When to Use Sanded and Unsanded Grout
It is essential to know the difference between sanded versus unsanded grout. These two types of grout joint compounds are derived from Portland cement. One type is referred to as sanded or “rough” grout, and the next type is called unsanded or “smooth” grout.
The type of grout you need to employ does not depend on how you want the tiles to look, and it should not even be based upon the type of stone or tile you are installing. It is only determined by the width of the grout lines. In case you are installing tile that has joints that are 1/8 inch or larger, then you should use sanded grout. If they are less than 1/8th inch, you should definitely use unsanded grout.
The rationale behind using sanded grout when you have larger joints, is that as time passes, the compound with the sand in it will not shrink. If you try and use unsanded grout, you’ll discover your grout to be shrinking, and it will no longer work as efficiently as it should to hold your tiles in place and to prevent them from getting destroyed. If you ended up using unsanded grout for quarter inch grout lines, you’ll certainly have to re-grout, and you may even have to replace the tiles completely.
Furthermore, if you try and use sanded grout with a very narrow joint space of no more than 1/8 of an inch, you are not going to be capable of getting enough of the actual compound into the joint to hold it together ( more often than not, the grains of sand will just fall out.)
Almost all professional tile installers understand the difference between sanded versus unsanded grout. If they don’t, they probably haven’t been installing tile very long. Or maybe, it is possible that they are experts in either installing exclusively large tiles or installing small ones. In any case, you’ll prefer to hire a professional installer, it should be someone who obviously knows what he is doing, and someone who has a great deal of experience in installing both large and small types of tile and grout.
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