If you opt for a tiled floor in any part of your house, you can be sure of two things. First of all, that you choose a flooring that is resilient, easy to maintain (see: previous article) and beautiful, and second, that you’ll have quite a hard time choosing a type and colour that completely satisfies your taste and requirements as there are nearly endless possibilities available.
Choosing the tiles of your dreams is actually the easier part, but deciding the colour of the grout that to hold them together is much harder, even though many people don’t really pay attention to it.
It is no wonder that some interior designers choose to specialise in tiling, as it is a very demanding and subtle process to establish harmony not only with the surroundings, but also between the tile and the grout as well as in terms of practicality.
This harmony depends on many different aspects as you will see, so always take your time in deciding about even the smallest details of your future tiding. We hope that after reading this guide, you will have a much better idea about which things to take into consideration before choosing the colour of the grout to hold the tiles of your preference together.
The aspects of deciding
After getting engaged in the art of tiles, you will soon realise that behind every beautifully harmonic tile flooring, there has to be an enormous amount of planning, testing and checking. Opting for a tile or grout that is only one shade darker than another can easily disrupt the harmony that previously seemed perfect, while choosing a wrong shade of grout (that is not perfectly fit for the heavy usage of the room) can soon cause a largely deteriorated overall looks for your flooring. It is of particular importance therefore to take your time before deciding, as well as to keep a few important rules and tips in mind.
What will the room be used for?
Before deciding the tile grout colours, you have to keep in mind that it is not solely a question of the looks, at least not on the long term. Choosing a shade that is too light has its positives, as you can use strong cleaners on it without having to worry about ruining the colour (just as with white clothes), but it will also show the stains and dirt more visibly. Darker tones, on the other hand, will hide the stains and the dirt, but are susceptible to fade over time, especially if treated with harsh cleaners. Many experts therefore advise customers to choose tones from the middle of the spectrum, like grey, beige or tan, which will lose their colours much more slowly while they still hide the dirt pretty well.
How to create harmony between tile and grout?
The vast majority of people choose tile first, before even giving a thought as to which grout will go with it. It is absolutely normal and understandable of course, but it’s important nonetheless to realise that deciding the colour of the grout is not something negligible, or something to be taken lightly.
There are three bigger options to choose from in terms of the relation between the tones of the tiling and the grout, and there is no universal answer as to which is the best.
1. Choosing similar colours
The most usual choice is to use tile grout colours that blend with the tiles in question. Of course, as most tiles have shading or modeling, finding a tone that totally matches is most often impossible, but opting for one that is mostly similar is usually good enough.
By choosing this option, the grout lines will blend into the overall texture, the individual tiles will disappear to give way for one complete picture of beautiful tiling. Experts usually advise this option for the best quality (and best-looking) tiles.
2. Choosing contrasting colours
As the first design option enhances the overall picture, choosing a grout colour that thoroughly differs from the colour of the tile gives you a completely opposite effect. It helps the tiles to appear separately for the eye, thus drawing attention to the pattern and the layout, rather that for the texture of the tiles themselves.
This option is a bit less popular, as it has a bit of classic, even historic look and feeling (even though it is slowly coming back to trend), especially when the two colours are black and white, but many people still very much love the “checkerboard” effect it gives.
3. Choosing a colour to compliment the tiles
This option is – as mentioned earlier – maybe the most practical of the three, as it usually goes with “neutral” tile grout colours such as various type of brown, grey or beige, which can all act as a subtle accent to your tiles. As well as it is a safe option though, it still leaves plenty of room for options, only without the risk of making a huge mistake.
And Don’t Forget…
There are of course several other things that you have to take into consideration before choosing the ideal grout colour. If you’ve only decided to change to tile flooring because you want to get a better price for your house, it’s worth considering that neutral grout colours will mean that your floor will most likely appeal to basically any of your potential buyers, while contrasting colours might not win the appreciation of everyone.
If you have a multi-coloured tiling, even from natural colours you can have quite a hard time choosing an ideal one, while for example size and shape of the tiles can also be very important factors, for whom it’s hard to establish universal rules.
While taking your time choosing the right colour for the grout, try not to forget that there are other important things about it to decide as well. You can choose its material to be the popular, cheap and reliable cement, or the bit more expensive, but also more resilient and durable epoxy.
If the joints (the spaces between the tiles) are bigger than 1/8 inch, adding sand to the grout is most of the time a good idea against cracking or shrinking, while sealing the grout can make it more resistant to stains and dirt.
Grout is underrated – pay attention to it
As you will see, choosing the ideal tile grout colour is nearly as important as choosing a tile that you find completely to your liking, and sometimes opting for a wrong tone can ruin the looks of the whole flooring.
Don’t worry though, the grout is not impossible to be dug up (although it has to be done carefully, since it can damage the tiles), while most of the time it can also be re-coloured with professional grout staining kits, to change the colour in an easy (although less durable) way.
Deciding which is the best tone for your grout is not easy, but is a much more important step that most would think, so always take your time to choose. It seems only a minor aspect, but it can have a huge impact.
You can find all of our Ardex grout products here… and all of our Mapei grout products here… if you have a photo of your grouting why not post it on our Facebook page, or send it to us via Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org