How do you get smooth grout?

beekeeperswifeOctober 3, 2012

I did my sample board of arabesques with the gray grout. The Permacolor Bright White we used last time and the Tec Silverado on my sample board appear rough, like cement.

Is there something I'm missing? What is that smooth grout I see? The contrast between the glossy tile and the rough grout is not what I want.

I'm stumped.


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Fori is not pleased

Is it a sanded vs unsanded grout thing or did you already account for that?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:53PM
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You can get sanded and unsanded grout. Sanded grout is like cement. Unsanded grout is smooth like caulking. But you can't always use unsanded grout...I think it's only appropriate for very thin grout lines and certain types of time (rectified?) I've linked another thread which talks about this...

Here is a link that might be useful: sanded v.s. unsanded grout

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Based on that thread, the arabesques's joints certainly are not tight enough for unsanded, so I'm wondering then if I need to do epoxy grout. Bill_V says that epoxy uses a finer sand in that thread you posted itsallaboutthefood.

The samples of grout I have are sanded, fori. I guess I never realized that sanded grout was, well, so sandy!

so, now then...where do I find a delicious pale gray epoxy grout?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Laticrete has many colors of epoxy grout. I used epoxy grout for my powder room and my kids bathroom so that missed 'aiming' does not sink into the grout and smell, if you get my drift. It is a bit different to work with than typical grout, but if you try it out beforehand, you'll be fine. Sanded grout will smooth out over time, but not to the smoothness that the epoxy grout has to begin with. In my area, Lowe's has a large selection of epoxy grouts in stock.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:44PM
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The "secret" is not too much water when mixing, and tightly packing the spaces with the grout, letting it set up the optimal time before washing off, and not using too much water when you do that. It should take more muscle than water in the grout removal stage. Too much water washing will wash out the cement and leave the sand more visible. It will also affect the color and not in a good way.

I would NEVER attempt epoxy grout with the complex grout lines of that tile! It's a different kind of disaster waiting to happen.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 9:01PM
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When our tile guy did our kitchen backsplash, he mixed together sanded and unsanded grout (don't recall the proportion of each off the top of my head, but I have it written down somewhere, and could search for it if you need). We used TEC Bright White grout, but not exactly sure which of their sanded/unsanded, perhaps the Permacolor. The grout lines in our splash look pretty smooth. Perhaps not as perfectly smooth as the 100% unsanded grout lines elsewhere in the house, but pretty darned smooth.

FWIW, we used TEC XT grout in the MB, Hall Bathroom, and FR/Guest Bedroom/Entryway.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 9:39PM
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I asked my tile guy and he texted me this..

If you use Laticrete epoxy grout (spectralock premium pro) - you need work as a team. Use a grout sleeve to apply grout and clean as you go.. Wipe down continually. Dried up epoxy grout pieces and the hazy film are near impossible to get rid of.. Very nice grays though..

Hope this helps..

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 3:14AM
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I used Laticrete too. I love it and it does have some delicious grays. I have a sample box if you would like it. I can mail it to you if you send me your address to my email.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 7:31AM
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I guess I didn't realize that epoxy was so difficult to work with. I'll ask our friend who helped us with the tile before if thinks we can do it. He is going to be running the show on this bs for us again. He has installed a lot more tile than my dh and I have ever done.

caminnc, thanks for the offer, but I am not making up another sample board, so I'll just use the grout samples I have here. But thank you.

l_w_o, mixing the sample grout for the sample board was a total guessing game. Why in the world do they do it by lbs and not cups? I mean, how much water do I add to a cup of dry grout? That's what I need to know. I have a 25lb bag of dry grout, the tile guy used some when doing the bathroom, I have an unknown amount in the bag, I just want to make a little. Anyhow, my point is, my sample was very dry and I did push it into the joints with my fingers. So, I know my sample wasn't too wet at least. In the last kitchen we did use full bags at a time, mixed properly, etc and it still had that rough look. I guess I notice it because it is closer to eye level than the floor tiles in the bathrooms. I am also thinking we might be able to put less grout in the tiles too, just fill the joints and not come up the side of the tile like we did before.

I like the arabesques with the gray, but I just don't want it to look like I went out yesterday and got some of the cement from accross the street when the were pouring the sidewalks, you know what I mean? The rough white grout was one thing, but gray? I'll have to think about this.

Actually, what will happen is this: my dh will come in from being gone all week, take a look at the sample board and say "no, looks like cement. Let's do the white again". And I'll say "Sounds Good". He usually doesn't have any opinions on stuff like this. He just trusts all my decisions. He will come home and I'll have 5 tile samples set up, he will ignore them. And then I'll have to blurt out "Don't you see the tiles???" And then he will tell me he's afraid to vote, because he might like the most expensive one, or vote for the one I don't like. But I have a hunch, this will get an opinion.


I'll post a picture of the sample board under a new title.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:02AM
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Hi Bee -
As one of the people who suggested light gray grout,
let me be the first to say that using white grout
and matching to the tile is an equally fine choice.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:07AM
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Mortar and grout are sensitive to the humidity in the air. Just like in baking. Plus components are measured out by weight, not volume as it's more accurate. On a dry day, you may need to put in more water than you would on a rainy humid day. That goes for bread dough and grout both.

The key is the texture and workability of both as well. For grout, you want it to be like peanut butter. Creamy and sticky, not crumbly. It cures by chemical reaction with the water, not dehydration of that water. Too little water or too much water are very bad things and then the grout will not adhere, or it will lack strength, or shift color. Any of that can lead to it cracking or failing down the road.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:19AM
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I mean, how much water do I add to a cup of dry grout? That's what I need to know.

A digital kitchen (or postal) scale is your friend here. I find it easiest to convert everything to grams and ml, but that is not necessary.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 1:11PM
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