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Grout vs. Caulk

Grout vs Caulk: What is the Difference?

Before you dive into that bathroom or kitchen remodeling project you’ve been shelving for a while now, ensure that you understand the right materials for the job. Caulk and grout might appear similar to someone new to home remodeling, but they’re quite different in how they function and what tasks they’re suitable for. 

In this guide, we differentiate grout and caulk to help you understand how each should be used for your next project.

Grout

Grout is created by combining cement with tiny particles like sand and crushed rock. You can mix it yourself or you can buy it pre-mixed. After application of grout, it dries up and becomes solid and rough. This makes it ideal for keeping the tiles in place after they’ve been installed.

Shower with
Shower with white grout

Caulk

On the other hand, caulk is usually a liquid material made from either silicone or polyurethane. Due to its completely waterproof seal, it is an ideal product for sealing gaps around your home, including in bathrooms and kitchens. 

However, unlike grout, caulk will stay flexible even after it dries. This makes it perfect for sealing gaps in materials that might expand, contract, or shift.

Caulking a shower
Caulking a shower

Different Applications

Here are the recommended use cases for caulk and grout:

  • Use grout between tiles on walls and floors to securely hold them in place and create a solid, durable surface.

  • Use caulk in corners, joints, and areas requiring flexibility, such as angled seams and connections between different materials, to provide a waterproof and adaptable seal.

  • Silicone caulk is best for household use due to minimal shrinkage, although it comes at a higher cost. Cured silicone caulk is even more flexible, which allows joints to stretch up to three times the normal width.

  • If you’re using sanded grout, also use sanded caulk. Consistency in texture and appearance is important for aesthetics. 

Note: Caulk is more water resistant than grout, but less durable.
 

Color Options

Grout and caulk are available in different colors. It all depends on your preferred aesthetics and preferences. Grout colors range from white, gray, and beige to blue, green, or brown. There is also a wide range of caulk colors, including white, clear, beige, gray, brown, and black.

Bottom Line

Although grout and caulk might seem alike, they serve different purposes. Grout is known for its durability, but is less resistant to water. Caulk, on the other hand, offers strong water resistance and creates a tight seal, although its lifespan may not be as long as that of grout.

 

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