Its Time to Grout: Helpful Tips for Choosing Your Best Option

March 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm 17 comments

So you’ve found the perfect tile. It’s just right; it’s just what you’ve been looking for forever, and now its time to install it. But there’s a little more to it; you’ve got to grout that tile… and there are so many choices! Where to begin?

Here’s some information we think you’ll find helpful in selecting grout for your modwalls® tile.

Options: Sanded Grout, Non-Sanded Grout and Urethane Grout

Step one is figuring out which type of grout will be best for your installation. Urethane grout, like modwalls® Starglass Grout, is a unique option that is suitable for any installation with any of modwalls® tiles & more.

Here are some general rules to follow when choosing grout:

  • If your tile’s grout width is between 1/16” and 1/8” (like all of modwalls® glass tile lines including Brio®, Lush® and Viridian™ tiles and our ModDotz™ Porcelain Penny Rounds), you can use any option, sanded, non-sanded grout or urethane; it’s up to you.  Sanded grout and urethane grouts are more durable and if your tile will be installed in a wet area like a shower or a pool, or on a floor, then you definitely should use sanded or urethane grout.
  • If your tile’s grout width is less than 1/16”, like modwalls® Stainless Steel tile, you should use non-sanded grout or a urethane grout like StarGlass grout, which is specially designed for use with metal and glass tiles.

Note: Sanded grout WILL NOT scratch glass tile!  So rest easy and don’t let that scare ya.

Urethane grout like modwalls® StarGlass grout is a top notch option and we highly recommend it over any other option, hands down.  If you choose to go with another option though, keep in mind that sanded grout is generally more durable, so modwalls® recommends it over non-sanded grout for most installations. Other than durability, the main difference between sanded and non-sanded grout is that sanded grout has a sanded, textured appearance and non-sanded grout has a smoother, more matte and flat finish.

modwalls® Brio® tile with sanded grout

Grout Sealer: When Do You Need It?

Typically it’s not your tile that’s difficult to keep clean, it’s the grout spacing between it.

Urethane grouts, like Starglass Grout, and epoxy grouts, have grout sealing agents in them that will protect your grout color without you having to take any extra steps. Most sanded and non-sanded grouts don’t though, and you may want to purchase a grout sealer.

Here are some examples of when you MUST seal your grout or use a urethane or epoxy grout:

  • When installing tile in a wet area.
  • If you’re concerned about staining, mildew or mold.  Urethane and epoxy grouts will protect your tile from issues like these.

There are different kinds of sealers; some are applied only to the grout and some are applied over tile and grout. The Custom Building Products website has some helpful information about different grout sealers:

Most sealers are applied over both tile and grout and will not stain glass, porcelain, or glazed ceramic tile.

Why StarGlass Urethane Grout?

Yes, we play favorites when it comes to grout, and that’s because we know we’ve got the best option out there. Modwalls® StarGlass grout is composed of post-consumer recycled glass, emits little to no VOCs, and eliminates jobsite waste. It’s long lasting, easy-to-use formula provides unmatched stain resistance, ultimate color consistency, crack resistant flexibility, mold and mildew protection, and UV stability. These features and benefits are sure to minimize life cycle costs and provide a translucent, three-dimensional, reflective appearance that you can enjoy for years to come.

Modwalls® is proud to carry StarGlass grout. It’s made from recycled glass dust, pre-mixed and stored in a re-sealable container. The waterproof, stain-proof formula won’t crack or break over time. And since it’s made from recycled glass it truly sparkles.

The Fun Part: Color!

Gone are the days of all white grout all the time; today there are lots of grout color options and they can really change the look and feel of your installation.  Modwalls® stocks 15 shades of StarGlass Grout, so there’s no need to feel limited!

In general, we suggest that you avoid a stark contrast between the color of your tile and the color of your grout, so we recommend choosing a grout color that is as close to the color of your tile as possible.

