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Old 11-04-2014, 07:56 PM   #1
GeorgeG
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Grout proportions

I am making my own grout from portland cement, fine masons sand and natural earth pigments for a healthy home project. The floor tiles are 18x18 porcelain with 3/32" grout lines and the shower walls are 12x12 porcelain with 1/8" grout joints. I have read suggestions of sand proportions ranging from all portland (very small grout lines) to 3:1 sand/cement.

What ratio do you suggest? Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2014, 08:30 PM   #2
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3 to 1 will work, I like making it about 2 3/4 to 1 to add a little more strength. That's what we use to make our Saltillo and brick paver grout.

For porcelain I would use bagged grout from Customs or Laticrete. I believe the color will be more uniform than mixing from scratch.
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:57 AM   #3
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Sand is cheaper than cement so I am sure that most of the grout manufacturers use as much sand as possible. If the sand content goes down from 3:1 to 2:1 or 1:1 are there any downsides besides cost like dusting from foot traffic or workability problems?

Looking at the tech sheets from TEC, Mapei and Jamo it looks like bagged grout is probably closer to 2:1.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:23 AM   #4
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George, for site-mixed Portland cement grouts, the ANSI standards call for different ratios of fine sand and Portland cement depending upon the grout joint width. For your 3/32nds-inch joints, the ratio would be 1:1. That ranges up to a cement to sand ratio of 1:3 for joints wider than 1/2-inch.

When we did a lot of Saltillo tile in years past, our standard mix was the same 3:1 sand/cement mix with a bit of cement coloring. We'd have very wide joints and it worked very well.

If you make such grout on your own, you'll definitely want to damp cure the grout after installation. Also an ANSI requirement.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:11 AM   #5
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CX

Where can I find a chart or list of sand percent for a given joint width?

Thanks,
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:48 AM   #6
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Ansi a108.10-3.5.1.
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Old 11-05-2014, 03:04 PM   #7
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CX,
I gots a qwarstion fer ya. Do you just pull all these ANSI specs outta your arse, or does ya have to look em up?
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Old 11-05-2014, 04:30 PM   #8
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When I post chapter and verse, if I've slept since the last time I posted it you can bet I just looked it up again.

If it's just a product category, that frequently comes off the top of my head.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:12 PM   #9
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Anybody have this chart handy?

Thanks,
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:44 PM   #10
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There is no chart, George, only a brief paragraph that says for joints up to 1/8th" you use Portland cement and fine graded sand at 1:1, up to 1/2" you use 1:2, and over 1/2" you use 1:3. And you can use as much as 1/5th part lime if you wanna.

That's it.
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:24 PM   #11
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Do you guys just spray for damp cure or use wet paper or plastic? How long before final clean up?

thanks,
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:36 PM   #12
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CX

Thanks.

A slight correction and an update.

The grout joint size for my 18 x 18 porcelain floor tiles is 1/8 - 5/32". There I am going to use 2:1. The 12 x 12 wall tiles have a grout width of 3/32 - 1/8". There I am going to use 1:1.

I will post an update when we are done.

BTW, I am using non-toxic natural earth pigments from Earth Pigment Company. Really nice people and I was able to get the perfect shade of grout for our tiles. It looks very classy.
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Old 11-07-2014, 07:07 PM   #13
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George, you might want to make a sample of your tiles grouted with the mix you mentioned. Covering with plastic will slow down the drying time but might have an impact on the color and shade. I'm sure you will measure everything thing out carefully, even the water, so each batch is exactly the same.
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:51 AM   #14
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Yes careful measuring for sure. had not thought about covering the grout (slowing things down) affecting the shade.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:54 PM   #15
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I have grouted many tile cutoffs to look at sand ratio and target color. I realize that my samples are only a few days old and cement takes 28 days to essentially finish curing but I am surprised at how easy it is to scratch the grout out of the lines after a couple of days. The higher cement percentage grout does seem a little harder but thinset that has dried is much harder after just one day.

Any comments?

Also, does slowing down the curing with plastic or paper darken or lighten the shade?

Thanks
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