Both grout and caulk are used as sealants for various projects, but if you’re not sure what the difference is, you’re not alone! In fact, both grout and caulk have particular uses and cannot be used interchangeably. So, before starting your next renovation or repair project, be sure you have the suitable materials for the job. Here are some basics about the differences between grout and caulk.
What are the Differences Between Grout and Caulk?
Where Do You Use Grout?
Grout is used to seal tilework together on floors, walls, backsplashes, and more. Traditionally, it’s made of cement with or without sand added. Since this material can be porous, it needs to be sealed before any water gets on it to prevent mold or mildew growth. However, different types of grout, like epoxy, are less porous and can be easier to clean. Tint can also be added to grout, so depending on your project, you may opt for a black or tan-colored grout around your tiles.
Types of Grout
Sanded: Sanded grout is cement-based and has sand added to it, making it more resistant to cracking and chipping. It’s great for large, unpolished stone and on floors with large tiles.
Non-Sanded: Perfect for softer and polished stone, like marble, this cement-based grout is suitable for small tiles with smaller joints. This is great for tiled walls and delicate floorwork.
Epoxy: Epoxy is more durable, less porous, and less absorbent than sanded and non-sanded grouts and does not need any sealant! This grout is perfect for any environment that gets wet or damp, like bathrooms and kitchen counters.
Caring for Grout
Grout care is simple! When cleaning, use a neutral, soap-free cleaner and dry it quickly with a towel or a wet vacuum.
Where Do You Use Caulk?
Caulk is the go-to sealer for preventing water leakage when two different fixtures or surfaces meet. It’s applied at joints and seams or in cracks, gaps, and breaks in sidings, tiles, baseboards, and more. However, grout and caulk are not interchangeable! Over time, caulk can dry out and peel or shrink, so it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for grout between tiles or large installations.
Types of Caulk
Silicone: While it’s not the best for areas you’d like to paint over, silicone is durable, flexible, and can withstand temperature fluctuations, so it’s great for the outdoors.
Latex: Latex applies easily and is great for areas you’d like to paint over afterward. If it gets somewhere it shouldn’t be, it’s easy to clean up with soapy water before it dries.
Siliconized Acrylic: It’s the best of both worlds! It’s easier to apply than silicone caulk but is excellent for indoor and outdoor applications. It can also be used to weatherproof windows and doors.
Caring for Caulk
Unlike grout, caulk needs a little more TLC. To ensure your caulk lasts for a long time, keep your bathroom as dry as possible using a squeegee or a towel. Make sure you keep air circulation going to reduce any mildew or mold. Keeping your light on for at least 15 minutes after a shower can also help keep down any growth.
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