Not only does it lengthen the life of your expensive pavers by holding them in place, it lends structural integrity to the entire flooring. Cosmetically, it gives a neat ‘finish’ to your patio.
Grout, not to be confused with mortar, is a specifically-balanced mixture of water, cement, and sand that is used for a particular range of purposes. These uses include filling gaps underneath heavy machinery plates, sealing joints between adjacent components, and reinforcing masonry or other structures. To suit each purpose best, specialised grouts are made. In general, as compared to mortar, grouts are less viscous and produce a water-resistant seal.
Patio grout or paving grout is used to fill gaps between pavers, tiles, slabs, and setts so as to prevent them from shifting and to hold them in place, thereby preserving the structural integrity of the patio or other flooring. It also protects the pavers’ edges, suppresses weed growth, and partly absorbs and partly repels water. Finishing up a patio with the right grout also presents a clean and neat appearance.
Patio grout is available in two main forms. It is sold in powder form in large bags; this type needs to be mixed and prepared. It is also supplied in vacuum-sealed pouches in pre-mixed, semi-liquid form that is ready to use. Grout in powder-form is considerably more economical than pre-mixed grout with the flip side being that the latter is much more convenient than the former. Grout in powder form is a good choice for experienced DIYers, besides professionals, who possess the requisite expertise and can spare the time to mix it correctly. Ready-made grout is the smart option for DIYers who wish to avoid mishaps and want a sure thing. All you need to do is shake the pouch and empty it in the plastic tub it came in, stir it up, and you’re ready to go.
Be aware that once a pouch of pre-mixed semi-liquid grout is opened it should be used up. If not, it will become lumpy or almost entirely solidify; that said, there is a little trick to preserve unused grout. Gently pour 7 to 8 centimetres of water over the grout remaining in the tub so that the water forms a layer, do not agitate the contents, and close the lid. With luck, your grout will ‘keep’ for a few weeks or even a few months.
Factors and Evaluation
Patio grout is meant to seal joints between most kinds of paving materials. It is used with pavers, tiles, flagstones, setts, and even cobblestones. To obtain an effective seal, in general, joints should be 3 to 20 millimetres wide and 20 to 30 millimetres deep though different patio grouts vary in their minimum widths and even also their ‘best’ widths. Because patio grout is meant to form bonds and seals between visually-exposed, even decorative, elements, colour is an important characteristic of this product.
This is the reason that while some brands focus on impressive technical specifications, such as joint width and depth, and working time, other brands emphasise the range and precision of the various colours of their grouts. These include various tones of off-whites, greys, and beiges. A good range of colours is an important consideration when evaluating brands of patio grout.
Coverage in square metres is an important consideration but four highly variable factors influence it immensely. These variables are the size or sizes of the pavers or tiles, the inter-paver width, the depth of the gaps, and even your technique – how well you point and compact the grout. Hence the wildly different figures and claims made by different DIYers – and even pros! For these reasons, most coverage figures are misleading, and it is often deceptive to compare and discuss coverage.
However – and perhaps surprisingly for what may seem a ‘blah,’ generic product – a host of factors must be taken into account when evaluating patio grouts. These factors include:–
- Ease of application. Yes, some patio grouts are just that much easier to apply than others.
- The finish. How neat and clean an appearance the set grout presents.
- Colour. The number of shades, and the visual appeal and precision of the main ones.
- Working Time. The time-period within which the grout has to be laid before it starts to set.
- Growth suppressant: How well the grout suppresses or resists algae and weeds.
- Outdoor use. Patio grouts must be rated for outdoor application and use.
- Smell. Though most grouts smell a wee bit, one or two verge on the noxious.
- Durability. Whether the grout crumbles and breaks up or is it long-lasting.
Here’s a summary of our top picks:
Last update on 2020-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
And some more detail on each of our products:
Its high price is more than made up by the positives as EASYJoint’s grout is VERY-EASY to apply, has a just-right working time, and is long lasting.
EASYJoint Compound comes in a 12.5-kilogramme vacuum-sealed bag inside a rectangular tub. The Buff Sand colour is very popular. It is also sold in Basalt, Jet Black, Mushroom, and Stone Grey.
Rated for all-weather use, this is one of those unusual products that lives up to its rating. As for its name, this grout more than lives up to it. The recommended water-sweep-and-wash application method not only works, it really is ‘EASY’ – make that SUPER-EASY. For this reason, EASYJoint Compound is a novice’s dream grout.
This grout should be used for joints that are at least 3 millimetres wide and 25 millimetres deep. It will cover from 6 to 8 square metres, and may cover a bigger area subject to the applicable variables.
In setting time and, therefore, working time, it is not as fast nor as slow as other grouts in this set of reviews. Likewise, it gets a middle score in the ‘bad smell’ column.
