April 1, 2009

got grout?

Grout, grout, grout. Who would have thought that such a thin little line could completely change the look of a whole design? (I'm rhymin' and stealin' today, huh?!)

Choosing the right grout color can drastically affect the outcome of your tile project, yet it's often a decision that is overlooked. So many people I have talked to have left this decision up to the tile supplier or their tile installer- and this can be a recipe for "not cute"! Most of the time, that means you will end up with gray grout- and that's not usually going to complement the tile or the overall project.

So why does it really matter? Check out these installations, using the same tile- but different grout colors:

Tile with black grout

Same tile with almond grout (laid on the horizontal, though)

See what I mean? This same tile takes on a whole new look with a different grout color! Here's another example using red glass tiles:

Red glass tile with red grout

Red glass tile with white grout

This is a more dramatic example, showing how a contrasting grout (the white) can really make a statement in the design. Contrasting grout color always brings out the geometry of the tile, and this is a strong statement in a room. That can be a good thing, but it's not always the desired result.

Unlike the other photos, the red glass tile with the white grout is not one of my own installations. I don't use white grout, even on wall projects. It is such a high maintenance choice, and rarely stays white- even with sealer or frequent bleach pen treatments. It's evil. Just don't do it. If you do anyway, come back after three months so I can say "I told you so." ;)

Grout in the same color family as the tile (the red on red example) can make the overall installation appear larger and more uniform. It also gives a sleeker, more contemporary look.

You may have chosen to use a multi-colored tile (as shown in the hexagonal mosaic above) so you'll have to make a choice from several grout color options. In that situation, go with the most predominant neutral color in the tile or choose a grout color that is the same as the paint or countertop in the area.

Not everyone gets to start from scratch, of course. If you've "inherited" a place with some grout that you hate, never fear... there are options!

  • You can scrape out the existing grout and re-grout. Good luck with that, it's NOT a fun project.
  • If you are wanting darker grout, you can stain it yourself. Here's an option. Some products say they can take grout from dark to light, but I haven't seen this with my own two eyes. If anyone has done this successfully, please let me know!
  • You can actually hand paint your grout with flat paint. Here's instructions for that.

If anyone has any other option or method that worked well, please chime in and tell us what you did!

Happy Grouting-


Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating said...

That red glass tile with red grout is absolutely stunning!!!

Okay, let's say that one just HAS to have white grout. Have you found any super-duper, wonderfully-fantastic grout sealer that will maybe, possibly work? I'm planning to use white subway tile in my kitchen, and had wanted to use white grout for a super-clean look.

design snitch said...

Thanks, Kristi! That red on red is actually in my new place... :)

All my guys say the "gold standard" for grout sealing is Aqua Mix Sealer's Choice 15. It's supposed to last 15 years. The only thing to watch is to MAKE SURE you wait three days before sealing the grout lines. If you do it to early, it can pull out the cement/mastic and turn yellow.

I know white grout is beautiful with white subway tile... If you ever do have issues, you can always use muriatic acid and water (2 parts water, 1 part acid) to get it really white again, and then reseal.

I can't wait til you get to the kitchen! :)

Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating said...

Thanks for the grout sealer info. I had never heard of that kind.

That red tile is in your new place??!! Okay, enough with the teasing. When do we get to see pics of it!!??

designdazzle.blogspot.com said...

Hi Tambra,
Thanks for becoming a follower! I love reading your blog. You have a way with words. Sorry to read about your previous home....sounds like your new home will be amazing.
I signed-up for your newsletters - looking forward to reading them:)
Would love to feature the girls room you designed on my website and blog.

design snitch said...

Hi Toni- Feel free to right-click and blog away about any and all of my designs! Thank you so much- I really appreciate your interest...

I've enjoyed your blog- a great inspiration source for designing the little one's rooms... :)