How to Choose the Best Patio Grout
Whether you’re laying a new patio or tidying up an existing one, choosing the right patio grout is important. In the past, grouting a patio was best left to professionals, but now, thanks to the creation of pre-mixed patio grouts, it’s easier than ever to skip the middleman and do it yourself.
Grout is applied between paving slabs or tiles, keeping them in place, protecting from water damage and preventing weeds. Here’s some advice to help choose the best patio grout.
What is Patio Grout?
Patio or paving grout, is a mixture used to fill the gaps between paving slabs or tiles. Grout is used both on patios and in between bathroom/kitchen tiles. It can be used for laying a new patio, or repairing an existing patio.
Grout will prevent paving slabs from moving. It also prevents weeds from growing between the slabs and reduces water damage. When patios are fixed with grout they look neat and professionally finished.
Different Types of Patio Grout
There are a few different types of patio grout, each with their own pros and cons. The most important thing is that the instructions are followed correctly to prevent residue and staining.
Pre-Mixed Patio Grout
Pre-mixed patio grout comes in an airtight bucket/bag. It already contains a mixture of resin and sand. Once the bucket is opened, the grout will begin to set, so it needs to be used quickly.
Premixed grout is usually preferred for small/medium jobs because it’s so easy to use. Depending on the specific product, there are a few ways to apply pre-mixed patio grout. You may need to keep the paving very wet as you apply the product, or simply apply it straight from the packet.
If you’re after something quick and easy to use, pre-mixed grout is the best option. It’s the best patio grout for anyone who has limited experience grouting the patio as well.
Epoxy grout requires sand to be mixed with an epoxy resin. There are often three components that require mixing together. These may be liquid or solids.
Some epoxy grout products come with liquid resin, hardener and sand. Others come with a resin mixed with a sand compound and a hardener mixed with a sand compound. The latter needs water added. The resin and hardener will need to be mixed together in the correct ratio so that the grout will set properly.
After mixing all three components together, the grout can be applied to the joints using a squeegee or brush.
Epoxy grouts are durable and weathertight. They’re also quite an expensive grout and are more commonly used for indoor areas like showers rather than large spaces like patios.
This type of grout tends to be more durable than pre-mixed grout. Once hardened, it should last over 10 years, and your patio should also be able to withstand jet washing.
Traditional Sand and Cement Mix
Another option is to use a traditional sand and cement mix. This mix is made up of four parts sand and one part cement, and is still often used by contractors.
The mix is combined with water and applied into the joints. The downside is that the weather has to be very dry, as moisture on your patio may lead to staining.
What to Look For
Selecting the Right Colour
One thing you’ll need to consider is the colour of your patio grout. Whether you’ve got darker granite tiles or lighter limestone, you should be able to find a pre-mixed grout available in a colour that blends with your existing patio.
Ease of Application
All the patio grouts I’ve recommended are specifically made for ease of use. I’ve only selected premixed grouts, and most can be applied single handedly with just a brush. Some products, like the EASYJoint Paving Grout require the paving to be kept wet during application.
A lot of premixed grouts can be applied in any weather conditions, including rain. This isn’t the case for all products though, so check their description before purchase if you want an all-weather option.
The dry time is important as this indicates how long you’ll need to keep off your patio for. Some are specifically designed for speedy drying, such as the Geo-Fix All Weather Paving Joint Compound which can ‘surface set’ in as little as 6 hours.
Weather conditions will usually affect how long it takes the grouting to set and fully cure. Dry weather above 15℃ and below 25℃ is optimal.
How to Apply Patio Grout
Pre-mixed patio grouts are undoubtedly the easiest to apply, especially for those with very little experience. The only thing you need to remember is that they usually begin to set as soon as they are opened, so you need to work quickly!
One of the most important things to check before opening your patio grout is whether or not it needs to be applied to a wet patio. This can vary between products.
The following steps outline the general method for applying grout that needs to be applied to a wet patio:
1. Once your patio has been laid (if you are laying a new one) fully wet it using a garden hose. You’ll need a lot of water for the resin to bind with, otherwise you may end up with stains.
2. Empty the tub of patio grout onto the slabs and wet it.
3. Use either a brush or a squeegee to brush the grout into the gaps between the paving slabs. If the instructions indicate that the paving slabs need to be continuously wetted, you may need an extra pair of hands.
4. Once you’ve brushed the bulk of the product into the slabs, use a hose to wash any remaining grout into the cracks.
5. Allow the patio to dry according to the instructions. The grout will usually set in under 24 hours, and may take up to 48 hours to fully cure.
6. Sweep off any excess using a hard brush.
Patio Grout FAQs
How long does patio grout take to dry?
This depends on the grout you’re using, as well as the weather conditions. On average, you should find your grout takes between 24 and 72 hours to fully cure, but the longer you leave it before using your patio, the better.
How long does grout between pavers last?
This depends on what grout you use. Premixed grouts tend to be the least durable, although they should still last a good few years. You’ll need to be a little more careful on your patio however, as this grout is unlikely to withstand frequent washing with pressure washers.
Epoxy grout is extremely durable and almost completely stain proof. It won’t crack, shrink or discolour, and with the right maintenance, should last up to 20 years.