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I’m looking at this particular backsplash tile which is unusual in that there’s really no gaps between pieces:

Backsplash tile

https://www.homedepot.com/p/MSI-Alaska-Gray-Splitface-12-in-x-12-in-x-10mm-Marble-Mesh-Mounted-Mosaic-Tile-ALGRY-SFIL10MM/206741880

I see no way that grout could be squeezed in there. Will it simply be installed ungrouted?

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    Jello, whipped cream, tomato soup... all reasons why a surface like that isn't appropriate for a kitchen. It's more suited for a fireplace. I don't see how you'd effectively grout it anyway with such a varied surface depth. – isherwood Jun 20 at 19:45
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    Not designed to be grouted no designed to be used in areas that have food products flung against the walls. – Kris Jun 21 at 1:26
  • Seal it first... then grout it! Use non-sanded grout mixed thin with a grout bag. No sweat. – Jimmy Fix-it Jun 21 at 6:09
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No you don't grout these period. I have installed similar 15-20 times. Impossible. Grout only effective if it covers, not if it is here and there.

So number 1 you can't grout this type of tile. They simply don't have big enough gaps. Even if you tried you would either miss coverage or by putting too much in you will distort the layout of some of the tiles.

Number 2... I really disagree with a lot of the comments. A kitchen is not a shower. Unless you are in a commercial kitchen, your personal home kitchen is not really a "wet zone". Who cares if something spills on it? You wipe it up. Oh no the magic tomato soup fairies are going to get underneath the tile and destroy it. It is absurd.

If anything it may in fact be easier to clean this tile. Tile does not stain or discolor from a spill easy if at all... what does stain and discolor? Yes grout.

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Water is good at finding its way into gaps and if you check the Q & A some other users point out it should be grouted, and they did.

  • Great point. Just occurred to me - maybe penetrating sealer is the answer. – Matt Jun 20 at 19:45
  • I see far more people indicating what I'd suspect--that it would be very difficult to grout this--than who have done so. – isherwood Jun 20 at 19:49
  • just because it is difficult does not mean it should not be done... I would consider using a slow drying grout and "pre-packing" the gaps before mounting then cleaning the excess off after... – Solar Mike Jun 20 at 19:52
  • Pre-packing - Right I could bend the sheets to get to the seams, grout and then mount. It’d be equivalent to mounting and grouting at the same time. – Matt Jun 20 at 19:58
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I once installed a very similar, if not this exact one. It came with a special sealer that filled the gaps and gave the tiles a nice wet look. What do the instructions say?

It took something like 10 coats before getting the correct look, evenly, all over the tiles.

And yes, as the comment say, this is for a fireplace, not a kitchen.

  • The comments are split - there's a bunch that say kitchen too, including the mfgr. I have to see if this tile comes with unique instructions - last I looked it was generic but it's a good reminder to recheck. It seems like the penetrating sealer is the answer. – Matt Jun 20 at 22:52

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