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dbabs 11-07-2012 08:56 AM

Sanded vs Unsanded Grout...that is the question
So i just had a contractor set tiles on the wall around my bathtub. It is several horizontal rows of ceramic tiles then a row of small glass mosaic tiles following by a final "cap" row of ceramic tiles. The spacing used was not consistent at all. In some places the gaps between the tiles are 1/16" and others it's as much as 3/16" or slightly more. I've read that you shouldn't us unsanded grout on gaps over 1/8" but yet if I use sanded will it adequately fill into the much smaller gaps? It it possible to each some of each on the same project? Or mix the two grouts together before applying?

Also, should I not be using sanded on the glass mosaic so as not to scratch them?


oh'mike 11-07-2012 09:06 AM

Sanded grout has sand so it can span larger gaps without cracking and shrinking----sanded will work in the smaller grout lines just fine----I've never had sanded scratch glass----you might,but I never have had an issue---

Unsanded will not work for you---to much shrinkage and cracking-----so sanded is the choice if you are using a cement based grout.

dbabs 11-07-2012 09:44 AM

Thanks Mike. So you're pretty sure I won't have problems forcing sanded grount into really thin spaces??

oh'mike 11-07-2012 10:08 AM

Never saw that as a problem-----

Donnie D. 11-07-2012 11:18 AM

3/16 isnt that big unsanded will work fine..if it was on the floor it might crack over time due to movement..but for the wall no one is stepping on them..the movement it less..i would use unsanded because most of the grout lines r 1/16 and unsanded will work fine..sanded wont get into 1/16 lines very well...if the big lines crack..just scrap them out and fill them with sanded

mnp13 11-09-2012 01:23 PM

Honestly, unless this was a friend or family member who did the install, I'd make them fix it. You are going to notice the difference in the grout width when it's done.

dbabs 11-09-2012 02:25 PM

Given that his workmanship was sub-par the first time around I won't be asking him back and fix it. Honestly, most of it looks fine. With the tiles being nominal sizes there are some areas where I probably would've used a tile that was a bit smaller than "normal" to maintain an even spacing. My other option is to pick a few tiles that are probably "bigger" than normal and replace just those. What's the technique to removing a tile in the middle without damaging those around it? I can't exactly pry it off otherwise I'll chip adjacent ones. What about just tapping it on the face and then trying to remove it piece by piece?

mnp13 11-09-2012 02:28 PM

I just did this with my floor - you use a cold chisel and a hammer to break the tile in the middle and then it comes out very easily with no damage to surrounding tiles or the underlayment. It also didn't do much damage to the grout, though since you don't have grout in there yet you're a step ahead. Then you scrape out some of the mastic, vaccuum, butter the back of the new tile and stick it on.

JazMan 11-09-2012 06:31 PM

I think you could go either way. If most was 1/16" I would go unsanded. A few areas that are 3/16" shouldn't matter, you may need to let that areas set a little longer though. If most gaps are 1/8" I'd go sanded. I like working with sanded more and like the appearance more too. The specific tiles matter too.

Another choice is the use Laticrete's sanded which is good for 1/16" to 3/8".

also, in explaining how to remove a tile;


Originally Posted by mnp13
Then you scrape out some of the mastic, vaccuum, butter the back of the new tile and stick it on.

Mastic? On a floor? :eek:


mnp13 11-09-2012 07:31 PM

Mastic, cement, stuff I mixed from a bag that makes tile stick to the floor.

I'm not the greatest with terminology. :-)

KDHomeImproveme 11-09-2012 09:13 PM

Sanded vs Unsanded Grout...that is the question
In this case you would definitely want to go with sanded grout. It is longer lasting, more durable to shrinking and cracking than a non-sanded grout. Sanded grout grouts is more durable and if your tile will be installed in a wet area like a shower, then you definitely should use sanded grout.

Donnie D. 11-09-2012 09:33 PM

yea if u want it to be perfect...pull the bad tiles up and replace..then u can u unsanded for sure

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