WRITER | MATT DAVIDSON
PHOTOS | BROCK BARBER
Grout. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Wrong. As with many home design-related effects, there are some exciting changes occurring in the world of grout.
Brock Barber of Next Level Tile has a tile-laying pedigree that goes back three generations. When someone who’s been immersed in the world of tile and grout for that long gets excited about new grout products and trends, it’s time to take a closer look.
“I just finished up a bathroom that was done completely with glow-in-the-dark grout. It is spectacularly cool looking with the lights off. Beyond being visually impressive, glow-in-the-dark grout saves you from being blinded by the bathroom lights in the middle of the night. You won’t even need to turn the lights on,” says Barber.
He spoke enthusiastically of another recent advancement in grout technology. “Laticrete changed the game with its Permacolor Select AnyColor grout. Now customers are able to match grout to any of the thousands of colors of Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore paints that are out there. It’s opened up a whole new way of looking at grout – rather than being this utilitarian compound for holding tile together, it can be used as an important part of the design process.”
Many designers are now using highly contrasting, brightly colored grouts to accentuate the overall look of tiled areas, creating a striking visual effect. On the other end of the spectrum, homeowners are also able to have grout and tile that match the exact color of the walls to create calming spaces or to make focal fixtures like cabinets and granite counters really pop.
Ron Nash, Vice President of Sales at Laticrete Worldwide, spoke to me about some of the innovations in grout that he is impressed by. “The wide variety of grouts available is giving homeowners the opportunity to either make grout lines completely disappear by using translucent grouts or captivate by using products such as glow-in-the-dark grout or glitter grouts. We can add a metallic look with gold, silver, and bronze flakes or have grouts with a chameleon effect. Any color grout under the sun is now available.”
I asked Nash about stain-resistant grout and was told that all of their premium grouts have Microban in the formula. Microban makes grout highly resistant to staining, mold, and mildew. It also makes cleaning a breeze as stains aren’t able to penetrate as deeply as they could with traditional grouts.
It’s pretty exciting to think of all of the possibilities. Can you imagine … glow-in-the-dark grout?