Sanded Vs Unsanded Grout: 5 Key Differences & Meaning of Grout Types

Sanded Vs Unsanded Grout: 5 Key Differences & Meaning of Grout Types

Mar 20, 2023

Grout is an important construction material that is frequently used in home renovation and building projects. It not only improves the structural integrity of the tiled surface but also keeps dirt out of the tile gaps, preserving tile quality. This granular combination is available in two forms: sanded and unsanded grout. Understanding how sanded vs unsanded grout differ might assist you in selecting the best one for your needs.

If you are trying to find the meaning and differences between sanded grout vs unsanded grout, you have come to the right place.

Sanded Grout

Sanded grout is the most common type of grout. It is used as a filler in the majority of home renovation  projects. This type of grout is made from a fine mix of quartz or silica sand grains with cement. The sand adds to the material’s tensile strength, while the cement gives it adhesive properties. Given that sand is often a low-cost filler, this is a cost-effective grout type. It is also available in a variety of colors.

Interior Flooring Projects

Sanded grout is a no-brainer for most interior design  flooring projects. It is highly durable, stable, and can endure the strain of heavy foot traffic.

Thick Joints

Sanded grout has a better bond and is less prone to shrinking. If you are working with joints that are 18 to 12 inches thick, sanded grout is the way to go.

Unsanded Grout

Unsanded grout has a smoother texture because it is not blanketed with sand grains. However, this kind of grout will cost you more than sanded grout because of the expensive polymers used as a bonding agent.

Unsanded grout is commonly used for:

Narrow Joints

Because unsanded grout is thinner than sanded grout, narrow joints are easier to apply. It is one of the significant differences between sanded vs unsanded grout. Use this grout type if the joint is less than 1/8 inches wide.

Scratchable Surfaces

Many specialists advocate using unsanded grout when working with smooth or polished tile, such as limestone or marble. This is because sanded grout may scratch these tile surfaces during installation and when you need to remove grout haze. It is one of the most important factor one you are choosing between sanded grout vs unsanded grout.

Vertical Installation

Unsanded grout is exceptionally sticky, making it ideal for vertical installations. When completing various tile installation operations, you can rely on this grout type to stay in place. As vertical installations do not require high durability to resist heavy foot activity, they can be done with unsanded grout.

Differences Between Sanded Vs Unsanded Grout


Sanded grout gets its name from the presence of silica sand in the mix. It is a thick, gritty mixture of silica sand particles, which aid in forming strong connections. The particles are suspended while the grout dries, increasing stability, strengthening resistance against cracking, and reducing shrinkage.

Unlike its sanded version, unsanded grout does not include any silica sand. Instead, it contains a higher proportion of cement. Before it dries, it has a thinner, stickier texture. It has a smoother finish than sanded grout when it cures. Although unsanded grout is ideal for vertical surfaces, it is prone to shrinking and is not exceptionally long-lasting.


Sanded grout is often the preferable choice for places with a lot of foot traffic or when you are confused between ceramic vs porcelain tiles. It is long-lasting and stable enough to support high and repeated loads. Sanded grout is more resistant to shrinkage and cracks and generates thicker bonds and joints.

When looking at sanded vs unsanded grout, you must consider the strength of the joint to ensure a long life of the project. Unsanded grout shrinks more than sanded grout due to the supplemented cement concentration. It is also prone to breaking when subjected to excessive pressure; hence it is rarely utilized in flooring projects.

Area of Application

Sanded grout is required for joints larger than 1/8 inch. Special sanded grout mixtures are made depending on grout size and other factors. This kind of grout resists cracking and shrinkage, making it ideal for use in flooring.

Unsanded grout is preferred for minor joints under 1/8 of an inch. It has a softer texture that does not harm delicate tiles and textures. It is preferred to cling tiles to vertical surfaces. For projects like a shower wall or backsplash, or if you are utilizing honed, polished, or rectified stone tiles, unsanded grout is optimal.


Because silica sand is less expensive than cement, sanded grout is the most cost-effective option. As unsanded grout contains more cement, it is far more costly than sanded grout. Unsanded grout also contains more expensive polymers needed to complete the job.


Many people often overlook installation ease among the differences between sanded vs unsanded grout. Sanded grout is easier to use for people who are unsure of their abilities or have recently learned the craft. Use sanded grout with scratch-resistant tiles to avoid accidentally scraping the tiles during installation.

It usually is more challenging to install tiles with unsanded grout. As unsanded grout works best with tiles that can be easily scratched, you need a skilled, steady hand to work with it. Generally, ceramics, some porcelains, glass, and travertine tiles are installed with unsanded grout.


The structural integrity of tile work is improved by using grout. It also keeps debris and moisture out of the tiles and ensures that they are kept at a safe distance apart. If you are confused about the type of grout for your project, think about the size of the junction and the type of tile you are dealing with.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1 How long does it take for grout to dry?

Grout takes an average of 24 hours (1 full day) to cure completely. However, the length of curing will be determined by the nature and magnitude of your project.

Q.2 Can I change the grout color?

Yes, technically. Some homeowners prefer to tint the grout to make it darker or even out color variances. You can benefit from the extra advantage of some grout stain products that also work as a sealant.

Q.3 How often should I clean grout?

Cleaning the grout at least once every 2 to 3 months is ideal. To avoid the unpleasant build-up of spots or stains, it is also good to undertake regular spot cleaning. This will also make deep cleaning a lot easier for you.


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