Once you’ve chosen the perfect tile for your home, you then need to choose the grout. For most people, grout is merely an afterthought. After all, it’s just what goes between the tiles. But grout is actually a very important component to a tile installation, for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Here’s everything you need to know about selecting the thickness and color of your grout lines from our team at Floor Coverings International Southlake.
Grout Thickness: Balancing Aesthetics With Cost
Grout generally comes in a few standard thicknesses, ranging from 3/16″ to 1/16″. Though this may seem like a very small difference, in reality it is very noticeable. When it comes to grout thickness, you have three major considerations:
- Remaining proportionate. Grout should typically remain proportionate with tiles. The smaller the tile, the smaller the grout lines need to be. But, in general, smaller grout lines are usually more desirable regardless of tile size. They ensure that more of the surface is covered with tile, which generally creates a more attractive appearance and easier maintenance. So why doesn’t everyone install tile with very thin grout lines?
- Installation time. Installing thin grout lines takes much more time because the tile setting has to be far more precise. Not only will the floor or wall need to be very level, but each tile itself will also have very little room for error. Of course, the longer the installation takes, the more it also costs.
- Types of tile. Cheaper tiles simply cannot be installed with thinner grout lines because they are not always the exact same size. In order to compensate for inconsistencies in size, thicker grout lines need to be used. More expensive tiles, on the other hand, often look best with very thin lines – even if it is more costly overall.
Grout Color: Balancing Aesthetics With Practicality
Grout color causes some similar issues, but this time you’re mostly concerned with practicality and look rather than cost. Any color of grout – unless it’s extraordinarily rare – is going to be pretty much the same cost. Here are your two major considerations:
- Contrasting colors. Grout that strongly contrasts with your tile can make your space look smaller by emphasizing the tiles themselves. If you’re trying to open up a space, you want to get grout that is very close in color to your tile. This will create the illusion of a single unbroken surface. If your area is already large and you’re going for a more modern look, however, contrasting colors may work for you.
- Ease of maintenance. Light colored grout is difficult to keep clean over time, even if properly sealed. In fact, many homeowners with pets or children are not going to be able to keep their grout clean for very long. Those who want grout that is easy to maintain will look for neutral or even dark colors, but be aware that some darker colors may always feel a bit “stained.”
You don’t need to go into the tile shop knowing which grout you’re looking for. Contact our team at Floor Coverings International Southlake and we will come to you with tile and grout samples for your home. Just remember that it isn’t all about appearance. Consider both the cost of installation and maintenance requirements when selecting grout for a bathroom, kitchen or any other room in the home.
Photo by Krista Abel