Sanded Grout vs. Unsanded Grout

What's the Difference?

Sanded grout and unsanded grout are two different types of grout used in tile installations. Sanded grout is typically used for wider grout lines, usually 1/8 inch or larger, and contains sand particles that help fill in the gaps and provide stability. It is commonly used for floors and walls where there is a need for stronger and more durable grout. On the other hand, unsanded grout is used for narrower grout lines, usually 1/8 inch or smaller, and does not contain sand particles. It is commonly used for delicate tiles like glass or marble, as the absence of sand prevents scratching or damaging the surface. Unsanded grout is also easier to work with and is recommended for vertical installations.


AttributeSanded GroutUnsanded Grout
CompositionContains sand particlesDoes not contain sand particles
Recommended Tile SizeLarger tiles (greater than 1/8 inch gap)Smaller tiles (less than 1/8 inch gap)
ApplicationUsed for wider grout linesUsed for narrow grout lines
StrengthHigher strength due to sand particlesLower strength compared to sanded grout
TextureRougher texture due to sand particlesSmoother texture
Color OptionsAvailable in a wide range of colorsAvailable in limited colors
Water AbsorptionHigher water absorption due to sand particlesLower water absorption compared to sanded grout

Further Detail


When it comes to tiling projects, choosing the right type of grout is essential for achieving a successful and long-lasting result. Two common options available in the market are sanded grout and unsanded grout. While both serve the purpose of filling the gaps between tiles, they have distinct attributes that make them suitable for different applications. In this article, we will delve into the characteristics of sanded grout and unsanded grout, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses to help you make an informed decision for your next tiling project.

Sanded Grout

Sanded grout, as the name suggests, contains fine sand particles mixed with cement and other additives. The sand particles provide additional strength and stability to the grout, making it ideal for wider grout lines, typically ranging from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch. Here are some key attributes of sanded grout:

  • Strength: The presence of sand particles in sanded grout enhances its overall strength and durability. This makes it suitable for high-traffic areas or installations where tiles are exposed to heavy loads or vibrations.
  • Crack Resistance: The sand particles in sanded grout help prevent cracking by reducing the shrinkage that occurs during the curing process. This makes it a reliable choice for larger grout lines, as it can withstand slight movement without cracking.
  • Stain Resistance: Sanded grout is generally more resistant to staining compared to unsanded grout. The sand particles act as a barrier, making it harder for stains to penetrate the grout surface.
  • Application: Due to its coarser texture, sanded grout is more challenging to work with when it comes to application. It requires more effort to push into the grout lines and may require additional cleaning to remove excess grout from the tile surface.
  • Recommended Usage: Sanded grout is commonly used for flooring installations, such as ceramic or porcelain tiles, where wider grout lines are present. It is also suitable for outdoor applications, such as patios or walkways, where exposure to moisture and temperature variations is expected.

Unsanded Grout

Unsanded grout, on the other hand, is a smoother mixture of cement and additives without the inclusion of sand particles. It is primarily designed for narrower grout lines, typically ranging from 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch. Let's explore the attributes of unsanded grout:

  • Smooth Finish: The absence of sand particles in unsanded grout results in a smoother finish, making it ideal for applications where a polished and refined look is desired. It is particularly suitable for vertical installations, such as backsplashes or shower walls.
  • Easy Application: Due to its finer texture, unsanded grout is easier to work with during the application process. It spreads more smoothly and can be pushed into narrow grout lines with less effort. Additionally, it is easier to clean off the tile surface, reducing the risk of scratching delicate tiles.
  • Adhesion: Unsanded grout has better adhesion properties compared to sanded grout. It adheres well to vertical surfaces and is less likely to sag or slump during the curing process.
  • Recommended Usage: Unsanded grout is commonly used for delicate tile installations, such as glass or polished marble, where narrow grout lines are present. It is also suitable for interior wall applications, where exposure to moisture and heavy loads is minimal.

Choosing the Right Grout

Now that we have explored the attributes of sanded grout and unsanded grout, it is important to consider the factors that can help you make an informed decision:

  • Tile Type: Consider the type of tile you are installing. If you are working with delicate tiles, such as glass or polished marble, unsanded grout is the recommended choice to avoid potential scratching. For ceramic or porcelain tiles, sanded grout is suitable for wider grout lines.
  • Grout Line Width: The width of your grout lines plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate grout type. If your grout lines are wider than 1/8 inch, sanded grout is the way to go. For narrower grout lines, unsanded grout is the better option.
  • Location and Exposure: Consider the location and exposure of your tiled surface. For areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens, sanded grout provides better resistance against staining and cracking. For vertical installations or areas with minimal moisture exposure, unsanded grout can deliver a smoother finish.
  • Strength Requirements: If your tiled surface will be subjected to heavy loads or vibrations, sanded grout's added strength and crack resistance make it the more suitable choice.
  • Personal Preference: Ultimately, personal preference and the desired aesthetic also play a role in choosing between sanded grout and unsanded grout. Consider the overall look you want to achieve and select the grout type that aligns with your vision.


Choosing between sanded grout and unsanded grout depends on various factors, including tile type, grout line width, location, strength requirements, and personal preference. Sanded grout offers enhanced strength, crack resistance, and stain resistance, making it suitable for wider grout lines and high-traffic areas. Unsanded grout, on the other hand, provides a smoother finish, easier application, and better adhesion, making it ideal for narrow grout lines and delicate tile installations. By considering these attributes and factors, you can make an informed decision and achieve a successful tiling project that meets your specific needs and preferences.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.