When choosing between sanded vs unsanded grout for your bathroom shower, the decision largely depends on the tile spacing and the desired durability of the grout. Here’s a detailed look at each type, including their pros and cons, especially for use in a bathroom.

Sanded grout’s primary advantage in a bathroom setting is its durability. The presence of sand in the grout mix provides additional structure and strength, which helps prevent the grout from shrinking and cracking over time, even in moist conditions. This makes it a good choice for shower floors and other areas where the grout lines are subjected to more stress and movement. However, sanded grout needs to be properly sealed to resist water penetration and to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Unsanded grout is less porous than sanded grout and, thus, is naturally more resistant to moisture. This property makes it particularly suitable for use in vertical applications such as shower walls, where less stress is placed on the grout. However, like sanded grout, unsanded grout also requires sealing to enhance its water-resistant properties and ensure longevity in a high-moisture environment.

Is Unsanded or Sanded Grout Easier to Clean in the Shower?

Unsanded grout is generally easier to clean and less likely to hold onto soap scum compared to sanded grout due to its smoother texture. But the ease of cleaning grout in a shower, as well as its tendency to retain soap scum and residues, depends on several factors, including its texture and porosity. Here’s how sanded and unsanded grout typically compare in these aspects:

Sanded Grout

Texture: Sanded grout has a rougher texture due to the sand particles within it. This texture can make it more prone to accumulating dirt, soap scum, and mildew because the rougher surface provides more crevices where residues can stick.

Cleaning Difficulty: Because of its texture, sanded grout can be harder to clean. The rough surface can require more scrubbing to remove buildup and may need stronger cleaning agents or more frequent cleaning to maintain its appearance.

Unsanded Grout

Texture: Unsanded grout has a smoother finish, which generally makes it less likely to trap residues and easier to wipe clean. The lack of sand particles provides fewer places for soap scum and mildew to adhere, making it somewhat easier to maintain.

Cleaning Difficulty: The smoother surface of unsanded grout is typically easier to clean compared to sanded grout. It can usually be maintained with regular light cleaning without the need for aggressive scrubbing.

General Tips for Cleaning Both Types of Grout

Regular cleaning is crucial to prevent the buildup of soap scum and mildew. For both types of grout, frequent light cleaning is more effective than occasional deep cleaning. Use cleaners suitable for grout to avoid damaging its surface or weakening its integrity. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach and abrasive scrubbers, especially on unsanded grout. Properly sealing grout not only helps in water resistance but also in resisting soap scum and dirt. Sealed grout is easier to clean and maintain.

Pros and Cpns Sanded Grout

Sanded grout contains fine sand and is typically used for wider grout lines (greater than 1/8 inch wide). The addition of sand increases the grout’s strength and makes it more resistant to shrinkage and cracking, which is particularly important in areas with high moisture, like showers.


  • Durability: More robust and able to withstand pressure and movement, making it less likely to crack.
  • Cost-effective: Generally less expensive than unsanded grout.
  • Better for large gaps: Ideal for grout lines wider than 1/8 inch.


  • Rough texture: Can be abrasive, which might be less ideal for delicate tiles such as glass or polished stone.
  • Harder to work into narrow joints: Not suitable for tight grout lines (less than 1/8 inch wide).

Pros and Cons Unsanded Grout

Unsanded grout, as the name implies, does not contain sand. It is smoother and stickier, making it ideal for narrow grout lines (less than 1/8 inch wide). Unsanded grout is typically used with wall tiles or softer floor tiles where sanded grout might scratch the surface.


  • Smooth finish: Provides a clean and crisp finish, ideal for polished or delicate tiles.
  • Better adhesion for vertical surfaces: Works well on vertical surfaces like bathroom walls due to its sticky nature.
  • Less likely to scratch tiles: Safer for use with soft or easily scratched tile materials.


  • Less durable: More prone to cracking and shrinking, especially in floors or high-movement areas.
  • More expensive: Generally costs more than sanded grout.

Comparison Chart

FeatureSanded GroutUnsanded Grout
Best UseFloor tiles, larger grout lines (>1/8")Wall tiles, narrow grout lines (<1>
DurabilityHigher (resists cracking and shrinking)Lower (prone to cracking and shrinking)
Suitability for Delicate TilesNot recommendedRecommended


For a bathroom shower, the choice between sanded and unsanded grout largely hinges on the tile type and joint width. Sanded grout is typically recommended for shower floors or where tile spacing is wider due to its durability and resistance to cracking. Unsanded grout is better suited for wall tiles or delicate tiles that might be scratched by sand. Always consider the specific needs of your installation area and tile type when making your decision to ensure the best outcome for your bathroom.