What Type of Grout to Use for Backsplash

Choosing the right grout for your backsplash is an important decision that will impact the look and durability of your kitchen. With so many options on the market, it can be confusing to know which type of grout is best for your needs. This article will examine the pros and cons of different grout types to help you make an informed choice.

Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is extremely durable, stain resistant and waterproof. This makes it a great choice for kitchen backsplashes which are prone to moisture, spills and stains.

Pros of Epoxy Grout

  • Extremely durable and long lasting
  • Stain resistant and waterproof
  • Available in a wide range of colors
  • Resists cracks and shrinkage
  • Easy to clean

Cons of Epoxy Grout

  • More expensive than other grout options
  • Requires special tools and materials for application
  • Difficult to apply for DIYers
  • Cannot be sanded or colored after application
  • Can be difficult to remove completely if replacing

Overall, epoxy grout is one of the best options for kitchen backsplashes due to its superior waterproofing and stain resistance. The added cost and specialized installation requirements are worthwhile tradeoffs for a durable, low-maintenance finish.

Sanded Grout

Sanded grout contains fine silica sand in its mixture, allowing it to be used for wider grout lines. It is a popular choice for backsplashes with natural stone or ceramic tiles.

Pros of Sanded Grout

  • Budget-friendly option
  • Works well for wider grout lines
  • Easy to apply for DIY projects
  • Allows moisture to evaporate from surface
  • Can be sanded and recolored

Cons of Sanded Grout

  • Not as water or stain resistant as epoxy
  • Requires sealing to prevent staining
  • Sand can scratch certain soft natural stones
  • Vulnerable to cracking and shrinkage
  • Requires more regular cleaning

For backsplashes with stone tiles, be sure to check that sanded grout will not scratch the stone. Overall, sanded grout provides an affordable grouting option but requires more maintenance than epoxy.

Unsanded Grout

Unsanded grout has a smooth, fine texture. It is best suited for backsplashes with grout lines 1/8 inch or smaller.

Pros of Unsanded Grout

  • Smoother finish on narrow grout lines
  • Stain resistant with sealant
  • Won’t scratch soft natural stones
  • Easy application for small DIY projects
  • Economical option

Cons of Unsanded Grout

  • Not as durable or water resistant as epoxy
  • Can crack or crumble over time
  • Requires sealing to prevent stains
  • Limited color options compared to sanded
  • Needs regular cleaning to look its best

For backsplashes with mosaic tiles or smaller grout lines, unsanded grout is a great choice. The smooth finish highlights the tile without the gritty texture of sanded grout. Proper sealing is required for stain resistance.

Cement Grout

Cement grout is a very basic and inexpensive grouting option made from cement, lime and water.

Pros of Cement Grout

  • Very inexpensive
  • Simple installation
  • Allows surface evaporation

Cons of Cement Grout

  • Not water or stain resistant
  • Prone to cracking and crumbling
  • Requires sealing for any stain resistance
  • Limited color options
  • Can be difficult to work with
  • Short lifespan compared to other grouts

While very affordable, cement grout requires a good deal of maintenance. It is best suited for temporary projects instead of a kitchen backsplash meant to last.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of grout is most waterproof?

Epoxy grout is the most waterproof option. It creates an impervious surface that prevents water absorption or penetration. This makes it ideal for kitchen backsplashes.

Does all grout need to be sealed?

Sealing is strongly recommended for sanded, unsanded and cement grout. Epoxy grout does not require sealing. Sealing makes grout more stain resistant.

How do I choose the right grout color?

Consider the tile color and style. Contrasting grout can accentuate tile edges, while matching grout creates a unified look. You can also coordinate or match the grout with your kitchen decor.

What’s the easiest grout for DIY installation?

Unsanded and sanded grouts are the easiest for DIY installation. Epoxy and cement grout require more skill to apply correctly. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Should I use sanded or unsanded grout for my small mosaic tiles?

Unsanded grout is best for small mosaic tiles with grout lines 1/8 inch or smaller. The fine texture fills narrow spaces without cracking.


When choosing a grout, consider the tile type, grout line width, color options and your own DIY skill level. For kitchen backsplashes, epoxy and sanded grout provide the best stain resistance and durability. Be sure to seal non-epoxy grouts. Selecting the right grout ensures your backsplash stays beautiful for years to come.