Grout for Vinyl Tile? No, We Are Not Crazy
trends | On 22, Feb 2013
GROUT ENHANCES REALISM OF STONE-LOOK VINYL TILES
At first glance, the idea of grouting vinyl tile sounds a bit absurd. But we can assure you that groutable vinyl tile is not some cruel trick conspired by the flooring industry just to play mind games with consumers. With grouting traditional ceramic tiles, messy grout haze, sponges, and trowels are generally the first things that come to mind. However, grout used for vinyl tiles is much less cumbersome and time-consuming. The main purpose of grouting vinyl tile is cosmetic appeal to enhance realism found in the tiles, not to make your life any harder than it already is.
The majority of vinyl tiles available on the market today are not designed to handle any type of grouting material, and grout is usually unnecessary. Many vinyl flooring products simply float and click together with really tight spaces, ensuring a nearly seamless floor for your home or business. While this tightly jointed look is great with vinyl that looks like traditional hardwood, much realism is lost with stone-look vinyl tiles. Not a single professional tile installation completely discards the use of grout, so this was one of the main problems with vinyl tile that looks like ceramic, porcelain, or stone. It was very easy to tell the difference between traditional tile and vinyl tile due to the absence of grout lines. Thankfully, recent innovations have permitted the use of grout on vinyl tile while being much less complicated and tedious than laying down grout on traditional tile. While many are initially turned off by the idea of grouting vinyl tiles, the process is so simple that there is no chance of tearing one’s hair out over a new vinyl flooring installation project.
Many groutable vinyl floor tiles feature crescent edges in order for grout to fit easily in between tiles. Also, due to the uniform cut of vinyl, extremely narrow grout joints can be achieved, even closer than you could get with rectified porcelain tiles. In addition to this advantage, vinyl tiles are easy to cut to size for those stubborn corners of a room; most vinyl tiles simply need to be scored with a sharp edge and then snapped. Cutting through the entire tile is usually unnecessary.
For some time now, there has been a handful of vinyl flooring products that permitted the use of grout, but one of the first floating vinyl floor tiles to feature this was Metroflor Tekstone. More recently, Metroflor has launched its Aspire flooring line, which consists of entirely floating groutable vinyl floor tiles. As the do-it-yourself market becomes a more popular option, the ease at which Aspire can be installed is almost too good to be true. With collections that feature varying shades of natural stone visuals in the Aspire vinyl line, the realism is unbelievably accurate. And for those who simply don’t want to deal with any grout, Aspire can be installed without it, as well. The Armstrong Alterna vinyl collection is another flooring line that works great with grout. Like Metroflor’s Aspire series, this Armstrong luxury vinyl tile collection can be installed with or without grout and provides replications of natural stone, in particular slate, travertine, and marble.
Perhaps you are still confused about using tile grout on vinyl flooring. Whenever we think of grout, that soupy, sloppy, sticky stuff that looks like it came straight out of the cement mixer is generally what comes to mind. Fortunately, standard tile grout isn’t for use on vinyl. Instead, acrylic grouting material has been developed to closely match the visuals of the standard substance. It is also much easier to apply and does not take long to dry, so you can enjoy your floor immediately rather than having to wait two days for the tiles to set. It is imperative, however, that this acrylic grout is wiped away as soon as it is applied to the joints, as acrylic grout is impervious to water when it dries. You don’t want to spend an entire day trying to get the residual haze off with an ice scraper. Other than this, all of the same tools that can be used for normal grout jobs on traditional tiles can be used for vinyl. Floating groutable vinyl floors are great options for DIY installs, and this will give you a realistic portrayal of stone tiles without the costly endeavor of hiring professionals to do a traditional tile installation.