Tile Grout


Often, when cleaning ceramic floors, it’s called ceramic tile cleaning, but the “ceramic” is rarely the problem. This ceramic glaze, generally, cleans up nicely with a damp mop.

The space between is usually filled with, a material called “grout”. For ceramic and marble a cement based product is often used. The cement based product is porous, which means it is prone to collecting spills and dirt.

Sometimes a waterless epoxy is used. This is more of a “plastic” type, non porous product. It's, usually, as simple as wiping it off, to clean it.
This type of groutline is recommended for kitchen countertops.


Ceramic tile Groutlines are usually a cement based product with sand in it or, “sanded”. Ceramic is usually spaced about 3/8” apart which is one of the ways it can be identified.

Marble, is a relatively soft material and does not deal with sand well. It will scratch. Because of this, marble is usually installed with “non-sanded” grout. Marble is often placed approx. 1/8” apart; much closer than ceramic. The non sanded, as well as not being abrasive to the marble, works its way into the small spaces well.


Sometimes ceramic and marble is coated with a polyurethane product. This might work, but often is frowned upon because it can hide the beauty of marble and on ceramic; it can be a nightmare to remove, if this finish needs replacing.


Often, marble and concrete are polished. A polished marble is beautiful and, relatively, easy to maintain.  


A method, sometimes used, to make tile groutline more soil repellent and easier to clean, is sealer. When sealers first came on the market, they were, sometimes, non-porous. This would create a non porous surface that would not allow moisture, in the concrete, underneath, to escape. Sometimes, pressure would build up and blow the tiles off the floor......not good. :)


Later, sealers were made porous or breathable, to allow moisture to escape.


Groutline color can be changed. Sometimes dark groutlines, which have had a light colored, acrylic coating painted on, will peel slightly giving the dark exposed segments the look of soil or it can be mistaken as coloring that was added instead of the color underneath. If it has been colored with an acrylic “coating”, it’s important to know it won’t come off during cleaning, making dark sections, show up. Sometimes a very sticky tape applied and ripped off can be an indicator of the colorings stability. (Be careful!)

There are penetrating sealers that have color added to them. These become part of the groutline, rather than sitting on top.


Alkaline cleaners can remove sealers or, at least, reduce their effectiveness. For this reason, when sealing grout it’s a good idea to either give the customer a neutral cleaner or…..sell it to them.

Don’t forget to put a sticker on the bottle with your contact information.


                  MAKE MONEY!


                  Dennis Klager
                  IICRC Instructor

Copyright 2012 by Dennis Klager