Bathroom grouting

Let’s get back to the bathroom installation. The tiles are installed and the next step is grouting.

No quick or easy decisions here – this is again about moisture management and overall durability. And my paranoia on these subjects has not eased!

Earlier this year, I participated in a presentation about green homes at the Chicago Center for Green Technology. I was the third speaker, and while waiting for my turn, I learned about something called epoxy grout.

It apparently doesn’t need sealing, unlike the typical sanded grout. I was hooked and wanted to research this some more.

I found out that the product referenced in the presentation was called LATICRETE® SpectraLOCK® PRO. It indeed doesn’t require any sealing, according to the product literature, and is referred to as crack resistant. Both properties really got me interested.

Sanded grout should be sealed and re-sealed on an annual basis. When did you re-seal the grout joints in your bathroom the last time? Get my point?

The crack resistance of epoxy grout would add to the moisture management goals. It would prevent water from escaping into the floor assembly. This would be an additional safety layer, on top of the drain flashing and waterproofing membrane.

Over the top? Ummm – not if you have encountered this before:

The Laticrete grout is Greenguard certified and apparently stain resistant. Time will tell if that is indeed so.

The installation is not the easiest – and not for the faint hearted.

The grout comes in two package sizes, 0.2 or 0.8 gallons, with pre-packaged components that have to be mixed just prior to the installation. Once mixed, the working time is 80 minutes at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Whatever is left over at the end is lost. And that matters, because the grout is not cheap – not cheap at all!

We started with the 0.8 gallon size, because it was enough to cover the bathroom floor. And 80 minutes seemed plenty of time to get it done. The key word here is “seemed”!

We had less than 80 minutes because it was warmer than 70 degrees during installation. Cathy and I broke a sweat in no time and barely managed to get the job done without waste. It was a very close call!

For the walls, I got the smaller size (0.2 gallon) and did the grouting just by myself. And again, 80 minutes flew by in a heartbeat and I barely got the job done without waste.

This is not a job for anyone who hates deadlines!

But it is a very promising product, considering our moisture management and durability objectives.

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

One thought on “Bathroom grouting

  1. Marcus was totally up for the challenge. He set the alarm clock to remind him of the time, and he hit the ground running each time he mixed a batch. That man can move with a quickness when he wants to!

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