Left: 1/2x2 & 3x6 Dune with Starglass Citrine (top) and Amber (bottom). Right: Brio Cream & Candlelight Pearl and 1/2x2 Dune with Starglass Aventurine grout sample

Consider the look and feel of the room… do you want one color to dominate?  Then you might consider grouting your tile that color.

Top left: Cork Penny Rounds with Palm Wood, Copper, Topaz grouts. Top right: Brio Taupe with Hematite grout and Dry Ice with Opal Grout. Bottom left: 1/2x2 Rain with Silver, Moonstone & Aquamarine grouts. Bottom Right: 3x6 Moss with Jade grout.

If you have a blend, think about which color you want to stand out the most, and opt for a grout that is similar in color.

If you want the lighter colors in a blend to stand out, go with a lighter colored grout. If you want the darker color to stand out, choose a darker grout. This is our 1x2 Carmelita blend with Aventurine (light grout option) and Copper (dark grout option).

These are just suggestions… you could also do something different like this customer did with our 3×6 Dune tile and a blue/gray grout that coordinates with the cobalt countertops. Stunning!

The gray/ blue grout really compliments our 3x6 Dune tile and it pulls in the blue countertop.

So get creative with your grout, and make that tile installation sing!

Entry filed under: Buying Tile Online, Choosing Grout, Glass Mosaic Tile, Grout, How To, How to choose grout, sustainable tile. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Edging options for modwalls® Lush® and Brio® glass tiles Amazing Brio® Custom Tile Installation Video!

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. deva  |  March 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

    love the depth the blu/gray grout gives the dune tile. kitchen looks like a modernized arts and craft.

  • 2. Tile Tramp  |  May 4, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I’m just going to play devil’s advocate because it’s fun :)…why bother installing such gorgeous tiles if you just try to blend it all together using the same shade grout? I’ve always found going 1-2 shades lighter than the color in whatever tone best suits the tile (i.e. warm tones=shades of tan/brown, cool tones=shades of white/gray)…that way you can still see the beauty in the shape of the tile -and- it all works together 🙂 Just my two cents!

    On another note, I’m really interested in this grout that you carry; do you know what percentage recycled content it uses?

    • 3. modwallsdesignernotes  |  May 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks for the 2 cents, Tile Tramp- we’re always glad to hear it! And you are completely right, its all a matter of taste and personal style and I think often times grout that is 1-2 shades lighter than the tile is PERFECT, we’re just not always a big fan of high contrast looks like white grout & black tile… it hurts the eyes! 🙂

      Our Starglass grout is 80% post-consumer recycled material. Pretty good, right?!

  • 4. Tile Tramp  |  May 5, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Oh I completely agree in most instances…white tile with dark grout works for some reason, but white grout and black tile is always an eye-sore!

    And that’s really impressive! I’m in Vancouver where if my customers aren’t at least considering environmentally-friendly products, I think they could probably be at risk for being run out of town! 🙂 Do you know if that company sells to Canada? I’d be really interested in knowing if it’s something I can mention to my clients.


  • […] mildew is your best bet.  We’ve given the full run-down about all grout options possible previously on our blog, so you know we highly recommend top-of-the-line grouts like our StarGlass Urethane Grout over all […]

  • 6. hecuba  |  September 10, 2011 at 8:45 am

    The grout looks great, but since I’m trying to match it to a couple different contrasting blends of tile, the sample StarGlass chit on the computer just isn’t good enough. I’ve actually tried holding four pieces of tile up to my monitor screen – it endangered my computer and didn’t help 😉

    Some of us just don’t visualize well and monitor color values aren’t to be trusted. The Jade, for instance, looks different vastly different from sample picture to sample picture. I realize setting and lighting matter, but I’ve already spent over 60 hours cutting glass backsplash and contrasting mosaic tile and I really need to know *exactly* what the grout is going to look like before I decide if I’m going darker (than the light tones) lighter (than the dark tones) or somewhere in the middle.

    Find a way to do samples – the pictures just aren’t enough to risk a big project.

