Still confused: sanded or unsanded grout; seal tiles or not? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Still confused: sanded or unsanded grout; seal tiles or not?

10-10-2003, 09:25 PM
I'll be using white 1 inch Daltile hex tiles (1/16th grout lines) with mid-grey grout on the floor of the bathroom and shower stall. Which grout should be used, sanded or unsanded? After reading dozens of threads on this subject, I still don't know. Am I losing it?

The hex tiles are unglazed porcelain, the tiles on the shower walls and ceiling will be glazed matte Daltile. Should either of these tile types be sealed along with the grout?

Thanks again to everyone on this forum. Without you I wouldn't even have known that there are different types of grout or that it could be sealed.

Sponsored Links

10-10-2003, 09:53 PM
On the walls use nonsanded grout and seal the joints only. The floor could be grouted with either sanded or non sanded, I'd use sanded and seal tile and joint.;)

John Bridge
10-11-2003, 06:08 AM
Hi Elka,

I agree with Davy. Sanded grout, and the Dal/American Olean porcelain mosiacs do need to be sealed.

Tile Your World Stone Armor works well. :)

10-11-2003, 10:53 PM
Thank you, Davy and John. I am no longer confused!
And of course I'll use Stone Armor.

10-11-2003, 11:23 PM
1/8" or smaller grout lines then unsanded grout should be used. Definitely use the sealer.

Sorry to disagree with John and Davy, just following the manufacturer recomendations. ;)

10-11-2003, 11:39 PM
Oh no. I spoke too soon. Now I am confused again!

I read the Mapei grout package directions and they did say that the sanded grout is for spaces of 1/8ths and more. But I got a sense that many of you experts disagree. Is that because it is easier to get the right grout level with the sanded? Is it better because the floor is less slippery with the sanded grout? Is there another reason why the unsanded is not the best for floors, even with thin grout lines?

10-12-2003, 12:08 AM
The 1/8 joint can go either way. 1/8 or smaller goes unsanded, 1/8 or larger goes sanded. Sometimes the unsanded 1/8 joint will shrink too much leaving the joint low or will crack. That's why most guys will use sanded on 1/8 joints.;)

10-12-2003, 11:19 AM
elka, you stated that your joints were 1/16" Sanded grout doesn't go into joints that small easily.

Are you sure you have 1/16" joints? Most likely you have 1/8" with that tile and as Davy pointed out you can use either sanded or unsanded in that case. Also as Davy pointed out sanded is somewhat easier to use.

10-12-2003, 02:22 PM
I recently had the exact same question - 1" hex mosaics with gray grout. My installer wanted to use sanded grout, but I was nervous because (according to the grout manufacturer) the sanded grout was not recommended for the 1/16" width.

The advice I got here (thanks John and others!) agreed that sanded was the way to go, and that's what we went with. It came out very well. Note that the visible width of the grout lines will likely be quite a bit larger than 1/16" due to the shape of the tiles.

I think John explained to me that you could probably use unsanded, but it might be hard to fill the grout lines completely in a single application (due to shrinkage?).

As it turns out, I like the look of the sanded grout with the hex mosaics quite well.

Good Luck !

Bill Vincent
10-12-2003, 05:04 PM
Ceramic mosaics get grouted with sanded grout. Period. Unless you want to regrout later because of pinholes, shrinkage and cracking.....and hoping you don't have to grout a THIRD time.

10-12-2003, 09:19 PM
Thank you, all. I measured the spacing between the tiles in more than a dozen areas and none of the widths on the back of the sheet is as wide as 1/8. Although the Daltile website states the spacing is 1/16, 3/32 is more like it.

Given jas_il's and Bill Vincent's posts (thank you!), may I assume that sanded grout is ok after all?

Bill Vincent
10-12-2003, 09:50 PM
Not only okay, but recommended.

John Bridge
10-13-2003, 06:14 AM
The 1/8 thing is only a recommendation. Final dicision on which grout to use it made by the tile contractor. I have always grouted porcelain mosaics with sanded grout. :)

Rose Clifford
11-21-2004, 01:36 PM
I'm new here. I've been searching the posts to see if the sanded grout (porcelain tile) in my new shower/floor should be sealed. I thought I'd just post to this thread because I have the same kind of question, and I am also still confused!! It's not currently sealed, my tile guy said it wasn't necessary, but I'm conerned that it's not sealed...from the threads I've read, including this one, it seems that the Polyblend sanded grout should be sealed, just the grout lines and not the tile itself. Is that correct?

I will have my GC have them come back out to do it if necessary. These same tile guys also did not seal my front foyer grout, or my kitchen backsplash grout (all sanded grout), so I guess the same question (seal or not seal) applies to all. The shower environment is the wettest, obviously.

So, sanded grout should be sealed, right?

What is a good sealer to use?

What happens if you don't seal the grout?

I've never had a tiled shower before, and obviously the water soaks into the grout, but then eventually dries out. How long should it take (shower drains well) to totally dry out after use?

Thank you, I appreciate any input...


11-21-2004, 02:45 PM
Sealing helps keep stains away. It also helps it from absorbing moisture, but that doesn't hurt the grout, but changes the color while it is wet.

11-21-2004, 03:01 PM
It is recommended in this thread for unglazed porcelain. What about on glazed (but slate-like) porcelain?

And where can I purchase the product? I only see ST products at your online store.

thank you,

Bill Vincent
11-21-2004, 10:20 PM
Rose-- in the shower, it's not a bad isea, but as for the other areas, I personally don't think it's necessary. Even with the sealer, you'll still see "wear paths" in high traffic areas. The best advice I can give to my customers is to use a medium to dark colored grout in high traffic areas, and just let it "age" naturally. As for the backsplash, I don't imagine it gets much traffice :D ,so I don't worry about that, either, unless it's natural stone, and then I'd seal the whole thing, not just the grout.