When installing tiles, whether on floors or walls, the size of the grout line will always be a topic for discussion. In most cases, the width of the grout line is determined not by design rules or requirements but by the choice of the homeowner or the professional hired to do the tiling job. But there are some guidelines for best practices to keep in mind or follow when determining grout line size. Some of these guidelines are the size and type of tile used and the location at which the tiles are installed.
1/8 and 1/16 are commonly used grout line sizes. Professionals often use 1/16 grout lines when installing large tiles (for example, tiles that are 18 by 18 inches) or small tiles such as the 4-by-4-inch tiles used on kitchen and bathroom walls. Professionals often use 1/8 grout lines with tiles that have moderate size variation or tiles with lugs.
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1/8 vs 1/16 Grout Comparison
Differences Between 1/8 and 1/16 Grout Line
1/8 grout lines and 1/16 grout lines have a number of differences that set them apart from each other. These differences determine how and where you can install them, the tiles you can use alongside them, and a lot more; some of these differences include: the thickness of the grout lines, the ease of servicing grout joints, and the grouts that you can use with the grout lines.
The relative thickness and width of the grout lines determine what tiles they are used with and the general aesthetic of the tiling. Grout lines 1/8 inches wide are thicker and wider than 1/16-inch grout lines. 1/8 grout lines are easier to install and less likely to mess up than 1/16 grout lines because their thickness means there is less chance for grout irregularity which can affect the tiling after it has dried. 1/8-inch grout lines also produce cleaner edges than 1/16-inch grout lines.
1/16 grout lines are often used for tight lines and edges because they are tight. They are appropriate for smaller tiles since such tiles need less grout to adhere them to each other.
Ability to Service Grout Joints
The ability to service grout joints greatly depends on the tightness or width of the grout joint. When installing 1/16-inch grout lines, it is essential to remember that it would be challenging to regrout or service the grout lines in other ways. 1/16 grout lines are narrow, so you should install them in locations where you will not need to service the joints; for example, you can use 1/16 joints in dry areas such as the den in your house, the halls, etc.
If you need to regrout, it is a lot easier to pass a tool through a 1/8 grout joint. On the other hand, it is much easier to service and make corrections to 1/8-inch grout joints. Thus, you can install 1/8-inch grout lines in wet areas or areas prone to moisture; in this way, you can regrout when necessary.
Similarities Between 1/8 and 1/16 Grout Line
There are not many similarities between 1/8 and 1/16 grout lines; their initial difference lies in the different widths of both grout lines. But there lies a parallel in the quality or kind of tile with which they work well; 1/8- and 1/16-inch grout lines work with, and are suitable for, tiles with rectified edges.
1/8-inch grout lines and 1/16-inch grout lines are similar in that they are suitable for use with tiles that have clean-cut, rectified edges. Tiles with rectified edges can accommodate smaller grout lines because the tiles have been cut precisely. There is less irregularity and variation in rectified tiles, so small to moderate grout lines are applicable with such tiles.
For example, a 1/16-inch grout line is reasonable for installing glass tiles because glass has clean-cut edges that allow for a tight installation. Using a 1/8 grout line with rectified tiles allows the tile pattern to flow smoothly from tile to tile.
Although it has been established that there are no compulsory guidelines set by professionals in the industry in installing grout lines, there are factors you should consider when deciding between 1/8-inch grout lines and 1/16-inch grout lines for tiling projects in your home. These factors could determine the success and long-lasting capabilities of the tile job.
You should consider the amount of variation in size between the tiles you want to install, and if there are irregularities, you should install 1/8 grout lines rather than 1/16 grout lines. It is also crucial that you consider the size of the tiles that you want to install; installing big tiles with 1/16 grout lines could cause lippage problems, so 1/8 grout lines are better in such a situation.