&noscript=1 /> Sanded vs Unsanded Grout & Natural Stone Tiles - StoneImpressions

When it comes to installing natural stone tiles, there are a couple of key supplies you will need to ensure a flawless final installation.

Namely, you’ll need a proper thin-set adhesive for natural stone tiles and adequate grout.

You might be thinking: Aren’t thin-set adhesives and grout the same thing? 

That’s a common misconception! Thin-set adhesives are used to adhere tiles to a surface, while grout fills in the spaces between those tiles once they’re installed.

Today, we are going to dive a bit deeper into the world of grout so you can understand what grout you need for crafting a stunning, decorative tile installation.

Keep reading to discover the difference between sanded vs. unsanded grout and which type of grout is best for your natural stone tiles!


Sanded vs Unsanded Grout Definitions

First, we need to look at the difference between the two main types of grout: sanded and unsanded.

Both sanded and unsanded grout perform the same function. Either can be used to fill the spaces between tiles after installation and securely lock the tiles in place.

Sanded grout, as the name implies, is a mixture of:

  • Silica sand
  • Portland cement-based grout
  • Inorganic aggregates
  • Chemicals

Unsanded grout, also known as non-sanded grout, is a mixture of:

  • Portland cement-based grout
  • Inorganic aggregates
  • Chemicals

As you can see from the descriptions above, the main difference between these two types of grout is the presence, or lack thereof, of silica sand.


Unsanded Grout for Natural Stone Tiles


Do I Use Sanded or Unsanded Grout for StoneImpressions Tiles?

Being a product of nature and artisan craftsmanship, our natural stone patterned tiles require special handling and care.

That’s why you’ll want to use unsanded grout to install your StoneImpressions tiles.

Like we mentioned above, unsanded grout does not have any silica sand.

This absence of abrasive particles means that unsanded grout has a smoother texture and works well with scratch-sensitive surfaces, like decorative art tiles. Unsanded grout is also less porous than sanded grout, which, due to its porous nature, carries the risk of water infiltration and damage to the underlying installation surface if not properly installed.

Another added bonus of unsanded grout?

It is easier to use on vertical surfaces, like kitchen backsplashes or powder room walls!

Can I Use Sanded Grout on Natural Stone? 

In short, it depends.

While we recommend unsanded grout for StoneImpressions tiles, you can use both types of grout to install natural stone tiles. The key here is to make sure you pick a grout that is compatible with your stone type and installation location.

Each grout type has specific benefits and recommended uses. Review some of the common characteristics and applications for sanded and unsanded grout, below:

Sanded Grout Unsanded Grout
Best for larger grout joints (1/8” – 1/2”) Best for thinner grout joints (>1/8” – 1/16”)
Can scratch sensitive tile surfaces Will not scratch sensitive tile surfaces
Less expensive than unsanded grout More expensive than sanded grout
More color choices than unsanded grout Fewer color choices than sanded grout
Slumps on vertical surfaces Suited for vertical surfaces and applications
Contains silica sand particles, less smooth Does not contain silica sand particles, smooth

If you are ever confused about which grout to use, we recommend reaching out to your tile manufacturer directly. They will be able to provide you with a list of tried-and-true grout products they have used and approved for their tiles.


Which Grout Should I Use With StoneImpressions Tile? 

If you are installing our Made to Order pattern tiles, quick-ship Artisan Stone Tile designs, or tile murals, we recommend using the following unsanded grouts:

  • Laticrete Unsanded Grout
  • Mapei Unsanded Grout

For wider grout joints, we recommend fine aggregate grouts that provide superior support without scratching or damaging the natural stone. Below are two of the fine aggregate grout products we recommend for installing tiles with wider grout joints:

  • Laticrete Permacolor Grout
  • Mapei Ultracolor Plus


Get to Grouting

Go forth and grout!

Ready to move forward with your tile installation? See where you can buy StoneImpressions tile and connect with an approved distributor in your local area today.

Looking for installation inspiration for your next home project? Discover our 2021 Artisan Stone Tile designs or our gallery of kitchen backsplash design ideas!