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The pros and cons of choosing black grout

Black grout can be seen in modern farmhouse bathrooms everywhere. The contrast dark black grout creates next to white subway tile is absolutely stunning and considerably elevates the look of plain white tile.

As we planned our master bathroom renovation, going with black grout and white subway tile for our shower was a no-brainer, but now, after living with it for over a year, I have some regrets.

Here’s everything you wanted to know about black grout: the good, bad and the ugly.

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Pros of choosing black grout

bathroom tiles

Black grout is timeless. Whether you choose to pair it with white tile or black, you can be sure that it will never go out of style.

To me, going with black grout next to inexpensive subway tile helps make the space look “richer.” The subway tile we chose for our shiplap bathroom renovation was incredibly cheap, and in my opinion, pairing it with anything but a darker shade of grout would have just made it look too plain.

The contrast black grout lends itself to when paired next to white works perfectly; especially if you’re going for a modern farmhouse look.

Some may think going with a darker grout like black helps to hide dirt, but keep reading my friends–we have found this to not hold true!

Related reading: Is shiplap okay to use in a bathroom?

bathroom showcasing tiles and grout

Cons of going with a black grout

Oh, where to begin? While black grout against white tile is absolutely stunning when it’s first installed, it can quickly become a small nightmare.

Does black grout fade?

Yes, unfortunately, black grout fades over time. Grout, regardless of color, is extremely porous and essentially takes on anything that it comes in contact with–unless it is properly sealed.

We have found that even after our black grout has been thoroughly cleaned and sealed, within a few months, I notice it fading in spots where water hits it the most.

Here’s the worst spot in the shower. I just cleaned it about 5 days prior to this photo, so it’s not overly dirty, either–it just tends to fade in this spot.

tiles with black grout

How do you keep black grout black?

You can keep black grout mostly black, but if the grout is in an area that routinely comes into contact with water, it’s will probably never look as good as it did on the day it was installed.

For those of you who have your heart set on black grout or have already installed black grout somewhere in your home–don’t worry, there is hope! Here’s what we do to keep our black grout looking its best.

  • First and foremost, you want to make sure the grout is sealed after initial installation. You can do this project yourself by choosing the right grout sealer. We recommend going with Aqua Mix, which is the sealer most commonly recommended by tile professionals.

Here’s a complete guide on how to seal grout if you’d like to go the DIY route.

  • Once you’ve sealed your grout, use a neutral ph cleaner to clean your grout and tile on a regular basis. Sealed grout should never be cleaned with anything else or it will cause the sealant to breakdown and eventually fail–leading to discolored grout.
  • Once a year, I have a grout cleaning company come out and deep clean my grout. After that, I seal it on my own. Alternatively, you can clean it yourself–here’s my guide on how to clean grout.

Following these steps helps maintain the darkness of the black grout, but unfortunately, there are some spots that just turn more of a gray color in between cleanings. I’ve learned that there isn’t much I can do about it, other than maintain and clean it the best I know how!

Would I choose black grout again?

tiles with black grout

This depends–I’d be fine with black grout in a kitchen. But I’d never choose to go with black grout in the shower again. It’s a lot of maintenance and I’m way too much of a perfectionist to be okay with jet black grout fading to gray.

Honestly, it’s not awful or even really bad, it’s just noticeable in one small spot where water really hits it, but it doesn’t ruin the bathroom at all.

If you have your heart set on black grout, go for it– just know what you’re getting into and stay on top of cleaning and sealing it!

Interested in other grout colors? Here’s a detailed post on how to choose the right tile and grout color combinations.

Keep reading: How to clean glass shower doors with dawn and vinegar

ashley and daniel


As a licensed general contractor with more than 10 years in the business, Daniel can walk you through any home renovation or improvement project step-by-step. And if you’re here for home design and paint color advice, Ashley’s your girl! Join us as we share helpful tips and step-by-step tutorials on anything and everything home. We’re also renovating our personal home along the way, and will use this blog as a way to document our progress. Read more...

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