DIY Epoxy Grout: It’s Really Not That Hard

I wanted to title this post “Epoxy Grout: The Best Grout Ever Invented!” but I seeing as we just installed it I don’t have any daily bathroom observations of it yet. I have a feeling though I might have a post tiled that in the future because let me tell you this stuff is kind of amazing.

I know many of you are wondering what epoxy grout even is. It’s a two part resign based product just like regular epoxy but it has sand and coloring mixed in. It is often used in high traffic areas of commercial buildings or areas where chemicals are used. Unlike standard cementitious based grout it is waterproof, stainproof, and never needs to be sealed. Yes you heard that right never needs to be sealed! Everyone I know seals their grout when it’s first installed and remember to reseal it for about a year after that. Then “re-sealing the grout” falls off the radar and their grout slowly gets more and more stained. There are thousands of products out there that claim to make your grout look like new but if you could avoid the whole issue would you? This is especially easy to see in light colored grout.

We wanted to use a light gray grout color to match the gray veining in the tile but I didn’t want to be constantly cleaning and re-sealing the grout. The main bathroom is the most used bathroom in the house so it needed to take a beating and still look good.

The downsides of epoxy grout is that it costs a lot more than traditional grout and that it’s harder to install. It’s also not the best to use natural stone like marble, travertine, or slate because they are porous and cleaning the grout out before it dries could be a challenge. It can be done though if you seal the tiles before grouting and are very meticulous to clean off each tile. With a natural stone you should be sealing the tile every 6 months to a year anyway so you might as well save yourself some money and use a cemetitious grout. For these reasons many pro tilers don’t like to use epoxy grout others think it’s great and consider it “bulletproof.” Some think it’s a little extreme for residential applications and they are probably right but you can’t deny the positive aspects of using it. Our pro tiler friend immediately tried to talk us out of using it. It was too late to change our minds though we had already bought it and I had extensively researched it before deciding to use it. He wasn’t going to be the one to have to seal it for the next 50 years or live with stained grout or even be the one installing it. We felt confident in our decision and stuck to our guns. Knowing this is our “forever” home made that decision a lot easier. A little extra upfront cost would save us a lot of maintenance and hassle in the long run. If you know me I over engineer everything and we don’t ever plan to redo this bathroom again so the tile and grout are here to stay.

After extensively researching how to install it and preparing for the worst we were pleasantly surprised to find it really wasn’t that hard after all! I swear. This is our first tiling job ever so you don’t get any more green than us and we didn’t have any issues with it. We did however mix it up in small batches and carve out a large chunk of time to install and clean it off the tiles before the grout dried. I can see why pros don’t like to use it because it takes more time to install and they can’t just put it in and clean it off right away. Leaving the job site to come back the next day to clean off the last bits of grout off the tile isn’t an option either. There are ways to clean dried epoxy grout off the tiles but you really want to avoid them if possible by meticulously cleaning off the tile before the grout dries. If anything epoxy grout is better suited to DIY because you’ll be home and able to spend as much time as needed to clean it all off.

We went with Laticrete’s SpectraLOCK Pro Premium epoxy grout in Silver Shadow. From what I’ve read the CEG Lite epoxy grout found at Home Depot doesn’t preform near as well. Laticrete’s product has been around for longer, better customer service, have a lifetime warranty, and are highly recommended by the professionals. So we drove over 2 hours away to pick up the grout in mini units from Lowe’s (they only sell mini units). At the time I couldn’t find anyone else who would sell to a non-contractor in our area but since buying this a new tile store has opened up and they are willing to work with us. Note Laticrete’s “Where to Buy” function on their website only gives you a list of distributors which is less than helpful. Maybe someday they will expand that.

For added assurance that all of these little batches would match in color we tried to get all of the Part C cartons from the same batch (pink underline). But they didn’t have enough from any one batch so we had to get one from a different batch and from what I’ve read their color matching between batches is near perfect.

Flannel Man had done all of the tile cutting so I said I would do the epoxy grout but he ended up helping anyway.

 

 

Step-by-Step Epoxy Grout Installation

1) Have everything ready. Clean thinset out between the tile joints. Find all of your grout floats (you’ll want to use the hard rubber ones that say they are for epoxy grout). At minimum you’ll want one large float and one margin float (aka. the smaller ones). Have sponges and buckets of water handy along with paper towel for any spills.

 

2) Mix parts A & B like the instructions say making sure to get out every last drip out of the bags.

Then mix in the sand/coloring mixture. Mix this in slowly and save 10% of it until you see what the texture is going to be like. Add more as desired.

With cementitious grout you use sanded grout for wider grout joints and unsanded for thinner grout joints. The sand used in Laticrete’s epoxy grout is very fine and can be used in any grout line but for thin grout lines they say you can leave up to 10% of the sand/color mixture out. We found that we preferred the slightly smoother finish it had when we left 10% out and used that even with our 1/8″ grout joints.

 

3) Now spread the grout out right away. You have a total of 80 minutes before the grout dries starting from when you mix it. Half way through it will be very stiff to work with though. With bigger full or commercial units you can either separate the parts individually before mixing or mix the full unit and put half of it in the freezer for an extended working time. For a first time user buying individually divided Mini units sounded like the safest option.

