Sanded vs. Unsanded: The Two Basic Types of Tile Grout

sanded tilesFloor and wall tiles look good individually, but appear better and more appealing when together. Tile grout is a mortar-like substance that brings out the best of tiles, binding them together. On top of joining the slates together, tile grout also keeps moisture out and helps make sure the tiles stay intact.

There is a wide selection of grouts available on the market. But, all of these products classifies into two types: sanded and unsanded. Both of these grouts are either cement-based or epoxy and suits well with floor and wall tiles. Cement-based are mostly for residential properties, while epoxy is more ideal in commercial spaces where the surfaces are often acid and grease-exposed.

Main Components

The agents from agree that although these tile grouts technically have a common function, they are widely different from each other. The main (and obvious) difference between these two tile grout types is the presence or absence of sand.

Unsanded cement-based grout is mostly made of a mixture of water, specialised cement and powdered pigments, and epoxy grout is a combination of hardener and resin.  Sanded cement-based grout and sanded epoxy grout, meanwhile, contains mainly the same as the said mixtures, but has added sand. The role of the sand is to thicken the grout and prevent it from shrinking.

The Size of Tile Joints

When using unsanded grout, the joints must be no more than 1/8-inch wide. This is often useful in grouting ceramic wall tiles because it has a smooth texture and sticks well on vertical surfaces. For joints wider than 1/8 inches, use sanded grout as this type of grout resists cracking and shrinking.

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Although possible, using sanded grouts in thinner floor and wall tile joints is unideal because the finished grout lines may have pinholes. A heavily sanded grout mixture suits in 3/8-inch joints.

Joint size often dictates which type of grout you should use. But, more often, you need to consider the type of tile, as well. Either sanded or unsanded grouts can meet specific preferences, though.