Grout is a putty-like material that fills the spaces between tiles and holds them firmly in place in any DIY tiling project and in this article we will compare sanded vs unsanded grout in detail.
Grout is frequently used in home renovation projects, but many do-it-yourselfers are unaware of the difference between sanded and unsanded versions.
Both have their pros and cons and different scenario to be used for a home improvement project. Once you know the types very well, you can decide the best one for your purposes.
It is particularly applicable for DIY projects, but even for professional assistance, you must have a clear idea about the primary two types of grouts.
Read on to learn more about these alternatives, whether you’re constructing a kitchen slab or an entryway floor.
Compare sanded versus unsanded grout side by side to help you make an informed choice while you visit the store.
To take you through the differences and comparisons on sanded vs unsanded grout, we have created a comprehensive guide. Let’s get started.
Table Of Contents
About Sanded Grout
Sanded grout, as its name implies, is kept together by tiny sand particles. As the grout dries, the sand becomes suspended in place, increasing stability, improving crack resistance, and reducing grout shrinkage.
At online or offline home improvement stores, sanded grout is readily available. Gritty mixtures are inexpensive and usually come in a variety of colors.
About Unsanded Grout
Although sanded grout is more stable, unsanded grout may be necessary for some instances. As sand granules are not present in this kind, the texture is a lot smoother.
It’s also more expensive because the bonding ingredient is a more expensive polymer.
The Core Differences Of Sanded Vs Unsanded Grout
Sanded grout is a Portland cement-based grout having inorganic aggregates, silica sand, along with chemicals in it, as its name suggests.
You should use sanded grout wherever possible because sand particles can lock together to make a strong connection when grouted together in a wide area.
Compared to unsanded grout, sanded grout is less expensive because sand is a more economic filler than polymers.
In order to prevent water from getting beneath the tile and harming the substrate, sanded grout, unless amended, must be sealed.
Unsanded grout and sanded grout differ primarily in the amount of sand in each. A smooth paste of cement, powdered colors, and water, unsanded cement-based grout is used to fill gaps between tiles.
Resin and hardener are the main components of epoxy grouts. Similar to the previously stated combinations, but with sand added, are cement-based, sanded grout, and epoxy grouts.
Sand adds bulk to the grout, preventing it from shrinking as it dries. We have also reviewed some of the top-quality sealers for concrete that you can check out.
Thickness & Durability
When you buy sanded grout from your local hardware shop, you get precisely what you see on the label. Grout with aggregate sand is a typical grouting material.
One basic reason why sanded grout is sturdier than unsanded grout is the addition of aggregate material. Shrinkage.
When unsanded, cement-based grout cures, it contracts, causing it to separate from the tiles. Additives like sand keep the grout from shrinking as much.
In this case, it’s because there’s a significantly greater ratio of aggregate to cement. Sanded grout is always the winner in the battle between sanded and unsanded grout when it comes to overall durability.
During the curing process, the sand is immobilized and will not budge. Although the grout is totally dry, this holds true.
If you need tiles that are more than 1/8 inch apart or tiles that will be subjected to a lot of foot traffic, you should use this method.
Sanded grout, on the other hand, is more resistant to breaking, making it a more durable option. Grout that has not been sanded is more likely to crack under pressure, making it inappropriate for most floor applications.
For most interior flooring projects, sanded grout is the material of choice. For these reasons, sanded grout is superior to unsanded grout in terms of durability, ability to withstand foot activity, and versatility.
You’ll need high-quality sanded grout if you’re remodeling a tile kitchen or bathroom for a customer.
If you’re working with huge tile joints, you’ll need to use a sanded grout that’s specifically designed for that purpose.
You’ll need “wide-joint mixture” grout for jobs with a 3/8-inch or larger tile joint, which can be found at most hardware and flooring stores.
In order to further alleviate shrinkage concerns, the big aggregate material volume in a wide-joint mixture is greater. Tile installations with big grout joints will benefit from this feature.
Better Hold On Surfaces
There is a good likelihood that you utilized unsanded grout when you installed a shower in the past. Because it contains no sand or rock, unsanded grout is exceedingly sticky.
On a vertical surface, you may distribute it with ease, and it will attach to it without a problem.
Grout that hasn’t been sanded shrinks, although, on a vertical surface, this isn’t a problem.
Tiles are commonly spaced around 1/8 to 1/16 of one inch apart, but this might vary. There will be no negative impact on tile longevity as a result of the grout drying and curing.
Additionally, vertical tiles aren’t known for their longevity. For vertical surfaces, unsanded grout is an excellent choice since it provides a strong hold even in high-traffic areas.
Since the pressure is little, it won’t crack, making it safe. Using unsanded grout on more difficult vertical surfaces has an additional benefit.
Simply said, it’s less time-consuming to deal with, and you may get an even spread when using unsanded grout.
