Many homeowners dream of a perfectly smooth floor without unaesthetic lines. A flawless, lustrous surface contributes to elegant and minimalistic look of the room, making it seem more spacious. Can you, however, lay floor tiles and hide the gaps between them? Does absence of grout affect the floor’s durability? Find out before you decide upon a particular solution.
Table of contents
- What is the purpose of grout?
- Groutless floor tiles - is it possible?
- Floor tiles with invisible grout
- Floor tiles without grout - risks
- Are all types of floor tiles suitable?
Grout is an elastic bond put between ceramic wall or floor tiles. Its main purpose is protection of the elements as well as their decoration. The most important role of grouting is hiding any differences in size between tiles. Without grout the cracks between tiles are more visible, which has a negative impact on the appearance of the surface.
Apart from decoration, the product secures the tiles against damage and harmful external factors. It protects floors and walls from humidity and prevents accumulation of dust and dirt in the gaps. It also hinders growth of fungi and mould. Filling the gaps with grout increases the grip of tiles to the surface.
Grouting is very useful when one tile needs to be replaced. Thanks to this product it is possible to take out the broken tile without damaging the rest of the surface.
One of the most common questions posed by aesthetes and minimalist design lovers is whether it is possible to lay tiles without grouting. Can it really be done? The answer is: yes! How to do it? You need to use special rectified tiles. Rectified tiles are cut during the production process so that their edges are perfectly even.
Rectified tiles are perfect floor tiles for kitchen and bathroom. Such flooring looks best in spacious rooms, which bring out the elegance of a smooth surface. The tiles are excellent for minimalistic interiors, where furniture and decorations are limited. In such design the tiles are the main decorative element.
A flawlessly smooth surface looks good also in smaller interiors. If the set of tiles is chosen properly, it might make a room look bigger.
Rectified tiles are the best solution in terms of appearance. They are, however, not very practical, therefore most professionals recommend using so called “invisible grout” when laying the tiles. It is a very thin line, less than 2 mm thick.
Such grouting is very subtle and quite difficult to notice when using the floor - one needs to get a closer look to see it. This method is not very different from laying rectified tiles, although it’s less practical, as the surface is not perfectly smooth. It also impacts the strength of the flooring.
Laying floor tiles without grouting makes the surface more vulnerable and prone to damage. Tiles without grout lose their grip, so laying them is more complicated. There is also a threat that an element breaks, splits or worse - completely comes off the surface. Groutless floor tiles make it easier for humidity, fungi and bacteria to get inside of the wall.
One of the biggest disadvantage of floor tiles of this type is the fact that it is impossible to remove just one element without breaking the rest of the tiles.
There are many types and designs of floor tiles. Manufacturers of rectified tiles offer a wide variety of patterns. Which type is best for tiling a floor without grouting?
If you want to get a smooth and homogenous surface, consider using black or white floor tiles. They are perfect for classic designs. The shiny, reflective surface highlights the elegance and a tasteful style of a room.
Wood effect floor tiles are becoming increasingly popular. This type is perfect for scandinavian style. Floor tiles that resemble wood give a room a warmer look and increase coziness.
For glamour style kitchens and bathrooms marble tiles are worth choosing. They are very elegant and give a room a fashionable, stylish look. If you are not afraid of unconventional designs, consider choosing patchwork floor tiles. They are perfect for boho style. With a combination of wildness and elegance they can eliven every type of room.
Concrete is a perfect foundation for installation of any type of floor tiles. If done well, tile floor laid on a concrete will last for a very long time. Laying floor tiles on concrete does not differ much from working on other types of surfaces. The underfloor only needs to be accordingly prepared:
Dust the surface, removing any debris and rubble.
Wash the surface using a brush and water mixed with detergent. Make sure to remove any oil stains and degrease the whole area. Leave the surface to dry.
Seal any cracks and gaps using concrete compound. Make the surface as even as possible.
Spread a layer of waterproofing coating over the floor. Once it dries, you can start tiling the floor using the chosen method - with or without grout.
Before starting to tile the floor, you need to know how many of the elements you need. For this purpose, calculate the surface of the floor, multiplying the width and length of the room. If the area is not rectangular, just divide it into smaller rectangles and sum their surfaces. Then measure the area of one tile and divide the area of your room by area of a tile. Round out the result - it’s the approximate amount of tiles you need. You should increase it by 10% to have spare elements for cuts and in case of damage.
It might happen that you need to cut a tile to fit it. To avoid breaking the material, you should use appropriate tools. Contractors tile cutter is the most popular choice, as it allows to cut a straight line. You can also use a handheld tile scribe, however it is more difficult to use. The easiest equipment to use is electric tile cutter that feature a spinning blade.
How to lay floor tiles on concrete?
Laying floor tiles on concrete is similar as on any other surface. You only need to prepare the surface - clean eat and make sure it’s dry. Fill the cracks with an adhesive and coat the floor with a waterproof coating.
How to calculate tiles needed for a floor?
Measure the area of the room and divide it by the surface of one tile. The result is the number of tiles you need, however you should increase it by 10% for possible breaks and cuts.
How to cut floor tiles?
To cut a tile, use appropriate tools, such as electric or contractors tile cutter. Handheld tile scribe is smaller and more difficult to cut a straight line. To cut a more complicated shape, use tile nippers.
How to install bathroom floor tiles?
After purchasing the right amount of floor tiles, prepare the surface and plan the position of the elements. Use a good adhesive and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Cut the last row of tiles if they don’t fit the room perfectly.