tile grout
Design/Build, Remodeling

Choosing the Right Bathroom Floor Tile Grout

I’d be willing to bet you never thought you’d be reading a blog post about tile grout! Understandably, grout is a small detail that most people overlook or don’t think about at all. It is, however, a crucial part of both the aesthetic and performance of your bathroom remodel project. You’ll be glad you read this blog when your project is finished, and you’re not battling cracked and stained grout issues in your brand-new bathroom.


While there are countless options on the market, four main grout types are most often used  – cementitious sanded, unsanded, epoxy, and urethane. Let’s examine the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed choice for your home.


Cementitious grouts are the most common types used today. They’ve been around the longest and are the least expensive of the four options. Sanded grout is used for tile installations with wider grout lines. The sand provides reinforcement and body and keeps the grout from shrinking or cracking. The sand also makes your project more durable than unsanded grout and is a little less expensive. Because of these factors, it is used more often in homes than any other type of grout. There are, however, some projects where this type of grout is not recommended.  If your design includes glass tile or softer materials such as natural stone, sanded grout should not be used because the sand particles will scratch the surface of the glass or stone. Cementitious sanded grout also requires a sealer to protect it from staining and water damage, so it’s not a maintenance-free option.


As the name indicates, un-sanded grout is similar to its cementitious cousin but without the sand. It’s a little more expensive than sanded grout because more polymers must be used to strengthen it without the use of sand. The absence of sand also means this grout is less durable than the sanded version, so it’s best for use on walls rather than floors. This is especially true if daily usage of wheelchairs, toddler step-stools, etc. are used in the bathroom. Un-sanded grout is very sticky when mixed for application and does well on vertical surfaces such as shower walls. It’s also a great choice for glass and softer stone tiles since there’s no sand in it to scratch the surface, and it’s an ideal option for grout lines smaller than 1/8th of an inch. Without the sand, it can get into those small spaces without leaving air holes and gaps. Just like sanded cementitious grout, un-sanded grout is not maintenance-free. It requires sealers to remain free of stains and to keep it from absorbing water.

tile grout


Next in our lineup is epoxy grout, which is newer to the market than cementitious grouts and is very different in it’s application and cost. Because of its durability, it has proven itself to be a worthy product and an excellent option for bathroom grout. Its durability has made it a standard product in commercial applications as well. It can be used for any size grout joint, and since it has no abrasive sand, it’s also safe for use with glass and softer tiles. When cured, it has a plastic-like appearance, is highly durable, and is nearly stain-proof without the need for sealer. So, with all these great attributes, why not use it for all applications? Great question. There are two answers: price and installation method. Epoxy is considerably more expensive than cementitious grouts. Because of its consistency and installation process, you can expect to pay more for labor than you would with the other grout types. With outstanding durability and zero maintenance, it could definitely be an excellent option for your bathroom remodel project.


The newest member of the grout family in our group is polyurethane grout. Often referred to as urethane grout, it’s the most flexible and expensive of the four options. Just like epoxy grout, urethane is virtually stain proof and does not need to be sealed. One of the significant aesthetic wins for this grout type is its ability to maintain a consistent color throughout the product during installation, ensuring your grout joints are extremely uniform when completed. One color downside is the limited number of colors available because of its newness in the marketplace. For comparison, there are currently about forty colors to choose from in urethane compared to over one hundred with cementitious grouts.

While it shares some performance traits of epoxy, it’s not as labor intensive to install, so it will not significantly impact installation costs. With its flexibility and durability, it’s a perfect fit for a Universal Design project.

tile groutCOLOR CHOICE

From a Universal Design standpoint, there are a couple of things to consider when choosing a grout color. First, and probably the most obvious, is choosing something that you like and looks great in your space. With the multitude of color choices available to choose from,  this task can be a little overwhelming  and having an experienced designer in your corner will definitely help.

To make the process easier, choose your tile first. The color and pattern of your tile will eliminate a lot of the color options right away. Next, decide if you want the grout to blend with the tile and disappear or to stand out and make a statement. This should narrow the choices down even further. Remember that a contrasting grout color can be a great way to add visual texture to a floor or wall, reducing the chance of a misstep that could cause a fall.


Balancing durability, cost, aesthetics, safety, and maintenance will help you make the right choice for your home, budget, and long-term use of your space. There’s no perfect solution for every project, so be sure to get the help of a qualified professional to get the best results.

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