What Grout Color To Use For Checkerboard Tile

Close-up of polished black and white checkerboard marble look floor tiles with elegant paneling and a window reflecting natural light

Step into any grand European cathedral or a sun-drenched California kitchen, and you'll likely encounter the timeless elegance of checkerboard tile. But beyond the beauty of the individual tiles lies a hidden design element that can elevate the entire look: grout color. Far from being a mere afterthought, grout acts as the mortar that binds the tiles together, visually defining the pattern and influencing the overall aesthetic.

This guide dives into the world of checkerboard floor grout, exploring the key factors that influence your decision, classic and daring color choices, and tips to help you visualize the final result in your own space. With the right grout color, your checkerboard floor can transform from a functional surface into a stunning design statement.


Soft pastel blue and white checkerboard tiles with white grout and shadows of plant leaves cast across the surface


Understanding Checkerboard Tile Grout

Grout isn't just the filler between the tiles of your checkerboard floor; it's a critical component that affects both the practicality and aesthetics of your space. By choosing the right grout, you can enhance the durability of your flooring and make a significant impact on its overall look.

Functionality of Grout

Grout's functionality is vital in maintaining the structural and aesthetic quality of checkerboard tiles, particularly in areas where durability is crucial. 

Holding Tiles in Place

Grout acts as the invisible glue, securing your checkerboard tiles and ensuring a stable floor surface. It fills the gaps between the tiles, distributing weight evenly and preventing them from shifting underfoot. This stability is particularly crucial in busy areas like kitchens, hallways, and entryways.

Preventing Moisture Infiltration

Properly sealed grout forms a barrier against water, preventing moisture from seeping through the gaps and potentially damaging the subfloor or underlying structure. This is especially important in areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Accommodating Thermal Expansion

Tiles, like most materials, expand and contract slightly with temperature fluctuations. Grout provides a flexible cushion between the tiles, allowing for this natural thermal movement without causing cracks or warping in the tiles or grout itself.

Grout Types

The ideal grout type for your checkerboard floor depends largely on the width of your grout lines. Here's a breakdown of the most common grout options:

Sanded Grout

This type of grout contains fine sand particles, making it ideal for wider grout lines (typically 1/8 inch or more). The sand adds texture and strength, allowing the grout to bridge larger gaps between tiles and fill them completely. However, sanded grout is not recommended for very narrow grout lines as the sand particles can be difficult to work with and create a rough surface.

Unsanded Grout

This grout is a smooth, sand-free mixture suited for narrow grout lines (typically less than 1/8 inch). It provides a more polished look and is easier to clean compared to sanded grout. However, it may not be as strong for wider grout lines and may not fully fill larger gaps, potentially compromising the integrity of the floor.

Epoxy Grout

This high-performance grout offers superior strength, stain resistance, and water impermeability. It's a good choice for high-moisture areas like bathrooms and showers, or for heavily used areas where durability is a priority. Epoxy grout can be more challenging to work with due to its fast setting time, so it's often recommended for experienced DIYers or professionals.

Grout Color Factors

Choosing the right grout color goes beyond aesthetics; it significantly impacts the overall design and functionality of your checkerboard floor. Consider these essential factors:

Desired Aesthetic

Do you want a clean and modern look? A bold and dramatic statement? The color of your grout can influence the overall feel of the space. Lighter grouts create a sense of spaciousness, while darker tones can add depth and definition.

Tile Color and Material

The color and material of your tiles play a crucial role in grout selection. Consider the undertones of your tiles and how they might interact with the chosen grout color. For example, a warm beige tile might pair well with a light taupe grout, while a cool gray tile could benefit from a contrasting charcoal grout.

Overall Space Design

Think about the existing color scheme and style of the room. Does the grout complement the surrounding elements like cabinets, countertops, or walls? For a cohesive look, consider using a grout color that echoes other elements in the space. If you're uncertain about how to match these elements seamlessly, take advantage of Edward Martin’s design services. We can assist you in selecting the perfect grout color to enhance the harmony and beauty of your entire space.


Bright kitchen featuring sleek black countertops and a classic checkerboard tile floor with black grout, enhancing the space with timeless elegance


Classic Grout Color Choices for Checkerboard Tile

Now that you've grasped the importance of grout in your checkerboard masterpiece, let's explore the timeless world of classic grout colors. From crisp whites to bold darks, we’ll unveil how grout color selection can influence the overall aesthetic of your floor, helping you achieve a look that's both sophisticated and enduring.

White Grout for White and Light-Colored Tiles

This timeless combination creates a clean, bright, and airy aesthetic. White grout seamlessly blends with light-colored tiles, making the individual tiles recede slightly and emphasizing the overall checkerboard pattern. This approach works particularly well with:

Modern and Minimalist Styles

The clean lines and emphasis on light create a sense of spaciousness and uncluttered elegance, perfect for contemporary design.

Scandinavian Style

White grout complements the light wood tones and pops of color often found in Scandinavian interiors, adding a touch of freshness and simplicity.

