Grout Admix Pro/Con and wood threshold [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-20-2004, 10:22 PM
I have spent hours reading the various posts and learned a lot. I have a question I haven't been able to answer completely.

One moderator recommended novices not add liquid latex but didn't say why.

What I think I know about liquid latex ...
Pro: increased flexibility... a very good thing.
Con: reduced working time, tougher to clean off tiles, cost

The flexibility is important to me because I know I am concerned about floor flex

Currently, I have TEC Accucolor sanded grout with polymer. The directions recommend a liquid latex additive for increased flexibility. I also have UGL Drylok Latex Additive.

1) What are the pros and cons of using a latex additive in lieu of water in a grout that already has some polymers?

2) Is half water/half latex a decent compromise?

3) How thick/thin should the grout be? If I err (which I will certainly do), should it be on the dry or wet side?

4) Finally, I still have to make my threshold between raised tile and dining room oak floor. Can I put in a temp piece of wood, do the grout, and put in the permenant threshold later after I get time to make it?

Thank you.

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07-20-2004, 10:34 PM
#1- Adding a latex to a polmer grout is not a good idea unless it is specificly reccomended by the manufacturer for the particular product you have.
If you are concerned about flex,use epoxy grout.Latex doesnt add enough flex to make it worth your while.It adds bite and enhances color.

#2-read above

#3-Dry side is tough to work,
Wet side leaves airbubbles and shrinkage.
Get it right!! Mix let stand 5-10 minutes and remix(this is called slaking)

#4-You can make a tempoary wood piece and butt it tight to the tile.Do not grout between tile and wood.Use a matching Sanded caulk.
Hope this helps :)

07-21-2004, 06:16 AM
Thanks for the info. I certainly work to "get it right" when mixing my thinset and grout. However, reading the manufacturer's directions, including slaking, and knowing what a "creamy" consistency is, not too dry or too wet, is where hands on experience is needed.

1) Any further advice on how to know it is the proper consistency?

2) Do thinsets and grouts thicken or remain after the remix after slaking?

3) The TEC Accucolor sanded grout with polymer does recommend a liquid latex additive for increased flexibility, then specifies one of TEC's own products. Do I need to use the TEC product or does any (I have UGL Drylok Latex Additive) liquid latex work?

Thanks to all the pros on this sight helping us DIYers get it done!

John Bridge
07-21-2004, 05:47 PM
Howdy, W. Please give us a first name. :)

"Buttery" is another term. I suggest you try the recipe on the back of the package -- the exact proportions recommeded. Make a very small batch and try to work with it. If you have trouble working it into the joints, add a few drops of water. It's pretty tough to describe. You're going to have to wing it. :)

I would not add the additive to the modified grout. It's not needed, and the amount of elasticity gained is not going to make or break your installation.

07-21-2004, 05:56 PM
Hi W, I like grout and thinset a little thicker that pancake batter and a little thinner than peanut butter.

I agree with John but if you are going to use a additive, use the same brand as the grout.

07-21-2004, 07:45 PM
My name is Will. I didn't notice it wasn't in the posts. I thought when I set up my profile it was going to sign my posts automatically.

For my first batch, I measured the dry grout and latex carefully. It seemed "creamy" at first but dried quickly. I was using the UGL Drylock liquid latex. The grout seemed "creamy" at first but dried quickly. However, it was probably closer to peanut butter than pancake mix at first.

I hesitated to use the liquid latex but wanted the added flexibility that the TEC grout directions said would result from replacing the water with liquid latex.

I used the spaces under the appliances for my practice and testing. I followed the directions and tips I learned here. I worked it in good. I waited about 30 minutes then went back and cleaned the tiles with water/sponge per the directions. It looks fairly good.

Based on these two replies, and one I read a few days ago suggesting newbees don't use admix (I didn't listen the first time), I will only use water for the rest. I will have to cut out about 6 inches of grout that extend out from where under the range first.

1) Does the latex reduce the pot time? Is this a general rule or depend on the brand of grout and admix?

2) How long should it take me to do about 90 square feet of 12 inch tile with 1/4 inch grout lines? I am slow and methodical, and this is my first floor.

3) If the first batch of grout went in too dry, is it doomed to failure?

