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Old 01-28-2013, 10:14 AM   #1
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What is the point of grout?


So we were out tile shopping this weekend and decided on a nice 12x24 porcelain tile for our new basement shower stall. I am thinking that I will orient it with the long side vertical because it has subtle striations in it that I want going up and down. With that said, is there any reason I can't butt join these tiles? Do I have to leave space between them?

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Old 01-28-2013, 10:46 AM   #2
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What is the point of grout?


If you do not mind water getting in behind the tile and causing it to fall off go for it.
Larger tilles call for larger gaps, not just butted together.
Going to need grout and sealer then it's done.

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Old 01-28-2013, 11:10 AM   #3
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What is the point of grout?


Like Joe said, in a shower water will get in between them. You can use a very small grout line with a matching unsanded grout.

During the firing process ceramic tiles will shrink (porcelain is a type of ceramic). So not all tiles will be accurate and identical so going without grout may not be an option anyway. Cheap tiles are bad at being irregular so a decent sized grout line becomes a must.

With a few exceptions, the size of the grout line is ultimately up to the purchaser - whatever looks good to you.

One word of advice. People tend to think with the bigger tiles, there will be fewer of them, and therefore easier. The opposite is true. The bigger the tile, the less forgiving. The harder it is to get all the edges flat and even. Be sure your walls are absolutely flat, or look into a leveling system.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:14 AM   #4
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What is the point of grout?


while i could be wrong. i don't see why you couldn't do that, as long as you use a waterproof membrane system, like KIRDI. but you also have to be sure that the tiles are ALL the same size.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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What is the point of grout?


Well I will be framing two of the walls and the third will be an exterior concrete wall with 1/4" XPS. I am planning on purchasing the 32x60 center draining Kerdi shower kit so the entire shower stall will be waterproofed. I definitely don't want to have tiles popping off. on the 32" wall I was planning on two 12" wide tiles centered. that will leave me 4" on either side that I will use small 1x1 mosaic tiles to break it up visually. So only the center line and the horizontal lines between the 12"x24" tiles will be without grout.

Now I have heard on there that grout is not waterproof. Sealing grout doesn't make it waterproof only easier to clean. So if that is the case what is grout needed? Irregularity in tiles, that makes sense.

If I were to butt join them should I put a little caulk on edge before pushing them together? If I can't do and have peace of mind in the finish I wont but I really think it will look nice.

Here is the tile we are going with. http://www.flooranddecoroutlets.com/s12402565.html#

And this will be the corner / edge accent / shower floor tile. http://www.flooranddecoroutlets.com/s31156974.html
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:19 PM   #6
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What is the point of grout?


you know what. you can use a very narrow grout gap, and then use color matching grout. i did this, and it turned out FANTASTIC .

grout is used to help with tiling irregularities. it gives a cushion, so to say.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:58 PM   #7
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What is the point of grout?


With this line of questioning comes another one. I assume that I will need a large notched trowel for the big tiles and a smaller one for the 1x1 mosaic tiles. How will I keep them flush with each other on the wall if I'm using a different depth of thinset?
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:05 PM   #8
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What is the point of grout?


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How will I keep them flush with each other on the wall if I'm using a different depth of thinset?
That's usually a problem and a reason not to do it. You may also find the tiles are not the same thickness.

Tiles with no grout is nuts! If I can put it mildly. And that goes double for a shower. So, you're ok with water, body oils, shampoo, cream rinse living within the tiles? That is very unsanitary.

And, the listed tiles and those price scare the heck out of me. They are way too cheap, whatza matter with them? I know what tiles cost at the factory overseas. There is no way those are good quality tiles.

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:19 AM   #9
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What is the point of grout?


Jazman, I was hoping you would give your input on the grout issue and what you've said makes sense. But dang, you really think there is an issue with the tiles that I have listed? How much should I be paying per sq ft for these tiles. Where should I be buying tiles?
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:26 PM   #10
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What is the point of grout?


Those prices are too cheap which means you're getting cheap tiles. Of course by the time you get them to your front door the freight charges will hurt.

Do you have any idea who makes them and where? They're probably from China or another 3rd world country who has low standards and uses old machinery discarded by the quality companies in Italy, Spain Portugal etc. The other factor is the tiles are not selling because of color/pattern and or they have flaws so the factory clears them out.

A good quality rectified porcelain that is good looking and meets the highest standards generally cost about $14-18 or more per m2 fob Spain - Portugal and a little more from Italy. Then add the boat ride, customs inspections + 8% duty, storage, rail or truck to the distributor and then all the costs of doing biz.

So normally a tile that costs $1.30 from the Spanish factory, costs perhaps $1.90 or so landed. That tile will sell for about $3 wholesale and $4.25 - 4.75 retail.

Tiles from certain other factories can cost 60% of that depending on many factors. This is why I say you're probably holding a very cheap tile from China or maybe Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand or ? You should look at some of the local distributors to get a feel of what's available. Some of these imported "porcelain" tiles do not even meet standards for porcelain tiles. Long story.

On the grout, go with min. 1/8" gap if you buy a good quality tile, otherwise the gap may have to be wider.

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:08 PM   #11
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What is the point of grout?


