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Is there a difference: thinset and grout

WorkshopJon's picture

I need some thinset and some white grout (non-sanded)  Hate to buy two bags if I don't have to.  Are they interchangeable? ie. what's the difference between the two, if there in fact is any at all?


Jon

(post #66072, reply #1 of 12)

Big difference!


Thinset is used to stick the tile to the backer, and grout is used to fill the "cracks" between the tiles. Formulated differently, totally different properties when dry. Thinset (thin and sticky) will ooze out all over the place and will not clean up off of the tile, and grout (stiffer, drier mix w/ no adhesive properties) will not bond the tile to the wall/floor.


Since a bag of each will set you back $20 to $30 total, what's your concern?


Comparatively, how much did you spend on tile? Backer board? Tool rentals/purchase? etc...

(post #66072, reply #2 of 12)

They are (almost) entirely different. Thinset is a cement-like product that, when mixed as a mortar, becomes quite hard (yet slightly flexible) and very "tenacious". Standard non-sanded grout is a bit more like plaster. It doesn't "set" so much as "dry", and is relatively soft when dry. If you were to set tile with grout then it would likely work loose in a matter of weeks. If you were to use thinset for grout you'd have cement-colored lines between your tiles.

There is a premixed (in a can) combo thinset/grout that is available (have seen it at Menards here). A major advantage of it (for DIYers) is that when setting the tile you don't have to be so careful about preventing thinset from oozing up between the tiles. How satisfactory it is at doing both jobs, I don't know -- certainly not ideal, but perhaps sufficient for what you want to do.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #66072, reply #3 of 12)

combo thinset/grout that is available (have seen it at Menards here).


Not sure if the same brand BUT DON'T use it! I did.. BIG MISTAKE..


No I am not a pro tile setter. Just a home owner that learned the hard way. Had to take it all off. Geeee. I just broke a few tiles... Lucky I guess.. I did the thinset and grout.. MUCH BETTER!

(post #66072, reply #4 of 12)

ALL,


Thanks,


Question answered...two bags.  Just thought I'd ask.


Jon

(post #66072, reply #5 of 12)

If you only have a small amount to do, and you're working through a tile shop, and not a "big box", sometimes the shop will have a broken or partial bag they'll sell you at a discount.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #66072, reply #6 of 12)

Dan,


Never  was a question of money, just hate to have "leftovers" to store.


Jon

(post #66072, reply #8 of 12)

Well, that too. They may take the remainder back, and give you maybe some free cuts or some such.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #66072, reply #7 of 12)

Thinset is adhesive, grout isn't. figure it out.

(post #66072, reply #9 of 12)

I've seen where some lazy tiler ran out of thinset, so he finished the job with grout. sure enough the section with grout started popping up everywhere.

(post #66072, reply #10 of 12)

I always see tile guys installing soap dishes in tub surrounds with grout. Is this a poor practice?

 


Jon Blakemore

 

Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

(post #66072, reply #11 of 12)

Yes, very bad -- not enough sticky in grout to last.  Maybe enough sticky to get paid and leave town.

Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.

(post #66072, reply #12 of 12)

I concur with Will


DO NOT use the combo thinset/grout.  I used it too.  Worked fine as an adhesive to set the tiles.  But as a grout the stuff is junk.  I ended up removing all of the stuff.  (Which is hard on carbide bits since it sets up more like thinset than grout) and regrouting with REAL grout.  MUCH better now.  The combo stuff was all cracked and awful looking.