Grout is used in between tiles and between bathroom fixtures like tubs and tiles to prevent water from entering under the tiles, keep the tiles in place, and prevent damage to the edges of tiles. Grout is made of many materials, including silicone. Silicone is a rubber-like substance that is flexible and long-lasting, and it has uses in adhesives, sealants, lubricants and medical applications. It comes in a variety of forms, from liquid (lubricants) to thick, plastic-like solids (breast implants). Silicone grout is semi-liquid and can be squeezed from a tube.
Where to Use Silicone Grout
Silicone grout is generally used in applications where water is an issue, such as in and around pools and spas, kitchens and commercial areas where food and drink is likely to be spilled, like the floors in shopping malls. Silicone grout is also used for tiling in areas where different levels join together; in corners, where moisture can build up; and in expansion joints, joints that are designed to flex with changes to the materials around them. Silicone grout can also be used in homes, although because it is more expensive than regular grout, this is not common.
Most silicone grouts are mold and mildew resistant and are designed to be easy to clean with everyday household or industrial cleaners. Because silicone is flexible even after curing, it does not crack or peel out of joints or from between tiles.
Applying Silicone Grout
If you have existing grout, you can put silicone grout over it for additional waterproofing. Silicone grout comes in a wide variety of neutrals and colors to match existing grout and to go with existing bathroom or kitchen color schemes. If you are regrouting an area in your home, you can also use silicone grout on its own once you have removed the old grout. Silicone grout takes up to 24 hours to cure, so plan not to use any areas where you apply it for at least a day to let it completely set. Cured silicone grout is usually shiny; if you want a matte grout, you’ll probably prefer traditional grouts.
Removing Silicone Grout
Silicone grout is very hard to remove, so be careful if you apply it yourself. Go slow and apply a drop at a time for the backs of tile to secure them to a surface; apply with light, even pressure between tiles to fill in the gaps and keep them in place. If you need to remove silicone grout, you will need a special silicone grout removing tool that does not scratch or otherwise damage tile.
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