Caulk vs. Grout

Save

Caulk and grout are building materials sometimes used interchangeably in certain tile applications and countertop installations. Both materials are bonding and sealing elements that have specific uses in home repairs and remodels. Caulk is a flexible and waterproof material, whereas grout dries to a hard, durable finish and may allow moisture to penetrate if not properly sealed. Caulk is best used in areas where flexibility is needed to preserve the integrity of seams. Grout works best to bond tile together and create a rock-hard surface impervious to movement.

Uses for Caulk

Caulk is a waterproof filler and sealant made from a base of flexible polymers. It is used to fill in gaps, cracks and breaks in various building materials such as walls, flooring, doors and windows, concrete, sinks and tubs. It creates an airtight seal that can protect against heat loss and water leakage, provide pest-control by keeping out unwanted critters and smooth out unsightly openings to create a seamless finished look. Caulk is applied using a caulk gun and is also sold in ready-to-use squeeze tubes.

Types of Caulk

  • Latex -- Also called painter's caulk or latex/acrylic caulk, latex caulk is the easiest kind to apply and can be painted over to match surroundings. Latex caulk cleans up easily and can be removed with soap and water before it hardens. This type of caulk is best for indoor applications.
  • Silicone -- Flexible and durable, silicone caulk is best used for nonporous surfaces and in gaps that expand and contract. This type of caulk cannot be painted over and comes in clear or neutral colors. Silicone caulk is an excellent choice for outdoor applications and can withstand extreme temperatures.
  • Acrylic Latex Silicone Blend -- This blend of caulk is easier to apply than silicone caulk and shares a similar durability. It's good for both indoor and outdoor applications and use with materials such as wood siding, brick, stone, windows and doors.
  • Specialty -- These caulks are targeted toward certain applications. Adhesive caulks both bind and seal; kitchen and bath caulk contains a material that fights against mold and mildew; roof sealant is used for minor roof leaks and repairs; concrete sealant can be used for driveways and sidewalks; fire-rated caulk is good for fireplaces and heat zones.

When to Apply Caulk

Caulk can be used with almost any material. Use caulk to fill in gaps, cracks and breaks in walls, and in between windows, doors, baseboards, wood siding and tiles. Use around tubs, tile and sinks to maintain waterproof seals and improve the aesthetic qualities of the room.

Tip

  • For better adhesion, use caulk instead of grout to seal seams between walls and tile and in tiled showers where the walls come together at 90-degree angles. The flexible material will prevent cracks that may eventually surface in grouted corners. Choose caulk treated with mildewcide to prevent mold growth in moisture-rich areas.

Uses for Grout

Grout is a mortar or paste that is used to fill gaps and crevices, especially between wall or floor tiles. Grout bonds and locks tiles into place and gives them a finished look while protecting ends from chipping and cracking. Grout is applied with a tool called a float that forces the material in between tile spaces and smooths it out evenly. A damp sponge helps remove residues.

Types of Grout

  • Cement-Based -- Made from a blend of Portland cement and powdered pigments mixed with water, cement-based caulk comes in varieties with and without sand. Sand bulks up grout and keeps it from shrinking in joints, making it a better choice for tiles with wider joints. Cement-based grout tends to be porous and prone to staining if left unsealed.
  • Epoxy -- Made of resin and a hardener, epoxy grout also comes in products with and without sand.  Although more expensive than cement-based grout, epoxy grout is known for its stain resistance and hard, durable quality.  This makes it ideal for heavy-traffic areas such as kitchen counters, backsplashes and floors. 

When to Apply Grout

Use grout to connect, seal and repair floor tiles, kitchen tile walls and countertops, backsplashes, bathroom and tub tile, and any other areas that consist of tile.

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • Sanded Vs. Non-Sanded Grout for Tile

    Homeowners must always apply grout to their tiles while installing them. This grout acts partially as a mortar to help bind the...

  • Sanded Caulk vs. Unsanded

    Caulk has many uses within the home to seal and fill joints. Sanded caulk, with its thicker texture, can be used to...

  • How to Use Caulk Instead of Grout

    Normally, you fill the space between hard tiles (like ceramic or marble) with grout, a form of cement. However, for the spaces...

  • Caulking Tile Grout

    Caulk is a paste- or gel-like substance made from silicone or other similar materials. It extrudes from a tube under pressure from...

  • How to Use Sanded Instead of Unsanded Grout

    Using sanded grout instead of unsanded grout will give you a stronger joint between tiles or block. Sanded grout utilizes sand in...

  • How to Caulk Over Grout

    If you’ve got a tiled backsplash, tub surround or shower stall, there is grout between the tiles. Depending on how the tile...

  • Latex Vs. Silicone Grout

    Latex grout and silicone grout have two different purposes in the installation of tile floors or walls. Grout is the filler applied...

  • Tile Shower Grout vs. Silicone

    Grout and silicone caulk are two very different construction materials, but they are often used in the same projects, especially for the...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!