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Caulk or grout where the tiles meet the ceiling/walls?

(21 Posts)
blardyfeck Wed 11-Nov-15 13:58:58

We've just had a new en suite bathroom done, and the tiler has left the gap between the tiles and the ceiling and walls clear. I asked him if he plans on grouting it and he said that it should be caulked by the decorator.

The decorator has just been round to have a look and to provide a quote and he asked why the tiler didn't grout there.

Should it be caulked or grouted? If it makes a difference, the grouting is a light grey colour and the walls and ceiling (including in the shower enclosure) are going to be painted white.

blardyfeck Wed 11-Nov-15 14:00:15

or silicone??

wowfudge Wed 11-Nov-15 14:06:18

I can't picture it. Can you post a photo? Don't use silicone though.

SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Wed 11-Nov-15 14:08:53


The ceiling will move slightly over time and with changes in heat and moisture. Grouting will crack, caulk is designed to be flexible.

blardyfeck Wed 11-Nov-15 14:15:45

photos attached, hopefully

i think they're upside down, but what you're looking at is the corner where the tiling is on one wall, and that wall meets a plastered wall and a plastered ceiling. There is a slight gap between the tiles on the wall and the ceiling.

peggyundercrackers Wed 11-Nov-15 14:20:18

bathroom silicone would normally be used as its flexible and waterproof. decorators caulk isn't waterproof, it is water based.

Anastasie Wed 11-Nov-15 14:25:05

If you're not tiling the wall and ceiling adjoining it, then decorator's caulk should be fine.

That way it can be painted right up to the tiles and will blend in. You can't paint grout.

Hope that makes sense smile

BitOutOfPractice Wed 11-Nov-15 14:26:35

No. Don't use caulk. As someone said, it;s not waterprrof. Use a silicone sanitary sealant

Anastasie Wed 11-Nov-15 14:33:12

It doesn't need to be waterproof though.

Presumably the tiled wall will cover the sink/toilet area and the untiled wall won't need to be waterproof (or it would also be tiled) so the caulk at the join does not need to be waterproof.

Anastasie Wed 11-Nov-15 14:33:31

Silicon will look awful there and is really not necessary.

Anastasie Wed 11-Nov-15 14:34:30

Your tiler is correct, is what I am saying (I have tiled an entire bathroom floor to ceiling, am in the middle of my second)

blardyfeck Wed 11-Nov-15 14:53:22

Thanks for all replies.

So if it doesn't need to be waterproof, ie in the corners above the bath, sink and WC, then caulk would be ok. Even though the caulk will be white and the grout is grey coloured. Presumably the white caulk will blend in with the white ceiling when the ceiling is painted.

However, inside the shower cubicle, it needs to be waterproof so it should be silicone. Which is also white, and will also blend in with the white ceiling.

So no grouting required. Is that right?
And this (caulk or silicone) is the decorator's job, not the tiler's?

SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Wed 11-Nov-15 15:10:31

Sounds right to me.

Just been to check my bathroom.

The bits that are definitely decorator's caulk, and painted, are fine 10+ years on.

The bits where the shower/bath wall meets ceiling are also fine. I can't remember/tell whether they're waterproof silicone sealant or decorator's caulk: they're white so they blend into the white ceiling anyway.

Also still in good nick, no sign of mould despite that bathroom being prone to it.

blardyfeck Wed 11-Nov-15 15:39:39

Thanks. It's really frustrating that the tiler is saying it needs to be caulked and the decorator is saying it needs to be grouted.

Is this because it's more of an aesthetic thing and some people prefer one over the other? Or is it that they're both passing the buck and neither can be arsed to do it? <cynic>

Anastasie Wed 11-Nov-15 16:03:28

Yes I see what you mean.

The thing is, grout is there to stop water getting behind the tiles. But if the area you have shown us is not likely to get wet very much, caulk will be will be far nicer to look at too as the paint can go right to the edge.

If it were likely to have frequent bursts of water to it then I assume you would be tiling round the corner too?

Basically either is Ok but caulk will look better.

Anastasie Wed 11-Nov-15 16:04:04

There's often more than one right answer when it comes to DIY - I think really you should put them both in the room, lock the door and let them fight it out grin

blardyfeck Wed 11-Nov-15 18:08:48

Ha ha I wish I could! I wouldn't let them out until the job was done, however it's done, and frankly I'm beyond caring how by this point.

Thanks for all your help

verystressedmum Sun 15-Nov-15 23:29:40

We have bathroom silicone (I think it is) and 8 years on it still looks perfect. We also have it I the kitchen and it's still perfect 9 years later. I find grout crumbles and goes black and discoloured especially by the sink.
We have grout in the downstairs toilet and it's not too bad, but I'd prefer the silicone.
As long as you get a perfect line and it's not wriggly and thick and the person who does it wets their finger and runs it over the silicone it will look good.

blardyfeck Tue 17-Nov-15 09:27:41

Thanks verystressedmum. I'm going to go with the majority & opt for caulking. It's just a question of getting the quotes in now [sigh]

wonkylegs Tue 17-Nov-15 09:36:58

We did ours 18mths ago and the join at ceiling level I caulked so it can be painted and flexes. It still looks good.

verystressedmum Wed 18-Nov-15 13:01:47

Just to say we used a cream coloured silicone so it goes with the tiles. Not sure if that's normal or it's usually white or clear, or if you can get other colours.

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