Whether you like it classic or dramatic, the right grout colour can improve the look of your shower tiles.
Tile grout does more than fill the spaces between tiles and secure them in place. It creates a clean and seamless finish and can add character to any tiled surface. Often an afterthought, tile grout has an understated impact on the overall look of your tile project. It is therefore essential to give it the same careful consideration as you do with the tiles you choose.
First, What Type of Grout Should You Use?
Before deciding on the colour, you must first determine the type of grout to use. This is important because the wrong grout type may ruin all the hard work you’ve put in. Imagine your once-beautiful tile work become unsightly with stains that you could not seem to scrub off. Don’t let it happen by choosing the right type of grout to use.
- Sanded Grout
Grout tends to shrink after application. The shrinkage becomes more pronounced when tiles have bigger spaces between them.
For tiles with spaces (or joints) measuring 0.3 centimetres or larger, sanded grout is best. The sand particles prevent the grout from shrinking too much as it cures. A caveat: sanded grout is abrasive and can damage tiles with a polished finish.
- Unsanded Grout
The opposite of the sanded grout, unsanded grout is less abrasive and more adhesive. This type of grout is easier to prepare and handle and works best with tiles placed vertically. Unsanded grout is recommended for smaller joints, 0.3 centimetres or less; otherwise, the grout will shrink and pull away from the tiles.
- Quarry Type Grout
It is similar to the sanded grout, except that the sand particles are a little coarser. This type is best for quarry tiles, and those made with slate and natural stones. For joints measuring 3/8 to half an inch wide, use quarry type grout for better performance.
- Epoxy Grout
Unlike the other types that are made from cement powder, epoxy grout is made from epoxy resin, a filler powder, and hardener. It is the highest-performing grout type. It is exceptionally durable, stain and chemical resistant, doesn’t absorb water, and has a bonding strength higher than other grout types. As epoxy grout is highly efficient, it also costs a lot more than the others.
Matching Colours for a Classic Finish
Now that you have decided on the type of grout, the real fun begins with choosing the grout colour. A popular and classic method of selection is by matching the grout colour with that of the tiles. This matching technique harmonises the elements and can make the tiled space look larger than it really is as the tile surface and the grout lines are unified into one, unbroken overlay. The grout lines are minimised, creating a clean and smooth finish.
White grout blending in with white tiles is particularly common. Other popular matched colours include black and earth tones such as grey and beige. Matching the colours will work if the grout colour is close to the colour of the tile, and if all tiles used have similar colours. This technique also requires more maintenance to keep the hue and the overall look uniform and consistent.
Complementing Colours for an Interesting Pattern
Are you looking for something more interesting than just matching the grout and tile colours? You might want to give complementing colours a go. This technique accentuates both the elements —the tiles and the grout— and creates an energetic and exciting colour accent.
For example, you can pair orange tiles with red grout, or green grout with blue tiles, for a bolder effect. Another simple trick is to check the colour wheel and pick complementing colours from the chart, which are two colours opposite each other. For instance, by consulting the colour wheel, you may come up with purple-and-yellow tones that you can use as a colour pairing for tile and grout.
A Contrasting Colour Scheme for a Dramatic Look
Do your tiles have an interesting shape that you want to showcase? If so, the contrasting colour technique is your best bet. With contrasting colours of tile and grout, you can create a striking finish and make the tile pattern or layout pop. There are two ways you can do this:
- Light Tile with Dark Grout
White tiles and black or slate grey grout is a common contrasting colour pairing that highlights the shape of the tiles. This is especially effective with the trendy geometric tiles (such as hexagonal or octagonal tiles). Dark grout against light tile also draws attention to interesting tile patterns such as herringbone, chevron, and basket weave.
- Dark Tile with Light Grout
If you want to showcase the bold colours or design of tiles, you might want to downplay the grout colour. Spanish tiles, for instance, are quite showy and colourful; toning down grout colour will help bring the beauty of the tiles forward.
Maintaining the Beauty of Your Tile Project
Just as with tiles, grout needs care and attention, too. If you want to keep your tiles looking as great as the day they were laid, pay extra attention to the grout. Light-coloured grout tends to darken or stain over time, especially in areas with high foot traffic. Mould can also collect and hide in the grout, which can affect the appearance of your tile work.
Deep clean your grout at least twice a month to prevent the growth of mould and keep the stain off. A good way to do this is by using brush and some baking soda mixed with water to create a paste that will be enough to clean and refresh the grout. For stubborn stains that have set in, you might want to use hydrogen peroxide in place of water. Rinse the grout thoroughly after cleaning.
Over the years, depending on its exposure to wear, you will need to re-grout the area. If you notice the grout has started to flake and break off, and perhaps some tiles are starting to come loose due to the water seeping in through the broken grout, these are signs your grout needs retouching or replacing.
You can do the re-grouting yourself if you think you have the skills to do it. However, a licensed tradie can do it more efficiently. Our team at Complete Shower Seal provides cost effective tile regrouting services. Our experienced tile specialists can work on your grout and will not leave until it looks brand new.
If you’re in the Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle or Morisset, contact us as soon as possible.