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Grout Types

Grout is not a floor tile, or paver, however, it is an  important part of the floor. Grout is usually a cement-based material  that is used to fill in the spaces between the tiles. Grout comes in  various colors. There are basically two types of cement-based grout:  sanded and un-sanded. There are several latex additives that can be  mixed with the grout, when installed, to provide stain resistance. It is recommended to seal your grout with a silicone sealer to prevent  staining.

 In addition to cement based grouts, there are epoxy  grouts. These grouts are made from plastic resins of epoxy, and are  mixed with the grout at installation. They are usually more expensive  than cement grouts, but are extremely stain resistant. Epoxy grouts are  also available in many colors. The following descriptions should help in selecting the proper grouting.

GROUT TYPES

 There are several choices when selecting grout for a  tile floor, wall or countertop. An understanding of the types available  can save headaches later. Grout, rather than tile, accounts for some of  the worst problems associated with tile. A beautiful white marble floor  is not very attractive when the white grout is black and dirty. The  following are the grout types currently available:

SANDED GROUT

 Sanded grout is the most common grout used for ceramic tile, stone, and any tile with a grout joint 1/8 inch or larger. Sanded grout is made of Portland cement, sand, and other additives. When  installed, it is mixed with water and toweled into the grout joint. It  takes approximately 24 hours for the grout to dry. Sanded grout is as  hard as concrete when fully cured, but can have several problems. Sanded grout is very absorbent.   If not sealed, will soak up stains, dirt,  and any other liquid spilled on the tile. Care should be exercised in  choosing a good sealer to prevent staining and water absorption. Many  grouts can be mixed with a latex additive upon installation that will  reduce absorbency. Sealing is still recommended.   Using sanded grout  with a polished marble installation, presents another problem.   The  sand in the grout will scratch polished marble. This is a common problem with tile contractors who are not familiar with stone installation.  Never use sanded grout on polished marble. Polished marble should be  installed with a grout width smaller than 1/8 inch.

UNSANDED OR WALL GROUT

 Un-sanded grout, commonly called wall grout, is  similar to sanded grout without the sand. Wall grout is used on ceramic  tile, and polished marble, with grout joints smaller than 1/8 inch. All  the cleaning problems associated with sanded grout apply to wall grout.  It should be sealed after installation to reduce absorbency.

LATEX MODIFIED GROUT ADDITIVES

 Several latex additives are available that can be  added to both sanded and un-sanded grouts. These additives are blends of acrylics and latex. They will lower the water absorption, increase the  strength, and improve color retention. Some grouts have dried latex  powder added at the factory, and, therefore, do not require additional  additives. Some manufacturers also add anti-fungal and mildew resistance additives.

EPOXY GROUT

 Epoxy grout is a waterless, two part grout made with  epoxy resins (part A) and a hardener (part B). These components are  mixed on site just prior to grouting. Epoxy grout, when fully cured, is  stain and mildew resistant. It is less absorbent than cement based  grouts, and is easily cleaned. Epoxy grout should be used on tile and  stone kitchen countertops, backslashes and bathrooms. Epoxy grouts are  difficult to apply, and can be quite messy during application. Be sure  to hire a contractor who is skilled with epoxy grout installations.  Epoxy grouts require no additional sealer.

FURAN GROUT

 Furan grouts are similar to epoxy, but are composed of  polymers of fortified alcohols that are highly chemical resistant. They  are rarely used for residential installation. They are used for  industrial projects such as laboratories, dairies, and meat packing  plants. Furan grout is only available in black. Special skills are  required for proper installation.

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