To Grout or Not to Grout
Anyone who has installed flooring in their home has had to make choices about which floor fits their space and decorating style. My husband and I recently went through this when we were shopping for new flooring for our first floor. We chose laminate flooring over carpet for the main living areas, but we were still undecided about the mudroom and bathrooms.
The mudroom is where we have our washer and dryer, and it also serves as the “pet containment” area. To say the least, it is a high traffic area. In addition, the flooring in this area would be subjected to various degrees of moisture. We needed a floor that was economically practical and would hold up to a couple of newlyweds, a dog, a cat and, someday, children.
Vinyl was a possible solution, but we were leaning towards either ceramic tile or Alterna luxury vinyl tile. I knew from working at Armstrong that Alterna has the appearance of ceramic tile, but it’s softer to walk or stand on, and it’s not cold in the winter. I think of Alterna as combining the best of both worlds: ceramic tile and vinyl. My husband and I both like ceramic tile, but we had a disappointing experience in another home with the grout deteriorating and staining. We knew Alterna could be grouted, but we didn’t know if we’d have the same grout issues that we had with ceramic.
To grout or not to grout – that was our question.
The answer arrived unexpectedly. One day I was in a store that sells floors and cleaning supplies, and I saw that they had grout cleaners and sealers. Since it’s been a couple of years since I looked at these cleaners, I thought maybe they had made some improvements. I picked up a couple of bottles and read the labels to learn more about the maintenance use of each of the products. Then I asked a sales associate about the best method for maintaining grouted ceramic tile. Suddenly, an Alterna display caught my eye, so I shifted gears and explained that my husband and I really liked the look of Alterna, but we weren’t sure about the grouting. He said that the grout used for Alterna is not porous. That the grout actually repelled moisture and contaminates, instead of soaking in. He then showed me a place in the store where they had Alterna installed. It was a light-colored tile with a matching grout color. To my surprise, it looked brand new. He told me the floor had been installed a year earlier. He also said that Alterna is the most pet-friendly floor on the market.
Later, I talked to coworkers and did some online research and confirmed that we didn’t have to worry about the grout with Alterna. We could get the ceramic tile look – in a softer floor and no grout lines to scrub! I told my husband what I learned, and we decided on a light-colored stone pattern in the Alterna line. Now we are moving on to our next challenge: installing the flooring in the mudroom and bathrooms. It looks pretty straight forward, but I’ll let you know how it went in a couple of weeks.