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Grout and caulk are two important construction adhesives for all your household floor and wall crack fixing and joint repairs. They’re widely used by professionals and DIYers.
And the fact is that they’re not the same!
Both products have adhesive properties and look almost the same while applying. However, they’re remarkable differences between caulk and grout based on their composition that defines their uses.
So that’s what we’re about to unfold today!
What is Caulk and the Different Types
Caulk is a type of sealant or adhesive paste made with different types of ingredients. When it dries, it forms either a hard solid or a rubbery surface. So it varies based on the manufacturing ingredient of the sealant.
Every house has gaps and cracks through which water or air escape. Caulk is used in those gaps as a sealing agent to prevent their passage. It is a semi-liquid thing that comes in a bottle like toothpaste. There are different types available either from sanded or unsanded caulks. You need to be aware of them, for they all have slightly different uses.
1. Acrylic Sealant Caulk
Primarily used for windows and doors to fill gaps in molding around them. It isn’t flexible and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
2. Butyl Rubber Sealant
It is the strongest and long-lasting of all the caulk types and can be used to fill cracks on the rooftop, between bricks, and even metal surfaces.
3. Silicone Sealant
You can use silicone between tiles instead of grout for high water-prone areas like the bathtub, toilet, kitchen, etc.
Benefits of Caulk
Since it is a very versatile product to use all over the house, the benefits of caulking are numerous. Its waterproof characteristic gives you a tight seal around your shower and saves you tons of money in a costly repair.
Besides, it also prevents outside elements like dust and dirt from leaking through gaps and holes in windows and doors.
1. Ease of Application
Sealant is fairly easy to apply since you don’t need to prepare anything. It comes neatly in a tube that you can just press and apply. However, the application of caulk needs a steady hand and skill to make it smooth and professional-looking.
While we can’t give you the exact details of the cost in your area, there are websites where you can search with your zip code to find the price in your area.
However, to make things easier, the national average cost for caulk is $0.15 per linear foot. And including the labor cost, a typical 125 linear foot project might cost $296.19, with a range of $179.50 to $412.88.
Other Uses of Sealants
Other than sealing joints and corners of bathtubs and windows, there are some -other great uses for caulk as well.
1. Sealing Concrete Gaps
There are great caulk products that you can use to close the gaps in concrete, brick, stucco, stone, and metal.
2. Work with Woods
Sometimes, no matter how carefully you measure and cut, there always remains some small gap between wooden works. Caulking is a great way to fix those as well.
You can also buy a specialized type of fireproof caulk to use around holes of plumbing or electrical conduits.
What is Grout and the Different Types
Grout comes as a dry powder that is mixed with water to make a paste. This powder is mostly a mixture of cement and sand. When mixed with water, it activates the adhesive properties. There are four major categories of grout:
1. Sanded Grout
It’s a type of cement-based grout with added sand particles, large enough to see with open eyes. It is mostly used for lines larger than 1/8 inch as the sand provides extra bonding power that prevents cracking or shrinking.
2. Unsanded Grout
It is made of very fine mineral particles instead of sand. Mostly used in grout lines not larger than an eighth of an inch as it doesn’t shrink.
3. Epoxy Grout
It surpasses all other types in strength, versatility, and durability and is made by combining epoxy resins and hardeners.
4. Furan Grout
Made of polymers of fortified alcohols and is entirely resistant to all chemicals.
Benefits of Grout
Grout is the substance that keeps the cement and tiles in your house connected. It is the essential part of your floor’s foundation as it keeps those tiles on the floor from shifting. This gluey substance also protects the edges of your tiles from chipping.
1. Ease of Application
Applying grout is not very difficult. However, sometimes it gets dried before you’re done working with it. So the key to success is to remember that it has a limited working time.
Moreover, it is messier to work with as the excess amount is smeared all over the surface.
You should know that the cost of grout material and application is more than that of sealant. The national average per square ft. of materials is $0.80, and the cost for applying over 120 sq. ft. including labor cost is between $241.03 – $462.88 range.
Uses of Grout
Other than using it as adhesive to fill gaps between tiles, you can also use grout for:
1. Making Chalk Paint
Unsanded grout can be used as chalk paint by mixing it with paint in the ratio of 1:8.
2. Resurfacing the Tabletop
Using some glass gems, you could also resurface your old tabletop quite easily.
3. Garden Decoration
You can also put grout into molds and make different projects like flowers or other smaller things to decorate the garden.
Caulk or Grout – Which One Is the Best?
While tiling your home, you need grout to fill the gaps between the tiles so that water doesn’t leak underneath. It keeps the tiles secured in their places. But sadly, you can’t use it in between the bathtub and the wall or between the edges of different surfaces.
You’ll need sealant for that purpose as it is generally used for filling cracks and gaps in and between wood, windows, doors, tiles, etc.
So you see, you can’t interchange them since both have different functions.
As you can see, both of these products are used virtually everywhere in the house and needed over and over again for all your repair and remodeling projects. Comparing as caulk vs. grout won’t take you far as they shouldn’t be substituted for one another.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Grout or silicone sealant, what is best for tile joints?
Grout is the best option for using between tile joints as it is made explicitly for that purpose. But silicone grout for the shower is the best option since this is the area where the common type fails.
2. Do you caulk before or after grout?
Both caulk and grout have distinct uses, so it is not recommended to use them one after another.
3. Can I caulk over grout?
This is not a very good idea since sometimes grout is used as a decorative accent. So this can make it counterproductive and potentially increase the chances of mold forming.
Note – This compact information is in-depth internet research based. We try to help you sort out the difficulties by putting it up all together. We certainly acknowledge the validity and authenticity of the information. Subject matter experts are highly welcome for their valuable suggestions..