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Tiles can give your walls and floor a very classy look and are very easy to maintain. Because of their easy installation and durable nature, tiles have become an eminent part of most of the house-building projects. They come in a plethora of textures and styles to choose from.

Though ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most common, glass and metal tiles are available as well. Selecting the right tile is also very necessary as determining the width of the grout line is majorly based on the shape and size of the tiles being used.

I agree that forming mortar and assembling tiles on the floor or the walls is the messy part of the job, but the most integral bit of the project in hand is picking the right size of the tiles and the right dimensions of the grout line. For example, large tiles may look good in spacious rooms, but they might cause small rooms to look even smaller.

Using spacers for uniform grout lines is a smart approach. But still, there are confusions like what size spacers to use for 3×6 subway lines? All in all, determining the proper width of the grout line is necessary. Muddling this up may leave a lot to be desired. So, if you are thinking of laying tiles in your new house or casing up the old ones, a quick read through the page might save you much regret.

What is the Grout Line?

Grout Line

Grout is the mix of cement, water, and sand in the right ratio, which forms a multi-purpose adhesive. It can be used in sealing joints and stuffing voids. When the grout is used in fixing tiles, it can form a visible line framing them if there is some space given in-between these tiles. This line formed by grout around the tiles is what we call a grout line or grout joints.

The presence or absence of a grout line makes a significant difference in the final appearance of the tiled surface. Not just on the grounds of technicality but setting the right dimensions of the grout line is also necessary for a neat finish of the tile job. So, if you are taking matters into your own hands and up for DIY installation, then you should keep the necessity of a perfect grout line in your mind.

1/8 Vs. 1/16 Grout Line

If you are one of the people who get confused between these two very commonly used thicknesses of the grout lines, then you should again consider the facts mentioned above for determining your perfect size.

1/16 is the thinner and more preferred grout line as it gives a “more tile and less crap” kind of look. But some also prefer ⅛ grout line for all the already discussed reasons like a sturdier and durable finish. You can use 1/16″ spacers for organizing ⅛ grout joints.

The spacing in your tiles is finally the matter of the size, shape, and design of the tiles you are installing. There are pros and cons of both the ⅛ and 1/16 grout joints, and they are discussed below.

⅛ Grout Line

⅛ Grout Line


  • Tiles are joined relatively more firmly.
  • More logical option when it is the matter of cheap tiles.
  • Easier installation.


  • It cannot be used in tiles having a put-together puzzle kind of design as the break-in continuity may turn the design unsightly

1/16 Grout Line

1 16 Grout Line


  • The grout line will almost be invisible, and the texture of the tiles will come out nicely.


  • The installation will be relatively time taking.
  • Only high-quality tiles can have such thin grout lines.

Why is Grout Lines Necessary?

Some people may choose to skip the grout lines and layer the tiles without any space between them. Although this gives an elegant medieval look to your fireplace or chimney, it also has a few drawbacks which can be overcome by adopting a tiling plan that favors grout lines.

Pros of having grout lines between your tiles:

Increases the Durability and Strength of the Tiled Surface

The grout lines firmly grasp the tiles from the sides as well and not just from beneath. This results in a much tighter grip and a firm hold. The tiles have a lesser chance of scraping out from the corners or creaking when under high pressure.

Absorbs Moisture

The soaking ability of the grout prevents long-term rusting or tarnishing of the tiles. This way, the tiles do not lose their luster, and frequent wiping is not necessary.

Prevents Debris from Entering Between the Tiles

The grout fills the gap between the tiles very effectively. It gives an airtight sealing to the surface and does not let any litter or sand particles enter the space between the tiles.

Prevents Rubbing of the Adjacent Tiles

Grout gives a smooth ending to the brittle marble corners, so they do not rub against each other and scrap out.

Gives a Crisp Finish to the Surface:

There is an appearance of fine finishing with grout lines, which is quite blunt without these lines. Use spacers for an even finish. If you are still thinking that what size spacers should be used for 3×6 subway lines, then my advice is to try ⅛” spacers. Most tiles have grooves on the sides so most probably you won’t need any.

Helps with Tiles of Variable Dimensions

Since most tiles are hand-made, they are not cloning of one another and may differ in sizes. This may cause problems in mathematical aspects of the tiling work. So, to even out the irregularities in the shape and size of the tiles, grout can be used. It can fill the gaps and voids formed in the process of laying the tiles.

Note that in case you are considering not going with the grout lines, then use rectified tiles. The rectified tiles are made either from ceramic or porcelain. Their whole purpose is to be of the same size and shape to prevent any measuring error. So, they will not rub against each other or leave any gap in between.

Things to Consider for Determining the Grout Line Width and Colour

If you are thumbs up for grout lines, then the next thing you need to consider is the width and color of the lines.

How to Determine Grout Thickness

The thickness of the grout line ranges from 1/16″ to 3/16″. The width of this line makes a very noticeable difference in the final appearance. So, the things you need to consider for the proper width of the grout line are:

Directly Proportional to the Size of Tiles

The grout line should be thin if the tiles are small and thick if the tiles are more prominent as the grout lines form a frame for the tiles, and it must be proportionate with each block of the tile. Nonetheless, people prefer thin grout lines anyway as they ensure that more area gets covered with tile as they are the major showpiece.

Quality of Tiles

Since grout ensures a sturdy build to the tiles, cheap and frail tiles cannot be installed with a thin grout line. We can have narrow width lines only with the prime quality tiles that are strong and durable.

Time for Installation of Tiles

The thinner the grout lines, the more the number of lines, which means more time needed to layer the surface with tiles. Also, making thin and tight grout joints is heftier work, as it requires more precision and accuracy for eliminating technical errors. Also, more tiles and time is required, which will lighten your pockets.

Design on the Tiles

Some tiles come with designs on them that make sense only when put together continuously. Thick grout lines will break this design, and the results will not come out as desired. In such cases, thin grout lines are our only option.

How to Determine Grout Colour

Match with the Tiles

Generally, the color of the grout line is like the color of the tile as contrasting colors may create an illusion of smaller space. And, choosing the right color combination is also not a cakewalk. But if you want something funky and different and you have big walls, then you can always experiment.

Maintaining the Tiles

Dark-colored grout and tiles are preferred when one does not have time for constant maintenance or has pets or kids in their house. Light-colored grout lines get dirty and stained quickly and must be wiped at constant time intervals.

If you are calling the professionals for the job, then the Installation team from the Tile Company will take care of all the factors mentioned above.


Grout lines and their organization is a critical feature in any tile installation project and requires an in-depth thought process. The determination of the width and color depends on a handful of factors in which some are self-explanatory ones.

First, establish which tiles you must use for your house and then decide on a fitting grout line according to the chosen tile size and shape. Do not ever use thin grout lines for cheap tiles and thick grout lines for tiny tiles. Use spacers for uniformity of the lines. Now you know what size spacers to use for 3×6 subway lines.

Also, if you are not a big fan of grout lines, then only use rectified tiles from a reputable company in your project.



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