Grout 101: Saltillo Tile Grout

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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.

Design by Moontower Austin. Installation by The Tile Press.


✔️ Use a contrasting grout color

A contrasting grout can be impactful if you want to enhance the shape or pattern of your tile. Here, a light grout really shows the hexagonal shape, highlighting each tile as part of a big picture.

Design by Joel Mozersky Design. Photography by @coloringatx


✔️ Use a neutral grout color

Neutral grout colors, like off-whites or light grays, are a great “in-between” option. They neither create high contrast nor do they blend in too much with your tile.


As a final note, we highly advise against using black grout, as it can irreversibly stain your tile!

HOW MANY BAGS OF GROUT DO YOU NEED?

Thumb rule: each pound of Saltillo or conventional grout covers approximately 1.5 square feet of terra-cotta Saltillo tile, depending on your tile and grout joint size. So, measure your area, confirm your square footage and divide that by 1.5.

Saltillo grout comes in 50lbs bags, and conventional grout usually in 25 lbs bags.


WHERE CAN YOU BUY GROUT FOR YOUR SALTILLO TILE?

You can include your grout choice in your Clay Imports order! Select your preferred grout and the needed bag quantity here and we will spare you the headache of running to different stores. Most grout choices are also available in other tile shops and e-commerce platforms.

HOW TO GROUT SALTILLO TILE?

1. Once your pre-sealed Saltillo tile is laid out to blend for variety and glued to a flat surface (more on that on our installation guidelines) it’s time for grout!

2. Clean the area and apply 1 to 2 coats of grout release to the tile surface. This way the grout will not stick to the tile surface, and make the grout cleaning process faster. Grout release also lessens the likelihood of the grout staining the tile.

3. It’s best to only apply small sections of no greater than 6 square feet at a time and clean up within 10 minutes with a damp sponge. For best results, wipe away excess grout at an angle to the tile lines. Continue cleaning until only a mild residue remains on the surface. Also, make sure to not remove too much grout from the surface joints. Then, wait about 24 hours for your grout to dry.

Please review more details and a step-by-step guide on our Terra-Cotta Saltillo Installation roadmap. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Clay Imports where we can provide our expertise.

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