Most people don’t know the difference and often think grout and caulk are interchangeable. While they may sometimes be used together or on similar projects, grout and caulk are actually quite different and designed for different purposes.
As a tile cleaning service in Las Vegas, NV, you could say that we are caulk and grout experts. We provide grout cleaning, sealing and other maintenance services, so we often come across instances of DIY home maintenance where caulk was used instead of grout or vice versa. Want a little inside knowledge on the differences between the two? Let’s take a look.
Grout is a mixture of cement and sand, and its main purpose is to fill the spaces between tiles and prevent the edges of tiles from cracking or chipping. There are three main types of grout:
- Sanded: Sanded grout is cement-based, but sand is also added to the mix to create a strong bond that is resistant to cracking and shrinking. This type of grout works best with natural stone, marble, glass and other heavier tile materials. Sanded grout is also very porous, however, which means it will need to be sealed to prevent stains, mold and other problems.
- Non-sanded: This type of grout is also cement-based. It has strong adhesive properties that help it to stay in place during the application process. This makes it ideal for use in smaller joints, such as tile on walls.
- Epoxy: Epoxy is the durable kind of grout. It is much harder than the other two types covered here. It is also less porous and absorbent, which means it does not require any sealant. Due to these properties, epoxy is most often used on areas that come in contact with a lot of moisture.
Unlike grout, caulk is a rubbery material that is soft and flexible; its main purpose is to act as a sealant. Caulk is most often used along edges and seams where two surfaces meet. There are three main types of caulk:
- Latex: Latex is probably the most common and easiest to apply. It cleans up easily and can be removed with soap and water before it dries. You can also paint over latex caulk so it blends into the surrounding area.
- Silicone: Silicone is best for outdoor applications. It is strong, but still flexible enough to expand and contract, which means it can withstand changing temperatures and weather. Unlike latex, however, you cannot paint over silicone caulk.
- Siliconized acrylic latex: This type of caulk is probably the most versatile. It can be used with a variety of materials, including stone, brick and even wood. It can also be applied both indoors and outdoors.
Now you know the difference between grout and caulk, so the next time you are looking to seal the spaces in between your tiles, you will know which one to choose. If you would like a professional to handle the job, however, be sure to call Ultimate Finish Stone Tile & Grout Inc., your local tile cleaning service in Las Vegas, NV!