It wasn’t long ago that your choice of grout colors for new tile was simple. You used white. Everybody used white. Today, when you decide to take on a new tile project in your Sun Prairie WI home, you have an array of colors.
Even after a selection of colored grouts hit the market, the common choice was to match grout with tile. That isn’t necessarily the best choice. In fact, finding a perfect match for dozens of tile options is difficult, to say the least. The way you mix grout with water, how long it cures and other elements determine the final color. The grout you choose may not match your tile. Worse yet, one batch of grout may not exactly match another. A tip from tile professionals: urethane and epoxy grouts are best for even, uniform coloring.
If matching grout and tile is what you want, look for samples of the finished material for accurate color. Don’t rely upon the color on the packaging.
Complement Or Contrast Tile With Grout Colors
Just as modern tile comes in dozens of colors, finishes and textures there’s a grout to complement it. You can try to match the tile, complement it or use a contrasting color to make it stand out.
Lighter colors work best to blend designs together and put emphasis on tile patterns. Dark colors provide a décor element of their own. Dark grouts with light tiles add drama to an otherwise basic installation.
Contrasting grout with tile color is a form of emphasis. Using subtle, neutral colors helps to unify a tile installation – ideal for use with wood-look tile planks and similar selections.
Grout also works to highlight and accent tile choices – like the gray veins in marble tile. Even with basic white tile, red or dark blue grout truly stands out. Those, plus black, are popular within farmhouse kitchen designs. When you’re committed to a major renovation and new tile, why not let your creativity loose? You might consider black tile with white grout, or maybe forest green tile with gold/tan grout. With metallic or mirrored tiles… there’s grout with glitter in it!
These combinations are ideal for kitchen backsplashes, showers and laundry/mud rooms.
Choosing The Appropriate Grout
Taking care of grout includes routine cleaning, however there comes a time to replace it. Grout has a specific job: locking tile in place, keeping out moisture and providing a nice, clean finished look. It’s usually an afterthought until it’s cracked, stained or dirty. Cleaning and resealing is the usual prescription for improving tile grout.
Designers have found more and more uses for tile and, fortunately, the availability of grouts kept pace. Not only are modern grouts colorful, they’re efficient and durable. There are two basic forms: cement and epoxy.
Cement grout has been the industry standard for decades. It hasn’t changed much. The advantages of cement grouts include:
- It works indoors and outdoors, wet or dry
- It’s relatively easy to work with
- Cement sets faster than other options
- Easy to seal to protect installations from water, cleaning agents, mold, mildew and bacteria
It has its disadvantages, too, including:
- Cement grout is vulnerable to damage and discoloring in high-traffic, high-impact areas
- Chemical cleaners can wear it away and leave stains
- Color can be inconsistent because of variations in drying and mix
- It requires more tools for a successful installation – sponges, etc.
- Cement grout is corrosive to tools
- Not properly sealed water seeps in exposing what’s below to mold, mildew and bacteria
A New Industry Standard – Epoxy Grout
The latest advances in grout chemistry include developments in the use of epoxies. High-performance epoxy grouts are easy to clean, bond well and are chemical-resistant. Research shows epoxy grout absorbs about 50 times less water than cement alternatives. It is also said to be twice as strong.
Epoxy grouts are applied as two parts mixed together – once mixed the grout has to be applied quickly, in small batches. It’s not a great choice for a do-it-yourself project. Even professionals are challenged by its demanding set-up process. With its high-tech nature epoxy grout has advantages:
- Mold, mildew and bacteria cannot penetrate the surface easily
- It resists stains, scratches, cracks and chips
- Even light colors are easy to clean
- Grout colors are consistent batch-to-batch
There are disadvantages, too:
- It doesn’t react well to most sealants so they should be avoided
- It has to be applied quickly once the two parts mix or it loses its strength
- Because you use a small batch at a time it takes longer to complete a job
- Epoxy degrades when exposed to chemical cleaning agents
There are additional grouts in use today – a hybrid, modified epoxy that’s a mix of epoxy and cement; and a single-component grout.
The hybrid is epoxy reinforced with Portland cement. It goes on just like traditional cement grout but it is stronger and more stain-resistant.
The new single-component grouts have advantages:
- Resistant to mold, mildew and bacteria
- Easy to clean and doesn’t stain, scratch or crack
- Easier to work with than epoxy
- Consistent colors
- Easier to maintain than cement
- Doesn’t work well with irregularly-shaped tile
- Sensitive to heat and cold
Choosing Grout Colors And Installation
There are enough tile options to cover whatever your imagination can envision. And there’s a grouting material and color to fit every installation, too. When it’s time for new tile in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room – or anywhere else in a modern home – your first challenge is research. Choosing what kind of tile, size, shape and color combination takes up a lot of time. Understanding the importance of grout adds to the mix. There are pros and cons with every option. After wrestling with all the choices you don’t want to risk a poor outcome with a sub-par installation, right?
An accurate tile installation takes, skill, experience and the right tools. Do you have the time, talent and experience to do it in a cost-efficient, timely manner? Call Sims Exteriors & Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us and we’ll share our extensive experience and evaluate the pros and cons of a tile project, including all the grout colors available for your Sun Prairie WI home.