Should You Grout Zellige Tile? Everything You Need to Know
If you’re installing Zellige tile, you probably love its rustic Old-World charm. To achieve its timeless look, artisans handcraft each Moroccan tile one at a time — so no two tiles are ever the same. The painstaking creative process produces slight color and size variations, along with small pits, cracks, and uneven edges that give each tile its unique appearance.
Riad Tile offers 4″x4″ square and 2″x6″ rectangular Zellige tiles in an array of beautiful colors to complement many décor schemes. In a traditional installation, you lay the tiles end to end, and they don’t have a typical grout joint.
Does this mean you do or don’t apply grout on Zellige tiles? Here’s what you need to know.
Embrace Zellige’s Imperfections
Zellige’s firing process causes cracks, chips and color variations. The tiles are not uniform like ceramic. However, these irregularities add a distinct character that heightens your design. So, embrace Zellige’s imperfections and have fun.
As you unpack your order, mix tiles from different boxes before you install them. Doing so ensures you’re creating a nice blend of colors and texture.
If you’d rather not install your Zellige tile yourself, hire a pro to get the job done. Otherwise, follow Riad’s step-by-step Zellige Tile Installation Guide if you are ready and willing to tackle the project.
Grouting Zellige Tile Pros
Zellige tiles look weathered and fit really close together. So, many people wonder if grouting Zellige is necessary. Ultimately, it’s your choice, but Riad recommends grouting them.
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Here’s an example of Zellige tile transitioning from ungrouted to grouted in our Instagram post of @themakeandco using Riad’s Natural White 2″x6″ Zellige as a gorgeous kitchen backsplash that features @mapeiusa’s Frost grout.
Notice how nicely it blends against the tile with minimal spacing. (Riad recommends using wedge spacers to leave a minimal 1/16″ grout space). If you choose the right color, the grout is
Grouting Zellige tile has a couple of essential pros. First, grout blocks dirt and debris that can get into the tiny crevices between tiles. Second, grout also fills in chips, cracks, pits, and nicks that can catch on fabric if you clean the tile with a cloth. Grout makes cleaning easier without losing Zellige’s signature timelessness.
For glazed Zellige tiles, Riad recommends Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA grout. For unglazed tiles, we recommend Mapei Flexcolor CQ grout. Also, be sure to grout any open, uneven edges and gaps as you see them.
Grouting Zellige Tile Cons
The only potential con for grouting Zellige tile is if you choose the wrong color grout, it can negatively affect the overall look of your design.
To help prevent this, always make the Zellige tile itself the focal point of your wall, backsplash, or floor. Choose grout that blends or fades against the tile itself. The tile and grout should not compete for attention.
Because grouting Zellige tile is a personal design choice, some designers opt not to, and it still looks nice.
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Check out this beautiful oven backsplash from @janaroach that features ungrouted Riad Snow White Zellige. The square Zellige makes such a lovely visual statement over the stove, and the lack of grout doesn’t interfere with the overall look.
Applying grout adds another step to the Zellige tile installation. Overall, it’s worth it. Grout Zellige tile to finish the look, fill in chips and cracks, and prevent dirt from collecting between the narrow tile spaces.
Feel free to contact Riad Tile by phone at 972-914-9600 or by email at email@example.com if you have any questions!