Updated: Aug 17
Before you dive into that bathroom or kitchen remodeling task 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 actually 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 vs. Caulk Grout is created by combining cement with tiny particles like sand and crushed rock. You can mix it yourself, or you can buy it already mixed. Once you use grout, it dries up and becomes solid and rough, which makes it ideal for keeping the tiles in place after they've been installed.
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.
Applications Here are the recommended use cases:
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 flexible, which allows joints to stretch up to three times the normal width.
When you're using sanded grout, also use sanded caulk. Consistency in texture and appearance is important.
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. On the other hand, caulk offers strong water resistance and creates a tight seal, although its lifespan may not be as long as that of grout.