Grout Question: Sanded or Non-Sanded?

When designing a bathroom or kitchen, one of the most important features can be the backsplash that protects the wall from splashes – where the type of grout is a crucial factor.

Grout is available as either sanded or non-sanded, and both have their own pros and cons depending on the type of project. There are many different types of backsplash tile including ceramic, marble, glass, polished stone, and metal. Whether to use sanded or non-sanded grout will make the difference between enhancing the look of a backsplash, or risking scratches and other damage.

To protect a backsplash design, here’s a helpful summary of when to use the two different types of grouts, in order to achieve the best possible finish when installing backsplash tile.

Tiles for a backsplash are initially laid on a mortar, and grout is then placed in the gaps between the tiles to help stabilize them. Regardless of whether grout is sanded or non-sanded, it is an essential part of the design process as it holds the decorative tiles of a backsplash in place. It also guards against water damage to the tiles, and helps keep tiles separated from each other.

As the name suggests, non-sanded grout does not have any sand in its component parts. Instead, it is typically made from cement, pigments and water, or from resin. This smooth substance poses no risk of scratching tiles, so it works perfectly in small – less than 1/8 of an inch – gaps between tiles. It’s a perfect choice when dealing with delicate tiles such as glass or ceramics.

In contrast, sanded grout uses similar types of mixtures but also includes sand to thicken the overall consistency of the substance. This makes the grout work better to stop shrinking in the joints between tiles, making it ideal for joints that are 1/8th of an inch or wider. It’s used for major tiling projects such as entire floors or walls, but works just as well with backsplashes.

Given that sanded grout contains sand, its overall texture is coarser than the smooth non-sanded grout. This can make sanded grout somewhat more difficult to clean. That’s something to keep in mind when devising a plan for which tiles to use and how far apart to space them.

As part of the design consideration for backsplash tile, sanded grout also tends to be available in a few more different color varieties than non-sanded grout, which could be another important factor if there isn’t a suitable color grout to match with the desired color backsplash tile.

So when it’s time to grout a backsplash project, consider the size of the gaps between the tiles and the type of material used for the tile. As a general guideline, sanded grout will likely work out less expensive than non-sanded grout, but the total cost will depend on the type of backsplash design.

Backsplash tile can create a beautiful visual for any bathroom or kitchen project, and the advice above should help in deciding the best kind of grout to use to perfect that finish.