Have No Doubts When Selecting Grout

Not many of our clients think about grout color when they are selecting a tile. Sometimes when we bring it up the client seems surprised that it’s a decision they even need to be involved in. Sometimes they look panicked like – I thought I was done with tile decisions!
Grout is definitely not as sexy as the tile itself however it can have a dramatic impact on the look and feel of the tile. For example, white subway tile has been a staple for kitchens and is not going away anytime in the foreseeable future. If white tile is paired with white grout, the distinction between the tile and grout disappears creating a look that does not typically catch the eye.

Below are some examples of kitchens that have white tile & white grout…

Photo by WING Ta via Domino

Designed by Studio McGee

Photo by Mia Baxter via Domino

Designed by Becki Owens via Domino

A grout color that contrasts with white or lighter tiles makes a definitive distinction. We also tend to avoid white grout because it takes extra effort to clean and maintain. We often contrast white tiles and white based tiles with a soft gray grout especially in traditional or transitional designs because of its timeless look and its ability to complement Shaker-style cabinets, veined stone counters and wood floors.

Here are some other kitchens where they have used a soft grey grout to contrast with the tile…

Designed by Studio McGee

Photo by Jeremey Liebman via Domino

Kitchen from the movie “The Intern” from Warner Bros.

Another popular trend with white tiles, especially backsplashes, is to pair them with darker colored grout to create a look that makes the tile a focal point of the kitchen.

Photo by Brittany Ambridge via Domino

Designed by Studio McGee

The same rules apply when using dark tiles for flooring or wall coverings. Lighter colored grout serves to contrast the tile and highlight patterns.

We like to recommend a colored grout to help highlight other colors in the kitchen or bath. Colored grouts are also often paired with colored and patterned tiles. But this can be tricky if you are not familiar with color schemes and contrasting colors that complement one another. Using white or light grout with colored tiles helps to soften the space and provide cleaner lines. When clients opt for a bright red or orange colored tile, we would pair that with a white grout.

The finish of the tile is another consideration when specifying grout. If the tile is glossy, it will appear lighter on a wall surface. A lighter grout color works best with glossy tiles.

Tile is not the only material that affects how grout looks and feels in a new kitchen or bath. We account for surrounding materials and other color schemes specified for the kitchen. Incorporating brown and red tones into grout serves to complement brick, wood, leather and stone.

There are also different considerations for floor tile than backsplash or wall tile seen at eye level. We often recommend contrasting the tile and the grout to add richness to the look.

Color is only one factor to consider when specifying grout. Another is thickness. If the grout matches the tile, we recommend a thin grout application to give the appearance of one continuous material. The shape of the tile impacts the grout thickness. For circular tile, often used on bathroom floors and shower bases, we suggest using a thicker grout pattern to make the tile stand out. When we work with bathrooms that have multiple tiled surfaces we tend to specify the same color grout for both walls and floors to help assure a harmonious look.

Understanding the effect grout color, thickness and applications have on a new kitchen or bath project is essential to make our clients smile.