Coloured grout: everything you need to know

Coloured grout is on the rise and is no longer just plain white. We know this is not the sexiest of topics, but please stick with us.

As tiles become bolder, so does the grout. In 2023, we’re seeing a rise in coloured options and creative designs. From which type of grout you should choose to how you can maintain it, we’ve asked the industry experts for their top tips and advice…

Why should you choose coloured grout?

“It can elevate the overall aesthetic of a bathroom,” says Martin Winterburn, marketing manager at Total Tiles. “Using a contrasting grout colour to the tiles can help draw the eye in – ideal for highlighting a pattern such as the herringbone or brick bond, or even those tiles with rounded or angular edges.

“Alternatively, you can use a matching grout to make the design look more spacious. With wood-effect tiles, a small joint with black grout emulates gaps between the planks similar to real wood, while natural stone is best paired with a neutral grout for a classic look,” he explains.

Black tiles in kitchen
Kromatika Hexagon black tiles, from £49.95 per sq m, Tile Mountain.

How to choose the right grout

We know choosing tiles can sometimes feel overwhelming – between the different styles, colours and variations, you can spend hours deciding on a design. And now you must also find the suitable grout for your walls and floors. Fear not – we’ve got you covered.

There are two main types of grout:

  • Cement-based – easier to work with but more prone to damage.
  • Epoxy – water-resistant and ideal for wetrooms. It also ensures grout lines remain free from discolouration and the dreaded black mould.

The type of floor also matters. For example, your tiles don’t necessarily need flexible grout if you have a stable, concrete floor. When tiling a timber floor, however, you must use a flexible solution that considers the inherent movement of the material. Likewise, when tiling a floor that has underfloor heating, it’s vital to use flexible grout.

Speak to your tiler or bathroom designer about the best option for you and your lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is no magic grout that will suit all spaces, so take the time to choose accordingly.

White tiles with black grout
Pixel white hexagon matt mosaic, £6.95 per sheet, Walls and Floors.

Maintenance and mould prevention

You may be in the throes of deep cleaning and one dreaded task is getting the bathroom sorted, which means you also have to tackle the grout.

Most modern grouts have special chemicals and anti-bacterial agents to help prevent mould and mildew. You can also put sealants on it and the tiles to help prevent build-up. Keep in mind that prevention is a lot easier than scrubbing the grout every couple of months.

But let’s get into the science behind grout a bit more. “Cementitious grout is porous – although not to the degree that will allow water damage – and, as such, is susceptible to stain absorption,” suggest the experts at Tile Mountain. “Sealing the grout will provide that extra layer of protection, but at some point, it’s still likely that your grout joints will require cleaning. We recommend regularly using products that are formulated to prevent the absorption of stains by grout and, because they’re often water-based, won’t harm your tiles.

“If you don’t want to invest in a dedicated grout cleaning product, you can always create your own using baking soda and water. Simply add one-part water to two parts baking soda and mix into a paste, rub it on the stained grout, let it sit overnight, then scrub off the following day with a stiff nylon brush,” they advise.

Green tiles with pink grout
Mapei grout in Cherry Red, £206.06 per sq m, Mandarin Stone.

More cleaning tips

Keeping grout clean can be a constant battle. Plus, tiles are prone to the build-up of mould, which can quickly make your bathroom walls or floor unsightly.

Luckily, the experts at the Roxor Group have put together a helpful guide for you:

  • The easiest way to remove mould is by dipping an old toothbrush in a solution of one-part bleach to four-parts of water.
  • Using a bit of elbow grease, scrub the mould away and rinse with water. But be careful not to scrub too hard, or you may damage the grouting.
  • To remove mould from walls and surfaces without tiles, use the same solution and gently scrub using a damp cloth until the mould is gone.
  • Dry the area well with a soft cloth.
Pink tiles with dark grout in bathroom
Maine Heritage Red tiles, from £52.89 per sq m, and Martinique Blush Pink tiles, from £47.51 per sq m, Craven Dunnill.

Tile planning

Planning the tiles in a kitchen or bathroom can be tricky – especially if you want to do more than just plain white. We recommend getting tile samples. This way you can see what they look like in the room, in natural lighting – similar to paint swatches. Even stick them to the wall with blu tack if you are apprehensive.

If you want to create a fun design using tiles, try out each variation to see what works best. “Deciding early on how you want your tiles fitted will help plan the overall layout and allow for minimal cuts and wastage later on in your project,” explains Martin.

Sometimes, a simple orientation switch can actually make the room look larger, so play around before deciding. For example, rectangular tiles placed vertically can make the ceiling look taller as the grout joints appear to look further apart.

For a contemporary look or if you’re looking for tiles which have a small grout joint, Martin recommends looking for solutions with rectified edges. “This means it’s been through an extra process during manufacturing, giving it precise, straight edges to allow for a narrow grout joint. These are especially effective with marble-effect or heavily patterned tiles so as to not to distract from the main feature,” he says.

Bathroom with freestanding bath and blue tiles
Teal metro tiles with grey grout, from £22 per sq m, Total Tiles.

Coloured grout ideas

Now, which colour grout and tile should you choose? Should you go with something similar to tie everything together or something contrasting? Coloured grout is not for everyone as it does make a big statement but if you love bold designs, go for it. But keep in mind that the shade you choose initially will look a bit different over time.

“Darker coloured grouts such as black or anthracite could stain natural stone tiles so it’s advised you stick with lighter or neutral shades,” suggests Martin. “Or for full flexibility over grout colour choice, opt for a stone-effect porcelain tile instead.”

Shower area with teal and white tiles and coloured grout
Poise rounded edge ceramic tiles in Teal, £94 per sq m, shown with Poise square-edged ceramic tiles in white, £79 per sq m, and Mapei Ultracolor Plus grout in 171 Turquoise, £59 per 5kg bag, all from Domus.

Enjoyed this post? Here are 5 top tips for buying the right bathroom wall and floor tiles

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