How to Choose Sanded or Nonsanded Grout

Aug 4th 2017

There’s no mystery about the difference between sanded or nonsanded grouts. Sanded grout contains sand while unsanded grout doesn’t. But what is the secret to knowing which type of grout to choose for your tiling project? Check out the following tips to know how to choose between the two.

General Rule with Grout

Deciding whether you are going to choose sanded or unsanded grout often depends on the width of your intended grout joint. Unsanded grout is usually used with joints that are less than a 1/8-inch wide. For joints wider than a 1/8 of an inch, the rule is to use sanded grout. The addition of sand to grout makes the grout stronger. It’s harder and more durable than unsanded grout.

The Type of Tile Being Installed

Unsanded grout has a much smoother texture in comparison to sanded grout, which has a grainy, rough feel. When installing soft stone tiles, such as travertine or limestone, it’s recommended to use unsanded grout because the sand in sanded grout can scratch up your tiles during grouting.

Appearance Over Time

Unsanded grout can develop cracks and look dirty over time. This can cause mold problems in tile installations for showers or bathrooms, and will require removal. Stick to sanded when possible.

Considerations When Choosing a Colored Grout

An unsanded grout will dry lighter than the same color in a sanded grout. This is because when rinsing the excess grout away, the water also removes much of the grout’s colored pigments. So it’s important to choose a shade that is slightly darker than your chosen color on the grout chart for the best results. The color chart with sanded grout can also be misleading, so it might be a good idea to choose a shade darker than your chosen color also. When in doubt, ask for samples so you can compare colors.

Once you've reviewed your options, it's time to pick your product. Tile Tools HQ has the largest selection of sanded and non-sanded grout colors on the web, representing hundreds of colors from 5 different brands.