Ceramic tile, porcelain tile or natural stone tiles use some form of grout to fill the joints between the tiles. The grout material used for this must prevent moisture from penetrating the underlying surface. A grout gains this property by staying unaffected to the penetration of water. It also requires proper maintenance and periodic sealing to remain water-proof throughout its life.
There are mainly three types of grouts used for tile installation, namely, cementitious grout, epoxy grout, polymer grouts, and furan grouts.
The article explains the main grouts used in tile installation.
1. Cement Grouts for Tile Installation
The constituents of cement grout are:
- Portland Cement
- Water-retentive additive
- Colored pigments
- Filler particles of different sizes
Cement grouts are traditional grouting material. It is used both for residential and commercial tile grouting applications. The colored pigments can be added to the grout to mix and match with the tile.
The cement grouts can be Sanded, Un-sanded cement grouts, and Latex-Modified Cement Grouts.
Sanded Cement Grouts for Tile Installation
The sanded cement grout uses relatively large sand particles. It is one of the top choices for tiling projects. It is affordable compared to unsanded grouts, as sand is a cheaper pore filler compared to the chemicals used in unsanded cement grouts. Sanded cement grout provides a tight lock. It also gives a clean and finished look to the floor.
Sanded cement grouts works for joints with a thickness between 1/8” to 3/8 inches. Its application is more for entryways, kitchen floors, bathroom floors, and shower pan. Sanded cement grouts, after application, must be sealed to prevent water penetration to the underlying layer. Sealing is performed using a water-based sealer whose pH is balanced.
Un-sanded Cement Tile Grout for Tile Installation
Unsanded cement tile grout is a combination of portland cement and powdered pigments of colors. It does not use sand, hence also named as non-sanded grout. It is a grout used for scratchable surfaces like metal, glass, marble, and natural stone tile. Those tile installation which employs thin joints use unsanded cement grouts.
It is suitable for joints with thickness ranging between 1/8 to 1/16 inches. Its application is common for rectified tiles, bathroom walls, shower walls, or polished stones.
Latex-Modified Cement Grouts for Tile Installation
The sanded grouts mentioned before, combined with a latex polymer additive, gives latex-modified cement grout. It increases the strength and water-proofing property of the grout. The whole mix can be mixed, dry, or wet.
2. Epoxy Grouts for Tile Installation
The constituents of epoxy grouts are:
- Epoxy resin
- Silica Fillers
This grout neither uses Portland cement nor uses water. It is less porous when compared to cement grouts and are the best choice for tile installation in areas that are prone to acid and grease attack.
Epoxy is considered one of the strongest and sustainable grout material on the market. Its application is in the areas of
- High-traffic areas like foyers, hallways, and entryways
- Kitchen counters
- Type of flooring exposed to harsh conditions
The epoxy grouts face issues while sloping and grouting. An incorrect epoxy job looks plastic.
3. Polymer Tile Grout
It is a cement-based grout combined with polymers. This mix, when combined with water, activates the polymer. It is one of the high-performance grouts that ensures color quality. The chemical reaction between the ingredients and the water increases the properties of chemical resistance, abrasion, and strength.
Polymer tile grout is a stain-proof grout made from urethane or siliconized acrylic. The grout is used for tile joint thickness from 1/8 inch to 1.25 inches. It is the best choice for flooring in areas like:
- Commercial space
- High-traffic residences
- Kitchen counters
4. Furan Tile Grout
Furan tile grout is similar to polymer grout with an exception that it uses fortified materials instead of polymers. It is a combination of two components:
- Furan Resin
- Filler Powder + Acid Catalyst
Furan tile grouts may result in staining of the tiles. Hence it is recommended to seal with wax to protect from staining. It is used for small joint spaces, as in the case of epoxy and polymer grouts.
Furan tile grout is the best choice in areas like:
- Industrial projects like warehouses, labs, and meat-packing plants
- Quarry tile
- Brick Pavers
- Areas exposed to chemicals and grease.
It is the most durable and most expensive grout in the market. Installation of furan grout is hazardous, which requires utmost precautions and expertise during its application.
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