Home improvement projects exploded during the pandemic and have shown no signs of slowing down. Homeowners understand the value of upgrades, both in terms of livability and return on investment.
Having the right tools and materials is essential to doing a job well and the finished product functioning and holding up well over time. This goes for projects that require some type of sealant.
This article explores the differences between caulk vs grout. Keep reading to find out more about their different uses and which one may be best for your project.
What Is Caulk?
Caulk is the most common material used as a sealant in construction, plumbing, and woodworking. It can keep water, dust, dirt, or debris from penetrating various surfaces.
Caulk is made from a flexible polymer that allows it to easily fill a space. Common materials include latex, silicone, rubber, or some combination of those three.
Acrylic latex caulk adheres better than other types of caulk. This makes it good for most dry, indoor uses, such as in ceilings or around wood paneling.
Silicone and rubber caulks remain very flexible after application, without cracking, peeling, or distorting. For this reason, it can resist moisture much longer than acrylic caulk.
What Is Grout?
Grout is a powdered cement mixed with sand. It requires water to activate its adhesive properties. As the water evaporates from the mixture, it hardens and becomes very strong.
There are different types of grout, each with distinct additives. As the name suggests, unsanded grout lacks the sand additive, which gives it a smoother finish. However, it is more expensive and can shrink and crack under pressure.
Fine-sanded grout has a coarse texture. It is resilient underfoot, so it is suitable for walkways.
Epoxy grout substitutes the cement with an epoxy resin and hardener. It can be more resistant to heat, moisture, pressure, and chemicals.
Caulk vs Grout
Based on the properties above, it is easy to see how caulk or grout could be preferable in different situations. In general, grout is used as a tile sealant. It keeps them from shifting and protects the edges of the tiles.
Caulk is better suited for water- or air-proofing around structures. In general, it is stickier than grout and adheres to surfaces better.
Another factor in considering caulk vs grout is the environment. Grout is better suited to areas regularly exposed to water. However, as mentioned, the exception is silicone-based caulk.
Finally, caulk goes on better at angled seams. For instance, you might use grout for tiling in a bathtub but use silicone caulk for shower corners. If you are uncertain, a professional contractor can better assess situations where you might use caulk instead of grout.
Learn More About Caulk and Grout
Now that you understand the differences between caulk vs grout, you can determine which is right for your project. An experienced installer can further advise you on whether you should use caulk instead of grout.
The Groutsmith is a locally owned and operated business that provides the highest quality tile and grout maintenance and restoration services in the Boise area. Besides cleaning and repairs, we offer caulking and sealing as well. Reach out to us to schedule service today.