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Old 04-20-2011, 11:57 AM   #1
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


I'm planning a tiling project for the shower surround. I'll be using 4"x4" travertine tiles and 3/16" grout line width. A guy at the HomeDepot (I know, I know) said to use unsanded grout for the wall. I personally want to use sanded grout because the texture will blend in with the tiles better.

So my questions are
1) Can I use sanded grout for the shower surround? I'll seal the tiles and grout.
2) What are the diffferences between the sanded and unsanded grout?
3) I read from this forum to caulk when there's change-in-plane instead of grout, and there's caulk with matching color available. I understand that I have to caulk the wall-to-wall corners and where the wall meet the floor and ceiling. Is it correct? Will caulk color still match after I seal the tiles and grout? I heard that the sealer will darken the grout a little bit.

All comments about my project are very welcome. Thanks in advance.


Last edited by nitting; 04-20-2011 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Add one more question.
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:14 PM   #2
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


Hi,

Quote:
A guy at the HomeDepot (I know, I know) said to use unsanded grout for the wall. I personally want to use sanded grout because the texture will blend in with the tiles better.
Congratulations, you know more than the HD clerk.

Quote:
1) Can I use sanded grout for the shower surround? I'll seal the tiles and grout.
In your case, not only can, but must.

Quote:
2) What are the diffferences between the sanded and unsanded grout?
Ah........................


Quote:
3) I read from this forum to caulk when there's change-in-plane instead of grout, and there's caulk with matching color available. I understand that I have to caulk the wall-to-wall corners and where the wall meet the floor and ceiling. Is it correct? Will caulk color still match after I seal the tiles and grout? I heard that the sealer will darken the grout a little bit.
You should caulk as you stated. There will always be a slight difference between sanded grout and sanded caulk. Penetrating sealer does not change the color of the tiles or grout. However with travertine tiles, (tumbled?) you have a choice to use an enhancer. Stone enhancer will darken the grout and the tiles. The level of darkening & sheen will be somewhere between the untreated and wet with water level.

Which adhesive did the HD "expert" recommend?

Jaz

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Last edited by JazMan; 04-20-2011 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:08 PM   #3
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


Thanks for you answers. Yes, it's tumbled travertine tiles.

I didn't ask the HD guy about the adhesive. I plan to put KERDI in, so it has to be two layers of unmodified thinset (one beneath the KERDI and one above) if I'm not mistaken.

Any recommendation on the thinset mortar and stone enhancer or sealer (brand, type, and so on)?

Last edited by nitting; 04-20-2011 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Add more information.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:03 PM   #4
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


Hi Jazman - It was my understanding that the sanded grout would 'scratch' the surface of softer material like marble during the grouting process. Why did you recommend sanded grout for nitting's tumbled travertine shower?
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:44 PM   #5
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


Sanded grout is needed for a 3/16" grout joint--The unsanded will shrink--and crack with a joint that wide.----I think Jazz will agree. (And I know he will set me straight if I'm wrong!)
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:45 PM   #6
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


Quote:
It was my understanding that the sanded grout would 'scratch' the surface of softer material like marble during the grouting process.

That is a lot of hooey. It would be very difficult to scratch those tiles using sanded grout.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:47 PM   #7
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


As so well stated above you need sanded grout when the joint is 1/8" or wider. I knew 4x4 travertine was gonna be tumbled, and so dull with irregular edges. I'll bet some of the gaps will end up wider than 3/16".

The only time you'd use unsanded it with polished marble, this isn't it.

Quote:
I didn't ask the HD guy about the adhesive. I plan to put KERDI in,
Good, don't ask. Chances are you'll get the wrong answer anyway. Even if you got the right answer, (premium unmodified), the orange place does not carry one. The only unmodified they carry (last time I checked), was their Custom Blend, which many feel is one notch above dirt. However Custom Building Products, (the brand HD sells), did come out with a product intended for use of Ditra and with Kerdi. Most stores don't have it though.

Back to your first post about using this tumbled travertine for a shower.

I highly do not recommend that. You're likely to have a nightmare a few years from now. However, since it'll be a Kerdi shower, it'll dry out faster, so that will help. It'll also help if you seal the heck out of it and if you're not already, you become a miss neat-nic.

You've made up your mind right?

Jaz
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:31 PM   #8
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


Thanks JazMan and everyone for the comments.

I initially made up my mind because I like its soft and natural looking. However, I haven't bought it, so I can always change my plan. I did lots of searching and reading about it, and it made me think really hard because many people said natural stone like travertine can get stained easily. I think that is where your comment comes from. I even visited three local tile specialty stores (not HD and such). They said nothing was wrong with my idea and in fact many people did it. That's why I think it would be ok.

I'll check other tiles I might like. Give myslef more options.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:29 AM   #9
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


How suitable is the honed and filled travertine tile for the shower surround?

I also read from somewhere that I shouldn't seal the shower surround because it doesn't help with anything and is hard for water to go away if it gets underneath the tiles. Is it true?

Thanks.

Last edited by nitting; 04-27-2011 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Correction
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:48 PM   #10
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


Quote:
How suitable is the honed and filled travertine tile for the shower surround?
You can't get natural stone out of your system can you?

That would be a better choice since it's smoother and presumably easier to wipe clean. But it's going to absorb and probably discolor and get blotchy due to dampness. If you don't mind the extra cost and extra upkeep, do it.

Quote:
I also read from somewhere that I shouldn't seal the shower surround because it doesn't help with anything and is hard for water to go away if it gets underneath the tiles. Is it true?
Wrong! Whoever wrote that doesn't know how a shower should be built and understand what tile & grout does.

Jaz
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:45 AM   #11
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Sanded or unsanded grout for the shower surround wall tiles?


Jazzman is sooooo right! I had a travertine shower at my old house and it is impossible to clean. Even sealed, you should not use any harsh chemicals to clean travertine or you WILL get etching and discoloration. Getting rid of soap scum and mildew....virtually impossible. Now I never ventured into steam cleaning; this may be the solution. My new house (of one week) shower is polished porcelain tile with grout lines of less than 1/8". Looking forward to using some good ole cleaner with bleach!! Goodbye soap scum. Good luck with your project.

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