Many people claim that epoxy grout is much more challenging to handle than cement grout. While that is true to a certain extent, manufacturers have introduced newer versions that are easier to install — easy enough for a DIY project. Let’s find out how to install epoxy grout.
Things to note before installing epoxy grout
Clean the work area: You must clean the surface to be grouted and ensure that it is free of debris, dirt, oils, grease, and other impurities. These will contaminate your grout and affect its performance.
Seal natural stone surfaces: Epoxy can discolor porous surfaces such as natural stones — granite, marble, travertine, and the like. You must seal these surfaces before grouting to prevent any discoloration caused by the epoxy grout.
Remove existing grout or excess mortar: If you are installing over old grout, you should remove it so that the new grout’s strength is not compromised. Also, remove the existing grout in sections to avoid accidentally chipping your tiles.
You should also remove excess mortar in the grout lines, especially if the tiles are newly installed. Excess mortar is a sign of poor tile installation and will affect the performance of your epoxy grout.
Be aware of the temperature: Hot weather will cause your epoxy grout to harden quickly which can cause uneven colors. To avoid this, install grout in the morning or evening when it is cooler and also cover the work area with a shade.
Moreover, the grout components should be in between 60°F and 90°F (16°C and 32°C). To achieve this temperature, store the grout components in a cool, shaded area for about 24 hours prior to installation. If your grout components are too cold, warm it up by storing it in a warm area for at least 24 hours or until the aggregate achieves a temperature of as close to 70°F (20°C) as possible
How to install epoxy grout
1. Prepare everything necessary
You should have all the necessary tools ready because epoxy grout dries quickly. Leaving epoxy grout on tiles for too long may cause grout haze. To avoid grout haze, wipe off leftover grout with a damp grout sponge after applying the epoxy grout.
As mentioned, you should only install new grout on clean and dry surfaces. Dirt, grease, and dust will get mixed with the new grout and affect its performance. Moreover, if you are grouting on natural stone tiles, seal them properly to prevent grout haze.
If possible, get someone to assist you throughout the installation process. After installing the epoxy grout into the grout lines, have someone remove excess grout after you with a damp grout sponge. While those experienced with handling epoxy grout can do it themselves, it’s recommended for greenhorns to have an extra helping hand.
2. Mix the grout
Some epoxy grouts are pre-mixed, which allows you to skip to the next step. Depending on the brand, your epoxy grout will come in two or three parts that need to be mixed. The set usually consists of an epoxy resin, a hardener, and a colored aggregate.
You should always follow the instructions on the packaging because the mixing procuderes differs from brand to brand. Here are some general tips when it comes to mixing grout:
- If you do not have a mechanical mixer, a margin trowel works just as well
- Make sure to mix until the grout has a consistent color
- Make sure to shake well your Part A and use a trowel to squeeze out every bit
- Mix slowly to avoid creating air bubbles in the grout
- Wear unwanted clothes and gloves when mixing
- Avoid getting epoxy grout into your eyes, immediately flush with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes if it does
By holding your grout float at a 45-degree angle, press the epoxy grout into the grout linings diagonally. Then, with your trowel at a 90-degree angle, push it across the surface to remove the excess grout. You should do this after every time you apply a section of epoxy grout to prevent grout haze on your tiles. When applying the epoxy grout, work in sections to avoid leaving grout haze, and work quickly because it dries in a short amount of time.
Prepare a bucket with cool water and few drops of Dawn® dish soap. Then, dip a grout sponge into the bucket of water and wipe off the excess grout from the tiles. You should apply medium pressure so that your grouting has a consistent level. You should remove any grout accidentally installed into the joints between the wall and flooring panels. These joints are meant to be expansion joints and should be filled with caulk or sealant rather than grouts.
After that, leave the newly installed grout to dry for up to 24 hours, or according to the sellers’ specifications.
Many epoxy grout products are considered as hazardous waste and should be disposed of accordingly. To ensure that you’re adhering to proper disposal laws, consult the seller or your local disposal, health or solid waste agency.
Do I need to seal epoxy grout?
You do not need to seal epoxy grout because it is non-porous. Unlike the porous cement grout, epoxy grout does not have tiny holes where moisture and air can seep into it. This makes epoxy grout mold-proof and waterproof and prevents cracks from occurring.
How long will epoxy grout last?
Epoxy grout is chemical-resistant, waterproof, stain-resistant, mold-proof, and more durable than cement grout. So, epoxy grout can last a lifetime if maintained properly. However, dirt and water can still pile on epoxy grout and should be cleaned regularly.
How do I maintain epoxy grout?
Dirt, grime, and mold may not get into the grout, but they can still pile on the grout. So, clean your grout regularly by scrubbing with a solution of warm water (1 cup), vinegar (1 cup), and Dawn® dish soap (1 teaspoon). For white grout, use a solution of bleach (one cup), warm water (3 cups), and Dawn® dish soap (1 teaspoon). You shouldn’t use bleach on colored epoxy grout because it can cause the color to fade.
What is the difference between epoxy and cement grout?
Epoxy grout is non-porous, more durable, chemical-resistant, stain-resistant, waterproof, and mold-proof. It is commonly used in both industrial and household applications such as showers, kitchens, and areas with high foot traffic. On the other hand, cement grout is porous (moisture can seep through) and less durable. However, cement grout is three to five times cheaper than epoxy grout. So, epoxy grout is only used in areas that are prone to spills.
Which brand of epoxy grout should I buy?
Some of the most commonly used epoxy grout brands are Mapei’s Kerapoxy CQ, Laticrete’s Spectralock Pro Grout, and Sika’s SikaTile®-825 Epoxy Grout.
Epoxy grout is more durable than cement grout and has different installation procedures. To install epoxy grout:
- Prep the work area by getting all tools ready and making sure that the surface is clean
- Mix the grout slowly until you achieve a consistent color
- Install the epoxy grout in small sections
- Clean the excess grout with a wet grout sponge