Caulk or grout?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by evdryst, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. evdryst

    evdryst New Member

    Messages:
    2
    We have new tiles everywhere in the bathroom which I need to grout. I also need to caulk the expansion joints, the perimeter of the room, the tub and shower etc. Do I grout of caulk first? Does it matter?

    Also, I put in dark pebbles (blacks, charcoals, some dark grey) in the shower pan and some borders. Does anybody have a recommendation for a grout colour? I'm thinking natural grey is perhaps too light, but it's hard for me to picture. I want some contrast but not too much.

    Thanks! Elma
  2. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson I teach guitar:You call that a job?

    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Huntington Station, NY
    Hi Elma,
    Although black grout could look great with what you describe, it is an absolute nightmare due to the extreme nature of the black pigment. A medium Grey will probably be your best bet all things considered.

    There are plenty of sanded, and un-sanded Grey colors available, just make sure that they have both in your color choice. You'll be using a sanded grout where the joints are more than 1/8" wide.

    Now the other part of the question: Grout first.

    Then you'll need to find out whether or not there is a matching caulking. However, even if there is, I think you'll be better off in the long run going over the grout in the vertical and horizontal corners of the shower, and also around the perimeter of the bathroom with caulking over the grout.

    Knowing what I know now about Lexel clear caulking, it seems to be the best choice in terms of longevity/durability, but also being able to go over it if needed without removing the old stuff.

    It's really crystal clear and although it will make the grout appear wet and shiny in those areas, it is a small price to pay for an otherwise waterproof seal that will last.

    Regards,
    Howard
    http://www.howardemerson.com/
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    And remember the golden rule of tile work: do NOT grout the joint between tiles on different planes....i.e. corners and wall-to-tub. Do to movement, this joint is bound to crack. CAULK these joints instead.
  4. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson I teach guitar:You call that a job?

    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Huntington Station, NY
    Jimbo,
    That is the reason I suggest doing grout in these exact joints, but with a clear caulking over them. You get the correct look with the proper protection.

    HE
  5. construct30

    construct30 New Member

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    NorthWest PA
    I just caulk them. The grout will still crack under the caulk and could lead to the caulk coming loose.

    Use clear vinegar to get the black haze off the tile when you use black grout, it works wonders.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    TCNA guidelines say specifically to NOT grout the corners. Yes, sometimes you can get away with it, but not often. For almost any grout out there, you can find a color matched caulk. You may have to order it over the net or special order it at the tile store, but it is out there.
  7. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson I teach guitar:You call that a job?

    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Huntington Station, NY
    I always set my corners on the tight side to begin with, so I never have more than 1/16" to fill with grout. The clear silicone I put over it bridges the corner slightly wider and is totally unaffected by movement in the grout.

    In all the bathrooms I ever built, I never had a problem with corners, on interior or exterior walls, but I understand how there are situations where my technique would not be a sure thing, especially when using larger grout lines.

    HE
  8. evdryst

    evdryst New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I have some big gaps, so it sounds like caulk over grout won't work. I guess this means that I have to caulk first.

    Thanks all, specially for the tips :)
  9. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson I teach guitar:You call that a job?

    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Huntington Station, NY
    If the gaps are really big/wide/deep you might consider using a backer rod first and then going over it with your caulking.

    HE
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