Can You Tile Without Grout? [And Here’s How]

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Admit it: any time you start a tiling project, you want it to be done as soon as possible. Adding grout only adds time and expense to your project, and some people don’t like its look. Grout is also hard to clean. This raises the question, “Can you tile without grout?” We’ve done the research to help answer this question.

In short, the answer is no. You shouldn’t attempt to tile without grout. Grout is necessary to protect your tile and the wall behind your tile. However, if you don’t like the appearance of grout lines, there is a way that you can minimize them.

You may be wondering, “Well, how do I do that?” We will explain exactly how to do that in this article. We’ll also cover topics such as groutless tile, alternatives to grout, floating tile, and interlocking tiles. Continue reading to learn more.

tiling - man laying marble texture hexagon tiles on the wall, Can You Tile Without Grout? [And Here's How]

Why Is Grout Necessary?

Having to mix up grout, apply it, and wipe off the excess can add a lot of extra work to your project. This can be exhausting when all you want is to just be done with it. Although grout may seem like an unnecessary extra step, there are several reasons why it is necessary to use grout with any tiling project.

Grouting tiles male hand with the rubber applies grout on a seam between tiles

Protecting The Wall Or Floor

The two places where tile is most often used are in the kitchen and the bathroom. The common theme between these two areas is that they produce a lot of moisture. The kitchen adds another hazard: food spills. One reason you should use grout is to keep water and food spills from getting behind the tile. Otherwise, your wall or floor could become damaged, and mold could grow behind the tiles.

Protecting The Tiles

When you install tiles, the tiles themselves rub up against and apply pressure to each other. As you add tiles, more pressure is added to the tiles on the bottom row by the tiles on the rows above it. By applying grout to the tiles, you are providing a “cushion” to the tiles. This keeps them from getting cracked or broken.

Preventing Tiles From Moving

This reason why grout is necessary goes hand-in-hand with the one above it. Even if tiles don’t crack under pressure, they can shift due to the weight of the tiles around them or as a result of your house shifting over time. Grout keeps tiles in place as it hardens, and keeps them from moving over time. It also helps to keep the tiles in a straight line.

Click here to see this pre-mixed grout on Amazon.

See More: How To Choose Grout For Your Backsplash 

What If I Don’t Like The Way Grout Looks?

The necessity of grout is too important to ignore. However, some people are still hesitant to use it because they don’t like the way it looks or they think it will ruin the appearance of the tile. If this sounds like you, there are a few options you could try.

First, you should know that grout has come a long way since it was first invented. Grout used to come in one color, which resembled cement. Today, grout can be purchased in many different colors so that you can coordinate it with your tile. Or, you can buy grout in a contrasting color to add another design element to your kitchen. 

Grout no longer has to look dull and boring. However, if you still aren’t convinced, or it’s the grout lines themselves that you don’t like, we’re here to offer another solution. There is a specific type of tile that you can purchase to minimize the appearance of the grout. We’ll tell you how in the next section.

How To Minimize Grout Lines When Installing Tile

One reason tiles can shift and break is that they aren’t of uniform size and shape. This is especially true of tiles that are made of stone. But it’s also important to remember that the more space you have between tiles, the more likely they are to shift. 

To reduce the amount of movement that happens, you need to use consistent tiles and fit them together without a lot of space between them. This would make grout less necessary. In this case, the type of tile you would want is called rectified tile.

What Exactly Is Rectified Tile?

Close up white vintage ceramic brick tile wall

Rectified tiles are tiles that have been ground down to give them a size and shape consistent across all the tiles. Tiles that are rectified fit together better than tiles that aren’t. This reduces the gap between them to keep them from rubbing against each other, shifting, or breaking.

If you want to avoid using grout altogether, you should purchase rectified tiles with a variance of 0.0025 inches or less. The tiles will fit so closely together that grout may not be necessary. However, the more variance they have, the larger the joint between tiles will be. This increases the need to use grout.

Rectified tiles are very common, and they aren’t hard to find for purchase. The downside is that they are usually made out of porcelain or ceramic. So if you want tile in a different material, rectified tile may not work for you.

It’s also important to remember that grout serves another purpose besides just preventing tiles from moving. Grout protects the wall or floor from getting damaged due to excess moisture and helps keep the tiles from separating. Even a tiny space between tiles is small enough to allow water to pass through. So even if you do purchase rectified tiles, it is still a good idea to use grout.

Is There Such A Thing As Groutless Tile?

White ceramic hexagon tiles mosaic with gold grout in seams

There is such a thing as “groutless tile.” The way that it works is that the tiles adhere to a mesh backing which keeps them all in one place. You apply the mortar to the wall, then place the tile onto the mortar. Gently tap the tiles into place with a rubber mallet to ensure that they are level and aren’t sticking out anywhere.

However, groutless tile does have a downside. Many people like to use groutless tile in their shower because the moisture can cause mildew to grow on grout. This makes it difficult to clean. However, by not using grout, you are risking moisture getting behind the tile if, by some chance, it didn’t adhere properly in all areas.

It’s also possible that while tile may be marketed as groutless, there may still be small gaps in between the tiles. If that is the case, it is still a good idea to use grout. The grout lines will be minimal and, therefore, won’t require as much cleaning.

Are There Alternatives To Grout?

While grout is necessary for tiling projects because it keeps moisture from getting behind the tile, the porous nature still allows dirt and moisture to get in the grout itself. This can cause mold and mildew to grow in the spaces between tiles which can be annoying to try to clean. 

If you don’t like traditional grout for this very reason, there is an alternative to the standard cement-based grout that is commonly used. It’s called epoxy grout, and many people prefer to use it instead. Unlike cement grout, epoxy grout is resistant to stains and doesn’t allow water in. This makes it easier to clean, and it won’t cause mold and mildew to grow either.

Click here to see this grout and granite sealer on Amazon.

See More: Should Floor And Wall Grout Match?

What Is SnapStone Floating Tile?

SnapStone Floating Tile is a ceramic tile flooring that is easy to install. It can be installed without the use of mortar or backer board. Instead, the individual tiles adhere to a tray that has tabs that click together. It is called a “floating” tile because it doesn’t adhere to the subfloor in any way. 

The tiles are installed by placing them on the floor and sliding them together until they click. You don’t even have to use spacers because they consistently space themselves when they click together. Then, you use grout to fill in the spaces.

Do Interlocking Tiles Need Grout?

Interlocking tiles do not need grout. Usually, these tiles are designed to click together due to something known as tongue-and-groove. The tiles typically come with built-in grout and can be used anywhere in the house that isn’t frequently exposed to large amounts of water, such as the shower floor. They can also be installed over existing hardwood flooring, so there is no need to pull up existing flooring before installation.

In Closing

We hope you found all of the answers to your questions about the necessity of grout in this article. Some grout is usually a good idea for protection and to keep the tiles from moving. But if you don’t like traditional grout, there are other grout or groutless options available. Thanks for reading!

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