What benefits to using Epoxy grout?

brutusesMarch 11, 2008

Forgive my lateness in learning about this grout. I just heard about it and when I heard about it the person said it cuts down on maintenance because it stays cleaner than other grouts. Is this true. What are the benefits of epoxy grout and can it be used in all tile applications or just specific ones? Thanks in advance.

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What you've heard is true. It IS easier to maintain, and it can be used in ALL tile applications. However, IMO, it's overkill. For the cost, it's just not worth it. Let me put it into perspective. A 25 pound bag of sanded grout will cover approximately 150 feet of 12x12's with a 3/16" grout joint, and costs about 15.00. One unit of epoxy grout covers about 75 feet, and will run about 35.00. In addition, the installer will also require a premium for using it. My charge is 1.50 a foot extra. I've yet to see a residential installation where epoxy was the better choice, OTHER than maybe countertops.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:34AM
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johnmari put epoxy grout in her bathroom and doesn't find it all that much easier to care for and DEFINITELY not worth the money to her. You might give her a shout out on home dec, she hasn't been feeling well or around much lately but she might see it if you address something to her specifically.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:38AM
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I used it for my kitchen counter. A month later, took it all out. A messy job, but was very easy to remove, which is telling regarding the quality and use of this product. There was little benefit and in some respects harder to clean as dirt seemed to find it's way into small crevices.

Back to standard grout and doing the right thing. Using the right product takes no longer than the wrong one. As for maintaining, all materials require attention and each has it's own idiosyncracies.

I love tile, it always feels more natural to me and fits my surroundings. Grout cleaning is part a daily wipe down, keeping spills cleaned up and using the right products to seal/maintain. And....Keeping Bill around to head us in the right direction.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 9:45AM
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I've used epoxy grout in all the tile applications we've done in our remodel (2 bathroom floors, shower, tub deck, kitchen floor). I bought the epoxy stuff on the recommendation of the Lowe's guy when we were buying materials, since it doesn't require sealing. Because I've never used standard grout I can't really compare the labor involved in installation, but it didn't seem that difficult. I've had no problems keeping it clean. It is pricey (20 bucks a pop), which keeps my grout lines narrow.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 6:05PM
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Thanks everyone for your input. I think I'll pass on epoxy.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 6:09PM
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So, what the difference between Epoxy grout and the Laticrete Spectralock stain resistant grout? I just found out how that by going with the Spectralock, it's going to be pretty expensive. Ideally, I wouldn't mind just using the sanded grout, but I'd like something that is easy to maintain and is stain resistant. Would a sealer with the sanded grout be jut as good or is it worth it to use Spectralock especially in the shower. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 8:17PM
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Spectralock IS an epoxy grout. Matter of fact, that's the one I had in mind above when I was giving rough prices. Go with another epoxy, and not only will it probably cost more, but it'll also be tougher to work with. For myself, my premium for using Spectralock, as I said above, is 1.50 a foot. Any other epoxy, it's 2.50. There's that much of a difference.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 8:44PM
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Thanks, Bill for the clarification on what Spectralock is. So, you recommend it over other epoxy grouts, but think regular sanded grout is just as good? Is that with some kind of sealer? What do you recommend? Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:17PM
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Spectralock vs other epoxies-- I'd take Spectralock every time.

Concerning Spectralock vs. conventional grouts, it depends. With very few exceptions, the only time I see epoxy as necessary in residential applications would be when doing tile countertops. There ARE exceptions, such as if you have young animals, or those animals prone to "accidents". But by and large, conventional grouts, sanded or unsanded, should be all that are needed. The big thing is taking into account where in the home the installation is. If it's on the floor in high traffic areas, you want a medium to darker colored grout, so that you won't as readily see stains or traffic patterns. That'll actually go alot further than even sealing the grout.

In the link below, check number 12:

Here is a link that might be useful: Bulding a Home Forum Tile FAQ

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:57PM
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Thanks, Bill. That decides it for me. I intended to use a med. to dark grout color, so it makes sense for me to use regular sanded grout. This will save me a bundle too. Thanks as always!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 12:14AM
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Did our counter tops with it a couple years ago. The baths I did 14 years ago myself using the regular stuff. Yes its nicer and nothing penetrates it. Whatever it is I got it at lowes. Yes it is what they say it is, nothin gonna get through but LORDY IS IT EXPENSIVE. I mean the grout literally cost as much as the tile did. Secondly what you break by dropping something on it ect is still gonna break. Epoxy you have to use it or lose it which a big headache. Hell I still have the powder mix stuff from 1995 in the basement. On the other hand I have a spot that I can't bring myself to finish in the corner because I don't want to go buy and pop open the pouches for a little and toss most of it. Is it worth it, not to me simply nice at a very high price like government hammers and Swedish hookers. Use the cheaper stuff and seal it well and you won't notice the difference.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 9:31AM
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So, the Kerdi is up, the tile is being delivered today...

