GW tile gurus, can you help with grout questions?

treasurethedayJanuary 21, 2013

We've decided to DIY most of our son's/guest bath remodel. We're in the middle of tiling the floor and need to decide on grout. Our grout lines are 1/8" and the tile is rectified porcelain, 18 x 18 on the floor and 12 x 24 for the alcove tub shower walls.

We'll choose a grout color that blends rather than contrasts with the tile. We're trying to decide which grout brand and specific type would be best for this project. Considerations are: 1)Easy to work with 2)stain resistant 3) smoother appearance. My husband does not want to use epoxy grout. It is my understanding that with a 1/8" grout line, either sanded or unsanded grout can be used. What would you recommend? Pros/cons to consider?

Tec grout was recommended by our tile supplier but research on the JB site is steering us away. We've had good experiece with various Laticrete products. Our usual tilesetter seems to prefer Custom.

The shower walls will have a band of glass and stone mosaic. Would the same grout be suitable for these as well?

Thanks so much for the help!

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I would use sanded grout. I've always used TEC grout, and like it a lot. They've got some sort of new kind that hasn't been getting great reviews, but I've always used the regular AccuColor. As long as it doesn't scratch the glass, I would use sanded there also. Why doesn't your husband want to use epoxy grout? I find SpectraLock pretty easy to work with, especially on floors. I think it's easier to work with than unsanded cementitious wall grout (on walls).

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:54PM
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We supplied TEC XT grout for our tile guys to use in our two most recently renovated bathrooms, and in our FR/guest bedroom/garage entryway. They said it was a little stickier than the "regular" TEC grout, but basically mixed up, and applied the same. It's supposed be more crack resistant, and has mildewicides built-in.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:14PM
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I've used Laticrete Permacolor grouts on several projects and have been very pleased. No splotchiness, seems to wear well. My gray grouts are fairly heavily trafficked and have no staining.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 10:45AM
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off topic, but can you share the floor tile name/source? That is just what I am looking for...

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Thanks for the advice. We're leaning toward Laticrete Permacolor because it seems like it will have the benefits of epoxy without some of the installation challenges. Unfortunately, we are not really loving Laticrete's color options with our tile. Tec's Mocha color seems to be the best match. Hopefully, when I can look at all of the samples I've collected in the light of day tomorrow, I'll come up with something.

Kirkhall... The tile is Marca Corona Natural Olive. As you see in the picture, it's a fairly greenish brown with some darker striations but, when you look at the tiles close up, you can see shades of green, cream and a somewhat reddish color.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 8:08PM
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I used epoxy without much fuss and I never used it before and only tiled once before in my life when I did my small kitchen backsplash area last year. So laticrete epoxy isn't that hard, honest. Once its done, your done, and you will have a durable grout.

Have you considered urethane grout? It needs a 7 day cure time, without use, but other than that I've heard good reports. It is pre-mixed and the container can be recovered for use later; how long, I don't know. A high end tile shop in my locale uses it for their display floors because of the ease in use and the ability to cover and save. It is a Hydroment brand that they use. I have used the Hydroment thinset and have been very pleased with the product. They make the Ditra-Set that I used for my Ditra installation.

Regarding Laticrete SpectraLock:
What I did for my floor grout was mix a custom color with laticrete spectralock colors Platinum and Silver Shadow and some other grays. I did some small mixing with the small cartons of color you can get at Lowes, but I only purchased one tub of the epoxy. I prepped all my dry color combos and kept records. Then I mixed the epoxy and divided into small disposable containers mixing the dry into each. Ultimately, I came up with a 3part platinum and a 1part silver shadow that I used on my floor. I am very happy with it. I bought a large sized Laticrete kit of the Platinum online, that was linked through the Laticrete web site. I then bought a small carton of just the dry Silver Shadow color at Lowes and measured this SS amount, removed that same amount from the Platinum then added the SS. The large kit is equal to 4 small kits. So that was my 3:1 ratio. Of note the Laticrete Spectralock in the small cartons at Lowes is the "Spectralock Premium" and the large kit I got on line was the "Spectralock Premium Pro". The colorants are all the same, the epoxy, parts A&B are what differs. The Pro I think is a newer product and maybe has better application properties. As I said I ordered mine online, but you may be able to get the Pro version through special order at Lowes.

Here is my finished grout, Silver Shadow on the left and Platinum on the right, My custom is the grout in the tile:

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 7:45AM
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After countless hours reseraching on grout (eeaash) we specificed to our tile subs to use TEC's Powergrout because of its built in stain resister/sealer in Silverado everywhere including White & darker porcelains/ceramics.

