Grout and mortar products are materials that are constantly being innovated in the tile and stone industry. An ongoing development in this sector includes pre-mixed grout, which is a no-mix, less mess alternative to traditional grout. Developed to drive the construction industry forward by helping workers do their jobs more efficiently, pre-mixed grout allows for faster preparation and eliminates guess-work. Since one of the most common mistakes with traditional grout is adding in too much or too little water to the mixture, this advancement allows installers to no longer need to carefully measure out the exact amount of water needed to get the job done right.

With safety being another top priority among construction professionals, manufacturers are always looking to invent new ways to safeguard workers from hazardous elements on the jobsite. As producers of construction materials, it’s imperative to continuously offer leading materials that meet national safety standards and protect employees.

Laticrete Spectralock 1 is the industry’s first pre-mixed, stain-proof grout with true epoxy performance that meets or exceeds ANSI A118.3 performance. It offers superior compressive strength at 3,500 psi and boasts an extremely fast cure rate, allowing customers to complete demanding projects in less time than ever before. Additionally, Spectralock 1 is available in a wide variety of colors to match any design and is safe to use because it contains no epoxy resins.

Likewise, manufacturers are continuing to innovate mortar types to be more efficient and easier to use. 3701 Lite Mortar is a new product from Laticrete that is half the weight of standard thick bed/leveling mortars. It ensures less strain on the installer while offering the same coverage as other mortars on the market. In addition, it is free of crystalline silica, which is known to be harmful when inhaled.

Fashion Trends

With any remodeling or renovation project, it’s all in the details. For tile and stone applications, users are constantly looking for ways to enhance their appearance via different grout options. Besides functionality, color is increasingly the number one deciding factor for homeowners or designers when choosing the look and feel of their projects. Whether going for a subtle, low contrast look with black on black, seeking a tonal balance with adjacent colors, or trying to achieve a pop of color, grout provides the modern designer with a plethora of options. And for an updated, yet timeless, look, there’s always gray as an alternative to the standard white.

Besides color, grout and mortar can be enhanced in other ways. The spacing between each tile, called the “grout joint,” doesn’t have to be uniform in every application. Today, we are seeing designers play with wider spacing and more intricate designs, sometimes mixing in thin and wide joints throughout.

Grout and Mortar and the Tile Business

Grout and mortar will forever be tied directly to the overall tile business because it is the essential “glue” that connects them. Mortar is what provides a foundation for the tile and grout is what goes in between the tile. Wise retailers understand these elements go hand-in-hand and will offer them to customers along with their choices in tile.

Projects may experience installation challenges if the installer uses the wrong mortar or grout. Because of this, it’s important for the merchandiser to understand what each application type requires so they can best capitalize on the needs of their clients.

The tile can factor into which type of mortar or grout to use. Is the tile ceramic, glass, metal or stone? Each has different requirements. Size and weight will also play a role as large, heavy tile requires specific mortars designed for these finish types. It is also important to take into account whether the project is exterior or interior and whether it is a wet or dry application, especially since submerged areas require specialized mortars. Likewise, the seller needs to know if the application is above grade or below grade. If the retailer understands the fundamental needs of their customers’ tile applications, they can better deliver the right materials for the job.