Because we were using large format tile we tried using a grout bag to keep clean up only to the edges of the tile. There was no need to drag the grout across an 18×18″ tile. It worked OK but it was an extra step and the epoxy grout is hard to squeeze out of the end. Plus we went though a lot of bags with all of the separate batches.

Spread the grout diagonally across the grout joints like you would do with any grout only make sure to use the hard rubber grout floats made for epoxy grout.

The grout is thick and takes a bit of power to force into all of the small cracks. You want to make sure everything is sufficiently packed full and don’t worry about a little of it being on the tile. You want all of the grout joints to be nice and full if not overflowing so as you clean the sponges don’t take too much off of the joint. Stop grouting before you use the whole batch. Use the last extra bit to go around and check that there are no low spots before or after cleaning. We were too careful about making everything look perfect in our first batch and had to go through and to some of the grout joints after our first cleaning.

 

4) The first cleaning should be done within 1 hour of mixing the grout. Use a vinegar/water mixture of 1/2 cup of vinegar in 2 gallons of water. Fill low spots as needed.

 

5) One hour after the first cleaning do your final inspection and wash. Mix up another vinegar/water mixture and a new sponge. We used a sponge with a terry cloth on one side. It gave everything a nice clean finish.

 

6) Repeat steps 2-5 as needed. After the final inspection we felt confident with the process and mixed up two mini batches at once to finish off the room. I carefully applied it before the first batch was completely dry. The thought was that they would blend more seamlessly that way. It worked OK but I’m not sure you would ever be able to make out a small seam if there was one since the end of the batch wouldn’t be perfectly straight or flat.

For this batch I kept everything a little messier and it worked out better.

 

The next day everything was dry and ready to go.

Overall I loved the look but the slightly warm undertone of the Silver Shadow do bug me a little next to the very cool toned tile. I am very picky about my colors though. I was trying to match the gray veining of the tile and this was the closest color Lowe’s had. I had read that all white epoxy grouts tend to dry with a yellow tone because of the amber matrix.


You can see a few flecks of sand to give you an idea of the fine texture.

 

This bathroom has come so far from the 70′s harvest gold disaster it once was!

The room looks huge with the wide angle and without the cabinets in it yet. It was a lot of extra work, time, and materials to tile under the vanity but someday if we ever want to change it out we’ll be happy we did it.

Pretty white tile!

We grouted all the way around the sink supply and drain lines.

Same with the toilet ring and supply line.

 

But wait! It was at this point we realized something didn’t look quite right. Can you see it?

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Yes we messed up our quarter turn tile pattern on one tile. Of course it has to be right out in the open area that won’t be covered up by cabinets or hidden in the linen closet. Dang it! *smacks head into wall* Too late to change it now so let’s hope people won’t notice it.

 

All Sophie wants to know is “Are you done in here yet?!”

No, sorry we’re not done yet but we’ve picked up the pace and are making good progress. Stay tuned for some big changes happening soon!

17 Responses to “DIY Epoxy Grout: It’s Really Not That Hard”


  1. 1 Paula March 2, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Wow, it looks so great! I have this tile ready to be installed and I was worried about the repeat pattern. But the way you have the thin grout lines and your one turn pattern really looks amazing!!
    I think you just eyeballed your grout lines, would you say they are 1/16?
    I would love to use the epoxy grout, but don’t know if my tile guy has used it before.
    I was going to do a brick pattern on the floor, do you think that will look ok with your one turn pattern?
    Thanks so much for posting this, I love the silver shadow with the tile. I have it in my shower and it does not look yellow at all, so it must be the epoxy formula. It is an ice blue grey.

    Do you like the tile? How do you think it will be with dirt? The only thing that worries me is my long dark hair and white tile, but swifter is my friend.
    My other love is marble 1″ hex which I am still on the fence if I should use it. But with 2 kids and my husband and I using this bath I think the AO is the way to go.

    • 2 Robin March 2, 2012 at 8:53 am

      I’m glad this was helpful Paula! Like I said we eyeballed all of the grout lines to be about 1/8″ checking with a spacer here and there. For the 12×12 tiles on the shower wall we’re going to try 1/16″. The 1/8″ was more proportional with the larger tile.

      A running bond pattern (ie brick pattern) should work just fine. But remember if you have anything bigger than the 12×12 and you’re using it on the floor you’ll want to do a 1/3 offset not a 1/2 (so each row of tile would be over 1/3 the length of the tile) to avoid lippage.

      I looked back through the links and epoxy grout info I had saved after your last comment and found the yellower/warmer grout color mentioned. It makes sense and if you read back through older epoxy grout material the whiteness of the grout has improved. When the Bright White came on the market claiming to be the whitest yet it was a big deal. I think if the grout had been a shade or two darker we wouldn’t have seen the warming color come through at all.

