Sometimes people say, there's the right way and then the right way. Usually, the difference involves time and money. What if it doesn't? There is always more than one way to do a job around the house. Using an alternative to grout in the bathroom is one more example of using creativity to better suit your individual home's needs. We've researched grout alternatives to give you the best options if you want to get creative with your next DIY project.
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Alternatives to traditional cement-based grout include non-cement grout materials such as epoxy grout, latex additives, caulk, silicone sealant, and urethane grout. Also, consider re-design options such as shower panels, laminated wall panels, or paint.
With the wide berth of available products on today's market, there are many choices if looking for an alternative to grout. Keep reading to learn more about each of these options and how to best incorporate each material into your home project.
- Can You Tile A Bathroom Without Grout?
- Non-cement Grout Alternatives
- Re-Design Alternatives
- Does Peel And Stick Backsplash Need Grout?
- Final Thoughts
Can You Tile A Bathroom Without Grout?
Tiling a bathroom without grout is doable. The function of grout acts as a go-between in a tile project. It provides the extra strength and takes up the extra space to prevent tiles from cracking. Often, aesthetically, grout is also used to provide contrast and a finished look to a tile project.
Traditional cement-based grout is sanded or un-sanded. The added sand to the compound creates a stronger bond, but it can also scratch tiles. Sanded grout needs to be used for larger joints 1/8" or larger. The sand takes up more space, therefore, it needs to fill more space.
Un-sanded grout is often used for lines smaller than 1/8". It does not have the gritty texture of sanded grout. However, using grout is a science, and if a project cannot be done within a required time, usually around 30 minutes, the batch has to be thrown out because it turns to cement. The timeline is not forgiving, and making the right batch size can be difficult to judge. With this in mind, there are some alternatives to grout you may find very helpful.
Non-cement Grout Alternatives
1. Epoxy Grout
Epoxy grout compounds comprise silica fibers and epoxy additives for strength. This blend is known for its durability and shields against stains, moisture, and erosion from chemical cleaning. When using epoxy grout, use caution if also using tile that is highly absorbent. While the combination creates a barrier against stains, it can stain the tile it is paired with. Always do a test before applying to a large area.
2. Latex Additives
Latex grout additive works with a wide variety of materials. Whether glass or stone tiles, mosaics, and used indoors, or outdoors, latex additives work to increase versatility and durability with cement-based grout powders. It forms a better fastening with the tile and a stronger hold over time.
Caulk surpasses grout in its versatility because it can be used anywhere any two materials in the bathroom meet. Wherever seams exist, caulk provides a positive solution with an easy application and waterproof seal. Caulk comes in a variety of colors, like grout. The downside of caulk is that, over time, it may shrink, but so can grout.
4. Silicone Sealant
If you've wondered, can you use silicone sealant instead of grout, let's set the record straight. Silicone furnishes an excellent solution in alternatives for grout. Made specifically for water resistance, silicone withstands pressure and time with fewer cracks than the grout counterpart. It buffers movement the tile or wall may experience without cracking or loosening the tile.
5. Urethane Grout
This grout is another alternative synthetic-based grout that seals itself. The major advantage to urethane grout is three-fold. Urethane grout is mold and mildew resistant, highly adverse to stains, and seals itself. There are no extra layers to apply after the grout has been applied to the tile. This grout works particularly well with glass tiles and comes in a pre-mixed form.
What Is The Thinnest Grout Line Possible?
The thinnest grout line possible is 1/16". Anything smaller than 1/16" will not give any substance the ability to support tile in a way that is helpful and durable. Instead, the small lines create incredibly small and difficult spots to apply, clean, or touch-up.
Can You Use Filler Instead Of Grout?
Grout is a type of filler. There are other fillers as well. Some include caulk or epoxy compounds. A filler takes up the spaces and helps provide an even transition from one space to another. That is referred to as a grout line when completing a tile project. There are many fillers that fulfill this requirement beyond the use of grout.
Maybe the alternative is not a different type of adhesion but a different method of material design. There are many types of water-resistant and mold and mildew resistant panels on today's market that come in a variety of styles. These all have easy, wipeable surfaces without the grout joints that take time and effort to try and clean. They also do not break down over time as grout does.
6. Shower Panels
Rather than go through a labor-intensive application process of mortar, tile, and sealant, shower panels can provide a smooth, finished look with fewer seams and less continual care. Shower panels create significantly less mess than the dust and difficulty in a tile installation. Lastly, this product often saves up-front and in the long run of installation and maintenance compared to tile walls.
7. Laminated Wall Panels
Laminate wall panels have many of the same perks as shower panels. They cut with ease compared to a tile project and have high durability. Laminated wall panels work very well in small spaces from a small bathroom or tiny home. Often laminated panels can also be used in less traditional structures, like boats or RV's. In any of these situations, laminate wall panels offer a quick set-up with easy clean-up from the project and day-to-day use.
Paint offers a low-cost solution with an incredible amount of variety to any room. Paints come in mold and mildew resistant combinations, as well as the primer that might be underneath. There are so many variables when including special stylized paints, such as metallics or chalk. With the use of stencils, paint can also offer contrast to a bathroom that will add style to the entire house.
Does Peel And Stick Backsplash Need Grout?
Peel and stick backsplashes offer a fast alternative that has very few seams compared to a tile backsplash. While that is true, it does have tiny crevices between where two pieces may meet or line-up. This is a place water can penetrate. In order to avoid water absorption, seal all seams around the backsplash and then use a clear sealer that will prevent any mold or mildew. If backsplashes are sealed, they do not need grout.
Alternatives to grout can be used in many places within the bathroom. Sometimes, the answer may be to eliminate the problem before it becomes one. Grout and its alternatives can be used for the backsplash, floor, or walls of the room. Especially if the flooring needs to be considered within the project, remember there are many effective and low-cost flooring solutions beyond the tile, mortar, and grout combination. Click here to find 10 bathroom flooring alternatives that may be meant for your house.
Tired of the same backsplash in the bathroom? Click here to learn how to paint tile backsplash in seven simple steps. There are many ways to update and add style to your home that will make it uniquely yours. Using alternatives to traditional methods can keep budgets in check and create stunning results.