What Type of Grout is Best For Kitchen Backsplash?


Choosing the right grout for your kitchen backsplash is an important decision that can dramatically affect the look and durability of your design. The type of grout you select needs to match the tile material, design style, and your lifestyle. With so many grout types available on the market, deciding what is best can be confusing. This comprehensive guide covers all you need to know about choosing the ideal grout for your kitchen backsplash installation.

What is Grout?

Grout is a cement-based material used to fill in the seams between tiles. It is a paste that hardens to bind together adjoining tiles, providing a uniform finish and sealing the joints from moisture and debris. Grout comes in different colors, widths, textures, and performance qualities.

Choosing the proper grout requires considering factors like your tile material, traffic patterns, desired look, and susceptibility to staining. Not all grouts work well in every application. Some types stain more easily, require extensive sealing, or do not provide adequate joint protection. Consider whether your kitchen backsplash will need frequent cleaning, resistance to moisture and mildew, or flexibility for temperature changes. Examining the advantages and disadvantages of each grout type will help determine what fits your kitchen design best.

Benefits of Quality Grout

High-performance grout optimizes the look and longevity of any tile backsplash. Grout comprises about 20% of the visible surface, so its color and finish significantly impact the overall aesthetic. Properly grouted joints are structurally sound and protect against leaks, chips, and cracks. Other benefits include:

  • Enhances design style with color, texture, and finish options
  • Prevents water damage, mildew, and staining
  • Minimizes cracked tiles by absorbing structural movement
  • Allows easy cleaning between tiles
  • Improves durability for long-lasting performance
  • Resists common kitchen stains

Choosing the ideal grout involves balancing performance needs with your design goals and budget. Consider how the grout complements the tile, eases routine cleaning, and provides lasting structural integrity.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Grout

Several critical factors help determine the optimal grout choice:

Tile Material

Grout performance largely depends on tile porosity and surface texture. Porcelain, ceramic, glass, and natural stone tiles have different properties that affect grout suitability. For highly porous tiles, quality grout provides a protective barrier against stains. Non-porous tiles like porcelain may require more elastic grouts for movement. Matching grout texture and width to the tile finish results in ideal cohesion.

Application Area

Heavy-use kitchens need durable, high-performance grout that resists stains, moisture, and daily wear-and-tear. Floors experience more abuse than backsplashes and require grouts with greater flexibility, adhesion, and resistance to cracking. Low-traffic backsplash areas allow more options but still require protection from grease, splatters, and steam.

Design Aesthetic

Grout impacts the overall visual effect based on color, texture, width, and finish. Contrasting grout colors highlight the tile design while matching grouts blend in seamlessly. Matte or glossy finishes also contribute to the style. Wider grout lines add more visible color for a bolder look. Consider how the grout appearance aligns with your kitchen decor goals.

Ease of Cleaning

Kitchen backsplashes need grout that allows quick wiping and resists absorbing stains. Some grout types require extensive sealing to avoid discoloration when exposed to common cooking byproducts like oils, sauces, and grease. Grout with microbial resistance inhibits mold and mildew growth. Low-maintenance grouts simplify routine care.


Grout ranges significantly in cost from 20 cents to over $5 per square foot. High-end epoxy and urethane grouts provide ultimate performance but can cost much more in initial installation. Less expensive cement-based grouts work well in many backsplashes but require sealing for maximum stain resistance. Balance your budget with the level of durability and maintenance required.

Once you evaluate these factors, it becomes easier to select the ideal grout for your specific kitchen backsplash application. Carefully review the pros and cons of each type to make the best choice.

Types of Grout and Their Features

Here is an overview of popular grout varieties and their distinguishing characteristics:

Cement-Based Grout

Cement grout is the most common and affordable option suitable for a wide range of tiles. It uses a mixture of cement, fine aggregates, and color pigments. Pros include low cost, extensive color choices, and easy installation. Cons are higher porosity requiring sealing, potential for cracking, and susceptibility to staining. It provides a good balance of economy and performance for most backsplashes.

Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grouts consist of epoxy resins mixed with hardeners and aggregate fillers. They offer excellent adhesion, durability, stain and chemical resistance. Pros are superior waterproofing, industrial-grade strength, and minimal shrinkage. Cons are higher cost and more difficult installation. Use for high-traffic floors or backsplashes prone to heavy use and moisture.

Urethane Grout

Urethane grout contains urethane resins blended with pigments for a plasticized finish. Pros include extremely low water absorption, mold/mildew resistance, flexibility, and easy cleaning. Cons are higher cost and limited colors. Ideal for wet areas like showers and backsplashes. Provides maximum stain protection.

Furan Grout

Furan grouts utilize furan resins mixed with fillers for extremely chemical-resistant joints. Pros are the highest strength and durability. Cons are difficult installation, limited colors, high cost, and strong odors during curing. Use for industrial kitchens and food processing facilities requiring regular acid/chemical washdowns.

Epoxy Ester Grout

Epoxy Ester grouts offer a hybrid between epoxy and urethane with combined performance benefits. Pros include chemical resistance, low water absorption, sound dampening, and easier spreading than epoxy. Cons are limited supplier availability and fewer color choices. Provides a high-quality maintenance-free option.

Siliconized Acrylic Grout

Siliconized acrylic grouts contain acrylic resins with silicone water repellants for greater flexibility and water resistance. Pros are stain protection, reduced need for sealing, mold resistance, and high bond strength. Cons are not as durable for heavy use as other resins. A good choice for low-traffic backsplashes.

Once aware of the features for each grout type, you can determine the ideal option for your particular kitchen backsplash installation. Make sure to review manufacturer specifications for application guidelines, cure times, and performance ratings before making a selection.

Recommended Grouts for Common Kitchen Backsplash Tiles

Here are suggested quality grout options for popular backsplash tile materials:

  • Ceramic: Cement, Epoxy, Siliconized Acrylic
  • Porcelain: Cement, Urethane, Epoxy Ester
  • Glass: Cement, Epoxy, Urethane
  • Marble or Natural Stone: Cement, Urethane
  • Metal or Mosaic: Cement, Epoxy
  • Subway Tile: Cement, Siliconized Acrylic

Cement-based grouts work well for most applications. Epoxy and urethanes provide higher-end stain protection. Acrylic adds flexibility for temperature fluctuations. Always reference manufacturer guidelines for compatibility.

Grout Width Recommendations

Proper grout joint width depends on the type and size of your tile:

  • Small tiles under 2”x2”: 1/16” to 1/8” width
  • Standard tiles 4”x4” to 12”x12”: 1/8” to 3/16” width
  • Large format tiles over 12”x12”: 3/16” to 1/4″ width

Narrower widths enhance small mosaic tiles while larger tiles require wider joints. Match joint color to create a continuous surface or contrast it to accentuate tile shape patterns. Consider the overall look you want to achieve.

Grout Selection Considerations

When selecting the ideal grout, keep these key tips in mind:

  • Test grout color samples on a spare tile to preview final appearance
  • Choose stain-resistant grout rated for heavy use kitchens
  • Match grout texture and width to complement tile finish
  • Ensure grout meets manufacturer specifications for your tile type
  • Consider epoxy or urethane for maximum stain resistance
  • Use furan grout only for commercial-grade acid resistance
  • Verify sufficient cure time for grout to reach maximum hardness
  • Apply grout sealer to cement grouts for added protection
  • Check that grout has antimicrobial properties to inhibit mildew and mold
  • Select grout color to match or contrast with tile based on desired style

Carefully examining your options using the criteria above will lead you to the perfect grout for your kitchen backsplash installation.

