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Old 07-23-2010, 10:34 PM   #1
BenHeadrick
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Grout Suggestions

Alright, I've successfully tiled and grouted 2 bathrooms, and I'm about to start tiling the kitchen. I used Custom Polyblend grout in the bathrooms, which is all the grout I've ever used. For some reason I've had terrible luck with the grout lightening and having efflorescence. I've even tried distilled water, and my sponge during cleanup is barely even damp, but still the same results. Even if a spot does dry with good color, as soon as I rub it with my finger, the results are white powder. I talked to technical support at Custom, and as I expected, he suggested the acid cleaner in the tile section. I've read all the negative things about acid and grout on here, but it seems to work. My bathrooms both had a tan tile with quartz grout. My kitchen, however, is a much larger room and it will be a dark gray tile with a charcoal grout. It's going to be more obvious if the grout has efflorescence. I'd rather not have to do the acid treatment again. I'd really like to try another brand of grout and see if the Custom stuff is just cheap. Like I said, Custom grout is all i've ever used. I am looking at either laticrete 1500 or mapei ultracolor. I'm usually pretty handy, but this grout issue is frustrating the poop out of me. What can I do to make it more beginner friendly?
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:50 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Hi Ben.

I'll get right to it: Use Laticrete Permacolor and you'll get exactly the grout color they advertise. It's just about all I use if I'm using a sanded cementitious grout these days. It's the cat's pajamas because the color you expect is the color you get...every time.

Mix per directions (including letting it slake and re-mixing) and you won't be frustrated.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:13 PM   #3
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Or go epoxy. Spectralock (also Laticrete) can't be beat for color consistency, and it would be great for a kitchen. Downside is it's pretty spendy.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:45 PM   #4
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Ultracolor will be a good match to the samples and it's also a high strength cement grout. Problem for DIYers is it's a rapid setting grout and very unforgiving, so if you go with it mix VERY small batches and work FAST!!!

You'd be better off going with Permacolor or SpectraLock, as mentioned.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:11 AM   #5
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Just wondering if your house is on a slab. I've never been a big fan of poly-blend (custom) grouts. I like the Spectra-Lok advise...pretty much guarantees you won't have a problem...especially if you're working with black.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:26 AM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions guys. So is it a general consensus that my problems are result of a cheap grout?

I'm trying to boycott lowe's, and when I do go , I go to the one across town. They carry both mapei and laticrete lines, but they're only the low end products, except for spectralock mini units. I think I found a laticrete dealer that carries the full line of laticrete products near my workplace. I may email them and see if they have the permacolor grout. I'm interested in the spectralock but I think I'm leaning toward permacolor.

Quote:
Just wondering if your house is on a slab
No, the house isn't on a slab. It has a full basement.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:47 AM   #7
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Hi Ben,

I had the same problem with dark polyblend, so I went to regular Laticrete grout and had no problems.

I just attended a demo a few days ago given by our local Laticrete rep on both Permacolor and Spectralock. Now I'm anxious to use the Spectralock on my current project, which is ready for grout. If I had a job where I didn't want to spend the $$ on SpectraLock I would likely try the Permacolor. But the prospect of never sealing the grout makes SpectraLock pretty attractive despite the money.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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After years of Issues we switched to Laticrete Permacolor and have yet to have a single issue. Spectralok is a great solution too but it will be expensive compared to PermaColor.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:28 PM   #9
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I believe you all have convinced me to use a laticrete product. I think I'm leaning toward the permacolor. Maybe I'll try the spectralock on my tub surround. I'll need a good grout in there. Is it pretty user friendly without gravity on your side? The mixtures in the videos seem pretty runny. Looks like I've got some unwanted extra time to research grout. My kitchen tile got pushed back a few days. Turns out the fridge that I bought and paid for wont fit in the nook. I had to tear out a sheet of drywall, rip the studs down 3/4 of an inch, and put 1/4 inch drywall back up. BLAH!!!
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:12 PM   #10
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I must not be doing something right. It shouldn't be this hard to purchase something. How do I go about finding someone who sells laticrete products to the public? Bob, (bbcamp) do you know of anyone in the knoxville area that can help me?
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:55 PM   #11
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Ben, I'd first try the store locator on the Laticrete site.

If that doesn't help, use the Contact Us link to get a number to call. They will find you a way to get product. Tell'em you know Henry.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:31 PM   #12
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Thanks to Henry for seeing this and contacting me, and having Michael call me. I didn't have any luck finding permacolor here locally. I tried to convince the wife to let me fork out the $$ for spectralock, but that got vetoed. I'm sure I would get out of hand if she wasn't pulling back on the reigns. I found a good price for permacolor online, the kicker is the fact that it's expensive to ship a 25lb bag of cement. It's looking like it'll be around $60 shipped. I guess this is the route I'm going to take. I hope it truly is a MUCH better product than the custom polyblend that I tried before. I'm just waiting on my grout chart so that I'm certain on the color that I order. If I love this grout as much as I hope I'm going to, I hope that it's easier to get a hold of for my next tile project.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:37 PM   #13
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So long as you mix per directions, you aren't going to have any surprises in color.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:17 PM   #14
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I set the tile today in my kitchen and thought I'd toss up a picture. It was taken with a cell phone, so it doesn't do it justice. I'm really happy with it. Still haven't picked up any grout, though...
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