      I love the tile and it’s proving to be very durable. We’ve been finishing the drywall, priming, and painting. FM has managed to get drywall mud all over the floor despite it being covered and then yesterday he missed the rung of a later and spilled a full paint tray of blue paint all over the tub, floor, and himself. It wiped up beautifully off the tub, tile, and grout. His clothes and the drop clothes not so much.

      I love hex tile too and was considering using it for this bathroom but ultimately found other accent tile we liked better. AO makes the 1×1 mosaic which is the closest look to hex they have. Otherwise you can go with white porcelain hex which gives you a little different look but is more durable than marble hex.

      Good luck! Are you going to post your after pictures on the GardenWeb? I’d love to see them.

  2. 3 merylr0se March 2, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I am SO HAPPY you used this grout and wrote this post. Chris just mentioned the other day that he thinks we should use it in the back bathroom (whenever we get to it…), so I’m very excited to find out that it’s not super difficult and you guys liked working with it. Good to know about using white also (which is what I would probably pick to go with our tiles), maybe I’ll have to rethink that.

  3. 5 chris March 2, 2012 at 11:20 am

    did you consider going with quartzlock2, which is a urethane grout? it doesn’t yellow, you don’t have to worry about mixing (so the color is always uniform) and it flexes a little bit (unlike epoxy which is brittle). they’re both better than cementitious grout for strength and staining, but sometimes it’s hard to find one or the other.
    anyway, it looks really good and i don’t think anyone will ever notice the non-rotated tile.

    • 6 Robin March 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      You know I only read briefly about urethane grout. There seemed to be even less written about that than epoxy grout. I called around to all the tile stores in my area and wasn’t able to find any source for non-cementitious grout at the time. So buying from a big box store on our mini-road trip to pick up the tile seemed like a good solution. Plus epoxy grout is more tried and true so it’s long term durability is known.

      I’d love to hear about your thoughts on urethane grout if you do end up using it. The master bathroom has windows so I need to research if epoxy grout yellows over time when exposed to sunlight. I think we’ll be using a darker grout color for the floor of that bathroom though.

  4. 7 Sara @ Russet Street Reno March 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    And the bonus is that you have so much more tile surface than grout, so even less area to get dirty. We used epoxy paint on some tiles in our downstairs bath, and the white paint has yellowed considerably. That’s rather annoying….but at least it’s not flaking off or going anywhere. Looks great, and I don’t think anyone will ever notice the unturned tile!

  5. 8 Carrie @ Hazardous Design March 4, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Interesting…I didn’t know such a product existed. The upfront cost and installation hassles seem like a small price to pay for the years of maintenance-free bliss that you’ll gain from it. The tile is looking great guys!

  6. 9 Sarah @ { rad: renovations are dirty } March 7, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Great post! I’ve never even heard of this type of grout before. The maintenance-free aspect of it would be amazing… my husband and I haven’t tackled any tiling projects (yet) but I’m definitely going to keep this in mind.

  7. 10 T Andrew August 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Nice job! I used epoxy grout, and I did use CEG in brite white, and I am very happy with the results. I was regrouting after we had our odd sized cast iron tub refinished for the second time in 12 years. We had so leakage problems from this tub to the downstairs area. Epoxy grout was not around when I grouted the first time. This was my first time using the stuff, and I will never go back cement grout again. This stuff is sealed! I know about epoxy, and I was cleaning as I went along. It helps to keep the grout cool as long as possible. BTW, the CEG brite white had a cooler greyish tint to it.

  8. 11 Jamie October 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Did you freak when you realized the toilet flange was installed wrong(couldn’t bolt it down?) otherwise great job and good article,, I will use the epoxy.,..thanks

  9. 12 projekte January 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Respect to author, some great selective information.

  10. 13 Ben March 25, 2013 at 10:32 am

    It has been over a year now, are you still happy with your decision to use SpectraLock Epoxy? My wife and I renovated our foyer, hallway and kitchen, almost 500 square feet, with porcelain tile and are thinking of using Spectralock Pro Premium in expresso color.

    • 14 Robin March 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      We love the epoxy grout so much that we used it for the entire master bathroom. Part of it in the bright white color. No staining, no sealing, no porous grout…it’s great. We’ve decided to use it throughout the entire house!

  11. 15 Josh April 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Nice job, I am considering using that grout for my bathroom. You probably should have used caulk around the toilet flange and supply pipes, since they are pipes they can move independently of the floor and possibly crack something (hopefully the grout not the tile). But of course this is one of those precautionary things, and may not matter, especially since that area of the floor will be under the vanity and toilet.

  12. 16 Teamster April 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Great job ! I used the Mapei Epoxy Grout from Menards on the floor in my basement man cave bathroom & it was easy to use. Spill a drink on the floor or the dog or a guest takes a pi#~ on it and it cleans right up.I am also using it for my “honey do ” list; Master bathroom renovation . So much better than conventional grout I used in the basement super size shower. No sealing to deal with. I will only use epoxy now. So do you now get a ” honey do ” list too ? Welcome to married life” . Yes dear. Yes dear, Ok dear. what ever you say dear……:)


  1. 1 Mudding, Priming, & Painting « 3 acres & 3000 square feet Trackback on March 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

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This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
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