Tile Grout Basics

There are two major types of tile grouts- cement-based grout and epoxy grout. Grout used for tiling is not the same as caulking, which is made up of elastomer and is used for filling gaps between assorted building materials.


Cement-based grouts all have a portland cement base, but vary in the kinds of additives they include. You'll find they typically come in powdered form to which is added water or liquid latex. Latex-portland cement grout is the most adaptable grout for residential use.


The epoxy grouts contain epoxy resin and a hardener, giving it a high chemical resistance, top-notch bond strength and better impact resistance. It is usually restricted to commercial and industrial uses, being the most expensive type of grout. It is rather thick and can be difficult to apply. With tiles over 1/2-inch thick and where grout joints are 1/4- inch wide or less, epoxy grouts will not penetrate sufficiently.


There are grout additives that can also be added at mixing time. These will help the grout bond better, make the cured grout stronger and more flexible and help enhance coloring.

Also available are grout sealers for applying to the cured grout surface. (Epoxy grout doesn't need sealer.) The sealers work well for protecting your grout against stains and mold growth, and also for eliminating moisture ingress to the tile substrate. It is strongly recommended to re-apply grout sealers on a periodic basis.

Was this article helpful? Read an article about how to apply tile sealants.

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