Are you in the process of tiling your bathroom or installing a tub? If so, you might wonder if you should grout the gap between the tile and the tub.
You don’t grout the gap between tile and tub as caulk makes a better and more flexible sealant due to the tub’s shape. Unlike grout, caulk won’t crack or harbor mold or mildew in this area, which experiences a lot of moisture as it is waterproof.
In this article, I’ll talk about in detail what you should do to fill the gap between tile and tub, why you need to use caulk, and the pros and cons of grouting and caulking.
Why Shouldn’t You Grout Between the Tiles and the Tub?
In the introduction, I mentioned that you should use caulk instead of grout to seal the gap between your bathroom tiles and the tub.
This refers to the gap between the tub, and the wall and floor tiles.
You might be tempted to use grout instead of caulk because it comes in a wide range of colors to match your tiles.
However, this is not a good idea due to the following reasons:
1. Tubs Experience Shifting
No matter how securely you install your bathtub, it is normal for it to experience a little shifting due to temperature changes.
Unlike caulk, grout is not flexible, and when your tub shifts, even by a few millimeters, it can create a tiny gap between the tiles.
Grout’s inflexibility also makes it prone to cracking.
This means that when your tub shifts, it can create hairline cracks in the grout, making it look unsightly and messy.
2. Grout Is Not Waterproof
Caulk consists primarily of silicone, a naturally waterproof substance.
When using your bathtub, the area between the tiles and the tub will inevitably get splashed with water, and mold and fungus can quickly form.
If you have used grout, a porous substance, to fill the gap between your tub and the tiles, it can harbor mold, causing a health hazard and looking unsightly.
3. Grout Is More Difficult to Clean Than Caulk
Grout makes an excellent filler between tiles and can prevent them from chipping.
However, due to its rough and porous texture, it attracts dirt and is more difficult than caulk to clean.
If you use your tub often, the area between the tiles can quickly become dirty with shampoo, soap, and other stains.
Removing dirt and soap build-up from caulk is easy and, if you clean it regularly, it will remain looking as good as new for a long time.
How To Caulk the Gap Between Tile and Tub
Now that I’ve explained why it’s important to caulk (and not grout) the space between the tiles and your tub, how do you do it?
First of all, you’ll need the following items:
- Caulk tube (Akfix White Acrylic Sealant from Amazon is an excellent caulk product as it doesn’t have an odor and has a high silicon content).
- Caulking gun (Amazon Basics Caulking Gun from Amazon is cost-effective and has many great reviews. You can also keep it for future caulking projects).
- Small spatula (a metal one works well but you can also use an old butter knife if you don’t have one).
You can buy these items at your local DIY store or online.
Though caulk is not available in as many colors as grout, try buying one as close to your tile color as possible.
Here’s an easy guide:
- Clean the area between the tiles and tub to remove dirt, dust, and grime. This will ensure an even caulk application and help it to adhere to the surface well.
- Insert your tube of caulk into the caulking gun and apply a layer between the tub and the tiles. If the gap between the tub and tiles is large, you may need to apply a second layer.
- Using the spatula, even out the caulk line, being sure to wipe away accidental mess as soon as possible.
- Allow the caulk to dry for at least 24 hours before using your bathtub.
I’d suggest you watch this short 5 min YouTube video from Ace Hardware for more assistance on how to caulk easily:
You shouldn’t grout between tiles and tubs. Instead, it would be best to use silicone caulking to seal the joints between the tile and tub.
Silicone caulks are very strong and durable, even in large amounts (unlike regular caulk).
Caulk is easier to apply and doesn’t require any special skills or tools.
It creates a waterproof seal that will prevent water from seeping through and damaging the subfloor or structure of the house.
Finally, caulk is more flexible than grout, so it can accommodate movement in the tiles or tub without cracking.