How to Apply Grout

Once you have selected the ideal grout, proper application technique ensures optimal results:

  • Allow tile adhesive to cure completely before grouting, usually 24-48 hours
  • Apply grout release to tiles if necessary to prevent staining
  • Follow mixing instructions and only make batches you can use before they harden
  • Hold float or rubber grout tool at a 45° angle to fill joints
  • Use diagonal, circular motions to pack joints, leaving no gaps or voids
  • Remove excess grout with edge of float held vertically
  • Smooth joints and compress grout into crevices for consistent finish
  • Clean tiles gently with minimal water to avoid removing grout
  • Follow manufacturer cure times specific to your grout before exposing to use
  • Avoid foot traffic or harsh cleaning during grout curing phase
  • Apply grout sealer on cementitious grout for added protection

Always refer to product guidelines for exact application and curing instructions for your selected grout.

Grout Maintenance Tips

To keep your grout looking its best:

  • Seal cement grout annually and reapply as needed based on wear
  • Use moist microfiber cloths for routine grout cleaning
  • Avoid harsh scrubbing or abrasive cleaners which can deteriorate grout
  • Rinse and dry completely after cleaning to prevent water pooling
  • Re-apply grout in damaged areas to prevent deterioration
  • Watch for cracks or missing grout and repair immediately
  • Clean spills quickly to limit staining of susceptible grouts
  • Consider re-grouting every 5-10 years for maximum longevity

Proper care keeps your grout joints intact and your backsplash looking great.

Grout Troubleshooting Guide

Some common grout problems and their solutions:

Cracking – Indicates movement or improper curing. Remove and replace affected areas. Ensure adequate joints.

Discoloration – Reseal cement grout or scrub stains gently with oxygenating cleaner.

Gaps or Voids – Fill in openings with additional grout. Check bond to tile.

Efflorescence – Whitish mineral deposits. Remove with pH-neutral cleaner. Minimize excessive water exposure.

Peeling or Crumbling – Indicates poor adhesion. Remove and replace worn sections.

Mold or Mildew – Treat immediately with hydrogen peroxide or oxygenating cleaner. Improve ventilation.

Addressing issues promptly prevents further deterioration and damage to your backsplash.

Grout FAQs

What is the easiest grout to keep clean?

Epoxy and urethane grouts resist staining best with minimal maintenance needed. Avoid porous cement grouts in high-traffic kitchens.

Do I need to seal grout on a backsplash?

Cement grout requires sealing every 12-18 months. Epoxy, urethane, and polymer grouts do not require sealing.

What’s the most popular grout color?

Whites and light grays are the most versatile. Bright white provides contrast. Match grout color to tile or use dark shades for bold accents.

How long does grout take to dry?

Cement grouts cure in 24-72 hours before light use. Epoxy and urethane grouts fully cure in 7-10 days. Avoid water immersion for at least 2 weeks.

Why is my grout cracking or crumbling?

Insufficient joints, poor adhesion, underlying movement or inadequate curing causes cracks. Remove any loose grout and reapply.

Can any grout be used on shower walls?

Epoxy and urethane grouts work best in wet areas. Cement grout requires extensive sealing. Use silicone caulk on movement joints.

Choosing the optimal grout for your backsplash doesn’t need to be confusing. Evaluating your tile material, design aesthetic, use patterns, and maintenance preferences makes selecting the ideal product easy. Referencing this guide provides the insights needed to make the perfect grout decision for durability and long-lasting beauty your kitchen deserves.


The right grout choice is critical for maximizing the look and longevity of your kitchen backsplash. Matching performance needs with tile type, traffic patterns, desired appearance, and ease of cleaning leads to the ideal selection. Cement-based grouts provide an economical option for most applications, while epoxies and urethanes deliver ultimate stain resistance and durability. Consider the advantages of each type and consult manufacturer guidelines. Plan for proper application and routine sealing and cleaning for a beautiful, functional backsplash installation. With the information in this guide, you can confidently choose a grout that meets your kitchen design goals and exceeds your expectations.