Good point. What got me going on this idea was the notion that one doesn't
grout self-sticking vinyl tile!
As an experiment, I laid nine ceramic tiles (3x3' area of 1-foot tiles) in a
doorway by gluing them to the concrete slab. I couldn't slip a piece of
paper in the crack between adjacent tiles!
Nevertheless, I applied an itty-bitty seam of caulk to the almost invisible
gap just to prevent dirt or water from infiltrating the space.
It's been that way for about a year now, and still looks and functions
swell. Admittedly, this doorway doesn't get much use and I'm about ready to
repeat the treatment for a more active entrance. So I thought I'd tap the
combined wisdom of the thousands here who've messed with floor tiles more
To fill up the joints so dirt doesn't. What's that you say? Lay the tiles
"tight" so there is no joint? Good luck in doing that - even if the tile
has straight, 90 degree edges.
When I lived in Mexico my apartment had a floor laid like that (as did many
other residences). Actually, it wasn't tile in the normal sense, it was
what is called "mosaica". That is like terrazo made into uniformly sized
pieces and is laid like tile but "tight". Looks like hell. There were
always a fair number of offset pieces either horizontally or vertically.
The fix was to fill any gaps with white cement (the mosaica was made with
white cement). After filling it still looked like hell.
The grout joint also helps firm up the tile by helping to prevent rocking
should the tile not be totally supported on the bottom. Some of us also
find the pattern from the joints to be esthetically pleasing.
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