Grouts are essentially for filling in gaps and as an additional waterproofing layer. The most common types of grouts are cementitious grout and epoxy grout. However, they differ in properties, installation methods, applications, and cost.
Read on to find out:
- What is an epoxy grout
- Is epoxy grout better than cement grout?
- Advantages and disadvantages of epoxy grout
- Maintaining epoxy grout
- Where to buy epoxy grout
What is an epoxy grout
Epoxy grout is a common type of grout made of epoxy resin, silica fillers, pigments, and a hardener. It is non-porous, which means that it does not absorb moisture, dirt, or grease. This key feature makes it waterproof and stain-proof, perfect for wet areas such as kitchens.
Like cementitious grouts, epoxy grout comes in sanded and unsanded forms. However, the type of sand used is not the same as the ones used in cementitious grouts.
Is epoxy grout better than cement grout?
|Epoxy grout||Cement grout|
|More suitable for high-traffic or high impact environments||Easier to install|
|Has a glossy finish||Has a textured cement look|
|Non-porous / doesn't need to be sealed||Porous / needs to be sealed|
|More common in industrial areas||More suitable for DIY projects|
Epoxy grout fares better in durability than cement grout. This is because epoxy resins offer greater bond strength and chemical resistance than cement. Epoxy grout is also non-porous, meaning that it won’t absorb moisture and dirt, unlike porous cementitious grouts. As a result, it won’t crack, shrink, or discolor like cement grout.
You do not need to seal epoxy grout due to its non-porous properties. On the other hand, you must seal and regularly regrout cement grout. Cement grout will inevitably deteriorate, and when left untreated, may cause mold and mildew growth beneath the tiles. You can apply new epoxy grout over existing cement grout, although it is not recommended.
However, epoxy grout is more costly than cement grout — up to 3-5 times higher than their cementitious counterparts. Moreover, it involves more hassle and longer cleanup times. Not only that, but it has a brighter sheen that looks like plastic, a downgrade from cement grout’s textured cement look. So, you have to clean up any residue of epoxy grout left on tiles, or it will leave behind a glossy sheen.
Pros and cons of epoxy grout
|➕ Chemical-resistant||➖ 3-5 times more costly than cement grout|
|➕ Waterproof||➖ More difficult to install|
|➕ Stain-resistant||➖ May discolor natural stone surfaces if not installed properly|
|➕ Non-porous and doesn't need to be sealed|
|➕ Won't shrink, discolor, or deteriorate|
Advantages of epoxy grout
Epoxy grout is chemical-resistant, waterproof, stain-resistant, and crack-resistant. It is highly durable and can withstand splashbacks from harsh chemicals. These chemicals include industrial chemicals and also commercial chemicals such as those found in cleaning products. Furthermore, epoxy grout is highly resistant to weather changes and other extreme environments, making it the more popular choice of grouting for outdoor areas.
Epoxy grout is also non-porous, meaning that it won’t absorb water, dirt, and oil. So, it provides an additional layer of protection in the floor’s waterproofing system. Moreover, mildew and mold will not be able to penetrate through this non-porous grout.
These properties make epoxy grout ideal for kitchens, shower areas, industrial floors, and high-traffic areas.
As a result of its highly durable properties, you essentially do not need to make any changes to the grout after installation. Epoxy grout will not shrink, crack, discolor, or deteriorate, unlike cement grout. So, you’ll rarely see any holes or blemishes in this grout after installation. The only way to damage epoxy grout is to deliberately scratch it with a sharp object like a utility knife.
You do not need to seal epoxy grout because it is already non-porous. It is sufficiently waterproof on its own because of the epoxy resin that hardened during the curing process. In fact, epoxy resins are widely used in other waterproofing applications such as sealing pipes, drains, and flooring solutions.
Epoxy grout is so durable that it will last you a lifetime. You do not need to regrout it, unlike cement grout. Also, you can easily clean it with vinegar and dishwashing liquid. So, think of epoxy grout as a long-term investment that will keep your home secured for years to come.
Broad color choice
Many sellers of epoxy grout provide a wide range of colors for you to choose from. Unlike cement grout, you can select a color of epoxy grout that matches the tiles seamlessly. Some dislike the glossy sheen of epoxy grout, but it does provide a spotless look to your room.
Disadvantages of epoxy grout
Epoxy grout is 3-5 times more costly than cement grout. While a kilogram of cement grout costs between $2 – $4, one kilogram would cost around $12. So, people only use it when its chemical and water-resistant properties are necessary — industrial areas, kitchens, swimming pools, and bathrooms.
On the other hand, people commonly apply cement grout on common living areas, bedrooms, and vertical tiles. These places do not require the durable properties of epoxy grout, as cement grout is enough to get the job done. As such, epoxy grout is more commonly found in industrial projects and high-traffic areas such as factories, hospitals, and parking lots.
Can discolor porous surfaces
While epoxy grout itself is stain-resistant, it can discolor nearby surfaces that are porous. These surfaces include natural stone tiles such as glass, granite, and marble. So, you’ll have to thoroughly clean and seal the natural stone tiles before grouting.
More difficult to install than cement grout
Applying epoxy grout involves a completely different process from cement grout, despite their similarities. It is more difficult to install than cement grout.
On the one hand, epoxy grout has a quick dry time of 24 hours. Once mixed, you have minimal time to work with the grout. Moreover, epoxy grout sets fairly quickly, leaving no room for error. First-timers may find it useful to have all tools on hand as installing epoxy grout emphasizes speed and efficiency.
Nowadays, companies are increasingly introducing epoxy grout that is easier to install. Regardless, installing epoxy grout generally requires more time and finesse than cement grout.
Maintaining epoxy grout
Cleaning and maintaining epoxy grout is fairly easy as you do not have to regrout or reseal. All you need is to brush the grout with vinegar and dishwashing liquid once a week.
Where to buy epoxy grout
You can buy epoxy grout from retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes, or Amazon. Notable sellers of epoxy grout include Laticrete and Mapei.
When should I use epoxy grout?
You are recommended to install it in showers, kitchen backsplashes, swimming pools, and other high-traffic areas at home. Epoxy grout is also commonly installed in hospitals, laboratories, factories, machinery leveling, and filling expansion joints for industrial applications.
How long does epoxy grout take to cure?
The average epoxy grout cures in no more than 24 hours. Some brands even sell grouts that dry in less than 10 hours.
How long does epoxy grout last?
When maintained properly, epoxy grout can last a lifetime.
Epoxy grout is made of epoxy resins, silica fillers, pigments, and a hardener. It is much more durable and sturdy than cement grout but also 3-5 times more costly. It is best used in industrial and wet areas thanks to its chemical-resistant, waterproof, and stain-resistant properties.