Grout vs Caulk vs Grout plus caulk


I'v read several discussions here about the use of grout vs caulk in bathroom tile at tub and corner joints. My contractor recommended grout but the tile supplier suggested that I should caulk over the grout in those joints. Is that a reasonable solution or is it an "either or" choice?
------------------------------------- rculler
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For corners, I find it depends on the state of the wall you're tiling onto. If the walls are rock solid, there is no reason why a good quality flexible grout alone wouldn't be fine. However, if the walls are plasterboard, there is more scope for flexing where the boards meet at corners and over time, you will get fine cracks appearing so there is an argument that a more flexible caulk over the top might keep it looking better. Downside is it might stand out too (grout tends to go off-white quicker than caulk).
An alternative is some types of grout (typically powder based cement type) support use of an "admixture" to improve flexibility e.g. BAL Admix GT-1 and that might help absorb slight movement.
Situation is different of course if the corner is gonna take a soaking from a shower. Again, if the walls are rock solid, you might get away with just a good waterproof grout. If not, then you need to seal well or better still tank (or use waterproof backer board).
I tanked my corner shower walls in my bathroom with a BAL WP-1 kit before tiling and that includes mesh to support sealing of the corners where there is flexing. I still ran a silicone bead up that corner over the grout to try and keep the water from getting behind in the first place though.
HTH Midge.

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