Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...


Posted on

Grouting and caulking are very similar activities. Both products are malleable materials that harden over time and both are commonly placed in bathrooms, particularly around tile. However, they are not interchangeable and treating them as such can lead to unwanted results. Grouting when you should caulk or caulking when you should grout may very well ruin your entire home improvement project, and cost you quite.So it’s best to know your caulks from your grouts before you get started.

Caulk Vs. Grout

So if caulk and grout are so similar, what important differences keep them from being interchangeable? The two substances differ from one another in several key ways.


Caulk and grout might look and feel similar, but they’re made of very different stuff. Caulk can be acrylic, latex, or silicone and which one you use depends on your specific needs. Grout, on the other hand, is actually a mixture of cement and sometimes sand. Grout comes in two basic types: sanded and unsanded. Choosing one type of grout over the other depends on the size of the joint between your tiles.


The most important property of caulk is that it is waterproof to some degree. Silicone caulkis the most waterproof sealant you can buy. However grout, which is basically liquid gravel, is very porous and will do nothing to keep water out unless it is also augmented with another substance such as latex.


Caulk has a more flexible bond than grout, and thus can stick to surfaces from different materials. Grout, by comparison, must be adhered between tiles of the same plane (most kinds of grout should not be used on corners).

Also, grout requires a crevice to hold onto. It cannot be placed on the outside of tiles like some sealants can.

When to use caulk and when to use grout

So what are the proper applications of caulk and grout? In general, caulk is what holds your tile structures together and also seals up the crevices to keep anything from getting stuck in them. Caulk is your more flexible material that you’ll want to put in areas that have a high exposure to water or movement.

Most big projects are going to require both grout and caulk. So if you’re finally redoing that bathroom, expect to buy a moderate supply of each, and be careful not to mix them up with each other.