According to the omniscient Wikipedia, grout is defined as , “a construction material used to embed rebar in masonry walls, connect sections of pre-cast concrete, fill voids, and seal joints (like those between tiles). Grout is generally composed of a mixture of water, cement, sand, often color tint, and sometimes fine gravel (if it is being used to fill the cores of cement blocks). It is applied as a thick emulsion and hardens over time, much like its close relative mortar.” With that said, let’s discuss what the homeowner needs to understand about grout.
Typically, the end user will see grout as the “stuff between” the tile or stone. But a deeper dive is required. In general, the homeowner will encounter either sanded or unsanded grout. As a normal rule, the wider the joint the more likely that sanded grout will be used and conversely the thinner the joint the more likely that unsanded grout will be used to fill the joint area. The grout joint is of course the “space” between the tiles or stones.
The color of the grout is very important for the user to consider. In the absence of a color additive, the grout would be more or less a fairly dull grey. Today’s clients demand more color options and they abound. But please be careful. Some colorants can be simply too unstable and instead of getting the Fuchsia you were expecting you might find a blotchy mess with unacceptable color variations through-out. So at the risk of sounding too old school, you might want to stick to more neutral tones such as cream colors, beige/brown values and variations on the grey. A superb source for grout is our good friends at Custom Building Products.
Another significant consideration is the contrast between the grout color and the color of the tile or stone. In most cases, the still moist grout is “smeared” across the entire surface of the tile or stone in order to fill the open joints before the mixture cures or hardens. So in a perfect world, a cream colored grout over a cream colored tile or stone would be really simple and easy. Now imagine if someone has a black/white combination in mind. They could be thinking of a black grout joint and a white tile for example. This can be accomplished by a fine professional but is probably not the best idea on a regular basis since in the installation process that black grout might remain as a haze over the white tile. So be careful with this design concept.