Can I Use 1/16-Inch Grout Lines on Porcelain Tile?

When laying porcelain tile, one of the important decisions to consider is the width of your grout lines.

Width

Grout lines are acceptable in many widths, including 1/16 inch.Grout lines are acceptable in many widths, including 1/16 inch.
If the line is too wide, it draws your eye's attention away from your tiles. If it's too narrow, it can look awkward. Grout lines measuring 1/16 inch are acceptable in several tiling jobs.

Grout lines of 1/16 inch work well, provided you use small porcelain tiles. With large tiles, such as those measuring 1 foot by 1 foot, 1/16-inch lines appear too small and get lost beside the large tiles. Tiles up to 8 inches by 8 inches usually pair well with a 1/16-inch grout line. This width of grout can work on a tile floor or between the tiles on a vertical surface, such as a shower wall.

Spacers

Although it's possible to keep your 1/16-inch line consistent by eye, doing so is usually only advisable if you're experienced with laying tile. Instead, purchase a bag of spacers of the appropriate width to ensure an even grout line throughout your job. Spacers are small and made of plastic or foam. Upon laying a tile, press two or more spacers against the side of the tile and then push the next tile up against the spacers.

Lugs

Many styles of tile have lugs on two or four sides to help create an even gap for grout. These lugs are made of the same material as the tile and if they're larger than 1/16 inch, this means that by default, your grout line is also larger. It's possible to remove the lugs with a hammer and chisel, although the process is likely to result in a few cracked tiles.

Grouting

One of the challenges of using a small grout line with a tiling job is that it takes extra care to get all the grout in the gap between the tiles. With a larger grout line, such as 1/4 inch, the grout fills the gap easily as you apply it. Devote enough time to ensuring each of your grout lines get full of grout. Otherwise, the grout will sink as it hardens, leaving you with unsightly holes.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.