Is there a way to properly tile without the use of grout and the answer is no. Grout provides the necessary fill to complete tiling. Different tiles i.e. natural stone, porcelain, terracotta, slates, etc.. will have different grout widths. There is an industry standard to follow on what the recommended width should be.
When regular cementitious grout is used, it will always represent the weakest part of any tiled floor as it is usually the most porous part of any floor. Sealing grout with an appropriate penetrating sealer will ensure its longevity providing some consolation to the issues below.
1. Easily Stained
3. Can Promote The Growth Of Mold
4. Highly Porous.
Cementitious grouts are easily available with a wide array of colours to choose from. They are inexpensive, easy to apply and quick to clean up. Currently used perhaps up to 95% on all tiling projects. Mapei from Italy has a great grout formula in their Ultra Colour Plus series.
Factory produced tiles i.e Porcelain and Ceramics are precision cut as compared to natural stone tiles which often is cut at smaller production facilities or onsite leaving the cut rather jaggered. Therefore butt jointing natural stone tiles are rarely an option though it may seem like a great idea. Unfortunately a minimal grout joint of 1.5mm is generally recommended for most tiling projects.
It is important to make sure that the existing grout in your wet areas do not have a break, cracks, missing in areas or having efflorescence etc.. This will allow large amounts of water to travel down that can quickly ruin the entire area causing massive waterproofing issues. Wet areas must always remain water tight at all times.
Here are the 3 most common grout types. They are either sanded and unsanded grout for the cementitious types and there is also Epoxy Grout. More information below.
As a general rule, unsanded grout are specifically recommended for smaller grout lines typically used when tiling natural stone tiles i.e. marble, limestone & travertine. Unsanded grout can potentially shrink and pull away from the sides of the tile but is fine when applied to smaller joints typically 1.5mm. Another major point to note that sensitive and softer tile surfaces will not get scratched during the grouting process when using unsanded grout. Silica sand grit present in sanded grout poses a high risk to sensitive surfaces. Internal wall and floor tiling usually benefits from unsanded grouts as it is easier to work with especially for vertical work. Wider grout joints should not use unsanded.
Sanded grout is used to fill grout lines with larger width ideal for external paving. This type of grout ensures that it bonds well with the sides of the tile. Low shrinkage factor makes it excellent for wide grout lines and it has more strength compared to the unsanded One should be very careful when using sanded grout on polished stone like granite, marble, limestone or polished travertine. Although sanded grout may be the right choice for your grout lines, using it may not be the correct thing to do. The possibility of rendering fine scratches on the tile surface is of concern.
A wise choice grout type. It can replace both sanded and unsanded grout in any application and is very durable, waterproof, mold and stain resistant. Epoxy grout does not contain sand and will not scratch your tile. However, it is always important to test first before application if pre-sealing is required prior to grouting.
On the downside, epoxy grout may be on average 5 times the price of cementitious grout with a much higher costs of application as well. It will certainly outlast regular grouts by a mile. It requires less or no maintenance what so ever and is truly ideal for use on all internal applications namely in wet areas i.e. bathroom, laundry and balconies. Ardex EG15 is a new generation 100% solids epoxy grout that makes cleaning up a breeze when compared to other common epoxy products in the market. Currently there is 8 colours to choose from.
With over 20 years of collective experience in the natural stone industry, Stone Doctor Australia offers you free consultation. Should you need any assistance in tile installation or if you have any questions regarding choosing a grout or on how to apply, feel free to call us at 03-9429-1223 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.