Grout Thickness Rules of Thumb [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-13-2007, 08:19 AM
Hey guys,

Until this project I've only done floor tile. I've also always installed floors with 3/8" grout lines.

The question I've got is are there rules of thumb for grout thickness that I should be aware of?

Is there a standard thickness for grout lines in a shower surround?

If you are doing a tile pattern that changes direction halfway up the wall should that affect your choice of grout line thickness? Example lay straight halfway up and then switch the pattern to the diagnal)

Any and all info is appreciated.



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02-13-2007, 08:41 AM
Howdy Tom,
What is the size of your tile and what kinda tile are ya usin? :)

02-14-2007, 07:52 AM
Hey Frank,

I actually haven't chosen a tile yet. I have a concept but not the tile size. I guess you sort of answered my question.

The grout line thickness must be based on the tile size.

Is that correct?


02-14-2007, 08:24 AM
Howdy Tom,
If you were to use say a 4"x4" tile you'd be buttin them against one another and using a nonsanded grout.
Rule of thumb - nonsanded up to 1/8" and sanded 1/8" to 1/2".
Now, you may find significant variation in the tiles that you buy. If this is the case, you may want to go with a larger grout line to sorta mute the variation.(Easier on you)
If you were to install a saw cut stone, those are generally closer in size and you generally could use a narrow grout line.
Are you a narrow grout line kinda guy or larger grout line?
If I use a 12x12 or 13x13, I usually go with a 3/16" or 1/4" grout line..
Kinda rambled on here Tom.. :talk: Not meant to confuse....
Pick a tile and we can go from there...

riche 5
02-14-2007, 08:51 AM
MudMaker, for my bath room wall 8x12 tile, 1/8" unsanded grout line is ok?

02-14-2007, 12:10 PM
1/8" is the maximum that you can go with unsanded - No larger... :)

02-14-2007, 12:28 PM
It is my understanding that people use unsanded grout in joints smaller than 1/8th" because, not having sand in it, it is easier to fit into smaller joints. Also, you'd rather have sand in the grout for joints larger than that because, without the sand, the grout will sometimes shrink when it hardens, changing the groutline.

Is that correct?


02-14-2007, 02:30 PM

I guess this was a looks question more than a structural question. Though I enjoyed the lesson.

I've put down a lot of floors but I've always put in pretty much the same tile. Larger tile with 3/8" grout lines.

In a shower surround are thicker grout lines more or less appealing?

I plan on putting in a vertical installation up to a chip stone trim piece then laying the tiles on the diagonal after that.

Since the spacing of the chip stone trim piece is placed closely together should I also place my tiles close together (ie thin grout lines)?



02-14-2007, 09:09 PM
I'm a sanded grout kinda guy. However I used nonsanded grout in my upstairs bath because the 8x10 I used had a high gloss finish, and I couldn't use a sanded grout for chance of scratching it. ergo 1/8" grout line..
If I were using a tumbled marble - sanded and a larger grout line..
I would use a smaller grout line on the border if the grout lines were say 1/4", I think it makes it look sharper...

We need to be more pacific about the tiles and feature strip... :)

04-10-2007, 12:03 PM
I assume grout lines can be a personal choice; understanding that unsanded can only be used to 1/8".
Is there a better choice of grout line for natural stone: 3x6 & 6x6?
What line might look better? Really appreciate any input..



PS. Hope I did the thread thing right...In the past, I've started to many..