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Old 08-05-2009, 08:54 PM   #1
j_l_larson
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why is grout even necessary?

I am installing slate tile in my bathroom. I've spaced the tiles about 1/4" apart in thinset mortar. I think the gray mortar between the tiles looks great. Why do I need to grout it? Can I just seal the thinset and leave it at that. Grout seems like a fussy formality. What makes it so different from the thinset mortar or other tile adhesives, other than the color, which in my case is gray and I think the color works fine.

Thanks for any info
-Julie
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:01 PM   #2
Brian in San Diego
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Julie,

Grout serves a purpose in "bonding" the installation together. Plus it keeps all the "grunge" out of the joints.

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Old 08-05-2009, 09:03 PM   #3
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There is not much difference between the two as far as basic components, just different quantities. For wider joints grout is sanded so as not to shrink into the joint, which you may get if you just filled it with thinset.

I am sure others will have reasons for/against.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:30 PM   #4
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Julie, you being a woman may or may not use hair spray but I'm sure you have used it at some point in your life.

You probably have a preference for a certain hair spray or finishing product for your hair even though there are many to choose from, there is probably a couple that just work better for you.

Well grout is like that in that it serves as a better medium to fill those joints than thin-set does even though technically you could use thin-set but it would be fussy and we wouldn't have good results down the road just like if you used a hair product that wouldn't give "you" good results.

Grout gives better results as a product than the thin-set for tile joints and some grouts give better results than others and we even have our preferences within grout, just like hairspray.

I prefer Nexus natural hold finishing mist cause I don't like stiff hair.......... otherwise I would use firm hold or slap some epoxy on my head.........

Use grout
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:04 PM   #5
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Hmm.. I am the sort who doesn't use hairspray or any sort of products in my hair, just the cheap shampoo (suave). I'm also of the belief that all those hair products are basically the same thing with different colors and scents and marketing.

So, grout has some sort of secret ingredient like hairspray that makes it special but they aren't telling us what it is I guess. Hmm... okay, now I really think it's a conspiracy...
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:15 PM   #6
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Thats ok, so you use Sauve. Why do you use Sauve? What do you think would happen to your hair if you used just plain old bar soap from hear on out from hotels that you could get for free? No more Sauve. How do you think your hair is going to fair?

I don't think I have to tell you but I would venture to say eventually your hair would get pretty dry (scalp as well).

I used the example of hair because I know a thing or two about cosmetology and you are a woman but....................


Oh and if you are of the belief that all hair products do the same thing you can do a little experiment that may change your mind. Go to the store and buy two types of hair gel. If you are cheap you can do this at the dollar store. Buy one that says something like stiff hold (it might say hurricane resistant to 150 mile per hour wind on the jar lol) and buy one that says natural hold.

If that doesn't convince you after trying two products which you say are essentially are all the same then I don't know what will...................................
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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Did you "fill" the grout lines with thinset? I may not understand exactly what you did, but I don't see a problem with using thinset to grout with. Thinset is sticky in comparison to grout, but I don't see any adverse affects from doing it your way.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:21 PM   #8
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I actually have seen a couple jobs grouted with thinset. Both were floors.

Didn't really look all that bad.

Didn't look as good as grout though.
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:55 PM   #9
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Grout (usually) has a finer grain sand in it than thinset, so it can give you a 'smoother' surface than thinset which in addition to the sand, may have more modifiers in it. It should wear better, and be less porous so it will take a sealer better and stay cleaner.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:47 AM   #10
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I'm wondering the same thing as tilejoe--are you just proposing to not fill in your gaps, or did your thinset already fill your gaps? It's normally a two-step process: lay tile and then grout. The thinset you use to apply the tile should not squish up between the tiles to the surface elevation. If it does consistently sqeeze up to the top of the tiles, you're doing it wrong--you're putting it on too thick, too runny, or you're not troweling properly so that you are squeezing too much to get your tiles level. And there is enough work to be done for a quality tile laying job that you don't want to worry about grouting and washing joints at the same time--just getting the troweling right, tiles properly adhered, layout correct, spacing correct, leveling & lippage--with all that stuff you don't want to add one more variable of grouting to the mix. And sometimes you have to go back and adjust a tile or two after laying a couple adjacent ones--what a pain if there is no gap! Hence it's a two step process for quality.

Assuming you agree with the two step process for the sake of quality and sanity, after setting tiles properly in thinset, there are gaps between the tiles that will collect dirt and liquids and the edges of the tiles are exposed to chipping and damage--so you have to put something in there, which necessitates another step. You could put thinset in there instead of grout, but it doesn't have the same physical properties--it's simply going to be a lot more work for similar or even less effective results. Since you're doing a second step anyway, you might as well put in grout, which is designed to be more squishable and spreadable and washable. The sand size is different, the porosity is different, and I believe that grout has more lime (?) or some other additives or admixtures which makes it more workable. In other words, if you're doing everything correctly, grout is just easier. If you are doing it all in one step, more power to you, but it's unlikely that you can achieve the same quality.

It's similar to why it's difficult to wash and wax your car in the same step or shampoo and condition your hair in the same step--some products try to make you believe that you can, but the quality will be less because the two steps have distinct functions.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
You probably have a preference for a certain hair spray or finishing product
Quote:
It's similar to why it's difficult to wash and wax your car in the same step or shampoo and condition your hair in the same step

What is with all the hair care analogies?
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:32 AM   #12
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Greg,
I guess you would have to have a full head of hair to understand
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:19 AM   #13
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It keeps the cooties out.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:21 PM   #14
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I guess you would have to have a full head of hair to understand


Low blow
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:37 PM   #15
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Thinset would be a pain to grout with. Grout will set up in the joints making it easier to keep the them full. Thinset will want to stay wet much longer and be a mess to clean up. The thinset that did stick to the tile face would be much harder to remove than grout. Get some natural gray grout and you'll be better off.
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