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Epoxy Grout Problems: A Complete Guide

Epoxy Grout Problems: A Complete Guide

While epoxy groat is considered to be very durable and moisture resistant, some key epoxy grout problems related to epoxy grout may make you opt for an alternative. Namely, epoxy grout tends to be more expensive and is difficult to work with.

It is especially difficult to remove if it is not done right, and epoxy grout can stain unglazed tile or limestone if the tiles are not first sanded and properly prepared for epoxy grouting.

What Is Epoxy Grout?

Epoxy grout is a specific type of grout. It is a type of resin used to seal and protect concrete and other surfaces as well as tiles.

It is water-resistant, stain-resistant, and resists a wide array of chemicals that often cause damage to other types of grout. Epoxy grout can be used to fill in open seams between tiles or other materials and Epoxy on its own is also used as a type of flooring in some cases as well.

Epoxy grout consists of two parts which include:

  1. one part resin or silica fibers
  2. one part hardener or epoxy additives for strength

These two parts make epoxy grout able to stand up to harsh conditions with strength and overall great performance. Homeowners love that it is durable and suitable for indoor and outdoor projects.

Many choose epoxy grout because of the following:

  • Epoxy grout doesn’t fracture or shrink as traditional grout does, so it can be used in shower tiles. It may even prevent the tiles from breaking or chipping in the wall.
  • This durable epoxy grout comes in both sanded and un-sanded options.
  • Epoxy grout comes in a variety of colors and textures.
  • Many choose to use epoxy grout because it has the capability of locking tiles tight to protect the subfloor from moisture, cracking, and chipping as it acts as a strong bond between the tiles.
  • Epoxy grout does not need to be sealed since it is nonporous. It is ideal to use in water-prone areas without worrying about moisture or mold building up.

Epoxy grout works best on kitchen floors or to be used in tile backsplashes along the wall behind a sink or stove. Epoxy is a great choice for kitchen projects since it is not only resistant to moisture but also to stains that come from coffee or other acidic liquids.

Additionally, since the grout is chemical resistant, any soap or detergent chemicals will not damage the grout. It also works great with pebble floors, porcelain tile, shower walls, and bathroom tiles.

But, is it worth it to choose epoxy grout over traditional grout?

With all of the benefits that draw homeowners to use epoxy grout, there are some downsides to consider before deciding on using it for your next project. For starters, t requires a lot of know-how and quick labor-intensive work to use epoxy grout.

While this kind of grout resists stains, It has a tendency to stain some surfaces like unglazed tiles or limestone.

Main Issues Associated With Epoxy Grout

The main issue associated with epoxy grout is that is difficult to work with, primarily because it dries so quickly that you have to know what you are doing and work fast before it sets up. It is also quite expensive compared to other options.

When working with epoxy grout, it’s important to remember to work fast and never apply too much. The more epoxy grout you use, the more difficult it will be to apply it properly before it becomes a mess.

Some additional issues include:

  • Sticky to work with
  • More difficult to set in the grout lines than traditional grout
  • Dries so rapidly that it leaves tiny holes behind, caused by trapped air bubbles that rise to the surface and break after it has been applied
  • The chemicals in the epoxy grout can discolor porous tiles
  • The fast-drying nature of epoxy grout also can cause it to not seal well
  • Hard to work with since it dries so fast, installers have to work fast
  • The clean-up process is very demanding since the epoxy grout dries so fast that if messes are not immediately cleaned, it may create hard-to-remove stains
  • It has somewhat of a plastic appearance and causes a glossy shine when it dries on tiles
  • Not only does epoxy cost as much as four times more than cement-based grout, but installers will charge more in terms of time for installation and time needed to clean up the excess epoxy grout

Epoxy grout is stain resistant but if you are using white epoxy grout, exposure to some things will cause it to discolor.

For instance:

  • Chemicals that are used near the grout and are found in toiletries, shampoos, soaps, hair dyes can cause discoloring.
  • Also, polymers that are in sealers or waxes will discolor over time causing yellowing.
  • Another staining consideration when using epoxy grout is that some tiles contain iron, like white marble, which bleeds into the grout and oxidizes over time.
  • Dirty mops or water may cause discoloration.
  • Also, cigarette smoke settles onto the grout lines. Keep in mind that this discoloration is not permanent and can be cleaned up or repaired using vinegar epoxy grout remover, bleach, homemade alkaline grout joint cleaner, or it can be steam cleaned.

Is Epoxy Grout Worth It?

Epoxy grout is usually used for conditions that are too harsh for other grouts or sealants to withstand since it is considered to be very durable and resists moisture well. If you have a professional apply it, or you know how to work with it, generally speaking, epoxy grout is worth the cost.

Once it is applied, there is very little maintenance needed to keep it looking great and standing up to years of use.

Traditional grout needs to be reapplied every couple of years, but epoxy grout lasts longer. Epoxy grout could last for several years before it needs to be replaced.

Since epoxy grout is non-porous, it is very durable and performs excellently in harsh conditions protecting from moisture.

However, there are some conditions where alternatives would be a better option.

Alternatives To Epoxy Grout

Since epoxy grout is costly and tends to be difficult to work with, consider some alternatives to epoxy grout, such as:

Acrylic Grout

Acrylic grout – Acrylic grout is a single component grout made from acrylic resin, urethane, or an acrylic-silicone resin. It is sometimes called urethane grout.

This single component grout is very similar to epoxy grout but has its differences. It is resistant to chemicals, moistures, mold and mildew, is stain-resistant, durable, and does not need to be sealed. After it is applied, there is no need to add extra layers, and it seals itself. Find it in a pre-mixed form. It works great with glass tiles.

The cost to use acrylic grout usually fits smaller budgets well. This option is still considered durable with very little maintenance needed and is chemical, moisture, and stain-resistant.

Many choose acrylic over epoxy because it is easier to use and less expensive.

Some other alternatives to epoxy grout include:

  • Latex additives can be added to cement-based grout powders to form a solid fastener with tiles and other materials inside or outside.
  • Caulk can be used anywhere two materials, like tiles, need to meet. It is easy to apply and is waterproof once it seals and comes in a wide range of colors.
  • A silicone sealant is durable and makes an excellent alternative to epoxy grout

Final Thoughts

Epoxy grout is very durable and protects against moisture, which in turn will protect against mold and mildew. It also is chemical resistant and is very inexpensive to maintain. However, epoxy grout has plenty of drawbacks to consider.

Mainly, epoxy grout is expensive to use and difficult to work with. Before rushing out and hiring a professional to apply it for your project, consider an alternative acrylic epoxy which will definitely fit better into any budget and may serve you well overall.

If you do decide to gown with the epoxy grout option, be prepared for a messy installation process that requires some know-how.