What is grout?

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Grout is generally a material that fills the spaces between tiles to prevent debris, dirt and contaminants from settling in between the tiles. It is normally made using cement as the effective binder but may have other constituent parts for specialised environments. It also forms an effective barrier to water seepage under the tile, where it can loosen the tile adhesive or mortar. Without grout or with the ineffective application and maintenance of grout, water can soak into the substrate and cause rot, mould or mildew. Generally powdered grouts are mixed with water in a bucket, then applied using a rubber tool called a float. After the grouted lines dry and harden a barrier forms between the tiles to protect the substrate and tiles.

Grouts come in a variety of colours to suit taste and room colours. Not all grout is the same. The type of grout that will best serve your needs depends upon various elements which characterise your application. These typically include whether the tiles are to be affixed to wall or floor, upon solid or flexural substrate, in wet or dry areas and in areas of light or heavy footfall.


What is grout?

0
Share.

Grout is generally a material that fills the spaces between tiles to prevent debris, dirt and contaminants from settling in between the tiles. It is normally made using cement as the effective binder but may have other constituent parts for specialised environments. It also forms an effective barrier to water seepage under the tile, where it can loosen the tile adhesive or mortar. Without grout or with the ineffective application and maintenance of grout, water can soak into the substrate and cause rot, mould or mildew. Generally powdered grouts are mixed with water in a bucket, then applied using a rubber tool called a float. After the grouted lines dry and harden a barrier forms between the tiles to protect the substrate and tiles.

Grouts come in a variety of colours to suit taste and room colours. Not all grout is the same. The type of grout that will best serve your needs depends upon various elements which characterise your application. These typically include whether the tiles are to be affixed to wall or floor, upon solid or flexural substrate, in wet or dry areas and in areas of light or heavy footfall.


Step One

Unsanded Grout - ''Unsanded'' grout literally means the grout does not contain sand. It is generally made of Portland cement and colouring pigments. Unsanded grout is used between tiles that are set 3mm or less apart from each other. Filling narrow spaces requires a mixture that does not contain even fine aggregate,which may hinder the complete filling of the spaces between the tiles. The modern trends of using very large format tiles with the minimum of spacing sometimes dictates that unsanded grout is pre-requisite. It is most often used in areas where small spacing is desired such as tiled worktops etc. Also If you have polished natural stone or glass tiles, set them closely so you can use unsanded grout, sanded grout will be abrasive on the tile surface and cause scratches.


Step Two

Sanded Grout - ''Sanded'' grout contains sand, Portland cement and polymers to add to its strength and enhance its durability. Sanded grout is typically used between tiles that are set greater than 3mm apart and is found on floors and walls where the grout lines are wide.


Step Three

Cement-Based Grout - Cement-based grout is made from Portland cement, colourings and some contain sand. Cement-based grouts are available in a powdered or premixed, ready to use formulas. This type of grout is strong and easy to work with. Cement-based grouts are water resistant, but are not waterproof and therefore require the proper application of a sealer once the grout is fully set.


Step Four

Dry Set Grout - Dry set grout is a Portland cement-based grout that is formulated for use when grouting during hot conditionsThis formulation has been created to counteract the problems associated with porous tiles drawing the moisture too quickly from wet grout. This is a problem as it has the undesirable side-effect of causing the grout to crack in a very unattractive and problematic way. Many types of grout will lose water too quickly when drying and cause the grout to shrink and crack. Dry set grout performs well in these situations and does not encounter those issues.


Step Five

Portland Cement Grout - Portland cement grout comes as a powder and requires mixing with water to make it spreadable and usable. As a rule of thumb Portland cement grout is used on floors where the mortar bed and tiles are thick. It is normal practice to dampen the tiles before applying grout to the joints. Most Portland cement grouts must dry slowly to inhibit shrinkage and cracking. Covering the newly laid grout with plastic or misting it with water promotes slow drying. As with most cementitious substances this type of grout becomes significantly stronger with slow steady drying, so it is important to try to promote a slow drying process. Portland cement grout is dense and uniform which makes for easy application.


Step Six

Latex Reinforced Grout - Adding powdered or liquid latex to cement based grouts creates a latex modified or latex reinforced grout. Latex modified grouts have more strength than non-modified grouts and allow for some movement without cracking. Latex modified grout is an excellent choice for areas that are subject to freeze thaw cycles. Even if you are adding latex, the grout lines still require sealing to prevent water and other liquid contaminants from seeping into and/or staining the grout.


Step Seven

Epoxy-Based Grout - Epoxy based grout is typically used in commercial settings where impact resistance and high strength is necessary. Many car enthusiasts use an epoxy based grout on their tile garage floors and walls because it offers superior stain resistance. Epoxy grout is the most expensive of all grouts and the most difficult to work with because of its fluidity. It is a very difficult task to apply epoxy based grout to narrow joints and it is a general rule of thumb that more than 5mm is best.


Step Eight

Anti Sag grout - This is part of the epoxy family of grouts and as the name suggests it resists sagging and dripping. It is especially useful in walls where continuous wetting is expected, like swimming pool walls etc.


Step Nine

Refractory Grout - Refractory grout is made to withstand high temperatures without cracking, flaking or shrinking. It is therefore common to use this type of grout in and around ovens and fireplaces etc where high temperatures are expected.


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