We had a fascinating discussion about tile grout in our staff meeting last week. You may laugh but I assure you it was exciting and revolutionary! In the design and flooring business it is always neat when new technology makes its way into our world.
If a tile or vinyl tile product is to fail, it is generally the fault of the grout. Grout has historically been a cement based product which is prone to cracking and moisture absorption.
Consider your sidewalks and driveways and the cracks and fl aws that always seem to be apparent. We accept cracks on the sidewalk and even make up verse about them – step on a crack, break your mother’s back comes to mind but we are not very excited about cracks in our cement grout! I don’t imagine any of you are jumping over your kitchen grout chanting nursery rhymes; you are probably on the phone to your nearest tile expert.
Mapei, one of the industry leaders in grout and tile installation materials has created the next level in grout for the increased specialized applications we are seeing in design. The influx of vinyl tile has created the need for a more flexible grout to put in between those thinner tiles and Mapei has created Ultra Colour Plus grout which is perfect for vinyl tiles, pale natural stone and those of you who love the look of dark (yes even black) grout. This grout is a calcium based cement which is colour fast; this means that darker grouts won’t bleed colour onto porous tile and will not leave a colour haze when it is washed correctly.
The next level in grout – oh yes there is a next level, is called Flex Colour. This is an acrylic based, pre-mixed grout that requires no sealer. Believe me, there was much rejoicing around this one from staff and installers alike as this will save a huge step and much agony for our clients. Because there is no mixing, patching and repairing is also possible as the colour of the grout will remain consistent with each pail. Showers, bathrooms, any wet areas are a perfect candidate for this product as well as mosaics. Have you ever tried to seal the grout around a mosaic tile? It’s kind of like trying to put a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle together that is all one colour; it kind of makes your eyes cross after a while. Acrylic-based grout is less prone to cracking in comparison to Portland based products as it has a little bit of flex in it and will be more adaptable to subtle movements in the floor.
These fancy new grouts are selling at a premium so expect to pay a bit more at the pump for these labour saving products. Personally, I would pay extra to not have to seal grout ever again and I am very excited to be able to use black grout once in a while as I have avoided it like the plague for years. I can’t promise you will be as fascinated as I am but I think you will appreciate the new options!
Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.