Is Groutable Vinyl Tile Right For Your Home? (+ Pros & Cons)

Kenneth Wilson

Quick question: Are you aware that you can grout vinyl tiles?

Homeowners who want to go for a higher-end look may opt to grout vinyl tile to mimic the appearance of ceramic tile or natural stone. Additionally, applying grout to your vinyl tiles can better protect them against moisture damage.

Pro Tip: Ensure to buy tiles labeled groutable to avoid any issues in the long run. Take note of the recommended grout type by the manufacturer and the specific sealant coat.

To help you make an informed decision, let's discuss the pros and cons of groutable vinyl tile (as well as some expert-backed tips and advice.

What is Grout?

Generally, grout is used in construction and home improvement projects to fill any void. It also makes any floor or wall stronger by bonding the tiles together.

Grout can also prevent the tile edges from chipping and cracking. Simply put, it serves both an aesthetic and functional purpose. (Related: Sanded vs. Unsanded Grout: Which is Better?)

The Advantages of Groutable Tile Vinyl

Here are the benefits of grouting your vinyl tiles.

  • Easy Installation: First off, groutable tile is pretty easy to install. Most homeowners can grout immediately after the vinyl tile installation is completed. This eliminates the waiting time for thin-set mortar drying. Consider it a great benefit, especially for areas like the bathroom or laundry room that can't afford more extended downtimes.
  • No need for special equipment: Vinyl tiles will not require a tile cutter or wet saw to shape the tile before the installation, similar to its ceramic and natural stone counterparts. You may simply use kitchen shears or a utility knife to do so.
  • Time-saver: Homeowners also do not have to deal with the time-consuming, laborious process of removing the old floors. Fortunately, groutable vinyl tile can be easily laid on top of existing tiles– as long as they are in current good condition. Most commercial vinyl tiles are thin enough and don't add any substantial height to your flooring. Given its flexibility, you can count on your tiles to work seamlessly over a somewhat uneven subfloor.
  • Low maintenance: After the installation and grouting are completed, you'll find that vinyl tile has relatively easy maintenance. Simply use a broom or dust mop to remove any dust or grime. It's recommended to damp mop the tiles if you're dealing with accidental spills and any sticky situation. Using a damp mop won't be a problem if the grout is properly sealed.
  • Highly durable: Vinyl tile is known for its durability. It can withstand hard wear without worrying about cracks or scratches. If you need replacement, vinyl tiles can be removed easily for your convenience. The addition of grout improves the innate durability of standard vinyl tiles. Given the proper application, grout prevents any damage to the corners of the vinyl tile. This is a common problem in frequently wet places in the home, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Comfortable underfoot: In addition to its reliable durability, vinyl tiles are warm to the touch and give you a comfortable underfoot feel. This is a stark contrast to other commercial floor tile varieties. It's also notably quieter, making it suitable for condos or open-plan modern homes.
  • Sophisticated aesthetic: Groutable vinyl tiles add a sophisticated touch and feel to your living space.
  • Additional protective layer: Consider grout as an added protective layer against water damage to your subfloors. In turn, it may save you from having to fix costly and time-consuming repairs in the long run. Keep in mind that commercial vinyl tiles are waterproof, but their joints are still susceptible to water penetration. Grout can seal the seams between the vinyl tiles to protect them from damage.

The Disadvantages of Groutable Tile Vinyl

Now, let's discuss the drawbacks of groutable tile vinyl.

  • Can be expensive: High-end, luxurious groutable vinyl tiles can be costly. That said, it's better to prepare your budget accordingly.
  • Hard to re-adjust: The self-adhesive backing on most groutable vinyl floors can be hard to re-adjust, especially once the individual tiles are set in place. You may find it difficult to adjust its position as you see fit. To offset the problem, install the vinyl tiles carefully—correctly map out a floor plan before installing the peel-and-stick tiles.
  • More labor time: Grout application will add more labor time to your vinyl tile installation project. As such, the professional labor costs will also increase.
  • Edges may lift: The edges of vinyl tile may tend to lift at some point. However, you may prevent this issue from grouting well and protecting the tiles from getting too wet in the installation.
  • Cracking problems: Applying grout between vinyl tiles may present cracking problems in the long run. To avoid this problem, use a flexible grout with a polymer additive.

5 Tips on How to Properly Grout Vinyl Tiles

Experts recommend groutable vinyl tiles as the material can withstand several moisture challenges and daily wear and tear. Accordingly, applying grout will require additional effort on your end during installation.

If done correctly, grouting will give your vinyl tiles a sophisticated appeal and improve their longevity. Here are some expert-backed tips to keep in mind when grouting vinyl tiles:

  • Ensure that you buy the correct type of vinyl tiles. Keep in mind that not every tile is suitable for grouting. You wouldn't want to waste time and money buying tiles that aren't groutable.
  • Ideally, clean the tile joints to remove any dirt or grime build-up. You can use a utility knife or blade to do this. Doing so gives the grout more space to occupy the joints and create strong bonds.
  • Work in sections. Avoid mixing an excessive amount of grout at once.
  • Let the grout dry for a whole 24 hours after application.
  • Some handy homeowners may opt to do a DIY installation of grouted vinyl tiles. However, professional installation may be better for large floor sizes to ensure correct results.

Vinyl tile continues to be a crowd-favorite flooring material among homeowners in the country. Even if you choose to have it grouted, its installation is relatively quick.

Choosing groutable vinyl tiles for your home improvement project boils down to a matter of preference. You may either select it for aesthetic reasons or add protection for your floors. Consult a local expert flooring contractor to ensure a successful groutable vinyl tile installation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does vinyl tile grout take to dry?

Typically, the vinyl tile grout will take 24 hours to completely dry.

How long should I wait to grout vinyl tile?

To complete your groutable vinyl tile surface, you must start in the corner of the space and work your way out of the room. Always try to work in small sections at a time. Remember not to walk on the surface for at least 24 hours to give the grout enough time to dry.

Do I need to seal vinyl grout?

Yes, it is highly recommended to seal vinyl grout. Doing so protects the material from absorbing water, stains, and bacteria. Grout sealing also helps maintain the grout's appearance, consistency, and texture.

How can I tell if the grout is dry?

You may test if the sealer has dried up by sprinkling a few drops of water on the grout line. If the drops accumulate on the grout line, they are already cured. However, if the drops get absorbed by the grout, it means that it is not dry, and you must reapply the sealer right away.

Kenneth Wilson
January 19, 2022
Contractor Tips, Flooring

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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