Over the years, kitchen backsplash tile has evolved from its solely utilitarian beginnings to being a personality piece. It can be the focal from which you draw your room’s aesthetic direction. And do so while maintaining a durable, resilient, and hygienic surface. The process of tiling the backsplash must include grout.
And yet, for many people, choosing the right grout is the least of priorities. And anyway, grout is just that, grout, right? Not quite! This joint filler affects how your tiled backsplash looks and performs over time. We bring it all in this guide: the role, types, and upkeep of grout.
What is Grout and What Does it Do?
Starting with the basics, grout is a mixture of cement, aggregate, and sometimes sand. It is mixed with water, filled into tile joints, and bonds the backsplash into place. Done right, this enhances rigidity and strength.
Filling tile joints also keeps dirt from settling in between and staining the surface. But beyond its functional role, grout gives tile work a seamless finish and elevates the style ante of your space.
Which Grout Type Should You Choose?
The right grout can ensure a long-lasting and stylish tiled kitchen backsplash. The different types include epoxy and cement-based.
Cement-based grout can either be sanded or unsanded. It’s a popular pick that’s affordable and offered in myriad colors. Sanded grout works well for tile lines that are wider than 1/8 inch. Non-sanded works with smaller tile joints less than 1/8 inch. Due to its smoother finish, it’s ideal to use with delicate glass or metal tiles.
Both varieties are porous. For cement-based grout to work its magic, it should be sealed. This adds a protective layer to safeguard against stains and moisture damage.
Epoxy grout is durable and resistant to stains, moisture, and chemical damage. For this reason, it does come with an extra cost. Note that this grouting paste is in two parts: a base and an activator. Once mixed, you have limited time to grout before it hardens. A shorter working time leaves no room to adjust things, so precision is crucial.
Which Grout Color is Best for Your Backsplash?
The idea of matching tile and grout colors creates a seamless look. Almost as if grout lines fade into the background to allow your tile design to take center stage. Think white subway tile and white grout. The outcome evokes an airy, lighter, and spacious feel.
Or, you could choose contrasting colors for a dramatic focal point. The opposing colors will highlight the shape and lay pattern of the tile even more. White hexagon tile with gold grout is a great example of this approach.
Still on the matter of color, considering maintenance is essential. Lighter grout colors might lend a pristine finish but they do show dirt more. Darker hues, while showing less dirt, may lose some luster and depth over time. This can result from cleaning or exposure to sunlight.
How Do You Grout Tiles?
So, you have your tiles fixed to the wall. Next, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the grout to the right consistency. Start grouting with these easy steps:
- make sure tile joints are clean and dry.
- spread the mixture over the tile using a grout float, and hold the tool at a 45-degree angle.
- work the grout into the tile joints and ensure they are fully filled.
- run over the tiles with a damp sponge after bout 15 to 30 minutes of the grout setting. This removes excess and evens up the joints before grout hardens.
- cementitious grout takes around 24-72 hours to cure. Thereafter, polish and buff the tiles with a soft, dry cloth.
How Do You Look After Grout Lines?
Once ceramic, stone, or glass tile has been laid and grouted, it’s time to think of grout sealing. Using a protective sealant will:
- render grout nearly non-porous and make the area easier to keep clean
- keep mold and mildew growth at bay, making your tiled surface more hygienic
We recommend using a penetrating sealer. It will seep into the pores of the grout and create a protective barrier from within.