However, it's important to consider the practicalities of white grout. While beautiful, it can be more susceptible to showing dirt and grime, especially in busy areas. Sealing the grout after installation is crucial for easier maintenance.

Dark Grout for Dark-Colored Tiles

This bold choice creates a dramatic and graphic statement. Dark grout emphasizes the contrast between the tiles, highlighting the checkerboard pattern and adding depth to the floor. 

Traditional and Rustic Styles

A dark grout paired with deep brown or charcoal tiles evokes a sense of warmth and solidity, perfect for traditional kitchens, entryways, or mudrooms.

Industrial Style

When used with dark gray or concrete tiles, dark grout reinforces the industrial aesthetic, emphasizing raw materials and a sense of history.

While visually striking, dark grout can make a space feel smaller or enclosed. Consider using it in larger rooms with ample natural light to maintain a sense of openness. Additionally, ensure the grout color complements other dark elements in the space, like furniture or hardware, for a cohesive look.

Grey Grout for a Balanced Look

Grey grout offers a neutral middle ground, creating a cohesive appearance by subtly blending the tiles together. This approach can be further tailored by selecting different shades of grey.

Light Grey Grout

This creates a more open and airy feel, allowing the individual tile colors to shine through while maintaining a sense of unity in the pattern. Light grey grout pairs well with both light and dark colored tiles, offering more flexibility in design choices.

Charcoal Grey Grout

This bolder option provides a dramatic contrast, especially when used with lighter colored tiles. It adds definition to the checkerboard pattern and creates a sophisticated feel. However, similar to dark grout, charcoal grey can visually shrink a space. Consider using it strategically in well-lit areas or with larger tiles to counter this effect.


Outdoor stone checkerboard with green and white tiles grouted in orange-brown in a city park, with classic buildings and bare trees in the background


Bold Grout Color Choices for Checkerboard Tile

Ready to break free from the traditional? We'll explore how to use contrasting colors for a statement piece, navigate the selection process, and inject your unique personality into this timeless design element.

Contrasting Grout Color

For those seeking to break away from the traditional and create a truly unique statement piece, using a contrasting grout color with your checkerboard floor can be a bold and impactful design choice. This approach injects personality into the space and draws the eye to the checkerboard pattern.

Classic with a Twist

Elevate a black and white checkerboard floor by opting for a fire engine red grout. This injects a touch of vibrancy and excitement, while maintaining the classic black and white color scheme. Red is a stimulating color often associated with passion, energy, and action. It can add a touch of drama and sophistication to the space, but use it cautiously as too much red can become overwhelming.

Coastal Cool

For a beachy vibe, consider a light gray and cream checkerboard with a seafoam green grout. The seafoam green adds a touch of coastal charm and complements the cool tones of the grey and cream tiles. Seafoam green is a light and airy color that evokes feelings of tranquility and calmness. It brings the serenity of the ocean indoors and creates a sense of relaxation in the space.

Modern Playfulness

A charcoal grey and white checkerboard can be modernized with a sunshine yellow grout. This unexpected color combination creates a playful and energetic atmosphere. Yellow is a cheerful and optimistic color that is associated with happiness and creativity. It can add a touch of personality to the space and brighten up a room with minimal natural light. However, be aware that bright yellow can also be perceived as loud or busy, so use it sparingly or in a smaller space.

Using Colored Grout with Caution

While contrasting grout colors offer exciting design possibilities, it's important to exercise caution. Here are some key considerations:

Overall Color Scheme

The chosen grout color should complement, not clash with, the existing colors in the space. Consider the colors of your cabinets, countertops, walls, and furniture to ensure a cohesive look.

Balance and Harmony

While contrasting grout adds a pop of color, it shouldn't overpower the overall design. Ensure the color intensity of the grout complements the scale of the space. For example, a small bathroom might not be able to handle a bright and overwhelming grout color.

Timeless vs. Trendy

If you're unsure about a bold grout color, consider opting for a more neutral option. While trendy colors can be fun, they may go out of style faster. A classic grout color will ensure your checkerboard floor remains timeless.


Elegant entryway featuring large porcelain checkerboard tiles with a grey and white marble look pattern grouted in grey, complemented by a wooden staircase and a stylish bench


Grout Color Considerations for Different Tile Materials

The ideal grout color for your checkerboard floor goes beyond just the tile color itself. The material of the tiles plays a significant role in how the grout interacts with the overall aesthetic.

Grout Color for Natural Stone Checkerboard

Natural stone tiles like marble, travertine, slate, and granite offer timeless beauty with natural variations in color and veining. When selecting grout for a natural stone checkerboard, consider these factors:

Matching Grout to Stone Veins

For light-colored stones like marble or travertine with prominent lighter veins, you can create a seamless look by matching the grout color to those veins. This approach unifies the overall pattern and highlights the natural beauty of the stone. For example, a light beige marble with light grey veins might pair beautifully with a light taupe grout.

Dark Grout for Imperfection Camouflage

For darker stones like slate or granite, a darker grout color can be a strategic choice. These stones may have natural variations in color and minor imperfections. A darker grout can help to camouflage these imperfections and create a more uniform appearance. For example, a dark charcoal grey grout could complement a black slate checkerboard, minimizing the visibility of slight color variations within the stone.

