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  • Writer's pictureKerri Jamison

Choosing Grout Color

You finally found the perfect tile for your space and suddenly you must make a decision about grout color. You don't give it much thought and go with whatever shade the salesman suggests. But wait! Is that the right choice? Should you choose a contrasting color? How will it look in 5 years? Decisions, decisions. Gone are the days of 1/2 inch grout lines and 12X12 tiles.

Still you must choose the best grout color because you may regret it if you don't. Why? Depending on where the tile is will determine what grout color is the best choice. Here are some considerations.

Grout Staining

Although white grout looks clean immediately after installation, hard-to-remove stains set in quickly with use. In a high-traffic area, dirt will quickly show up on the main walking areas. In a shower without proper ventilation, mold and mildew develop or well water can leave grout looking rusty. At the same time dark grout will show soap residue. On a backsplash, food stains like spaghetti sauce cooking on a stovetop may be hard to remove.

Contrasting Grout and Tile

Dark grout is often used with subway tile (which I will discuss my thoughts about in a later post) and many other light tiles. This is a matter of opinion. I think light grout is not the best choice anywhere but the shower since most of the time the dirt in a shower doesn't have long enough to sit on the grout to cause a stain. The exception to this is with well water that contains a lot of iron which will stain porous surfaces. If you wish to have that light, bright look, that white tile with white grout provides, shower walls are the perfect place to do it. With a square or rectangular shaped tile, I would suggest going with a grout that is the best match to the tile. However with more elaborate tile shapes, a contrasting color highlights the intricacies of a mosaic.

Dark Grout, Dark Floors?

This is a stunning look for sure. However, if you have pets or don't like to clean your floors twice a day, this is a bad choice. Dark flooring shows every hair, speck of dust and crumb. But if you still choose to go for it, dark grout is the best choice since it won't show dirt like light grout will...of course there are exceptions as shown with this daltile.

lucite and brass mirror, black rectangular bathroom backsplash with white grout
daltile provides a gorgeous black subway tile with white grout

In the end everything comes down to taste and style. Many classic finishes like subway tile and travertine make comebacks big-time and then fade away again only to come back 20 years+ later. It all comes down to what sort of aesthetic you desire, how much maintenance you wish to do and how long you want it to last.


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