What Type of Grout Do You Use for Kitchen Backsplash?

Choosing the right grout for your kitchen backsplash is an important decision that will impact the look, durability, and maintenance of your backsplash. The type of grout you select should complement the tile you’ve chosen and hold up to the conditions in your kitchen. Here is a detailed guide on picking the best grout for a kitchen backsplash.

Types of Grout for Kitchen Backsplash

There are three main types of grout commonly used for kitchen backsplashes:

Sanded Grout

Sanded grout contains fine sand particles and is best suited for joints wider than 1/8 inch. The sand gives sanded grout good compressive strength and makes it more durable. Sanded grout resists shrinking and cracking better than unsanded versions. It provides a nice uniform appearance but is harder to clean.

Sanded grout works well with natural stone tiles like granite, slate, travertine, and larger format ceramic/porcelain tiles. It’s commonly used for floors but can also be applied to backsplashes. Just ensure your tile spacing is wide enough.

Unsanded Grout

Unsanded grout has a smooth, fine texture without sand. It’s designed for narrow grout lines 1/8 inch or less. The grout is easier to spread and clean up. Unsanded grout is best for glossy, polished tiles with tight joints.

For backsplashes, unsanded grout is often used with glass, mosaic, and smaller ceramic tiles. It can finish smoothly in tiny grout lines. Just take care that the lines don’t need to be wider for a level surface.

Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is made from epoxy resins that form a plastic-like binder. It is extremely durable, resistant to stains, and impervious to moisture. Epoxy grout maintains its color well and doesn’t require sealing. It can be used for joints of any width.

The hardness of epoxy comes with some drawbacks. It can be difficult to work with and is not forgiving of mistakes. Acidic cleaners can also degrade epoxy over time. Consider epoxy grout for backsplashes in high-use kitchens behind ranges or sinks.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Grout

Some important factors to think about when selecting grout for a kitchen backsplash:

  • Tile material – Match grout type to the tile you are installing. Delicate tiles often require unsanded grout. Natural stone works best with sanded versions.
  • Grout line width – The spacing between your tiles determines if you need sanded or unsanded grout. Sanded for 1/8 inch or wider gaps. Unsanded for less than 1/8 inch.
  • Grout color – Pick a grout color that complements your tile color and pattern. Contrasting or matching shades are both options.
  • Sealing needs – Some grouts require sealing to resist stains. Epoxy and some polymer grouts do not require sealing.
  • Exposure to moisture – Backsplashes around a sink or range need maximum resistance to water. Epoxy or polymer grouts are good choices.
  • Cleaning needs – Smooth unsanded or epoxy grouts are easiest to clean. Sanded grout takes more effort.
  • Budget – Epoxy grout is the most expensive option. Unsanded is the most budget-friendly.

Applying Grout for Kitchen Backsplashes

Once you’ve selected the best grout for your backsplash, proper application technique is crucial:

  • Allow tile adhesive to fully cure before grouting, generally at least 24 hours.
  • Apply grout by packing it firmly into the joints with a rubber grout float or squeegee.
  • Diagonally drag the float across the tiles to remove excess grout.
  • For sanded grout, Buff surface gently with a damp sponge after a few minutes.
  • Clean tile faces with a lightly dampened sponge in a circular motion. Rinse sponge frequently.
  • Avoid cleaning too early or overworking the grout, which can pull it out of joints or cause hazing.
  • Cure grout by keeping it damp for 2-3 days. Cover with plastic if needed.

Following these tips will help you achieve clean, uniform grout lines that really make your backsplash design pop!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most waterproof grout for kitchen backsplash?

Epoxy grout is the most waterproof and moisture-resistant option for kitchen backsplashes. The resin-based formula prevents water absorption and stain penetration.

What color grout is best for a white subway tile backsplash?

For a white subway tile backsplash, consider a contrasting grout color like dark gray, light gray, or off-white. Avoid bright white grout, which can look dirty over time. Soft gray is a popular choice.

Is epoxy grout better than sanded grout?

Epoxy grout is better than sanded grout in moisture resistance, stainproof properties, and color consistency over time. However, sanded grout is cheaper and easier to work with during installation.

Should you seal grout on a backsplash?

Sealing is not required for epoxy or most polymer/latex grouts. For cement-based sanded grout, sealing is recommended to protect against stains, especially on backsplashes around sinks and ranges. Apply a penetrating grout sealer.

Can I use sanded grout on subway tile backsplash?

Yes, you can use sanded grout on classic subway tiles. The grout lines are wide enough at 1/8 inch or more. Make sure to buff the grout well during application to avoid scratching the glazed surface.

What’s the easiest grout to apply for backsplash?

Unsanded grout is the easiest type of grout to spread smoothly in backsplash joints less than 1/8 inch. The fineness lets it flow easily into narrow grout lines and cleans up well on tile faces.


Choosing the right grout provides the finishing touch for a kitchen backsplash. For most applications, unsanded or sanded cement grout offers an affordable and effective option with good durability. Epoxy grout is premier for water resistance. Always match the grout to the tile, space joints appropriately, and apply carefully. With some planning and care, you can achieve a backsplash grout that performs well and looks amazing.