You face a lot of decisions when installing new tile in the bathroom. Even after you've chosen the perfect ceramic tiles for the job, you'll still need to take care of the pesky little matter of what will hold them together. The color, texture and composition of the grout you choose is important to both the appearance and function of the finished job. The right grout will look attractive with your chosen tiles and will also provide an effective seal against dirt and mildew.
Sanded and Unsanded Grout
The best type of grout for your ceramic bathroom tiles will depend largely on the size and design of the tiles in question. Lay out your tiles first to determine how much space needs to be sealed between each row. If the space is less than 1/8 inch, you should use unsanded grout. Spaces larger than 1/8 inch need sanded grout. The sand in the composition of this type of grout helps to keep these larger areas from cracking.
Cement-based grout is a standard, affordable choice that works well with ceramic bathroom tile. It can be purchased both sanded and unsanded to accommodate any tile size. To protect this type of grout from mildew and stains, you'll need to seal it after it has been allowed to dry for about two days. This may mean setting your bathroom as off-limits in the meantime.
Epoxy grout is the most durable choice for ceramic tile. As with cement-based tile, it can be obtained in both sanded and unsanded forms. This type of grout doesn't need to be sealed and can withstand any kind of spill your bathroom could dish up. If you're installing floor tiles in a bathroom that sees lots of traffic — such as one used by several members of a large family — epoxy grout may be the best choice. However, if you're working in a master bath that will see less wear and tear, you may not want to shell out the extra cash required for this heavy-duty grout.
Both cement-based and epoxy grout are available in a wide range of colors. The ultimate choice will depend on your own aesthetic tastes and what goes best with the tile you have chosen. Keep in mind that white grout can be challenging to keep clean in a busy, messy bathroom, especially if it is used on the floor. If you're installing all new tile, you may be able to spare a few extra tiles and test out various colors with two tiles mounted to a piece of plywood. Keep in mind that sealer can change the color of cement-based grout slightly. Powdered grouts are truest to their color in the powdered form. Although they darken when wet, they dry to a lighter shade.