Our subs actually endorsed our choice or his experiences with it in the past for effectiveness & ease of application.

Here is a link that might be useful: Powergrout

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:31AM
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Hijack.. sorry.
enduring - I'd read previously of your mixing Laticrete Spectralock colors and appreciate the additional information on your method. I was wondering if you made up a sample board of each color combination? If so, how large was each tile sample? I'm set on Spectralock because I've used it before and didn't find particularly difficult but sure like it in the bathroom. Unfortunately none of the colors (from the printed brochure) looks quite right. I'm using a 12 x 24 rectified porcelain and figured to avoid wastage I would cut the tiles in half and create a single 12 inch long grout line in each experimental color. Guess my question is whether this is enough of a sample for assessment of my color mixes?
Thanks to anyone for your thoughts/advice on sample boards.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flaviker Urban Concrete in Greige and Smoke

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:32AM
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Treasuretheday, your floor looks really nice. You are doing such a tidy job. Looking forward to seeing this done. Your master bath is beautiful.

Mmcf-You could cut them into 6x6 pieces and really have some grout lines to work with:) I had several pieces grouted in different colors; I was using smaller pieces than my tile for the sample board. The slate pieces are maybe 6x6. The white tiles are 4x4 and the marble is 2x4. These are mounted on some drywall scraps and are pretty ugly. Note the halo effect on the marble. It was still wet, but Bill V. or Mongoct said that epoxy does leave a halo on marble. I just looked at my sample board and it is dry for several months and there is an ever so slight ghosting that I see, but it is very very faint.

This post was edited by enduring on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 1:56

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:52AM
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Thanks enduring for the picture! I like your idea of cutting the tiles even smaller and can see from your example a larger expanse of grout isn't needed to judge whether a color "works" or not.

Funny, although I work in a lab so measuring and mixing while keeping records is second nature (and impacts someone's health/life)...
I'm leary of starting my grout color mix experiment. With all the choices to be made, I'm turning into a nut case over this bathroom reno!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 2:28AM
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Thanks, everyone. Of the countless decisions to be made in a bathroom reno, somehow grout always seems so hard for me.

We decided on Tec Accucolor in Mocha. It was really the best color so I guess we went with form over function. I would have been more concerned if we had a full tiled shower instead of a tub/shower. That particular color was only available in their non-modified grout so we added Grout Boost. Last night, we grouted just the section of the floor that will be covered by the vanity on Monday. This was a good opportunity to test the product, process, and results before committing to the full floor.

Thanks, Enduring, for the great info on customizing your grout color. You ended up with the perfect shade for your beautiful floor!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 6:33AM
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Thanks Treasure and Mmcf, the grout really is a chameleon, now with my other elements going in. When only the tub was in DH thought that the grout picked up the white of the tub. Now that the chrome is in it looks good with that too. It looks perfect with the marble listello as well. I did a dry measure calculation when I was mixing my grout samples, kitchen measuring spoons. When I was mixing some epoxy (not epoxy grout) for the soapstone sink I am making I used a digital kitchen scale for that.

I was at a high end tile store and found out that there is a tile setter here in Iowa that custom mixes all his grout colors using Latacrete spectralock. That was reassuring to hear.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:50AM
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I thought I'd update on our quest for the perfect grout.

Despite meticulously following the directions, we were not thrilled with the application of the TEC Accucolor grout. In the daylight the next day, it was obvious that it was not going to be the best choice. The color was very splotchy and irregular. Worst of all, none of the areas looked like the color of our sample! Considering that we chose it based on it being the "perfect" match for our tile, this was a deal-breaker.

Fortunately, this was all under where our vanity would go so we tore it all out and regrouted with Laticrete Spectralock (yes, we went with epoxy!)in the Hemp color. It was a little lighter than I wanted to go but we decided that a little contrast might be good since our floor tile has no discernable pattern from more than a few feet away. The Spectralock performed just as the instructions and the Youtube video promised so installation was no problem. I was a little concerned at first because the color was noticeably lighter and more pink than the sample. As it fully dried, the true color was revealed and we're very, very happy with the result. One more decision made!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 8:29PM
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HIPPY! Now you will be sure to post pictures won't you?

...I mean Yippy! spelling is not my strong suit:)

This post was edited by enduring on Wed, Jan 30, 13 at 12:53

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:51AM
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