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Grout vs. Caulk for Bathroom Tiles

Posted on March 4, 2015 in Bathtub Installation

bathroom tiles

If you’re renovating your bathroom, you may be wondering whether you should use grout or caulk to fill in the joints between your new tiles. While grout and caulk are similar materials, they have very different uses.

Materials

Caulk is made from polymers like silicone, latex, rubber, or polyurethane, which means it’s flexible and can help absorb movement. Grout, on the other hand, is made from a mixture of water, cement, and sand. These materials aren’t flexible and dry harder than caulk.

Use

Because caulk is waterproof and flexible, it’s often used for tile joints and corners around bathtubs, showers, windows, and other ledges. Grout, which isn’t waterproof, is often used for tile joints in backsplashes, flooring, walls, and tiling projects that don’t have 90-degree angles.

Application

Caulk and grout are applied very differently. When you grout tile joints, you spread the grout all over your tiles using a grout float and push the grout into the crevices. Then, after it’s set, wipe the excess away with a sponge. You’ll have to do this several times before all of the residue is gone.

Caulk, however, is applied using a caulking gun. After you cut the tip of your caulk cartridge to the desired size, you put the cartridge in the gun. Then, seal your tile joints by squeezing out a smooth, even bead of caulk in between the tiles. Before the caulk dries, you’ll want to smooth it down with your finger or a smoothing tool.

Other Things to Know

Caulk is flexible, so it can be used to adhere two different materials together (such as tile and glass). Grout, on the other hand, won’t adhere to the surface of materials; it needs a crevice to sit in.

Because caulk can shrink over time, it shouldn’t be used in large projects.

Grout dries firm and strong, so it helps protect the edges and corners of tiles from cracking or breaking.

Grout comes in two different types – sanded and unsanded. Which you use depends on how wide the joints are between your tiles.

Both grout and caulk come in colors, so you can match or complement the color of your tiles.

No bathroom renovation is complete without an updated tub or shower! Our bath solutions can replace your tub with a quality, 100% acrylic model or turn it into a beautiful shower that you’ll love to use every day. For more information, visit our Bath Solutions page.

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