Tiles are a popular choice for bathroom and kitchen floors, as they are often more affordable than stone or brick. The only problem with tiles is that grout can become dirty over time, which is why some people consider groutless tiles. But before you rush out and purchase these one-sided tiles, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this style of flooring.
What Are Groutless Tiles?
Also referred to as Cliks, groutless tiles are made of a solid backing, with no grout or sealer used to hold the tile down. Instead of using grout, the tile is held down by stainless steel wire mesh that covers the surface of the tile. This mesh is then covered in a slick Polyethylene slip-resistant material called Cliks, which click in with the other tiles in the framework, as noted by Good Housekeeping.
Benefits of Using Groutless Tiles
- 1. Durability – Most groutless tiles are made of solid surface material. This means they can withstand heavy traffic and will not chip or scratch easily. Some manufacturers of groutless tiles also add a polycarbonate layer, which is a long lasting plastic that can eliminate the need for costly tile replacement.
- 2. Longer Lasting – Because groutless tiles do not have any porous material in their construction, there is less chance of mold or mildew growth on the surface of the tile. The tile will also withstand heavy traffic and extreme temperature variations.
- 3. Easy Cleaning – Because the tiles are smaller than standard tiles, the groutless tiles are easy to clean when they become dirty. This reduces the need for extremely durable cleaners or harsh chemicals that could damage your tile and lead to a groutless tile replacement. However, keep in mind that groutless tiles do require regular cleaning of their mesh backing which prevents dust from becoming trapped under this surface.
- 4. Save Money – Most groutless tiles are cheaper than their counterparts, with estimates ranging from $1 to $1.50 per square foot. While these tiles may not be as durable or easy to maintain as the standard tile, they are not prohibitively expensive and can save you money in the long run.
- 5. Easy Installation – Many groutless tile manufacturers have developed a unique system for installing their tiles that allows you to install them over existing tile in a bathroom or kitchen floor without damaging it. This system includes a special bonding layer that adheres to the existing tile and underlayment. This makes installation of groutless tiles easy, as you do not need to remove your existing flooring.
Drawbacks of Using Groutless Tiles
- 1. Not for Heavy Traffic Areas – One of the biggest downsides to groutless tiles is that they are not ideal for very high traffic areas like commercial kitchens, or even other high traffic areas like family rooms and entryways. These tiles are usually less expensive than standard tiles, which means there is a possibility that you may want to replace them sooner than planned. If you do decide to use groutless tiles in these areas, make sure to install the tile in a way so that heavy traffic does not cause any damage to the tile or its backing.
- 2. Hard to Clean – One of the biggest drawbacks of groutless tiles is that they are harder to clean than traditional tiles. This is because groutless tiles do not have the same surface texture as their grouted counterparts, and cleaning them can be especially difficult if you have pets or young children.
- 3. Difficult to Cut and Remove – Since most groutless tiles are made from a solid material, many people have a hard time cutting them to different sizes and removing them when they need to replace them. If the tile backing is made of a plastic material, it can be difficult to remove as well. For this reason, it’s best to install groutless tiles in areas that you will not have heavy traffic in, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- 4. Limited Design Options – Another drawback with groutless tiles is their limited design options. Most groutless tiles are square or rectangular in shape, which can make designing your floor plan more difficult than if you were using traditional tiles.
- 5. Slip-Resistant Surface Might Not Always Work – One of the biggest drawbacks to groutless tiles is that they might not be slip-resistant. Standard grout has a texture that prevents tile from sliding off of wet surfaces and makes it safer for people to walk on when wet. Some manufacturers of groutless tiles have tried to mimic this texture by using a slip-resistant polymer, but this does not always work for all applications.
How To Install Groutless Tile
Many groutless tile manufacturers recommend using their Sure-set adhesives to install their tiles, according to Tile Club. This eliminates the need for special tools and ensures a more secure installation. While installing groutless tile is not significantly different from when you are installing traditional tile, there are some things you should be aware of before starting the installation process.
- 1. Look For Special Instructions Before You Install – Most groutless tile manufacturers will provide you with a set of installation instructions to help you install their tiles more effectively. The instructions will include cleaning and drying steps, as well as instructions on how to prepare surfaces in advance and how to cut your groutless tiles. These steps will vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and tile type, so keep this in mind when choosing which one to use.
- 2. Start with a Clean Surface – Whether you are applying tile to a new floor or applying groutless tiles to an old floor, you want to make sure that the surface is clean and dry. If the area is dirty when you start installing the tile, it might be difficult for the groutless tiles to adhere properly. If your floor is already clean and dry, go ahead and start working on it right away.
- 3. Prepare the Surface – Before you apply groutless tiles to your surface, make sure that you have cleaned your floor thoroughly. You can use a natural-grout cleaner to help make sure that the grout will adhere properly. Once the floor is clean and dry, apply a texture-release agent to it. This will give the grout something to adhere to and make the tile easier to install.
- 4. Cut Groutless Tile – The groutless tile that you have chosen for your floor is probably cut to standard tile size. The thickness of the tile will vary, depending on the manufacturer and type of tile. Make sure that you measure the recommended size before starting, because if it is too large, you might have trouble getting your tiles to fit together properly. Start by cutting out a test square and applying adhesive agent over it.