Can You Use Sanded Grout With Glass Tile? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Glass tile was one of the bigger status symbols of the 80s. There’s just something so elegant about having glass tile lining your bathtub’s walls, or adding that special splash of clear beauty to your accent walls. I love glass tile, and so do most others. Of course, every kind of building material has its own restrictions. Glass is no exception, especially when it comes to the type of grout you choose.

Sanded grout is not a good choice for glass tiling. The grittiness of the sand has a tendency of scratching the smooth veneer of the glass. Moreover, certain types of sanded grout will not cling well to the grout. If you want to tile your bathroom or kitchen with glass, you have to use non-sanded grout.

Choosing the right type of grout isn’t just a matter of personal preference. It will make a huge difference in how usable the tile will be, and how good your home will look in a month.

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Before You Begin: Is Glass Tiling Even A Good Idea?

I totally understand the draw of having glass tiling in your home. When done right, it can be a sleek and modern way to add a pop of color. If you are a fan of the vaporwave aesthetic, then it’s basically a staple. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend doing a whole bathroom in it. In fact, it’s a material that you should probably think twice about.

Glass tiling is not as popular as it was in the 80s, primarily because it has a major structure downfall. That downfall, of course, is the fact that glass is very delicate. Dropping something too heavy on it can shatter it—even if it’s reinforced. There’s also the issue of scratching that comes into play. If you choose the wrong type of glass tiling, it can even be difficult to clean them.

Related Guide: Is Glass Tile Out Of Style?

How Much Does Glass Tiling Cost To Install?

Due to the dodgy reputation that glass has, the price of glass tiling isn’t what it used to be. If you decide to hire a professional to install glass tiling in your home, it will still be pretty pricey. Part of this is due to the raw materials needed, while another part of it is that you may need to put in extra work for smaller tiling projects.

A basic glass tile backsplash will cost between $375 to $400. Meanwhile, if you want to go for something gutsy and do a full wall, it will cost between $20 to $30 per square foot for smaller tiling. Larger tiles will be more affordable.

Is Glass Tile Compatible With Sanded Grout?

Out of all the materials that tile could be made from, sand has to be one of the most delicate. Ceramic has a coating and glaze that makes it more resistant to scratches in many cases. Stone is literally just pure rock. Glass, on the other hand, is easy to shatter and easy to scratch because there’s only so much one can reinforce it.

The material that is used to make sanded grout is a sharp type of silica. This is the same type of sand that is used in many types of sandpaper. As a result, sanded grout has a scratchy and grippy texture to it. In some cases, this can help add a textured look to a home. Unfortunately, the scratchy texture of sanded grout can easily scratch the surface of glass tiling.

Can You Use Sanded Grout To Seal Tile In An Emergency?

Here’s the thing that you need to be aware of: it’s usually possible. It’s just a very stupid idea. Using sanded grout drastically increases the chance of scratching. However, that doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed a scratch. Some people decide to take the risk anyway. If you choose to do that, it’s on you.

What Happens If Sanded Grout Scratches Glass Tile?

This is the primary reason why sanded grout shouldn’t be used on glass: it’s permanent damage. Unlike ceramic, which can often be touched up with a little bit of sealer, you can’t retouch glass. This means that your glass will permanently look botched, even if you try to add some clear nail polish. The only way to fix the tile is to replace it, which in turn, can scratch other tiles. Yikes, right?

What Is The Best Type Of Grout To Use For Delicate Tiling?

There are several options that you can use if you need to tile up some glass. Each of these tend to be used for different purposes, but every single choice here is better than sand:

  • Glass tile and other similar tiles tend to work best with non-sanded epoxy grout. Since this doesn’t have the same type of grittiness that heavy sand does, the chance of having your grout scratched up will shrink down to near-zero. Since this is an epoxy-based grout, you will be able to work your magic without worrying about water-related damage.
  • Latex grout is another option to consider. Latex grout is good if you’re not tiling glass exclusively. It’s often used as a grout for that area where tile backsplashes hit a kitchen countertop.
  • If you (or your tile installer) have a latex allergy, silicone grout can do the trick too. Were you surprised to hear that this is a thing? We were too, but it’s growing in popularity because it works so well.

An Important Note About Adding Tile And Caulking It

In areas like your bathroom, there are going to be parts of your tiling project that might not require grout. Rather, they may need caulk instead. Caulk is a waterproof coating that is used to bind items together and keep water from damaging nooks and crannies. This is never something that you should skip, especially with something along the lines of glass tiling.

Most people don’t realize this, but caulking can also be sanded or unsanded. Much like with grout, you need to make sure that there is no sand in the caulk that you use. While it won’t be as drastically scratch-prone as grout, it still can cause nicks and scuffs in your tiling project. Thankfully, the vast majority of caulk is not going to be sanded. It’s silicone or latex, unsanded, by default.

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Related Questions

What is Power Grout and why is it used?

Power Grout is a specialty brand of grout that is designed to make it easier to keep grout looking good in difficult areas. This is a special formulation geared towards ensuring that your grout won’t crack, break, or shrink. Because it has such a good reputation for being able to handle difficult environments, Power Grout regularly gets recommended for high-traffic areas and professional spa settings.Most types of tiling will work well with Power Grout, so if you want to get an extra layer of durability, give it a shot. You will be happy with the results.

What is the best type of grout to use in a shower?

If you are remodeling your shower, make sure to grab a canister of epoxy grout. Epoxy grout is waterproof, which means that you will be able to ensure that your shower won’t cause damage to your walls. Epoxy grout is also resistant to stains, mold, and also doesn’t require sealant to be finished properly. Needless to say, it’s a good way to get your bathroom done easily and efficiently.

Does sanded grout need to be sealed?

Sanded grout may seem like it’s sturdy and heavily-packed, but that doesn’t mean it can work without a sealant. If you want to make sure that your grout stays in place and remains durable, it needs to have a sealant on top of it. Not adding a sealant can cause your grout to crack, get moldy, or even crumble right off the wall. Yikes!

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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