I am still wondering about the grout. I have read that the Tec XT is a good regular grout product. I will use that on the walls. Any thoughts on Prism?

For our shower floor, we are using sliced pebbles, and a dark grout--- would we benefit from an epoxy in that location? We are on well water. Does it really make a difference? Would be willing if even a little gain in the epoxy over the regular...

Help! I have to buy it this weekend!!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 10:43AM
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Any grout that is fresh will mix with water to give good cement. "Regular" grouts are good "products"; it is hard to believe that a "bad one" would stay on the market...

On Kerdi, on a sloped shower floor, you already have a system to drain water that works when grout is porous. That is regular grout. With sand in it too. You need lots of grout (pebbles and big grout lines). Grout is cheap.

Epoxy grout is good for people who like to have higher quality products and will do a meticulous job by themselves, or have access to the best workers. It is cuter than regular grout. Also you may like the colors more. It is possible you will run into a problem with epoxy installation. With regular grout, if you have any problem, it is easier to remove it and to start again.

The art and science of grout (cement) is hard to describe to people who are learning about it for the first time. Think what it's like talking about cake recipes with someone who has never broken eggs, mixed them with flour and added baking soda, baking powder, oil, etc. Once one has done it once or twice, one has a much better sense of what is do-able. Read instructions and follow them.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 12:18PM
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We used both regular grout (light and dark colors) and Spectralock when remodeling our townhome. IMO, Spectralock is superior in every way: non-porous, even color, low maintenance. For me, it is well worth extra money and extra labor (we are DIYers). In our new home we will use only Spectralock for grouting. I was very surprised reading "very easy to remove" comment. According to my experience, it is extremely hard to remove.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 2:21PM
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The art and science of grout (cement) is hard to describe to people who are learning about it for the first time.

This is copied and pasted from the Tile FAQ thread in the gallery:

Although there are others, for all intents and purposes, there are two kinds of grout-- portland cement based, and epoxy. The portland cement based grouts are the conventional grouts that have been around for millenniums. Although in the last few decades, they've been modified with latex and other polymers to make them stronger and more resistant to mold and mildew, they're basically the very same grouts that have been used since Greek and Roman days. There are two kinds of portland cement based grouts. One is sanded, and the other unsanded. The only difference between the two is, as their names imply, the sand. The ONLY thing that determines which grout should be used is the joint size. NOT the glaze, NOT aesthetics, NOT the material (ceramic vs. glass or polished marble), NONE of those. I'll repeat-- the ONLY thing that determines which is used, is the joint size. Anything under an 1/8" takes unsanded grout. Anything 1/8" or bigger, you use sanded grout. If you use unsanded grout in larger joints, the cement in the grout will shrink way too much as the water evaporates out of it, and the joints will end up shrinking and cracking bigtime. If you try using sanded grout in smaller joints, the grains of sand will literally clog the top of the joint, and not allow the grout to get down INTO the joint, and the grout will flake off in a matter of days.

As for the Epoxy, most epoxy grouts use a much finer "sand", and therefore can be used in any size grout joint. Further, epoxy grouts are everything people say they are. They're much easier to clean, practically stainproof, and also extremely expensive. Most epoxies will cost atleast 4 times the cost of conventional grouts, and the installer will also usually charge a premium of between 1.50- 2.50 a foot for the use of epoxy grout. There are alot of people who will disagree with me, but my own opinion is that for most residential installations, epoxy grout is bigtime overkill. The ONLY times I'll recommend epoxy grout is first, if you're installing a tile countertop, and two, if you have animals in the house that either aren't housebroken, or are prone to accidents. In either of those cases, epoxy might be worth the money. For anything else, though, conventional grout is more than good enough.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 7:57PM
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Yeah, I agree, that fourth comment above saying it was easy to remove seemed weird to me too. Seemed impossible.

I have found that people who make a living in the tile business all tell me to stop thinking epoxy grout is good for the average citizen. Perhaps this thread is not the right place for me to express my satisfaction with it.

