tile? Then you’re going to need to choose a grout colour that complements the palette. You can’t match them all, so which will colour will you choose to pull out?
Camouflage: If you’re not so brave, or want your tiles to blend seamlessly to look like one big piece, you can camouflage your grout, so you’ll hardly know it’s there at all.
Still can’t decide? We always set up a few tiles on the ground and rub dry grout powder into the cracks to see what the end result will look like.
White grout? Yay or nay?
I’ve got a crush on most things white, but I’ve got to be honest when it comes to grout - white on floors is usually out.
We love white grout on our bathroom walls, it’s our go-to colour for a clean, fresh colour scheme. I bucked the trend in my own home though and used white grout on the main bathroom floor too. “It’ll be fiiiiine!”, I told the girls, when sensible Erin questioned my choice in this high traffic room. A few years on and it’s definitely not the bright white it used to be but I still love the white and wouldn’t have had it any other way.
So, if you want practical, then white’s out for floors. What should you use? We recommend the lightest to go on floor tiles is ‘silver grey’ or misty grey’, even if you have white tiles.
White sounds like hard work… shall I go to the dark side?
If you’re picking tiles and grout for practicality, (ie. the least work to clean!) choosing between light and dark grout is a bit like your white and black jeans. You’ll probably find that light coloured grout will need to be cleaned more often because it shows up more dirt. Just like white jeans with toddlers’ hands #baneofmylife
Darker grout may appear more forgiving, but it will produce efflorescence (a build-up of salts which looks like white deposits on your grout) over time. Just like your dark jeans, it’ll appear cleaner for longer, but when the dirt builds up too much, you’re going to have to get down and dirty and scrub it too.
Is all grout the same?
The jury is out on this one! There are so many grouts on the market and with so many claims, it’s hard to keep up.
Traditional grout is made from a cement base, which is a porous material, meaning it’s going to absorb liquids and stain easily. If you use traditional grout, you’ll need to seal it within 24 hours to avoid it becoming in contact with liquid before use. IN our
We’ve been using Mapei grout more recently which is an epoxy product that repels waters and is mould-resistant. It’s also non-porous so it doesn’t need to be sealed – bonus! It comes in 34 different colours, so we’re spoilt for choice in all our tiled rooms. Hand on my heart though, it does still get dirty and it does still need to scrubbed.
Where do I buy
That’s the million-dollar question! If you find it, please send it our way! The reality is that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Grout …. at some stage ….. is going to get dirty and will need to be cleaned. The higher the usage of the tiled the area, the more you’ll often have to clean it #statingtheobvious
We’ve tried numerous ways to tackle grimy grout and we recommend:
Good old-fashioned elbow grease – just a toothbrush and water are a good way to start getting surface muck off grout. Make it a game for the kids in the shower… just don’t let them use that brush for their teeth afterwards.
Baking soda – if you want to keep it natural, try mixing two tablespoons of baking soda with water to form a thick paste, and scrub into the grout with a small brush. When it’s all covered in baking soda, spray the area with vinegar, leave it for half an hour while it bubbles up (the kids will love this option too – it looks like little volcanoes all over the floor!) and then rinse off. Repeat if necessary.
Bleach – definitely not a kid friendly option, but if all else fails, bleach might be the only answer for hardcore stains on grout. Open all the windows, remove your favourite activewear (there’s nothing like a bleach splash to ruin your favourite jumper) and follow the instructions on the bottle. Scrub in-between the tiles and rinse well when finished.
Grout pens – I haven’t tried these myself, but I have a friend who swears by them. You can buy these from your local hardware store. Apparently, they’re super simple to use, you just draw over the grout lines and it’ll re-whiten discoloured or faded grout. Sounds amazing!
Have you tried re-grouting? We haven’t… we’re always partial to new tiles, rather than trying to revive old ones. We’ve heard that old grout is a not a fan of new grout and that they don’t get on well with each other. I thought this was just a problem with my old dog and new puppy – not grout!
Sounds like a job best left to the professionals? We’d love to hear if you’ve given it a go!