Tips for Using Epoxy Tile Grout

by Owen Sechrist

As a professional remodeler I've struggled with epoxy grout a few times, so it ocurred to me that a DIYer could probably use some tips and suggestions.
In preparation for grouting it is an excellent idea to seal your tile with a good quality sealer (we use DuPont StoneTech Bulletproof) before you grout. This is an especially good idea when grouting natural stone tiles. If you're using epoxy kits from Lowes or Home Depot they probably don't contain any cleaners. A mild vinegar solution works great for cleaning epoxy grout. Make sure you test your vinegar solution on some scrap tile beforehand, especially if it is polished tile since acids tend to etch polished marble. Make sure you get all of the "Part A" liquid out of the pouch. The "part B" is the chemical that activates and hardens the grout and it is easier to get out of the pouch than the part A. If you miss some part A and get all the part B your grout could set up too fast. (We use Laticrete Spectralock epoxy, other brands could be labeled differently?) Epoxies are tempurature sensitive and will set up more quickly in hotter tempuratures. The chart for Laticrete cure times due to tempurature is dubious at best. If you are grouting in an unconditioned space in the summer I advise starting very early in the morning when tempuratures are lower. I would personally not try to grout with epoxy in a room that is over 80 degrees farenheit. Make sure you have all your equipment and materials set up before you mix, and have painted surfaces around the tile taped off with blue painters tape. You want to mix and start grouting immediately. Check the spot where you started grouting periodically and begin doing your first wash as soon as the grout starts setting up, EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T FINISH GROUTING. Epoxy grout is extremely hard to get off tile once it is hardened. It is better to fail to get all the grouting done than to end up with epoxy all over your tile. Clean your tile methodically and make sure you have a good light available to search for spots you missed while you were cleaning. My final tip is to not be scared of using epoxy. It is a great product and when you don't have any problems it is a dream to use. On the other hand, when you have problems it can turn into a nightmare fast which is why making sure you're prepared and concious of the potential problems will allow you to avoid disaster in the event something goes wrong.

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