How to Choose the Perfect Grout Color

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Grout color is the selection we usually decide on with our clients last and the one that usually has the most client questions. We thought we’d make it easy and put together a little post of why, what, the favorite colors we use, and how to choose the perfect grout color.

By the end of this post, you will know how to pick grout color, we promise. Let’s start with the biggest question we get:

Q & A

What grout color is the easiest to clean?

If you’re most concerned about cleaning, we always recommend going darker, and location is also something to consider.

We’ve had light and dark grout for our backsplashes, bathroom flooring, shower floor, and shower walls. The only place we ever had issues with discoloration was shower floors when it was lighter grout.

Lighter grout will show stains more quickly, and although darker grout will make the grout stand out more, the likelihood of getting stains is less.

As you can see below, we did dark grout in our kitchen, and we’ve never had one stain in one year since it was complete. But backsplashes don’t ever get that dirty unless you’re a maniac of a cook.

Jamie’s not as much of a fan of darker grout because it shows every imperfection in the tile layout, and he’s a perfectionist, and it’s his work. So if you’re also a perfectionist, you might want to go with a grout that matches your tile color.

An all-white backsplash sure does make your kitchen look clean! But if you choose a lighter tile and don’t want to see one stain, you’ll have to choose your battle.

A little bleach on lighter tile works magic too!

Delorean Gray grout with a mosaic backsplash: 

How to Choose the Perfect Grout Color 1

Should grout be lighter or darker than tile?

It depends on preference and how much you want your tiles to blend or stand out. Typically we match grout color with the tiles unless we’re looking for a bold contrast.

If you have lighter tiles and do a darker grout, it’s a fun focal point for a good conversation piece in your home. With lighter grout, it all blends in, and the tile design is harder to view.

For this bathroom, we recommended doing darker grout in the shower as water rusts white grout so fast. Then for the main bathroom floor, we recommended blending it with the tiles as the design flowed from one tile to another, so we didn’t want the grout to stand out.

Then along the back wall of the entire bathroom, we did a black hexagon tile, which we wanted to be a statement piece, so we contrasted the black tiles with lighter grout.

The contrast of tile and grout: 


How to Choose the Perfect Grout Color 2

When do you use sanded vs. un-sanded grout?

Use non-sanded grout for joints that are narrowing, measuring under 1/8 inch. Use sanded grout when measuring over 1/8 inch.

Sanded grout is stronger, so it reduces shrinking and cracking. Anything that could be easily cracked, such as exteriors and high-traffic areas, use sanded.

Any time we use the Mercury Mosaics handcrafted tiles, such as in our kitchen, we always use sanded grout.

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Can you change your grout color later down the road?

Yes, but you might want to try to avoid it if you can. There are dyes out there that you can use to color your grout.

You can take a toothbrush and bleach it if you’re trying to lighten your grout. Otherwise, if you’re trying to darken your grout, you can apply a grout stain, such as Polyblend grout renew.

This is available in many colors and can give your grout a clean and fresh look. Just clean your grout well and let it dry before applying.

If you want to get rid of your old grout, you’d have to chisel away for some time before putting down new grout.

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Do I need to seal my grout?

It’s always recommended to seal your grout. However, we’ve tested sealing and not sealing our grout; in most places, we’ve never been able to tell the difference.

We recommend just making sure to seal your grout in high-moisture and high-traffic areas. It helps limit mold and damage, such as in your bathroom tiles.

If you choose to seal, use breathable sealers such as “penetrating” instead of “membrane-forming.”

Our Top 5 Go-to Grout Colors

  1. Gray | Delorean Gray
  2. White | Bright White
  3. Cream | Linen
  4. Black | Charcoal
  5. Brown | Earth

How to Choose the Perfect Grout Color 5

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