A Fearless Approach to Epoxy Grout
When durability is paramount, epoxy can't be beat, and with careful prep work, it's not as fussy as you think.
Synopsis: Epoxy grout has a reputation for being difficult to work with. With veteran tilesetter Tom Meehan’s expert advice, you’ll be able to master the epoxy learning curve easily. Meehan advises purchasing a kit, which includes most of the materials you need for a smooth installation. If you go a la carte, be sure to have a clean bucket, a new float, grouting gloves, mixing tools (a margin trowel and a drill-powered mixer), non-terrycloth rags, and a new sponge. Start the project by prepping properly; clean grout joints and sealed tile are a necessity. After mixing the grout, you have about 80 minutes of working time. Be efficient as you scoop, spread, and scrape the epoxy into the joints. Wash the tile surface gently by thoroughly after about 20 minutes, then wash again. Finally, buff the floor with a cotton rag, taking care to remove all sticky residue.
For the past 25 years, tile setters have been relying on epoxy grout as their ace in the hole for grouting stain-prone areas such as countertops, showers, and high-traffic bathroom floors. The early forms of epoxy grout quickly earned the material a reputation for being difficult and messy. I can attest to that fact, too. Epoxy grout used to be tricky to mix and difficult to spread, and the smell always left me feeling sick by day’s end. Unless the mixture was perfect, the temperature was fixed, and the moon was in alignment with Saturn and Pluto, the goopy grout would sag in wall joints and settle below the edges of floor tiles. The cleanup, which was unforgiving in every sense of the word, often concluded with my work clothes being tossed in the garbage. If you can approach the material with an open mind, though, I think you will find that…