Grout is an interesting material because it never gains much notice until it stops doing its job well. Most people don’t really consider the type of grout used in their homes until it comes time to scrub it clean or replace it. So what exactly is grout, and why should you care about it a bit more? Ken Hess of Royal Building Maintenance, a commercial cleaning company in Tampa Bay explains.
The Purpose of Grout
Grout is a connector and protector. It locks tiles together, keeps water out, and creates a cohesive finished look for any project. Grout is applied with a rubber tool that spreads the material over the entire space and wipes it away so that the grout only fills to just below the surface of the tile. Once the grout is completely solid, its remnants are removed from the tiles with a polish and soft cloth.
What is Grout Made Of?
Grout can either be formed from cement or epoxy. Cement grout itself can vary based on the size of the joints being filled. Narrow joints—less than ⅛ inch—just need a blend of cement, powdered pigments, and water, but wider joints require sand to be mixed in with the grout to bulk it up and prevent shrinkage. Unlike the cement grout used decades ago, today’s contains polymer additives to enhance color and flexibility and eliminate the potential for inconsistencies and cracking. Still, cement grout has its downfalls. Since it is porous, it stains easily if not sealed when dry.
Epoxy grout, on the other hand, is a more durable solution meant for surfaces exposed to harsh acids and greases. The resins and hardeners that create epoxy can also come in sanded and unsanded options, creating grout that is resilient to stains and cracks. This makes epoxy the favorite choice for kitchen counters, backsplashes, floors, and other frequently used areas. Of course, these perks come at a price; epoxy costs about four times more than cement!
Tips for Keeping Grout In Tip Top Shape
When grout becomes dirty, it can really impact the appearance of the tile it lays between. Luckily, there are some options to scrub those stains away, like using a degreasing agent and a stiff-bristle brush. For deeply stained or cracked grout, re-grouting may be necessary. There are many Tampa grout cleaning companies that handle grout and can take care of regular upkeep if you’d rather not deal with it yourself!