1/8” Vs. 1/16” Grout Line: Which to Use?

The right grout size for tiles is essential, and determining the grout line’s thickness needs to be considered before starting the project. There are two kinds commonly used: 1/8” and 1/16.” What’s the best one to use for your project?

Whether it’s a bathroom project, or a kitchen makeover, the right grout makes a difference. It can be the difference between a simple project that gets done quickly, and one that is a nightmare, is filled with difficult cuts, and doesn’t hold well. The tile you use too plays a role. In this, we’ll talk about each type, the pros and cons, and the uses of such.

1/8” Vs. 1/16” Grout Line

Below, we’ll go over which one to use.

UseProsConsBest for?
1/16” Grout Line– Tighter installs
– Smaller tiles
– Rectified tiles
– Glass tiles
– Clean edges
– Good for tighter installs
– Handles small tile well Less likely to chip where stress points are
– Good for glass tile installs
– Best for rectified tiles
– More likely to look sloppy
– Not suitable for big tiles
– Not ideal for most tiles
– It will need to be sanded 
Tight tile installs in small spaces. Glass tiles, and tiles that need clean edges.
1/8” Grout Line– Larger installs
– Medium sized tiles
– Hand painted tiles
– Rectified tiles  
– Offers clean edge
– Easier to hide issues
– Best for not sanded grout
– Suitable for medium grout joint projects
– Not as much irregularity
– Good for patterns  
– Can experience more stress
– Bad for glass tile installs
– It can sometimes be too tight for tiles.
Pattern and larger installs, hand-painted and rectified tiles. Also suitable for installations that aren’t sanded.  

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First, What’s the Difference between 1/8” and 1/16” Grout Line

Thickness

The difference is in how thick the grout line is.

Most of the time, a 1/16″ grout line is used for tight lines and tight edges. If you’re going for rectified tiles, this one is good if you don’t want a ton of grout showing.

1/16″ is also suitable for those who just want to showcase the tile and don’t care about the partners. It’s also good to use for glass tiles. However, this is usually the smallest. They recommend you go for grout lines. Anything smaller and it’s hard to work with.

In contrast, 1/8″ grout lines are thicker and achieve cleaner edges. They’re suitable for product lines that need rectifying edges, especially if it’s not easy to accomplish this with a 1/16″ border.

1/8” tiles are also great for handprinted tiles, and also if you have more oversized tiles. 1/16″ is suitable for smaller tiles since it requires less grout to hold them up.

1/8″ is what most home improvement projects ask for. That’s because it’s easy to use, versatile, and much more challenging to mess up than other sizes, and there is less chance for grout irregularity, which causes issues with the tiling after it’s dried. If you want it simple, 1/8″ grout spaces offer easy ways to move patterns from one direction to the next.

Grout joint

The grout joint matters, too, as this is the spacing between every tile as it’s put together. Rectified tiles keep everything close together, and most average tiles can achieve a rectified look with both 1/16” and 1/8” tiles.

With 1/16”, it does create smaller joints and width, so if you’re going for a smaller, cleaner look, then 1/16” is a better option.

However, if you want smaller grout joints that are not sanded, you can use 1/8″ for this. 1/8” is used for medium-sized grout joints, too, such as bathroom tiles.

1/8″ works for sanded joints and moderate-sized joints with some variation. It’s also easier to hide flaws if you mess up.

For homeowners looking to change their tiles or experts who don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting the measurements exact.

Pros Of 1/8” and 1/16” Grout Line

Both tile options offer many benefits.

1/16” is the better option for smaller and tighter spaces, and it’s easy to achieve clean edges with this. It also handles smaller tiles well.

This tile is also less likely to chip at stress points, which is good for tile longevity. Finally, it’s suitable for glass tiles because you need a smaller grout line to hold them in place.

In contrast, 1/8” grout line offer clean edges too, but they’re better for DIY enthusiasts because they hide flaws or imperfections. It’s also best for grout that’s not sanded and is perfect for medium grout joints, especially for medium-sized bathroom tiles. This tile also works well for patterned tiles because you can create patterns easily with this grout line. It’s also suitable for uniformed tiles because there’s minor irregularity there.

Cons of 1/8” and 1/16” Grout Line

Both of these have their downsides too.

Because 1/16” is so tiny, it’s likely to look sloppy if you’re not familiar with doing this. It’s also not suitable for more oversized tiles, especially if it requires the grout to hold it in place. Usually, tiles too big for this grout line don’t hold, and they’re likely to fall off and break. The grout also needs to be sanded before placing the tile in there.

Finally,  because 1/16” is so small, most brands don’t recommend it, so unless you’re going for tighter installs, rectified tiles, or glass tiles, this is not a recommended grout option.

1/18” grout line also have some downsides too. They usually experience more stress, so there’s a chance they might warp. While it doesn’t need to be sanded, it’s still recommended to sand the tile, so it sticks around. 

1/8″ grout line is also not suitable for glass tiles and doesn’t hold them well. Finally, it’s sometimes too big of a grout line for tight spaces.

Conclusion: What’s Right for Me?

If you’re looking to create patterned tiles, use a 1/8″ grout line. A 1/16″ grout line is best for glass tiles.

If the lines need to be small and tight, work with a 1/8″ grout line. This also works well for tiny spaces that are hard to navigate with more prominent grout lines. Although most brands don’t recommend this, if the area requires it, use it.

For medium-sized bathroom tiles that need more support, or don’t have to be sanded, use a 1.8″ grout line. If you’re looking to use a grout line that lets you make more mistakes, then 1/8” is better. Both grout line sizes offer benefits and drawbacks that should be factored in with bathroom tile installation.

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