Well these tiles work out to be $4 per tile so I guess they aren't too far off from your target retail price. I'm not sure where they are made and it is a relatively new tile. They were featured on the DIY network so I went to look at them. I really hope they aren't crappy because both me and the decision maker really like them. How do you tell if the tile is quality or not?
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:46 PM   #12
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What is the point of grout?


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Well these tiles work out to be $4 per tile
What? Yes $4 per tile which is $2 per sq. ft., and if the tiles were 24x24 they would be $8 each.

I recommend you know what you're buying instead of buying because it looks nice and it's cheap. Is the batch you'd get at your local store? Buy a box. There should be source info and statements of spec and ANSI standards it may meet. Every manufacturer also has info available that show it's testing results and other data. But again, at $2 a ft. many people don't expect much and after all, it's not a life and death issue. It it's not square, just make the joints wider, if the size varies, same thing. Heck, it might be good enough, I don't know, I'm here.

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:28 PM   #13
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What is the point of grout?


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What? Yes $4 per tile which is $2 per sq. ft., and if the tiles were 24x24 they would be $8 each.

I recommend you know what you're buying instead of buying because it looks nice and it's cheap.

That is what I am trying to do. Learn about what I'm buying. Thats why I'm here asking the "experts" about it.

[/COLOR]Is the batch you'd get at your local store? Buy a box. There should be source info and statements of spec and ANSI standards it may meet.

Every manufacturer also has info available that show it's testing results and other data. But again, at $2 a ft. many people don't expect much and after all, it's not a life and death issue. It it's not square, just make the joints wider, if the size varies, same thing. Heck, it might be good enough, I don't know, I'm here.

Jaz
Another product is from arizona tile. They are at 2.70 / sq. same type finish

PEI Rating of 4
Frostproof
COF Dry rating .87
COF Wet rating .73

Is this any good? Do those numbers make sense?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:46 PM   #14
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What is the point of grout?


*PEI 4 means when tested for abrasion it is good wearing for any room in a residence and many commercial areas. So, that is what you want, (3 or 4) but that rating is not a direct correlation to its value. You can pass the test by making the surface rougher.

*Frostproof, all porcelain meets the minimum specs for water absorbency of .5% or less. Some porcelain tiles are much denser than that. So all porcelains are frost proof. However, some cheap tiles from certain countries are called porcelain because the glaze is porcelain while the bisque may not meet the standards.

*The other two numbers are coefficient factors for wet/dry traction.

*This is the kind of info that tells more about quality;

Technical Features Standards International Standard MML Typical Standard
Natural Polished Semi Polished
Dimensional Characteristic
Length & Width ISO 10545-2/ EN 98 0.50% 0.25% 0.25% 0.25%
Thickness ISO 10545-2/ EN 98 5.00% 5.00% 5.00% 5.00%
Straightness of Sides ISO 10545-2/ EN 98 0.50% 0.25% 0.25% 0.25%
Rectangularity ISO 10545-2/ EN 98 0.60% 0.30% 0.30% 0.30%
Surface Flatness ISO 10545-2/ EN 98 0.50% 0.25% 0.25% 0.25%
Chemical Properties
Resistance to household checmicals & swimming pool salts ISO 10545-13/ EN 106 min. UB / GB UB / GB UB / GB UB / GB
Resistance to staining ISO 10545-14 Test method available Class 3 N/A Class 3
Physical Properties
Water absorption ISO 10545-3/ EN 99 Group B1a, E≤0.5% <0.1% <0.1% <0.1%
Breaking strength ISO 10545-4/ EN 100 min 1300N 1300N 1300N 1300N
Modulus of rupture ISO 10545-4/ EN 100 min 35 N /mm 2 ≥ 42 N/mm 2 ≥ 42 N/mm 2 ≥ 42 N/mm 2
Resistance to deep abrasion ISO 10545-6/ EN 102 max 175mm 2 max 150mm 3 max 150mm 3 max 150mm 3
Coefficient of linear
thermal expansion (C-1) ISO 10545-8/ EN 103 Test method available ≤ 9 x 10 -6 ≤ 9 x 10 -6 ≤ 9 x 10 -6
Thermal shock resistance ISO 10545-9/ EN104 Test method available Resistant Resistant Resistant
Frost resistance ISO 10545-12/EN 202 Required Resistant Resistant Resistant
Slip resistance (pendulum method) AS/NZS 4586, App A Test method available Z Z Z
Slip resistance (ramp method) AS/NZS 4586, App D Test method available R9-R11
(depending on series) N/A N/A
Moh's hardness EN 101 min 3 3 3 3
Colour Fastness SS 301 No noticeable colour change No change observed No change observed No change observed

The above info may not load in columns correctly here, but you get the idea of what to look for.

Jaz
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:17 PM   #15
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What is the point of grout?


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
If you do not mind water getting in behind the tile and causing it to fall off go for it. Larger tilles call for larger gaps, not just butted together.
Water getting behind tiles will not cause them to fall off or get weak or anything like that. Whether you use grout or not, you should assume water is always getting behind your tiles.

I'm also skeptical about your reason for saying larger tiles "call for" larger gaps - what is this supposed to mean?

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