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Unread 10-20-2019, 08:35 AM   #1
CountryBoy19
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Is there an epoxy grout that won't scratch aluminum mosaic?

New kitchen backsplash. My wife wants white grout in a glass/aluminum mosaic. I was told I can't use epoxy grout because they will scratch the aluminum. But I can't be the first person to desire the stain resistance of epoxy grouts on a backsplash that will obviously be splashed with water near the sink and foods near the cooktop.

Is there such an animal? Is it relatively easy to apply and clean (I realize epoxies are tougher to do)?
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Unread 10-20-2019, 09:13 AM   #2
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Matt, I recently used an epoxy grout on glass and a small amount of polished chrome aluminum trim in my bathroom remodel, and the epoxy (Spectralock) left zero marks/scratches.

Will it scratch the aluminum in your mosaic? Is probably anyone's guess, and the likely recommendation from the pros here will be "test it first". Of course that would entail buying some, mixing it, and applying on a sample but I think that's the only way you're going to find out for certain. Spectralock is available in what they call mini's, (small tubs of the goo) and is available online for, IIRC, about 60.00.

Onna backsplash, you'd not be concerned much about excessive water, though, unless whoever the dishwasher is really doesn't like that task. As far as food stains go, well, I've only ever gotten a few blobs of spaghetti sauce on mine and, because I sealed my limestone tile and cement based grout, it cleans off easily.
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Unread 10-20-2019, 09:33 AM   #3
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Dan, thanks for the response. I have a 4 year old that currently likes to help with the dishes (along with other kids that like to help with kitchen tasks like washing vegetables etc) so splashes do happen frequently. My main concerns isn't necessarily the water resistance as it's the stain resistance I'm after. 9 years at our previous house and the grout on the floor in front of the sink started to take on a patina (maybe the sealer wasn't very good?). I don't want that happening at this house. We plan to live here forever so I don't mind putting in the money and work to make it the best.

I'll look into the spectralock, thanks!
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Unread 10-20-2019, 09:45 AM   #4
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Grout sealers, 'specially on floors in high traffic areas, are only temporary at best.

I'm a fan of Spectralock. Aside from cost I see very little down side. I used it on my basement shower over 12 years ago and it still looks brand new. Also used it on both the floor and walls of my master since it's water proof, stain proof, and low maintenance. I'm all about low maintenance these days.

Still, another option might be an unsanded grout with an applied sealer. Small mosaics typically have narrow grout lines so an unsanded could work. There are also some newer single component grouts but you'd still be in the same test it first boat.
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Unread 10-21-2019, 08:21 AM   #5
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Matt, as of typing this, I’m not currently aware of any manufacturer out there making a non-scratching epoxy grout. They all seem to have some sort of aggregate in them, ours included.
In my experience with these mosaics, you may not have any issue at all, or they may be so soft that looking at them sideways scratches the metal pieces...

I’d do a mock up with the smallest unit of epoxy grout you can find and see how it goes. We, and other manufacturers offer quart-sized units of epoxy grout. Grout and clean aggressively to make a worst case scenario of sorts.

Let us know what you come up with.
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Unread 10-25-2019, 09:40 PM   #6
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Dan, thanks again for the recommendation, I bought a Sectralock Pro Premium mini and did a trial on some leftover tiles. It did scratch the tile a bit (both the glass & aluminum) but I was really working it hard as you suggested as a "worst case scenario". That being said, bc the aluminum tiles in the mosaic already have a somewhat random brushed swirl pattern it hides the scratches better than the glass tiles and my wife and I decided the faint scuffs in the glass are worth having a maintenance-free grout.

Is there a specific float that may help with the scratches? I seem to recall another epoxy grout thread may have mentioned a "green float" doesn't push the sand down into the tile as hard. Am I on the right track?


Holden, thanks for the response. Is there a reason for that? Technical challenges getting unsanded to work in the epoxy binder? Or just not enough demand? It seems to me that it wouldn't be too difficult to have a sanded & unsanded line of part c (the colored filler), or have a sand additive made to replace "x amount" of the unsanded part c. I apologize if your product isn't like the Spectralock; I'm using Spectralock terms bc that's what I'm familiar with.

As epoxy grouts get better I'm sure they're going to become more and more mainstream so it only stands to reason that the market for unsanded epoxy grout for things like backsplashes etc will continue to rise. To be honest, I was a bit leary that I could successfully do the epoxy bc everywhere you look people talk about how difficult it is. I found the Spectralock to be quite easy to work with. Disclaimer: I only did a 1 s.f. test panel but it pressed in the joints easily and cleanup wasn't bad.
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Unread 10-26-2019, 05:52 AM   #7
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The green epoxy floats are very stiff/dense, and necessarily so to help with packing the epoxy into the joints, and you're gonna want that when smooching that stuff into what I assume are small joints in your mosaic.

Two things you can do to help. 1) Latacrete says you can leave out 10% of the colored aggregate to make a thinner mix and 2) put the SL on ice. The chemical curing starts as soon as you mix it so the longer it sits in the tub the stiffer it gets and the harder you'll work packing it in and you'll teach the kids new cuss words. Icing it slows it down. Mix a mini in it's little bucket, then immediately place it in a larger bucket/wifes favorite mixing bowl/cooler, etc with ice under and around the mini tub.

Don't dawdle.
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Unread 10-26-2019, 11:33 PM   #8
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I would lighten up from a stiffer epoxy float to a regular gum rubber float. While it doesn’t pack the epoxy grout in as efficiently, it’s softer and won’t put as much pressure on the aggregate against the tile.

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Unread 10-28-2019, 08:14 PM   #9
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Tonto (Bubba?), I found another thread on here that talked about a guy having issues with Mapei's epoxy grout scratching glass tiles. A specific float that was much softer was recommended to him and thankfully he came back afterward and reported that it did the trick. I bought the same float so we shall see if that helps.
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Unread 11-05-2019, 12:17 PM   #10
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I am happy to report that the Superiorbilt Platinum float I found recommended in another thread worked great! It is soft and didn't leave any scratches that I could find.

If I had to gripe about anything it's the fact that they're harder to find (I had to order online) and there are plenty if complaints with vendors shipping them in envelopes and the floats getting bent and deformed. It seems the rigid part inside the float is easily deformed. I had to bend mine back in shape. Additionally, the orange color gave me some fits bc the aluminum tiles would occasionally scrape off a small bit of float material and the florescent orange really stands out against the white grout so I would have to pick it out.
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