How to Use Epoxy Grout


My first experience with epoxy grout was a disaster. I assumed that I could use the same soft-rubber grout trowel that I’d used with portland-cement-based grouts, that I could grout at the same pace and with the same techniques, and that I could mix up and use an entire batch at once. I was wrong on all counts.

Instead of working like, well, grout, the stuff was like a sticky peanut butter, and my trowel wasn’t stiff enough to cut away excess grout after the joints were packed. The realization that this stuff was epoxy and wouldn’t easily clean off the face of the tile once it cured made me panic and concentrate all the more on getting every last bit off, which made my progress even slower. About one-quarter of the way through the job that I’d mixed an entire batch for, the epoxy began to set up. Frustrated, exhausted by the frantic pace, and blinded by sweat pouring into my eyes from the 90°F heat, I watched as three-quarters of a batch of very expensive epoxy grout solidified in the bucket.

Epoxy Grouts

But I did learn some lessons from that experience. Now I mix small batches of epoxy grout at a time, keep several buckets full of clean water and a big stiff sponge for cleaning, use a stiff rubber trowel for grouting, and have on hand a good abrasive pad or two.

After a small (10 sq. ft. or so) area of tile is packed, I’ll pull away the excess with the trowel held almost perpendicular to the tile and at about a 45° angle. I don’t worry so much about imperfect joints or excess grout at this point; I know that in a few minutes, after the grout has stiffened, I’ll be going over everything with an abrasive pad and water. The abrasive pad helps to scrub the tile clean, and water lubricates the epoxy, turning into a slurry that won’t reattach to the firmer epoxy already packed in the joints. The pad needs frequent rinsing in one water bucket, and after one area has been scrubbed I’ll clean off the excess epoxy and foam with the sponge, rinsing frequently in the other bucket of water.

Shaping the joints is done mainly with the pad, though I also try to clean them up with the sponge as I’m cleaning everything off. Using a cheap sponge is a mistake because it will start to deteriorate and leave fibers in the grout, and a flimsy one won’t bridge the joints well. After the grout has hardened, there will be a haze that can be cleaned off with mild household detergent and water and a sponge. The grout may still be slightly sticky, in which case protect it from traffic until it is fully cured.

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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