    • 7. modwallsdesignernotes  |  September 12, 2011 at 10:02 am

      Thank you for your comment. We have been trying to get samples of the grout and we hope to have them in the future. For now, you can always call our toll free number to speak with someone about grout color options. You might find it helpful because yes, it can be tough basing your decision on the color shown on your computer monitor if you are looking for a really specific color. Please feel free to call in anytime to speak with one of our reps and we’d be happy to assist you: (877) 689-9734.

  • 8. Darren  |  January 12, 2012 at 4:17 am

    We just installed the StarGlass “Diamond” grout on our 1×1 multi-color glass kitchen backsplash. I could not be happier with the product. It doesn’t take anything away from the tiles, when you enter the room you see the tile, not the lines of the grout. You’ll get added depth from extra light in the sides of the tile… plus I didn’t waste a minute sealing all those grout lines. Thank you for your promotion of the product, it convinced me to spend the extra money on grout and I am glad I did. FYI, the manufacturer website has a calculator to help determine what size bucket your job needs. If I had a large job, I would by the “Blaze” haze remover. My job was small, so I used Windex and muscle to remove the haze from each tile.

    • 9. modwallsdesignernotes  |  January 12, 2012 at 10:44 am

      Darren, thank you so much for comment!
      Your feedback is extremely helpful and we really appreciate it!

  • […] they finally arrived. Modwalls was so great sending us installation instructions (and video!), grout recommendations — they even have a grout that matches the tile. We decided we wanted to highlight the grout lines […]

  • […] with some great tile-tips including selecting the right tile for your space and a little bit of grout […]

  • 12. Briana  |  September 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Hi – I read in the Star Grout .pdf that it was not recommended for commercial or wet applications, is this correct? I am wanting to purchase it for the shower area of our new bathroom.

    • 13. modwallsdesignernotes  |  September 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Hi Briana,

      The ‘wet applications’ the pdf is talking about is standing water locations – i.e. pools, water features, etc. Although I do know people who have successfully installed it in their pools. As long as you follow the installation directions and allow the product to cure properly, you won’t have a problem with it in your shower. We highly recommend it and I know you’d be more than pleased with the product.

      Best regards,


  • 14. Marie Dunn  |  November 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Hi. I had apple green penny tiles installed on our bathroom floor and one wall twelve months ago. I am having real trouble in keeping clean the grout between the tiles on the floor.

    It frequently looks brown as if something has been spilt – though there is nothing other than water in the areas that gather the brownish residue. I scrub the grout with a fine brush but it requires scrubbing every bit of the network of grout as the sandy finish of the grout holds the brownish colour.

    I love the tiles but I am hoping there is a solution to this problem.

    Can you help with advice re a cleaner or a sealer?

    Many thanks


    • 15. modwallsdesignernotes  |  December 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Marie,

      I’m sorry to hear about your grout troubles. Question for you…have you sealed your sanded grout by chance? This is a commonly overlooked step in the installation process. Sealing the grout with a sealer helps prevent the everyday dust and dirt from penetrating the grout. You’ve inspired us to write a blog on grout maintenance that I’ll post on later today. If you have any more questions, feel free to call me at 877-430-9734.

      Best regards,


  • 16. Karen  |  June 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I’m thinking of installing the glass mosaic tiles … glass,with the glass colors of light beige,light grey and dark grey with a solid beige rock…what color grout should I use to keep the dimensional look .. right now the solid beige rock seems to pop…just don’t want it to look flat after i finish grouting

    • 17. modwallsdesignernotes  |  June 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Our Starglass recycled glass grout in either Diamond, Moonstone, Opal or Aventurine would work well. They are subtly translucent neutral colors of white, light grey and off-white and creamy beige respectively. They really help get the dimensional effect you speak of. Here is a link to that page on our website


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Rebecca Lonergan

Founder and Creative Director of Modwalls Tile Company. Since 2005 Rebecca has been designing Fresh Tile in Colors You Crave. Shop Online at

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