Decor & Renovation

Design dilemma: How to match grout to tiles

By: Karl Lohnes

Photo courtesy of ikea.ca Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photo courtesy of ikea.ca

Decor & Renovation

Design dilemma: How to match grout to tiles

By: Karl Lohnes
Q: I've picked a white subway tile for my kitchen backsplash. How do I know what colour of grout to choose?
— K.W., Belle River, Ont.

A: Matching grout to tiles—even those that are white—can be tricky. Although they might appear to be pure white, tiles often have either a warm or cool undertone. The simplest way to check is to place a tile sample on a blue background. If there's a cream or yellow undertone, you'll instantly see the warmth. Likewise, placing a sample on a yellow background will reveal any blue undertones. If your tile has a blue undertone, consider a cool white or grey grout. If the tile has a warm undertone, then choose a correspondingly creamy grout.

If your subway tiles are bigger than the standard three- by six-inch size, I suggest tinting your grout to create a pattern and to offset plain cabinetry and countertops. To determine the tint, take a cue from your appliances. A medium-grey grout works well for stainless-steel appliances, a dark grey for black appliances, and a pale grey for white appliances. If your countertops are heavily patterned, then match the grout to the tiles as you would with three- by six-inch subway tiles.

Renovating your kitchen doesn't have to cost a fortune! Check out these 10 affordable ways to update your kitchen.

This story was originally titled "Design Dilemma" in the October 2014 issue.

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Decor & Renovation

Design dilemma: How to match grout to tiles

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