What is Grout? What is Caulk?
Grout and caulking are commonly used in the same household rooms and available in the same colors, but this is where the similarities end. Don’t be bashful if you have trouble deciphering between the two, most do. The following information may help push you into the right direction before you dive into a bathroom remodel or other D.I.Y.’ing.
What is grout used for???
“Grout- a thin, coarse mortar poured into various narrow cavities… to fill them and consolidate the adjoining objects into a solid mass.” In layman’s terms, grout is used to fill the spaces (tile joints, grout lines) between ceramic tiles and wall tiles. It has a cement like look to it, and helps keep the tiles in place. It should really only be used between 2 surfaces of the same type. There are two kinds of grout: sanded and unsanded. It can come pre-mixed and in a ready-to-use bucket (like the Bostik QuartzLock 2 Urethane Grout bucket shown below) or a powder form that must be mixed with water before it is used (see custom building products grout sack below).
What is caulking used for?
Caulking, unlike grout, can fill the gaps between different types of products and has a bit of flexibility to it.It is used mostly in areas where water is constantly present, to seal a crevice or area from the moisture. Areas where you will commonly see or use caulking would be the 90 degree angle where the tub meets the bathroom flooring, back-splash in bathrooms and kitchens, and where a vanity or sink meets a tile wall. Some people even use caulking on the edges of windows to waterproof. The most popular area to use caulking would be the shower/tub. Below is a picture to show you the main areas you will find caulking and grout.
The grey tiles are joined together with the black grout lines. When the tub meets the tile flooring, caulking must be used to give the area a waterproof seal (caulking shown in red). I don’t ever recommend using black grout with red caulk, but I needed to use colors that would stand out! 🙂
Caulking traditionally is available in a 10.3 ounce cylindrical tube that ia used in a caulking gun. You can also purchase them in smaller squeeze tubes (I would not recommend this for large areas of caulking that need to take place.) Caulk, like grout, comes in sanded and unsanded. Sanded caulking will literally look like sand has been mixed into the caulk, giving a textured look. Unsanded caulking, on the other hand, will have a smooth appearance.
Where can I find Grout and Colored Caulking?
Powder form grout can be found at most hardware stores from manufacturers such as Custom Building Products, Laticrete, and many more. Ready-to-use grout such as the manufacturer Bostik QuartzLock2, can be found here on our site.
The biggest road block people usually have when it comes to colored caulking, is matching it to their grout/tile/etc. There is a manufacturer named Colorfast Industires that we carry on our site, that matches caulking to most major grout lines. If you have Custom Building Products color Driftwood grout, we have a caulking to match! Clueless about which color you want? Request color charts so you can view the full color line of caulking. This way you can find a caulking that suits you and your room scheme.
Hopefully this was able to help you decipher between the two compounds, so you don’t end up googling “What happens if I used caulking to install tiles.”
Link to caulking on our site: http://www.installerstore.com/Colored-Caulk.html
Link to ready-to-use Urethane grout on our site: http://www.installerstore.com/Urethane-Premixed-Grout.html