By doing so, you are free to concentrate on one thing: laying your tiles properly in a specific location and completing a quality project.
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In Terms Of Size
When grouting joints that are less wide than 1/8-inch, unsanded grout is the best option. Ceramic wall tiles can be grouted with it because of their smooth texture and ability to stick to vertical surfaces.
Because sanded grout resists shrinkage and cracking, it should be used for seams wider than 1/8 inch in flooring and wall tiles.
It is feasible to apply sanded grout in thin joints, but it is difficult to force the bulky material into these connections, and pinholes may appear in the finished grout lines.
Wide-joint grout, which is sold in most hardware stores, is required for joints bigger than 3/8 inch wide.
Effect On Tile
Another factor to keep in mind when deciding between sanded and unsanded grout is the type of tile you’re using.
Granite, limestone, marble, and various other soft stones may be damaged by sanded grout’s aggregate material.
Using sanded grout is similar to sanding with paper. Sand is generally made from tougher materials than soft stones.
If you’re using sanded grout on a tile that is made of soft limestone or marble, you run the risk of scratching the surface.
When deciding between sanded and unsanded grout, this is an important consideration. Even if the joint width is 1/8 or more prominent, unsanded grout is typically the best option for polished and smooth tiles like marble.
Traditional unsanded grout is usually not used in these instances, but rather epoxy-based grout. There are epoxy-based forms of both sanded and unsanded grout, and they are identical to their portland cement-based cousins.
Instead of relying on the cement-water reaction, these grouting methods make use of chemical compounds that include both an activator and a base that are far more advanced.
Adding the activator to the base causes the grout to cure with a permanent chemical process that results in an extraordinarily strong grip.
Because unsanded grout, which is made of epoxy, is so expensive, it’s the primary downside. Traditional unsanded grout costs more than twice as much as sanded grout.
Due to its quick cure times, it might be challenging to work with. This type of unsanded grout will become completely rigid and unusable if you don’t coat your entire work area in it before it dries.
Still, epoxy-made unsanded grout is the ideal option if you’re working with highly polished tiles with a joint of more than 1/8 of an inch.
Compared to ordinary grout, it is more durable and doesn’t carry the risk of tearing, as sanded grout does. Unsanded vs. Sanded grout isn’t a competition when it comes to protecting more delicate tiling materials.
It is more expensive to use unsanded grout than sanded grout because unsanded grout costs more than twice as much.
Because sand is so cheap, sanded grout is a great deal because it is a lot of sanded tile grout. When using unsanded grout, more expensive polymers must be used to form the content in order to raise the price.
When mixed with Portland cement, powdered colors, and water, the result is a smooth pudding-like consistency.
For increased strength and to avoid tile joint shrinking, you can add finely ground sand to your grout mix instead of using the same combination without sand.
Sanded grout has a coarser appearance as a result of the inclusion of sand. Both grouts can be utilized for floor and wall applications, but cement-based grouts have historically been employed in residential construction.
If you’re looking for a newer product that’s more expensive and rarely used in residential installations, epoxy may be the best option for you. You might also love to read about the bad part of epoxy floorings in this article.
When tiles are exposed to harsh conditions, such as greases and acids from cooking, glue and hardener are applied to protect them.
Unsanded grout dries very quickly because it may be smoothed with water while being applied. The texture of sanded grout will generally be coarser than that of unsanded grout.
When epoxy grouts dry, they have a plastic-like sheen to them. Polymer additives in today’s grouts assure color consistency and flexibility, whereas older cement-made grout was brittle.
The Mix Of Sanded & Unsanded Grout – Is It Possible?
Your grouting job will be more durable if you blend sanded and unsanded grout. You can put a little sand to unsanded grout to improve its strength and longevity because it is so thin and shrinks when it dries.
The grout will not compress as much when it dries if it has a higher percentage of aggregate material.
No one wants to mess up the colors of their shower walls or flooring by using two distinct shades of sanded grout with their unsanded grout.
If your sanding grout runs out while you’re remodeling your bathroom, it’s preferable to use colors that go well together.
A lot of what we discussed above is common knowledge for contractors, but it’s always beneficial to keep your skills up to date.
The more you know, the better you can serve your consumers. With this information, you’ll be ready to tackle your next tiling project with confidence, knowing that both the grout is vastly different.
Every type of grout is unique, just like any other piece of equipment. So don’t just pick up a generic grout for the next home improvement project.
You’ve just learned about the main differences and comparisons of sanded vs unsanded grout, so take a moment to reflect on that information.
Once you’ve made a thorough assessment of the project at hand, you’re ready to buy. Choosing the appropriate grouting can make the difference between a happy customer with a beautiful new kitchen setup or a disappointed one with a cracked floor tile riddled with pinholes.