Regular grout will give good cement if it's fresh. With some colors you may get a spotty result. Pebbles leave big spaces so you need sanded grout. Epoxy is overkill unless you have the time and interest, and you feel comfortable with it.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 9:06AM
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I have found that people who make a living in the tile business all tell me to stop thinking epoxy grout is good for the average citizen.

David-- there's a good reason for that. While there ARE some exceptions, apparently such as yourself, it's not exactly user friendly for alot of people. If you'd seen the number of nightmares most of us have seen, both in the real world, as well as here in the forums (by here, I mean this forum, as well as John Bridge, Floorstransformed, HGTV, HGTV Pro, Contractortalk, and about a dozen other forums where I post), you'd understand why we discourage its use.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 11:15AM
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I realize this is an old thread, but I just read it and found the info useful. Question though: as of now (january 2011), there are 4 or 5 spectralock choices, none of which specify countertops as the application (they all say Walls and Floors) Bill, can you tell me which one you recommend for granite tile kitchen countertop? thanks everyone for all the info

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 11:06AM
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    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:33PM
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We have just remodeled our kitchen,2 baths and used epoxy grout...I need to know whats the best product to clean my floors. I am afraid somethings may change the grout color.
Please help!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:16PM
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We have run a small bed and breakfast for a little over twelve years. The bathrooms have always been a problem - not the tile but the grout.
We would clean and seal and steam etc.... and always have dirty and blotchy grout.
We renovated 14 months ago and used this soapstone grout that was recommended to us from a local contractor. It had to be shipped from Canada, but took about a week.
Bottom line ******* It's wonderful********* Grout problem gone.
They sent me a link and we only use dish soap and water.

Here is a link that might be useful: soapstone grout

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 9:27AM
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As difficult as epoxy grout is to manage I found a way to apply it so easy that it took me less time to apply it and non was wasted. I used a sleeve for application which you find close to the sponges...., I just did my bathroom super fast and the cleanup time was less then it usually is and no material was wasted..... .

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 7:16AM
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"I used a sleeve for application which you find close to the sponges"

Can someone tell me what a "sleeve" is and where can I buy one?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 11:32PM
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I just finished grouting 1200 sq.ft. of tile in my house using epoxy grout. I used a grout sleve from Lowe's to put the grout in and applied it directly into the grout joints and then used a rubber float to work it into the cracks. I applied the grout, had another person working the rubber float and another person going right behind cleaning the grout with a solution of water and Dawn dishwashing liquid. We were using 1 gallon buckets of grout which is why there were 3 of us applying the grout. We had no problem applying the grout and cleaning it as we went and never had a problem with it setting up before we could work it into the joints or clean up the tiles and tools. I also grouted my bathroom by myself which was a smaller area, again with no trouble working the grout. I have read that the professional tile setters charge $1.00 - $1.50 more per sq.ft. to work with the epoxy! To me this is a big rip off, yes it is a little more trouble to work with but certainly not worth that kind of extra money. Everytime something new comes out in the construction industry the professional trades want to resist it and charge more money to work with it until they get used to it or finally have to. (Example Hardi Siding Products) Once applied the epoxy grout looks great, the reason that I applied it was I wanted to put it in and be finished with it. No sealing, staining or messing with it and it stays looking new and clean. It was defiently more expensive but to me it is worth the extra money and time to install. At my work we have tile and the grout is so dirty it is black, I did not want that! Once again it is worth the extra money to use the epoxy grout, and don't get ripped off by a tile layer that tells you how hard it is to work with and wants to charge you a lot of extra money to put it in. I have also installed a lot of tile and put in sanded grout and the epoxy is not that much more difficult to work with. For the record I am a Construction Manager and deal with all of the construction trades on a daily basis and not just a do it your selfer.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 10:05AM
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I respect what Bill says and was leaning toward using regular grout in our shower. However, CRH123 brings up a good point - regular grout on floors turns dark. Our kitchen, which is next in line to be remodeled has 20-year-old white tile with gray grout. I scrubbed the grout once. It was a lot of work and the color quickly turned from gray back to almost black, Now I just mop the floor and forget cleaning the grout.

I would be glad to spend the extra money for epoxy grout if it would be easy to keep clean. Unless, perhaps the newer sanded grout doesn't turn dark?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:33PM
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I know this is an old thread but I thought the discussion was interesting regarding the pros and cons of epoxy grout. We are actually about to introduce into the US market a water-based epoxy grout that will combine the proven benefits of epoxy with the easy cleanup, longer working time and low toxicity of standard grout at a more competitive price point. I'd be happy to hear any additional comments you guys might have regarding your experience with epoxy grout.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:57PM
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