4) The first reply to my original post indicated I shouldn't grout up against the wood threshold between tile kitchen floor and 1/2 inch lower oak dining room floor. Recommended a color matched sanded caulk. Is this a moderator concensus, and is this also true around the walls/along the cabinets? (cabinets went on hardibacker board. Tiles run to cabinets).

Thank you.

John Bridge
07-22-2004, 05:52 AM
Hi Will, :)

Another suggestion. Waiting 30 minutes to begin washing is too long. Depending on the tile we sometimes start washing five minutes after spreading. Sometimes ten minutes but never thirty minutes.

I still would not add latex to an already modified grout. I don't know whether it would set the grout up faster, but I do know it will make it much harder to clean. And the increase in flexibility is not that significant in what you are doing.

Grouting is learned by doing, and it's very difficult for someone to explain it to a first-timer. You're on the right track, though. ;)

Caulking against wood is an industry standard that nobody argues about. We argue about everything else, though. :D

07-22-2004, 06:01 AM
Gee John, ya make us all sound like a bunch of argumentative headstong crotchity old crabs.

We debate John,Not argue :D

07-22-2004, 06:45 AM
i just finished a 80sq/ft floor with 12" tile and 3/8" grout lines. I mixed the whole 25lb bag with the recommened amout of sealer addative and spread the whole floor in about 15 - 20 minutes. Immediately after i was done spreading i began to wipe the tile clean. I used the first wipe off to smooth the grout in the joints and remove access grout. The first wipe took about three 5 gallon buckets of water. I used about 4 wipe sessions total....the first was immediate, the last three were at 10 -15 min intervals. I also used a floor fan to help the grout dry.

07-22-2004, 08:33 PM
Like so much in life, getting answers generates more questions...

1) So, adding liquid latex for flexibility doesn't provide much benefit... but isn't a little benefit worth it if it prevents cracking from some small flex in the floor? Is the difficult part cleaning the tiles with the additive?

2) Second, I know, but don't have time to go find, that I have read on this site 30 minutes setting before starting clean up. Also, the advice often says to ''Follow manufacturer's directions". The TEC bag says 30-60 minutes before clean-up. Hmmm....

3) Concur with caulking between wood and tile, remember now reading that hear, but forgot it as I grouted under my appliances. So, do I need to cut/grind out the grout between tile and walls/cabinets underneath where the appliances are? I suspect caulk is used instead of grout to allow the cabinets to expand/contract without putting pressure on the tile floor.

4) Finally, the thinset bag says no "traffic" on the tiles until the grout is in. I won't get the grout done until Saturday. Can we walk on the tiles "gently" a few times a day?

Thanks. All home improvement is learn by doing. I was lucky enough to be raised renovating homes with my Dad - I call him a lot - and spending some summers framing houses and condos. So, while I can afford to contract everything out, I like to do the work, save the money, and not have to worry about bad contractors. Tiling, and the prep that lead up to it, are new to me, however.

This site is a lifesaver. Thanks.

07-23-2004, 06:46 PM
Hi Will,

1. If you have significant movement in the floor, the additive in the grout won't help enough to avoid problems.

2.There are a number of things that effect the amount of time it takes grout to dry enough to wash. The temperature, humidity, air movement, tile type, grout type, etc. I have probably waited 45 minutes to an hour a time or two but it was in cold weather with a tile that wouldn't pull much moisture. Normally it's 20 minutes or less.

3. Taking out the grout at the cabinets is up to you, it would be better if you did.

4.You should be fine to walk on the tiles now.

07-23-2004, 08:45 PM
John Bridge posted above:
"If you have trouble working it into the joints, add a few drops of water."

The directions on grout and thinset say don't add water after the initial mix. I like the idea of adding a touch of water to make the grout easier to work with, but it seems contrary to the manufacturer's directions. Many posts on this sight say "follow the manufacturer's directions."

If I don't remove the grout between the tiles and cabinets under the space where the appliances go, what may happen? Cracking grout? broken tile? damaged cabinet? something else? I would hate to do more damage to the cabinets removing the grout than the grout will do to the cabinets!

I will probably be done tomorrow! Thanks for all the tips.