Grout is so old-school. Especially when you think of the hassle: cleaning, drying, grouting -- and then not being able to use the shower, floor, kitchen counter -- whatever's been grouted.
These solutions will help you skip all that, plus it doesn't hurt they're pretty cool looking, too.
#1 An Instant Patio That Snaps Together
Setting real stone tiles in mortar or sand is mind-crunching work. These outdoor tiles are backed with plastic grids with interlocking tabs that simply snap together. Best of all: no grungy grout to repair or refill. Turn your deck into a patio -- they’ll cover any level surface. DIY-friendly, groutless stone tiles are about $12 per square foot.
#2 An Unexpected Shower Wall in Metal
Corrugated, galvanized steel roofing panels make nearly seamless shower walls for this house in New Mexico. They’re held in place with trim pieces so there are no nails. Before the panels were installed, the walls were completely waterproofed with cement tile backer board and an acrylic sealer. The panels are cheap -- $12 to $15 for a 2-foot-by-8-foot panel -- and recyclable.
#3 Vinyl That Looks Like Real Tile and Grout
Sheet vinyl is getting better and better at reproducing the look of real stone tiles, complete with (fake) grout lines that you’ll never have to seal or repair. Premium sheet vinyl with a cushioned backing and 20-year warranty is about $3 per square foot.
#4 Gorgeous Plaster That Eliminates Seams
Good old plaster over a wood-and-wire-mesh frame creates this seamless bath enclosure. A powdered colorant added prior to mixing the plaster makes a mottled look; a waterproof sealant finishes the job. Plastering is $3 to $5 per square foot.
#5 A High-Tech Look With Aluminum
We love imaginative backsplashes but hate cleaning grout. To the rescue: Aluminum diamond plate metal adds modern pizzazz to your kitchen and is virtually seamless. Fix it in place with construction adhesive, then easily wipe off cooking grease and splatters. A 1-foot-by-8-foot panel of 1/16-inch-thick (.063) aluminum diamond plate is about $45.
#6 A Veneer of Real Stone With No Grout
Thin veneers of real stone laminated to layers of metal alloys and plastic make for eye-candy panels that are waterproof and virtually seamless. They’re 85% lighter than stone slabs typically used for shower enclosures, but the beauty is all real.
#7 An Easy DIY Backsplash Using Glass
Blogger Stevee at JSquared put a piece of fabric behind her stovetop and covered it with a piece of clear, easy-to-clean glass. When she needs to change the vibe, she switches out the fabric. Off-the-shelf 3/32-inch-thick glass is $12 to $15 for a 36-inch-by-24-inch piece.
#9 Handcrafted Beauty From a Moroccan Plaster
A centuries-old Moroccan plastering process called tadelakt is finished with olive oil soap that’s hand rubbed to a soft luster using a special stone. The result is a smooth, seamless surface that’s so waterproof it can be used for shower walls. Cost of the process is about $50 per square foot.
#9 A Magnetic Wall for Fun and Memoroies
Tattered Style blogger Dana wanted an easy-to-use memorabilia wall in her hallway. Her low-cost solution was a one-piece steel panel where she can use magnets to hang ever-changing photos and trinkets. The panel was cut to order by a local metal shop, and the sharp edges were folded over (wrapped) for safety. Dana attached the panel to wall studs using sheet metal screws.
Related: The 8 Best Home Materials for Low-Maintenance