Selecting the optimal grout for tile installations depends on the type of tile, joint width, and placement site.

Unsanded grout offers unique advantages for wall tiles with narrow gaps by maximizing flexibility and adhesion once cured.

Its smooth, easily spreadable premixed consistency contrasts with gritty sanded grout used on floors.

But without sand or aggregate fillers, unsanded grout lacks hardeners to minimize shrinkage when drying.

This makes proper water proportioning vital to balance optimal workability during application without sacrificing long-term durability.

tile grout is more prone to penetration of water that enables efflorescence and staining, careful sealing and cleaning methods for installations are detailed in following.

What is Unsanded Grout?

It contains only cement, pigments, water and polymers. It has a smooth, fluid consistency without sand aggregate.

Its fine texture allows filling narrow grout joints under 1/8” like wall tiles. Premixed unsanded grout options simplify mixing.

Purpose of Unsanded Grout

  1. Fill Joints Between Tiles -The primary purpose is to fill and seal the joint spaces between tiles on walls.This provides an attractive, finished appearance by concealing the gaps while bonding the whole surface together.
  2. Provide Flexibility Without sand filler -It gains flexibility properties from latex polymer additives. This creates slight elasticity to handle expansion and contraction of tiles on walls with climatic changes better than a rigid mortar or thicker grout.
  3. Waterproof Tile Installations – Properly installed and cured unsanded grout is water-resistant and protects moisture from seeping underneath tiles that could lead to water damage or compromise adhesive bonds over time.
  4. Enhance Visual Uniformity– The cement-based grout cures to a consistent color and texture based on added pigments. This creates visual uniformity across the entire installation, concealing deviations in tile sizes or uneven joint widths especially on walls.

Material Used

Unsanded Portland cement-based grouts contain:

✅ White or gray cement
✅ Inorganic mineral pigments
✅ Latex polymer additive
✅ Water reducer and air entertainer

Premixed versions only require adding water on site. Proper water ratio is key for workability without compromising cured strength.


Mixing Unsanded Grout

☑️ Use exact water amount stated on manufacturer direction
☑️ Machine mixing with a drill is faster
☑️ Do not re-temper mix by adding more water after slaking
☑️ Discard unused grout after 90 minutes

Check package for specific mixing techniques. Adjust consistency if needed within first 10 minutes.

Applying Unsanded Grout

  1. Apply with a rubber float, pressing firmly on an angle into joints.
  2. Remove excess grout held on tile using edge of float
  3. Final tool with plastic pointer tool for consistent concave shape

    Take precautions to limit surface contact before cure for easier cleaning.

Curing Unsanded Grout

💧 Unsanded grout gains strength faster than sanded
💧 Wait 24-48 hours before sealing or light use
💧 Requires 28 days to fully cure to rated hardness
💧 Keep damp using mists of water during first 3 days

Drying Time

  • Typically 24-48 hours before sealing or light traffic
  • Reaches 80% strength by 7 days
  • Allow 28 days to fully cure and harden completely


  • Seal after 48 hours to protect from stains
  • Use water-based sealants for maximum penetration
  • Reapply every 1-2 years depending on traffic


  • Use gentle pH-neutral cleaner and soft brush weekly
  • Minimize moisture contact for first 5 days during cure
  • Avoid acidic cleaners which can degrade grout


  • More commonly develop on vertical joints of wall tiles
  • Use cleaner with acid component to remove salts
  • Improve drainage or ventilation to limit reoccurrence

Haze Removal

  • Wipe gently with clean damp sponge during install
  • Use low-concentration acid after 3-day initial cure
  • Take precautions on delicate tile finishes

Applications of Unsanded Grout

Wall Tiles– Unsanded grout works extremely well for filling the joints between wall tiles.

This includes bathroom backsplashes, showers, tub surrounds, and kitchen backslashes.

The smooth premixed formula spreads easily on vertical surfaces.

Mosaics -Grouting intricate mosaic tile patterns is made much easier using an unsanded grout compared to a thick, grainy sanded mix.

The fine consistency flows easily into intricate artistic tile designs.

Glass Tiles -The narrow joints between glass tile or glowing glass mosaic sheets are ideal to fill .

This prevents scratching the delicate glass surface with aggregates.

Natural Stone Tiles -For softer, porous natural stones like marble or limestone, unsanded grout will not scratch the surface during installation and cleaning compared to sanded.

Pool Tile Grout -It is well suited for filling the joints of pool tile above the waterline. Its flexibility and water-resistance handles climatic changes pools see between seasons.

difference between unsanded and sanded grouting

DescriptionUnsanded GroutSanded Grout
TextureSmooth, UniformGritty, Granular
Joint Width UseUnder 1/8″ i.e Wall TilesOver 1/8″ i.e. Floors
MixingJust Add WaterMust Be Blended
EfflorescenceMore SusceptibleLess Common
Cure RateGains Strength Within DaysHigher Ultimate Strength Over Weeks
FlexibilityElongates For MovementMore Rigid And Crack Prone
CostHigher for PremixLower with Basic Components
ApplicationEasier Vertical SurfacesRequires Quick Floor Removal
CleanupWater Washable Before CureMust Remove From Tile Fast
Typical ApplicationsTile Walls, ShowersTile Floors, Countertops
unsanded vs sanded grout

Unsanded Grout Calculator

To find how much needed,

multiply: Tile length × tile width = area

Area x number of tiles = total coverage

Joint width x joint height x total coverage ÷ 144 = cubic feet to cover all joints

Pros and Cons of Unsanded Grout

Flexibility for movementLower cured hardness than sanded mix
Precision smooth finishCan show more efflorescence salt deposits
Water-cleanableRequires extra care removing before cured
Range of color optionsNot suitable for floor joints wider than 1/8”


Specifying the appropriate content for narrow wall tile joints ensures durable installation. Calculate required amounts using accurate tile measurements.

Allow full 28 day cure time to develop maximum stain resistance. Follow manufacturer application and cleaning techniques closely.

Properly mixed and applied unsanded grout resists cracking and provides long-lasting appeal.

Let me know if you would like me to modify or add any additional details on unsanded grouts in this overview blog post.

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