How to grout Saltillo tile. Instant Groutification.
You have set your eyes on that beautiful terra-cotta Saltillo tile from Clay Imports. Maybe it’s already in your garage, ready to find its home in your project. But…have you chosen your grout yet? Often, many underestimate the power of grout in tile design. While it’s always a good idea to consult your tile installer about grout selection, we have put some guidelines together for you. We hope you find them useful!
Design by Emily Seed Interiors. Architecture by Chelsea Scharbach.
Photography by Kate Zimmerman. Homeowner Kelsey Harp.
WHAT TYPE OF GROUT SHOULD YOU USE?
Firstly, set your mind on what style you’re going for!
For a more “traditional” larger grout joint style installation, as seen in original Mexican design and architecture, use a Saltillo specific natural gray grout. While Saltillo specific grout will give your space that hacienda look, be ready for a little more upkeep than conventional grouts. However, this can be offset by the relatively low pricing of Saltillo grout.
Saltillo grout is a sanded grout. Sanded grout is a cement-based grout with added sand. The benefit of sanded grout is its resistance to cracking and shrinking. It also has a pretty high slip resistance, which makes it ideal in wet areas such as bathrooms. Please note that we recommend sealing the grout after installation to avoid staining.
Design by Meredith Shapiro.
If you prefer a sleeker look (like the popular mid-century modern design), go with a different colored grout, that allows for smaller grout joints (for example Ultracolor Plus FA by Mapei). The installation with conventional grout is less labor intensive, but pricing for the grout itself is higher than Saltillo grout. Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA is a versatile grout, that can be used in place of sanded or non-sanded grout. You can use it to create smaller grout joints, up to half of an inch joints. There is also an upkeep benefit: this grout is stain resistant and does not need to be sealed after installation.
Design by Bandd Design. Photography by Molly Culver.
WHAT’S A GOOD SALTILLO TILE GROUT JOINT SIZE?
You can space out Saltillo tile as wide as 3/4” and go as small as 1/4.” Generally, smaller joints are used with smaller tiles (6” and under), and larger joints are used with larger tiles.
Installation by The Tile Press.
Design by Kim Wolfe.
WHAT COLOR GROUT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Just as joint size, grout color is important for your overall design! While you only have one choice with the Saltillo specific grout, and that is “natural gray”, there is a myriad of options if you go the conventional grout route.
Here are three directions you can take with grout color:
✔️ Match your grout color to your tile.A matching grout puts the tile itself in the focus. This way you avoid “breaking up” the pattern, or have distracting lines, that can change the tile design.