Colorful Grout Doesn't Sound Exciting but Look What It Can Do to a Room
Looking at grout colors sounds like it might be at the bottom of anyone's kitchen remodel to-do list, but this small detail can have a major impact—especially for those willing to go bold with their tile floors or kitchen tile backsplash. Ideally, grout color selection occurs in tandem with picking the tiles themselves. But even people with preexisting tile floors or backsplashes can try a new grout color, completely changing the look of the space in the process.
The Classic Colors
White and black grout are proven favorites with tiles of any color and shape. They offer a classic look and sense of balance—especially with atypical tile choices—and can easily push everything from subways tiles to penny tiles in a more modern or traditional direction. White grout tends to look modern when paired with white tile, while black grout helps white tile pop and looks very classic—it's a very popular combination for the farmhouse kitchen look. Both serve as neutrals with colorful, bold tile.
Shades of gray grout colors are becoming more common. Gray grout can serve as a softener, offering a less stark and dramatic alternative to the black grout, white tile look. Gray grout paired with a small tile—surfaces with small tiles have more grout coverage than those with large tiles—can look modern and unexpected. With larger tile, the grout is less noticeable and serves as more of an accompaniment to whatever statement the tile is making. The most common subway tile grout color is black, which gives the most popular, traditional look. White and gray grout is also used with subway tile, providing more contemporary and relaxed looks, respectively.
The Benefit of Colorful Grout
White, black, and gray grout colors tend to be the most popular, but brighter grout colors can completely change the look of a tiled surface. They're also a good option for ambitious but cautious home remodelers.
"Many homeowners who feel that bold patterns on tile might be a bit too much could find a nice middle ground in opting for colorful grout," says Jerry DiFabrizio, former president and owner of Florida-based Tampa Tile. For people in that category, committing to a colorful grout with neutral tiles (even trusty subway tiles) might feel less daunting and less permanent.
Any color beyond the neutral trifecta—gold and orange are popular—feels very fresh and contemporary, in a way that can easily lean toward bold and unexpected. There's a huge range of color options out there; The Home Depot offers 40 color options, including blue, green, and brown shades, in just one grout product. More surprising colors—and even glitter grout, which certainly isn't for everyone—are out there, but may require a little searching.
One caveat: Playful, unexpected grout colors can require a little extra upkeep, especially if a room relies on that colorful grout to maintain its pleasant appearance. White grout is so popular because it can be thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed with chemicals and bleach (which can strip out color) without losing its visual appeal. Bright grout colors—and even black and gray grout—will require a little extra maintenance to maintain their hues. Learning how to clean grout correctly, and often without popular cleaning products, will be key.
How to Change Grout Color
Grout color is typically chosen—and committed to, at least for the lifetime of the tiles—at installation. This is certainly the most typical course for changing grout color. Still, many people aren't able to replace tile floors, swap out a tiled backsplash, or redo a floor-to-ceiling tiled bathroom. Fortunately for them, changing grout color on a preexisting tile surface (called regrouting) is manageable and can even be a DIY project—with a little skill and patience. (Professionals can also come in and tackle the project for more money but less distress, in many cases, for the homeowners.) And, like painting tile floors, using a grout pen to change grout color is technically an option, but it may not hold up.
"Many DIY blogs recommend using a colorant pen to paint the grout, but just painting over the grout is unlikely to have good results," DiFabrizio says. "It's usually better to have professional help if you want your colorful grout to look good and last a long time."