Step 8: Bathroom floor grouting

Keeping grout lines in the wet areas of your tiled bathroom clean is a never ending chore. And corners are the worst. But we solved that problem by using easy-to-clean corner profiles.

We still have all the other grout lines to contend with, which got me thinking about the installation details, subsequent maintenance, and longevity aspects.

The most common product used these days is cementitious grout. It is economic and easy to install. But it is porous, and needs sealing after the installation. And in most cases, it is recommended to re-seal the grout lines at certain time intervals. Even once sealed, cementitious grout is apparently still prone to staining.

My research on solving that problem led me to something called epoxy grout.

According to the product literature, it “never needs sealing” and is “tough, durable, and crack resistant.” The Tile Council of North America describes epoxy grout as “nearly stain proof” and often with a bond strength that “is stronger than the tile itself.”

It appeared that I could solve durability and maintenance issues by switching from cementitious to epoxy grout.

But as always, there is a catch:

Epoxy grout is not cheap. Compared to cementitious grout, it is a big investment. And on the installation side, you need to know what you are doing, and you need to be über prepared.

As with many epoxys, there are two resin-like components that are mixed together and start to react (cross-link). The speed at which the cross-linking, or curing, takes place varies by product and temperature. The warmer the working environment, the shorter the curing time.

For the Spectralock-Pro Premium Grout that we used, the working time at 70 degrees Fahrenheit is 80 minutes. In other words, from the time of mixing the components we had about 80 minutes for the installation. The curing process is basically irreversible, which means you have no choice but to finish on time or end up with a permanently unfinished job.

For us it was worth taking on this challenge in return for a more durable, robust, and easy to maintain grouting solution.

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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.

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