Choosing Grout Colors for Tiles

When designing our kitchen, we spent weeks (months?) deciding on backsplash and floor tiles. It had, after all, been my dream forever to buy a home a cover it in colorful tile. But when the tile installer came and asked us what color grout we wanted, I realized we hadn’t thought about that at all. And guess what?? It actually totally changes the look and feel of the tile itself and of the space as a whole. We ended up picking a dark green grout color that matched the tile. We didn’t want to outline each brick in a contrasting color like white–that would have made the backsplash look much more busy. Also, since these tiles are handmade, the darker grout helped to hide any cracks or chips in any of the tiles, where as the white grout would have accentuated the differences between each tile.

Grout Tiles
Here in the home of Emily Katz and Adam Porterfield (an outtake shot Form The New Bohemians) simple white circle tiles on the floor and walls are used with a contrasting black grout, creating a striking graphic motif. It’s a way to get a strong looking pattern without actually using patterned tile. Imagine how different this bathroom would look if they had used white grout!

Here, in Erica Tanov’s bathroom, (another outtake from the book) they chose a square mosaic tile in a soft gray and used white grout, creating a softer and more subtle pattern. Continue reading…

All Between The Tiles

For the layman, grout is something that is forced between the spaces connecting the tiles. This is done with the help of a rubber tool, namely, float. The residue is removed with a moist sponge, so that the joints are filled up to just below the surface. When the grout has turned into rock solid, the tiles are polished clean with a soft cloth to wipe off any grout haze that could have been left behind.

Tile Grout

After the grout has locked the tiles tightly to prevent water from slipping in, and giving floors and walls a neatly polished look, then no-one pays much attention to it. Only, and only, when the grout has failed to keep the tiles intact is when it becomes a Herculean task. It becomes discolored, smeared or blotched, fractured and chipped or falling out altogether. And what’s worse, people take notice.

But grout definitely goes beyond that. It fills the voids and makes the wall, floor or counter top robust by securing the tiles together and keeping the edges of the tiles away from any sort of damage. There are several types of grout available to choose from but it is primarily categorized into two basic types. However, the selection largely depends on the width and joints of the tiles rather than the tiles themselves. For instance, small joints of about 1/8 inch or less necessitate unsanded grout, which is a smooth mixture of Portland cement and powdered pigments dissolved in water. Any measure of joint more than 1/8 inch calls for sanded grout, which is identical to the above mixture with sand added. It is the sand that aids in building up the grout and prevents it from shrinking in the joints.

Earlier, though, there was a practice of mixing powdered grout with water. However, cement-based grout used to be easily breakable. There was also the problem of irregular drying that left the colors uneven. But grouts available today have polymer additives that assure quality of color and enhancement in flexibility. Wide joints are useful for concealing any irregularity that are common in handmade tiles and for linking the different depths of tile in some fashioned installations. Despite the refined performance, however, all cement grout eventually tend to be permeable and prone to stains. This is the reason as to why many manufacturers and tile experts recommend sealing the grout right after it has cured for a few days and dried out.

Choosing a grout color can be quite overwhelming. But we have made it easy for you with these three techniques. You can be bold and adventurous with a contrasting approach by selecting colors like white grout with black tile. However, those who want a smooth and calming effect can go for harmonizing hues such as green grout with green tile. But many professionals recommend a neutral color like a shade of gray or white because it may be appealing to choose catchy colors with vibrant combination, but it is always a safer bet to gravitate towards the neutral option. You might not be up and jumping about gray but chances are it won’t be unbearable either.