Under some or another unusual weather conditions and joint gaps, EASYJoint’s grout succumbs to algae growth or fails to set properly but such failures are few and far between.
It is impervious to rain and resistant to frost. It is also long-lasting. It takes about three days to fully cure and harden.
The most expensive grout on a per-kilo basis, it is also the most convenient and easy-to-use grout. Consistently producing excellent results, EASYJoint Compound wins our Best Pick spot.
- A better name for EASYJoint Compound might be SUPER-EASYJoint Compound!
- The working time and setting time are just right.
- Resists rain and frost very well.
- On the costly side, and more expensive than other pre-mixed grouts.
A powder-form grout, Larsen Colourfast’s affordability makes it a great value; though inconvenient to mix, the striking colours are a top feature.
Larsen Colourfast 360 is supplied in 10-kilo packages in powder form. You will find it in White plus ten other colours (though all of them may not be available). Black, Grey, Ivory, Taupe, Beige, and several other less-common shades and tones ensure a precise or near-precise match to the colour of your pavers.
The White variant is a sparkling bright white which, though it may be prone to staining, is just brilliant. It is the perfect choice for Pure White or Snow White paving but will also make for a stunning contrast to dark pavers. Those who need a black grout will be just as pleased because Larsen’s Black, on the other extreme of the scale as its White, is a true, hard black.
This grout is suitable for both outdoor and indoor use and is resistant to rain and mould.
Notwithstanding the imprecision of putting out a coverage figure and the variables affecting coverage, broadly speaking the 10-kilo bag will cover 20 square metres.
As this grout costs more on a per-kilo basis than most others in this set of reviews one may conclude that it is not such a great value. However, this conclusion would be erroneous as a price-per-kilo comparison is misleading as this product is in powder form.
All said, Larsen Colourfast is an excellent powder grout and, though it certainly cannot be compared to pre-mixed grouts, is fairly easy to make and mix. When making it, err on the side of a thicker consistency rather than on the side of a thinnish one, and you’ll probably be well pleased with the results.
As a powder-form grout Larsen Colourfast is not as convenient as ready-mixed grouts but it is much more economical then them. For this reason and its high quality, it is a solid Value Pick.
- Very economical and a top value for money.
- Unmatched range of tones and shades with White and Black being standouts.
- Good choice for those who are long on DIY experience and short on funds.
- As a powder-form grout, it is nowhere as convenient as pre-mixed grouts.
- ‘Operator error’ in preparation means a waste of time and money.
Though Everbuild Geo-Fix is not suitable for tightly-set pavers, it is very easy to apply, has a good working time, and sets in a very fine finish.
Everbuild Geo-Fix is sold in a 14-kilo sealed pouch inside a circular tub. Besides Slate Grey it is also available in Natural Stone.
It is pre-mixed and ready to go. You will seldom get a lumpy or hardened pouch of this product.
Besides being a genuine ‘all-weather’ grout, as its name declares, this product boasts two standout features. Apart from wet weather application, it is remarkably easy to apply, as brushing it and sweeping it into the inter-paver joints is a piece of cake. Second, though its working time is rated at 45 minutes, it can be stretched to two hours.
The joints must be at least 6 millimetres wide and at least 25 millimetres deep for this grout to ‘work.’ Caveats on coverage figures given earlier, this product can be expected to cover 9 to 12 square metres.
The weak point with Everbuild Geo-Fix is that it is not great at suppressing weed growth. Tough weeds will break through this grout. However, it produces an unparallelled finish and scores high in cosmetics.
- One of the easiest grouts to apply, and an excellent choice for novices.
- Very good working time of a product that almost never ‘goes off.’
- Produces an excellent finish.
- The minimum width and depth are on the high side.
- Does not do well at suppressing weed growth.
It smells awful and may have ‘gone off’ in the bag but Sika FastFix is best for shallow depths and produces not only a sure set but a rock hard one.
Sika FastFix is a readymade grout that comes in two vacuum-sealed bags in a rectangular tub. The net weight is 14.5 kilogrammes. It is sold in Grey, and also in Charcoal, Flint, Buff, and Stone – neutral colours only.
Relatively speaking this is a sandy, grainy grout. Also, all other things being equal, it is more fast-setting than most. It starts to set within one hour, requiring you to work quickly. If you want a sure-fire fast set and a rock-hard finish then this is the grout of choice. It is also fairly easy to apply.
Use it when joint width is at least 5 millimetres and depth at least 20 millimetres.
On the imprecise point of coverage, Sika claims that this product is good for approximately 20 square metres but in our opinion that is a woeful over-estimate, probably arrived at by using favourable figures for the coverage variables in question. Expect to cover only about two-thirds as much as the rated value (that is, 13 to 14 square metres).
