9 Design Considerations for Choosing Tile Grout
Let’s start with the basics – what is grout?
Grout is a cement mixture that fills the gaps between tiles and mosaics. When grout is applied correctly it helps secure tiles to the base, produces a water-resistant seal to keep out moisture and direct, and creates a cohesive evenly tiled surface. There are different types of grout for different types of tiles and applications.
Often neglected in the tile selection process, grout is as much a part of the overall finished look as the tile itself. Depending on your design preference, you may either lean towards a subtle finish where the grout blends in or a contrasting grout to have the tile stand out.
Here are 9 considerations for choosing the right tile grout for your project:
- Choose grout to match the tile, not the room
A common mistake is to match your grout with anything other than tile. We’ve seen people match grout to something else in the room such as the cabinetry, appliances, paint or fixtures. However, over time you may upgrade your cabinets or grow tired of your paint colour and suddenly you’re stuck with a grout that doesn’t match anything. Regrouting is not a fun job so as a fail proof choice, we recommend choosing a grout colour that matches the tile or go a subtle shade darker to avoid the ‘dirty grout’ look.
- Light tile with light grout makes a space appear bigger
Using a light coloured or white tile with matching grout produces a seamless look that is minimalistic and spacious. The grout virtually disappears into the tile and brings the focal point to something else in the room, usually something smaller, which creates an illusion that the space is bigger than it really is. Who doesn’t want that?
Since white grout is a higher maintenance, you’ll want to ensure you’re cleaning it regularly and using the right kind of cleaner on it to prevent discolouration. Choosing a stain-resistant grout like our Flexcolour CQ pre-mix is also a good way to go.
- Contrasting grout adds depth and dramatic design
Using a contrasting grout adds depth to the space and accentuates the size, shape and unique pattern of your tile. In the case of this modern bathroom, the dark grout brings out the black hardware and complements the monochromatic theme by adding extra drama.
You can also use a vibrant coloured grout to add a subtle pop of colour to your room and even match the paint of your feature wall.
- Uniquely shaped tile? Let it shine
If you’re using a uniquely shaped tile such as a hexagon tile, scallop tile, penny round circle tile or other, you may want a contrasting grout to highlight the shape that you’ve chosen. A contrasting colour will certainly draw more attention to it and is great for a feature wall.
If you don’t want it to stand out so much but have chosen a unique shape to add modern texture to the space, here’s a side by side comparison of the same shaped picket tile used both ways.
- Complement don’t clash with printed tiles
Patterned tiles, or tiles that have a print on them, make a statement on their own so choosing a neutral grout colour that matches one of the colours on the tile is a safe bet. You want the grout to be subtle so it doesn’t compete with the pattern.
- Use contrast to show off a tile pattern
If you’re using the shape of the tile to produce an eye-catching pattern such as a herringbone pattern or crosshatch, go with a contrasting or colourful grout to accentuate the tile pattern.
- Same grout, different tiles
In the event that you’re tiling both the wall and floor in the same room, it’s a good idea to use the same grout colour. Choose a grout colour that complements both tiles as it will bring cohesion to the room. It’s also a lot more efficient to use a single grout mix instead of having to purchase two and likely end up with an excess of both.
- Neutral grout colours are lower maintenance
A note on grout cleaning and maintenance: As a general rule of thumb, very light and very dark grout are harder to keep clean. It’s like vehicles – darker cars show off streaks while white cars show dirt. Both are valid and beautiful choices, it just might mean a little more care and trips to the carwash.
Dark and light grout tend to show more dirt and stains over time, while a neutral grout such as beige or grey won’t show dirt as readily.
- Get your contractor’s input
Once you’ve chosen your sample, it’s a good time to talk to your tile installer or contractor for their recommendation. They’ve worked lots of tile and grout and will know the technicalities and limitations of what you’re looking to achieve. They’ll also be able to provide their expertise on required grout line thickness, whether you’ll need a sanded or unsanded grout, a grout sealant and more.
Discover all of the grout colour options that Tile and Stone Source carry. Vibrant colours can also be special ordered in.