If you’re having concrete fixtures poured at your home, either outside (like a patio) or inside (like a concrete garage floor that will be covered with tile), you need to consider whether you’ll need grout, and if so, what type. Grout helps strengthen floors and walls that have tiles by holding the tiles more firmly in place and preventing moisture from getting to the base material under the tiles. If the concrete is out in the open and not covered by extra tile, placing grout between concrete sections also helps stop water from washing away soil under the concrete. You’ll have to consider a few things when looking for grout, though.
What Grout Color Do You Want?
This is not as easy a question to answer as it seems. First you should look at the blend/contrast/neutral question; do you want the grout to blend in or not? If you want it to blend, look for a color that matches the tile or concrete color. If you want it to contrast and provide a visible outline to each tile or section of concrete, get a contrasting color (such as black grout for white concrete). Neutral colors work for multicolored surfaces where you want the grout to not stand out that much.
Once you decide that, then look at the effect of the grout color. Black grout can be sleek and modern — or it can look like the tile has been invaded by mold. White grout can look clean, but it will show dirt easily and will need to be cleaned more often. Basically, figure out the consequences of choosing each color, and decide which ones you’re most willing to deal with long-term.
Should You Seal the Grout?
If the grout will be anywhere that moisture is an issue, such as the bathroom or out on the patio, yes, you should seal it. So you’ll have to evaluate exactly what the grout is going to encounter. For example, grout between concrete sections on the floor of a garage used as an entertainment room/home theater might not need sealant. But if the garage will be used to house cars that might be wet from rain, then you would need sealant.
What Type of Grout Is Best?
Sanded grout, which has sand mixed in, is better if you need something that isn’t going to stretch. But it’s also scratchy, and if you’re planning to use marble tiles, for example, you have to watch out that you don’t damage the marble. But sanded grout could be perfect for concrete sections on a patio, where stress from shifting soil and lots of foot traffic would require stronger grout.
Tile installers and concrete contractors from a company like Superior Grout will be able to further discuss the merits of grout with you. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask them.