Types of Grout and How to Choose the Right One for the Job


Grout is an important material that fills the spaces between tiles on floors, walls, countertops, and other surfaces. Choosing the right type of grout for your tiling project is essential to get the look and performance you want. There are several major types of grout to consider, each with their own characteristics, advantages, and best uses. This article provides an overview of the most common grout types and tips on how to select the right one for your specific tiling job.

Cementitious Grout

Cementitious grout, sometimes called Portland cement grout, is the most common and inexpensive type of grout available. It is a mixture of Portland cement, sand, and color pigments. Here are some key features of cementitious grout:


  • Budget-friendly option suitable for most indoor and outdoor applications
  • Durable and long-lasting when properly sealed
  • Available in a wide range of colors
  • Can be used for joints 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch wide


  • More prone to cracking and discoloration than other grout types
  • Requires sealing to protect from water damage
  • Not as stain resistant as epoxy or urethane grouts

Best Uses

Cementitious grout works well for floor installations and wall tiles in dry areas. It’s a good choice for bathroom floors and walls, kitchen backsplashes, and other indoor environments. Outdoors, cementitious grout can be used for patios, pool surrounds, and other wet areas when properly sealed.

Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is made from epoxy resins and a filler such as silica sand. It offers excellent durability and stain resistance. Here are the main features of epoxy grout:


  • Extremely durable and long-lasting
  • Stain and chemical resistant
  • Minimal shrinkage and cracking
  • Can be used in joints as narrow as 1/16 inch
  • Resists mold and mildew growth


  • More expensive than cementitious grout
  • Requires meticulous application for best results
  • Limited color options, mostly shades of gray
  • Not suitable for exterior applications

Best Uses

Epoxy grout is ideal for countertops, floor installations, and wall tiles in kitchens, baths, restaurants, hospitals, and other high-traffic indoor areas. It’s also commonly used for glass tile or natural stone installations that require maximum stain resistance.

Urethane Grout

Urethane grout contains urethane resins, pigments, fine aggregates, and other components. It has excellent adhesion and flexibility. Here are the pros and cons of urethane grout:


  • Extremely flexible and durable
  • Withstands cracking and shrinkage
  • Stain, mold, and mildew resistant
  • Suitable for joints 1/16 inch to 5/8 inch wide
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors


  • More expensive than other grout types
  • Requires special techniques for application
  • Limited color selection, mostly neutrals
  • Can be difficult to clean off surfaces during application

Best Uses

Urethane grout is ideal for countertops, floors, walls, and outdoor applications like patios and pool decks. It’s also useful for installations prone to vibration or movement like stone floors over plywood subfloors. Urethane grout is suitable for wet areas and cold climates.

Specialty Grout Types

There are also some specialty grout options designed for particular uses:

  • Quartz grout – Contains fine quartz sand for a glossy finish. Stain and scratch resistant. Best for countertops.
  • Glass tile grout – Formulated not to scratch delicate glass tiles. Flexible and weather/UV resistant.
  • Acid-resistant grout – Withstands exposure to acids making it ideal for tile in laboratories, kitchens, etc.
  • Fast-setting grout – Reaches initial set very quickly, allowing tile to be grouted and used immediately. Useful when time is limited.

How to Choose the Right Grout

When selecting a grout, consider the needs of your specific tiling project and environment. Here are some tips:

  • For indoor floor installations, cementitious or epoxy grout often works well. Urethane grout is also very durable.
  • For countertops and walls in kitchens and baths, consider epoxy or urethane grout for maximum stain resistance.
  • Outdoor grouting projects usually benefit from urethane grout for flexibility and water resistance.
  • For stone or glass tiles, select a grout specifically formulated not to scratch delicate surfaces.
  • In high-traffic commercial areas, epoxy or urethane grout provides the highest durability.
  • For swimming pools and fountains, use cementitious grout and seal it carefully for waterproofing.
  • In cold climates, urethane grout resists cracking from freeze-thaw cycles.
  • For re-grouting projects, look for fast-setting grouts to minimize downtime.

Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations for appropriate uses and any special application requirements. Consider the joint width, traffic, exposure to water, and other factors unique to your project. Test grout samples to ensure compatibility with finishes and colors. With the right grout choice, your tile installation will stay beautiful for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most durable and waterproof grout?

Urethane grout is generally considered the most durable and waterproof grout. It contains flexible resins that resist cracking and provide excellent adhesion. Urethane grout is suitable for wet areas like showers, fountains, and exteriors.

How do I choose grout color?

Select a grout color that matches or complements your tile. Using a darker grout with light tiles creates contrast. Lighter grout works better with dark tiles. Matching the grout color to the tile minimizes visible grout lines. White and gray are popular neutral grout colors.

Does all grout need to be sealed?

Cementitious and urethane grouts require sealing to prevent staining and water damage. Epoxy grout does not require sealing in most cases. Be sure to use a compatible grout sealer for the best results. Reapply sealer periodically for maintenance.

Can any grout be used on floors?

Cementitious, epoxy, and urethane grouts can all be used on floor installations. Choose cementitious or urethane grout for large tile formats. Epoxy grout provides the greatest durability and stain resistance. Urethane has the most flexibility.

How soon can I grout after tile installation?

It’s best to wait 24-48 hours for thinset mortar to fully cure before grouting. Check thinset manufacturer’s instructions. Rushing grouting increases the chances of discoloring tiles or weakening grout joints.

What’s the easiest grout to work with?

Premixed cementitious grouts are the easiest for DIYers to work with. They don’t require mixing other than adding water. Epoxy and urethane grouts have more complex application processes. Fast-setting grouts also simplify grouting by allowing tile use quickly after installation.


Choosing the right grout involves considering factors like location, traffic, tile material, joint width, color, and ease of use. Cementitious grout works well for basic indoor floor and wall tile projects. Epoxy and urethane grouts provide extra durability and stain resistance needed in kitchens, baths, and commercial areas. Specialty grouts serve particular niche purposes. Always follow manufacturer instructions for best results. The right grout helps create tile installations that are both practical and beautiful for years of use.