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Difference between Grout and Mortar

Difference between Grout and Mortar

Mortar and grout are both used for adhering brick, stone, or tile to a surface. Mortar is a mixture of cement, lime, and sand that is used in construction. Grout is a mixture of cement and water that is used to fill the spaces between tiles. Many people confuse the two products because they look similar and are both gray in color. However, there are some key differences between mortar and grout that you should know before choosing which product to use for your project.

What is Grout?

Grout is a construction material used to fill gaps between tiles. It is made of Portland cement, sand, and water. Grout is usually applied to floor and wall tile applications to fill the spaces between the tiles and create a waterproof seal.

  • Portland cement is a type of hydraulic cement, meaning it sets and hardens by chemical reactions with water. Sand is added to the grout to improve its strength, durability, and appearance.
  • The type of sand used in grout depends on the application. For example, coarse sand is often used in outdoor applications because it can withstand freeze-thaw cycles better than fine sand.
  • Grout is applied using a trowel, and then the excess is removed from the surface of the tile. Once it dries, grout forms a hard, impervious barrier that is resistant to mold, mildew, staining, and cracking.

What is Mortar?

  • Mortar is a construction material that is used to bind together bricks, stones, or other masonry units. It is composed of a cementitious material, such as lime or Portland cement, and an aggregate, such as sand.
  • Mortar can also contain additives, such as pigments or waterproofing agents, that can improve its performance. In addition to its binding function, mortar also serves as a base for applying plaster or stucco.
  • Mortar is typically mixed with water to form a paste that can be easily molded into the desired shape. It then hardens as it dries, creating a strong bond between the masonry units. Mortar is a versatile construction material that has been used for centuries to build everything from houses to bridges.

Difference between Grout and Mortar

Grout is a mixture of water, cement, and sand that is used to fill in gaps between tiles. It is usually applied after the tiles have been laid and can be either unsanded or sanded. Mortar is a similar mixture, but it also contains lime, which makes it more flexible and less likely to crack. Mortar is used to adhere tiles to a surface as well as to fill in any gaps between them. Grout is typically used for smaller spaces while the mortar is better suited for larger ones.

Mortar dries harder than grout, so it is more resistant to wear and tear. Grout, on the other hand, is easier to apply and can be matched to the color of the tiles. When choosing between grout and mortar, it is important to consider the size of the area that needs to be filled as well as the amount of traffic it will receive. For high-traffic areas, mortar is the best choice, whereas grout is better suited for low-traffic areas.


Grout and mortar are both essential for tiling, but they serve different purposes. Mortar is the adhesive that holds the tiles in place, while grout fills in the gaps between tiles and helps to keep them sealed. If you’re planning on doing some tile work yourself, it’s important to understand the difference between these two materials and how to use them correctly.

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