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Grout is a mixture used for filling the spaces between the tiles. In addition, it provides structural integrity and finish to the tile work.
Tile grouts can be classified into two main types: sanded and unsanded grout. Sanded grout is a mixture that contains fine sand, while unsanded grout mixture is free of sand content. Both the types have several overlapping uses in tile projects. But knowing the differences helps in choosing the best option.
Difference Between Sanded and Unsanded Tile Grout
|Sanded Tile Grout||Unsanded Tile Grout|
|Sanded grout is composed of Portland cement, silica sand, inorganic aggregates, and chemicals.||Unsanded grout is a smooth mixture of Portland cement, powdered pigments, and water. It does not contain fine sand.|
|Sanded grout is considered for wider grout lines, greater than ⅛ of an inch.||Unsanded grout is best for thin grout lines, less than ⅛ of an inch.|
|Sanded grout is not used for scratchable surfaces.||Unsanded grout is used for scratchable surfaces like ceramic, glass, metals, natural stones, etc., as aggregate filler is absent.|
|The presence of fines aggregate in sanded grout makes it porous. Hence, it is finally sealed with a pH-neutral and water-based penetrating sealer.||Due to the absence of fine aggregate in unsanded grout, it is not porous when compared to sanded grout. Hence, grout sealing is not required for every application.|
|Sanded grout is the best option for tiling horizontal surfaces like floors.||Unsanded grout is good for tiling vertical surfaces like walls.|
|The sand used in this grout is cheap, and hence, it is less expensive than unsanded tile grout.||Unsanded grout is expensive compared to sanded grout as it uses costly polymers.|
|Sanded grouts provide different color options.||Unsanded grout gives fewer color options compared to sanded grout.|
|Sanded grout does not show any shrinkage issue due to the presence of sand. Sand content helps to hold the grout together.||Once cured, unsanded grout is subjected to shrinkage.|
|Sanded grout is less prone to cracking and is highly durable.||Unsanded grout is subjected to cracks when used for flooring options subjected to heavy pressure.|
|Sanded grout tends to be easy to DIY since it is used where surface scratches are not a concern.||Unsanded grout is used for easily scratchable surfaces. Hence, its installation requires professional expertise.|
Sanded grout is the top choice for interior floor installations as it is more durable and can handle foot traffic. However, unsanded grout is best for vertical tile installations, as the mixture easily sticks to vertical surfaces. As tiles are installed closely using unsanded grout, the shrinkage issues occurring post drying are not a concern and do not affect the durability of the tile.
Tile grouts can be classified into sanded and unsanded grout. Sanded grout is composed of Portland cement, silica sand, inorganic aggregates, and chemicals. Unsanded grout is a smooth mixture of Portland cement, powdered pigments, and water that does not contain fine sand.
The presence of fine aggregate in sanded tile grout makes it porous. Hence, it is finally sealed with a pH-neutral and water-based penetrating sealer.