Grout Color for Porcelain Checkerboard

Porcelain tiles offer a versatile and cost-effective alternative to natural stone. They come in a wide range of styles and finishes, including those that mimic the look of marble, travertine, slate, or granite with remarkable detail. This versatility, combined with the inherent uniformity of porcelain, gives you greater flexibility when choosing grout color for your checkerboard floor.

White Grout for a Clean, Modern Look

White grout creates a crisp and modern aesthetic, allowing the porcelain tiles to take center stage. This approach works particularly well for light-colored porcelain tiles and helps to create a sense of spaciousness. However, be mindful of potential maintenance needs, as white grout can show dirt more readily in busy areas.

Dark Grout for Rustic or Traditional Appeal

For a more rustic or traditional feel, consider using a dark grout color with your porcelain checkerboard. This creates a bolder, graphic appearance and defines the checkerboard pattern. Explore options like charcoal grey, dark brown, or even a deep navy blue depending on the overall color scheme of your space.

Grout Color for Ceramic Checkerboard

Similar to porcelain tiles, ceramic tiles offer a wide range of color options and finishes. When selecting grout for your ceramic checkerboard, consider both the overall color of the tiles and any inherent color variations within them.

Matching Grout to Tile Color

For solid-colored ceramic tiles, you can approach grout selection similarly to porcelain tiles, using white grout for a clean look or darker grout for a more dramatic effect.

Highlighting Variations with Grout

If your ceramic tiles have subtle color variations or patterns, you can use grout color to either unify the look or highlight these variations. For example, a variegated cream and beige ceramic tile might look cohesive with a light taupe grout, or you could use a contrasting brown grout to emphasize the color variations within the tiles.


Historic gallery hallway adorned with large blue-grey and white checkerboard tiles grouted in bluish-grey, flanked by classical statues and bustling with visitors


Grout Selection Tips

While grout color is a crucial design decision, there are other factors to consider for a successful checkerboard floor installation. Here are some additional tips to ensure you achieve the desired look and functionality:

Sample Grout on Tile

The power of visualization cannot be overstated! Before committing to a grout color for your entire floor, it's wise to see it firsthand in your specific space.

Obtain Samples

Request grout color samples from your tile store or purchase small quantities of different grout colors.

Apply Grout to Tile

Select a small, inconspicuous area of the actual tile or a spare tile shard. Apply a small amount of your chosen grout color to the tile, following the manufacturer's instructions for mixing and application.

Let it Dry Completely

Allow the grout to dry completely, as the color can appear slightly different when wet compared to its final dry state.

By creating a grout sample on your actual tile, you can assess how the color interacts with the tiles under your specific lighting conditions. This allows you to make informed decisions and avoid any surprises after the entire floor is grouted.

Consider Grout Line Width

The width of your grout lines can influence not only the aesthetics but also the functionality of your checkerboard floor. Let’s explore how grout line width relates to grout color selection.

Wider Grout Lines

Wide grout lines (typically 1/8 inch or more) offer a more forgiving canvas for darker grout colors. The larger surface area of the grout allows for bolder color choices without overwhelming the overall look.

Thinner Grout Lines

Thin grout lines (typically less than 1/8 inch) create a more polished and seamless appearance. When using thinner grout lines, lighter grout colors are generally recommended to maintain a clean look and avoid creating a visually busy appearance.

Maintenance of Grout Color

Grout is a porous material that can trap dirt and grime over time. Here are some tips to maintain the beauty of your grout color:

Sealing the Grout

Sealing your grout after installation creates a protective barrier that repels dirt and moisture, making it easier to clean and maintain. Sealed grout will also resist staining and discoloration, helping to preserve the original grout color.

Grout Color and Maintenance

Lighter grout colors, while aesthetically pleasing, may show dirt more readily, especially in busy areas. If you're opting for a white or light-colored grout, consider the potential cleaning requirements and choose a product specifically formulated for sealed grout. For darker grout colors, dirt may be less noticeable, but regular cleaning is still essential to prevent the build-up of grime.

For long-lasting results and to ensure proper application of sealants and cleaning techniques, especially for intricate checkerboard patterns, consider consulting your grout and tile manufacturers or professional tile and grout cleaning service. They can assess your specific floor, recommend the most suitable cleaning products and techniques, and ensure your beautiful checkerboard floor remains a focal point for years to come.


Selecting the perfect grout color for your checkerboard floor goes beyond aesthetics; it's about creating a harmonious and functional element that complements your space. By considering the factors outlined in this guide, including the desired aesthetic, tile material, grout type, grout line width, and maintenance requirements, you can make an informed decision that elevates your checkerboard floor from a practical surface to a stunning design statement. Remember, don't be afraid to experiment with samples and explore different color combinations to find the perfect match for your vision. With careful planning and these helpful tips, your checkerboard floor can become a timeless focal point that reflects your unique style for years to come.

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