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Difference Between Grout and Caulk
Grout and caulk are two terms that are generally used interchangeably but they mean different things. If you don’t work with these items often it’s completely understandable how you might struggle with knowing the difference between the two.
The following information will arm you with just the right knowledge just in case you decide to move full speed ahead with your bathroom remodel.
What Do You Use Grout For?
The official definition of grout is a mortar or paste for filling crevices, especially the gaps between wall or floor tiles.
Grout is used to connect adjoining objects into a solid mass. In plain old English terms, grout fills the spaces in between tile joints and helps keep them in place.
It is recommended that when grout is applied that is only used to connect to like surfaces together.
Sanded vs Unsanded Grout
Unsanded grout is often scratchy, lumpy and sticks to the edge of the tile. It often adheres to other things rather than itself. You often get too much adhesion and not enough cohesion.
Sanded grout is a lot more uniform, consistent and smooth.
One of the biggest problems with unsanded grout is that it dries too quickly and too hard. When you compare it to sanded grout is all portland cement and can be wiped up hours or even days later before it’s completely set and sealed.
You can always wipe up haze or adjust your grout line. With unsanded grout, it’s essentially glue. Most unsanded grout a water based urethane as part of its ingredients which turns it into a glue-like substance.
With a wet rag, you can wipe up 48 hour old sanded grout with little effort. With unsanded grout, you would be unable to wipe it up even if it were only 4 hours old.
Always use sanded grout unless you absolutely have to use unsanded grout and those situations are rare. Use only for smaller joints, 1/16 of an inch or less, when you have stainless steel or soft glass tiles.
What Do You Use Caulking For?
The official definition to caulking is a waterproof filler and sealant, used in building work and repairs.
Caulking, quite different from grout, is designed to fill gaps between two different types of surfaces.
It is most often used in areas like bathtubs and showers where water is present. It helps seal cracks and crevices from moisture.
Caulking is mostly applied at 90-degree angles where your tub meets the bathroom floor or along the corners of the shower tiles from the tub to the ceiling.
You’ll also see caulking applied to a backsplash in a kitchen, along the edges of windows and where your sink or vanity meets.
By far the most common areas to use caulking is in the bathroom by the shower or tub.
Why Should Know The Difference Between Grout and Caulk?
The biggest reason why it pays to know the difference between grout and caulk is to that you won’t put grout where caulk is supposed to go and visa versa.
If you put caulk where grout should go the caulk will hold water behind the joint. Grout is designed for water to pass in or out, hence your shower can dry out when there is water behind the tile.
The grout will absorb the water when it gets behind the tile and needs to be able to get out. When you put caulking in the joints the problem you have is that you’ve now blocked the water behind the caulking.
Then, of course, you get mold and mildew. It’s a fairly simple cleanup. You can blast the caulk out with a power washer and replace the caulk with grout again.