The main problem with Sika FastFix is that it smells – and how. On this factor it gets an ‘F.’ Also, it starts setting very quickly; indeed, a little too often you’ll get a bag in which the grout is lumpy or is already set like stone.
On a pounds-per-kilo basis, this product costs much less than the competition but its coverage is also rather less than the competition.
- No worries about this grout not setting – it will set, and fast.
- Minimum joint width and depth combination is above average.
- One of the hardest ‘sets,’ this one gets rock hard.
- Sets very fast and this reduces working time.
- Emits quite a foul smell.
- Good chance of getting a bag in which the grout has already set partially or fully.
Meant for the tightest widths, ProJoint Fusion can’t suppress weeds but has good working time, doesn’t ‘go off’ in the bag, and gives a neat finish.
ProJoint Fusion is a pre-mixed grout sold in Basalt plus Neutral Buff, Mid-Grey, and Black. It comes in two vacuum-sealed pouches in a rectangular tub. The total weight is 15 kilogrammes.
This grout can be used where the joint widths are at least 3 millimetres making it the best one when you are working with extremely tightly-set pavers.
It sets quite hard and the finish is very neat and clean; in this combination of factors, this product has an edge over other brands. Another positive characteristic is its ease of application. However, it cannot suppress or resist tough weeds. They may sprout through this grout, breaking it.
ProJoint Fusion is not a particularly fast-setting grout and gives you adequate working time. One can also rely on getting bags in which the grout has ‘kept’ and not become lumpy or hard.
Though not the most expensive, ProJoint Fusion is one of the costlier grouts.
- Easy to apply and good working time makes it a sharp choice for novices.
- Excellent minimum joint width requirement.
- Very neat and clean finish.
- Cannot suppress tough weeds which tend to emerge through the grout.
- Costlier than most other grouts.
How To Grout A Patio
Using an awl, utility knife, or another pointed tool, remove as much of the pre-existing grout or jointing material as possible. Be wary of using a hammer and chisel lest you damage the pavers or tiles. You can vacuum up small bits and pieces of grout from the interstices using a regular vacuum cleaner or a handheld dustbuster.
Grout is very weather-sensitive. It is best to apply it when the temperature is between 12 and 30 degrees Centigrade. Do not apply grout when the temperature is significantly out of this range.
Thoroughly clean your patio – caked dirt, grime, weeds, everything must come off so that you have a clean surface to work on.
Now when should you seal your patio flooring – before grouting or after grouting? There are two schools of thought on this question but in our opinion one fairly hard-and-fast indicator will determine the answer to this unresolved question: the type of paver in question. If it is made of a material with high porosity, like limestone or sandstone, then do the sealing before grouting to protect the pavers from the grout. If the paving material has low porosity, like porcelain or granite, then seal after grouting, as that way you will seal and protect the grout from the weather. But be sure to seal after the grout has fully set and cured, which may take up to a couple of weeks.
Because patio grout sets fairly quickly, to avoid wastage it would be smart to plan ahead. If you have a big patio, ask yourself whether you will grout the whole patio in one go, or in phases. Whatever you decide, you should also look to using up as much as possible of each vacuum-sealed bag, and also make sure that you have enough of them at hand so that you can complete your patio or the part you intend to do.
Though you can grout a patio by your lonesome self, this is a task best attempted by two.
Wear latex or polypropylene gloves before handling grout (or sealant), especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies.
Just as you wouldn’t paint yourself into a corner, do not grout yourself out of your doorway! Be sure that the other door to your house is open.
Pour water on and wet your patio or that part of it you plan to grout. Brush and sweep the water around so that there are no dry patches, and pavers and joints are wetted.
Apply grout all over the patio but try to target the joints directly. Now you need to sweep and push the grout into the joints. Use a grout float to do so, though you can also use a squeegee or a wide hand brush. Make sweeping, brushing, motions at a 45-degree angle or a diagonal to the joint lines, and push in the grout.
You also need to do something else near-simultaneously, and that is compacting and pointing the grout (and this is the reason grouting is best done by two). In order to be long-lasting, be rain-resistant and suppress any weeds that may germinate sub-surface, grout must be properly compacted.
Use a pointing trowel or tuck pointer, press in and compact the grout into the joints, such that it feels firm and solid. Smooth down the grout so that it is flat and at the level of pavers.
View your patio as an aggregate area of smaller sub-areas. As soon as you have compacted the grout in the joints in each successive small sub-area of your patio, wash the grout off and away from the pavers (of that small area). Doing so will prevent any ill effects on your pavers.
Put up a couple of “Keep Off – Wet Paint” signs in front of your patio and leave them up for several days.