07 Nov Grout and Mortar: What’s the Difference?
Grout and mortar are two of the most elemental materials that we use to construct our homes. But while these two products may seem to be very similar, they actually serve very different purposes.
Grout and mortar are essentially made of similar materials including concrete, water and sand. Mortar also includes lime, which makes it more adhesive. The biggest difference between the two can be seen when they first come out of the bucket. When first applied, grout has a lower cement-to-water ratio than mortar. It’s soupier and more able to fit in and mold around narrow cracks between tiles.
Mortar on the other hand, is used to cement bricks together. If mortar were soupy when it was applied, a heavy brick laid on top might deform it and cause it to squish outward. And though mortar bears a heavier load eventually, it’s actually considered to be a “softer” material than grout. Like the bricks in your wall, mortar is slightly porous, allowing your home to “breathe” a little bit. If it wasn’t the same density as brick, it would “breathe” at a different rate and your wall could suffer structural problems.
Once it dries, grout is a very dense material, meaning that it won’t absorb much water. That’s why it’s used for tiling in bathrooms and kitchen counters that often get wet.
It’s important to note, however, that grout is not “waterproof.” Whenever you take a shower, your grout absorbs a little water. That’s why we recommend getting your grout sealed after it’s cleaned. Unsealed grout is more susceptible to stains, dirt and water damage.