Sanded grout vs unsanded grout

Sanded grout vs unsanded groutGrout is the material that goes between tiles to fill gaps and ensure the structural integrity of the project. It is also quite visible working on both a functional and aesthetic level.

When purchasing grout, you will have to choose between sanded grout vs. unsanded grout options. This article will outline the similarities and differences so you can make a choice that is right for you.

What is the Difference Between Sanded and Unsanded Grout?

When comparing sanded and unsanded grout, you will notice that sanded grout contains fine sand. It is a cheaper option and it provides a tight lock. This makes it a good choice for most grouting projects. Sanded grout should be sealed after installation.

Unsanded grout contains no sand. It is recommended for thin grout lines, delicate tile surfaces and most glass tile. Sealing is not required when using unsanded grout, but it is recommended.


Both sanded and unsanded grout will work well for bathroom and kitchen floors and shower pans. However, only unsanded grout is recommended for the following applications:

  • Rectified tile
  • Shower walls
  • Bathroom walls
  • Polished or honed stone

In general, you should think of sanded grout as your go-to for most jobs with the exception of a few outliers that absolutely require the unsanded variety. This is because it holds up better structurally.

However, while you can use either sanded or unsanded grout for vertical tile, the unsanded grout will provide a better working material. It sticks to vertical surfaces better and it provides less of a slump than sanded grout does. Another benefit is that it does not need to be sealed.

Grout Widths

You can also determine what grout you should use based on the width of the grout line that needs to be filled.  Sanded grout is best for grout lines that range from 1/8 to ½ inch.

Unsanded grout is a better option for lines that range from 1/16 to 1/8 inch. It is the preferred choice because sanded grout will not compact well in thinner grout lines.

Pros and Cons

Sanded and unsanded grout both have their shares of pros and cons. Here are some to consider when determining the option that is best for you.

Sanded Grout Pros:

  • Less expensive
  • Denser joints
  • More color choices

Sanded Grout Cons:

  • Can scratch surfaces
  • Can be difficult to force into thin seams
  • Must be sealed with a pH-neutral, water based, penetrating sealer

Unsanded Grout Pros:

  • Less slump on vertical surfaces
  • Less damaging to sensitive tile
  • Sealing is not required on some applications

Unsanded Grout Cons:

  • More expensive than sanded grout
  • Fewer color choices
  • Slumps when applied to wide seams

If you are working on a grouting project, choosing the right grout will be an important part of ensuring your success. Hopefully this article has given you information that can help you make a decision that’s right for you. Here’s hoping your rooms end up looking their very best. In need of help on your next grout project? Let us know!




1 Comment
  1. I had a stone tile backsplash called Macchu Picchu Amalifi installed in my kitchen. We used a polyblend sanded grout which was completed 48 hrs ago. The stone tile is very porous, and 90% of the tiles have leftover grout dried into the deeper holes. We got ahead of ourselves, and did not properly get the tile sponged and wiped. Any grout / haze removers for sanded grout are acidic, which i have read, should not be used on this type of stone tile. And I am guessing that any haze remover for non-sanded grout will not be strong enough to do anything. I have tried vinigar and water, which is also somewhat acidic, and not recomended, and also sugar and water, but it didn’t work too well. Any help would be greatly appreiciated. Thanks.

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