At some stage all of us face tiling and grouting problems that require our attention. Bathrooms and kitchens in particular can look really drab and dingy when the grout begins to flake or discolour, or when mildew or mould sets in. In addition, surfaces in these rooms frequently require some type of sealing between dissimilar surfaces such as counter tops and walls or underneath sinks or basins. For these areas we normally use silicone, but epoxy grouts can do the job, and match the colour.
Perhaps you have wandered whether there aren’t better, longer wearing grouts that don’t discolour, stain or flake. The good news is that there is an alternative to cement grout. In this article we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of epoxy grout. We’ll offer you a few guidelines on successful application and we’ll review three popular products to help you make your decision on what is the best epoxy grout for you.
What is Epoxy Grout?
Epoxy grout is made from two-part epoxy resins which are then mixed with filler powder. Because epoxy hardens quickly epoxy grout can be difficult to apply and this often discourages people from using it. Epoxy grout is frequently used in commercial and industrial applications, because of its durability, so what are the advantages and disadvantages of epoxy grout?
- Is not porous and as a result it is practically stain-proof.
- Dries to a hard, durable finish.
- Usually has a more even colour than cement grouts.
- Does not fade the way that cement grout does.
- Easier to clean and maintain.
- More flexible allowing for thermal expansion.
- Tends to have a plastic look that does not appeal to some people.
- Does not work well on tiles that are thicker than one centimetre.
- More difficult to apply.
- Considerably more expensive than cement grout.
How to Apply Epoxy Grout
Epoxy grout is very different to cement grout and the directions for use are also very different. Before embarking on the job read the instructions and then follow them strictly. If you are using a professional tiler make sure that he has experience in grouting with epoxy.
Because epoxy grout hardens so quickly you should ensure that you have all your tools in order before mixing the grout. Ensure that you have a large and a small epoxy grout float. Those are the ones that are made from hard rubber. Gloves and a sponge and water are also essential. The grout will be easier to apply if the room is warm.
- Clean the cement from between the tiles.
- Mix your grout in small enough batches to use within a half hour so that it stays flexible.
- Quickly spread the grout diagonally across the tiles. Make sure that the cracks are properly filled. You don’t want low spots.
- Start cleaning the tiles within an hour of first mixing the grout. Half a cup of vinegar in two gallons of water does the job well. If residues are left on the tiles they will create a haze, which is very difficult to clean off once it dries so care must be taken to clean the residues off properly.
Top 3 Epoxy Grouts – Reviewed
1. Laticrete SpectraLOCK Pro Premium Mini
This three-part product consists of epoxy, hardener and sand which determines the colour of the grout and is sold separately. The sand is available in an array of colours including forty traditional hues and a dazzle used to create shiny colours such gold, silver, copper or glow in the dark. It can be used on ceramic, glass or stone tiles both inside, and out and it is strong enough to use in commercial applications.
The product is packed in mini packs so you can easily mix small batches, small enough to complete before the mixture becomes too stiff after about thirty minutes. Unlike cement grout the colour between batches matches every time.
This patented epoxy grout is durable, resists stains and will maintain its colour over time. Containing an antimicrobial substance, it will prevent the growth of unsightly mildew or mould. This grout will not sag when used on vertical surfaces such as walls. It is suitable for grouting swimming pools and water features and can also be used where tiles require re-grouting.
2. SpectraLOCK PRO Full Unit Part A+B
This kit includes Spectralock Grout, colour sand, gloves a pre-wash and final wash kit and it is all packed in a bucket that you can use to mix your batches. The sand which determines the colour of the grout is available in a large number of hues. Because it is not porous the product does not require sealing once installed.
This patented product is perfectly suited to grouting swimming pool tiles as it is waterproof and UV resistant so it will not deteriorate in the sun. It is also ideal for interior use, and because it is hardwearing it can be used in commercial applications. It is stain resistant and will not discolour over time. The antimicrobial in the epoxy will resist the growth of mould or mildew.
3. Ceramic Tile Pro Super Grout Additive
Convert grout into a hard, durable and impervious epoxy grout by adding this hardener and resin into regular grout. It will create a product that is more durable than silicone, adhesives or sealers. It is great for places such as shower floors that require waterproof sealing. Additionally, it is mould and mildew resistant. This product can be used to seal counters where they meet the wall. It is suitable for use on a multitude of surfaces and can be used in commercial and residential applications. It’s what the professionals use.
This product can also be used for permanently fixing cracks in the grout. It requires no sealing as it is non-porous and it is close to one hundred percent waterproof so you can use it in wet and dry areas.
This kit includes the resin and hardener, a syringe, two measuring cups, a mixing stick and protective gloves. The syringe is a little small and slows the process down so you may want to buy a bigger syringe or use group bags much as you would an icing bag.
If you want a tile finish that lasts, then epoxy grout is a better alternative to cement grout, as it does not stain, discolour, crack or flake. The additional investment will quickly pay off as you will not have to replace your tile grout for years to come. We have shown you some of the top epoxy grouts on the market, but if you have any further questions to help choose between them feel free to leave a comment below.