Tile without grout? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Roger Haley
01-12-2004, 01:30 PM
Can anyone can recommend a product and/or process for sealing joints in ceramic, marble and granite tiling without grout? Please excuse me if this has been discussed, but I have searched archived discussions, but haven't found a specific answer.

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01-12-2004, 01:34 PM
Specifically, Roger, we don't recommend you install any kind of tile (including granite) without some grout between them.

If you don't want any groutlines, install granite slabs.

Roger Haley
01-12-2004, 01:41 PM
With all due respect- I do not doubt your expertise- but I'm sure I have seen marble and granite inlays in floors and elsewhere without grout. There must be a way to seal murals and medallions without grouting.

01-12-2004, 01:56 PM
No disrespect taken.

However, you won't find any guidelines for groutless installations here. If you do find some somewhere else, please come back and post them. We're always interested in learing something new.

01-12-2004, 03:54 PM
Any joint large enough to put a sealer into, caulk, rubber, wood dough or wax, is large enough for grout.

It just happens that grout has certain properties which make it perfect for sealing joints. It is a masonry product, so it is durable; it has special bonders in it, so stays where you put it and helps hold the whole installation together; and accomodates both wide (sanded) and narrow (unsanded) joints.

Sonnie Layne
01-12-2004, 04:35 PM
These groutless applications have gained popularity in the past year or so. Some of those TV shows where they "make over" a house, etc have done it. They've also glued #2YP 1x6's to a concrete slab to get a rustic wood floor. It's only good for the camera, I don't care what the decorator says, it's nothing you can live with. Spoken by one who has done plenty of film/video set work. It's only gotta work for maybe 10 seconds :) Seriously, if there were a way to accomplish everything we admire about tile/stone applications while skipping a few steps... someone probably would have thought of it, on the other hand, there were the Wright brothers. If you don't have grout, the joints will eventually fill with whatever lint that currently makes your computer keyboard stick. ;)

01-25-2004, 11:59 PM
I'm about to do a bar counter top with granite tile (baltic brown). I've done a counter top before and the grout lines were okay but want more seamless look. I tested a minimal space w/clear silicon caulk in the seam. It seemed to work well but this was only a test. I taped the line and pressed multiple times into the seam. Once dry it look good and held the color of the tile.

I also used the same caulk as adhesive and since it's a bar, I thought this might suppor the tiles well...

Am I nuts?


John Bridge
01-26-2004, 06:47 AM
Hi M,

No, you're not nuts. It'll work fine on a bar top or fireplace, for example. It won't hold up long on a floor, though. :)

01-29-2004, 05:54 AM

Using this caulk, can I get away with butting the tiles together or should I stick w/a 1/16 inch spacing?

John Bridge
01-29-2004, 07:04 AM
I would try to leave a thirty-second between the tiles to allow for movement. When you caulk, have a sponge and a bucket of water handy. Caulk a few joints and then wipe with a damp sponge. You must wring the sponge out after each pass. After several swipes you'll notice the joints smooth out and look sort of like a grout joint only lower. That's the way to do it. Don't just smear caulking on and leave it. :)

10-13-2008, 11:28 PM
Like Roger I am also looking for this grout less system. Having one successful installation of floor tile believing that I had become an expert went to a professional tile shop (Sans Home Store). I'm such an expert I never noticed that the tile was not rounded on the edges! Must be stemless right? Like Roger I have seen this seamless system before. Non of the answers here really seamed to help someone like me that doesn't know what from shinenola. I found this on the net and it was a lot easier to understand. maybe it will help Roger as well.

In photos I have seen indoor floor tiling both with and without grout lines showing between tiles. I prefer the without grout look myself, but am not sure if only certain types of tiles should be installed that way. I have seen what appears to be both marble and stone looking tiles shown this way. Please let me know the what the appropriate applications are.
Thank you for you advice.

Thank you for your question Cathy,

The tight joint that you are describing is what we call a butt joint or marble joint. Stone tile in particular have what you call rectified edges and what that means is that there is no defined lug along the four sides of the tile that you can use to sort of semi-space the tiles by stacking one atop the other. What you may not notice is that on all Marbles and Granites and most natural stones there is a slight chamfer along the leading edge if the tile on all four sides that when placed closely together form a small grout joint, not the typically wider one when using Ceramic tile. I have never been a fan of the grout joint and to me the less you have of them the more tile that you see. That is why I always favor the large format tiles....the larger the better, starting at 16"x16" and going larger from there. This affectivly eliminates the majority of the problems with grout. And if you install the material with either the "marble joint" or at least as tight as possible then you can use what we call a "non"-sanded grout which is a specially formulated grout for grout joints 1/8" or smaller. There is usually less that goes wrong with a non sanded application. Less maintanence as well...more free time. I hope this helps you Cathy. Feel free to return anytime.....

Perry V.