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Unread 02-20-2011, 07:41 PM   #1
Nathan Dandridge
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epoxy sealer for ceramic floor?

I have a friend who recently had his entire apartment floor tiled with ceramic and he complains of off-gassing of odor from the grout that was used. There has been no relief with time. He would like to alleviate this problem by sealing the grout to "lock in" the odors. Is there an epoxy sealer that would do this? Could I coat this epoxy sealer over the whole floor to seal in the odor? I have also thought of applying epoxy grout, such as spectralok over the grout, but how much of the old grout would I have to remove to do this? Which would be a better solution to remove these odors? He is so desperate he is considering ripping up the whole floor and starting over (three 12 x12 rooms). I could use a grout saw blade that fits into a reciprocating saw to remove the grout if I replaced with spectralok? How deep would I have to remove the old grout to do this? Or would I be better off sealing the floor.\? Is there an epoxy sealer that would work and last? Any advice greatly appreciated.
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Unread 02-20-2011, 08:24 PM   #2
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not sure if there is anything out there like that Nathan.
or have i heard of any odor problems either.

i would do as u said and remove and replace, and spectralock is good stuff
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Unread 02-21-2011, 07:23 AM   #3
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What kind of grout was used? Never heard of off gassing from grout, and can't imagine anything cement based would do that. Maybe epoxy or other polymer based grout could have a lingering odor.

Consider things besides the grout as a source of the odor as well. Was a sealer used? What was used to set the tile? Any other membranes or something unusual in the install?

It would take a pretty thick film of epoxy to effectively block any odor, but then they may smell residual odor from that. Any chance these people are hyper sensitive to odors?
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Unread 02-21-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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if there IS offgassing, the last thing you want to do is put a coating over it.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 07:45 PM   #5
Nathan Dandridge
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http://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/d...tFiles/345.pdf is the name of the grout. The company apparently told him it may be a bad batch of grout. The floor was laid over plywood/polyurethane/thinset/ditra mat/thinset/tile. He says during all of these stages, there was no odor until the grout went down. He says it didn't go away in three days but has lingered for weeks. He claims he gets a headache after being in the apartment for ten minutes. I too noticed the odor when I went in there. I had never been in the apartment until this time. The apartment is in a monastery and therefore was completed by layworkers/volunteers, so I had no part in the process and do not know exactly what was done until it was done. At this point I have told him I would remove the grout from a small bathroom he claims is the most offensive and wait two weeks to see if the smell dissipates before placing the spectralok. He would like me to go ahead and place the grout the same day I remove the old grout, but I fear this may not aid in the diagnosis if he still complains of odor after as we will not know if the odor is the same as before or from the new epoxy grout.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 10:35 PM   #6
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Can't testify about the smell problem. I don't recall any significant smell from that urethane grout when I tested it.

I'd be a whole lot more concerned about the polyurethane in this installation package. Not for smell, but for premature tile installation failure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan
The floor was laid over plywood/polyurethane/thinset/ditra mat/thinset/tile.
My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 11:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schluter®-DITRA
c) Vapor management
The distinguishing feature of Schluter-DITRA is the existence of free space created by the configured channels on the underside of the matting. The free space provides a route for excess moisture and vapor to escape from the substrate that could otherwise cause damage to the tile layer above. Thus, DITRA effectively manages moisture beneath the tile covering.

Could you remove the baseboard and see if the smell is coming from the gap in between the tile and the wall ?
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Unread 02-22-2011, 07:37 AM   #8
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The polyurethane over the plywood (why was this done?) sounds like it could be the issue unless you are certain that there was no odor present after it was applied.

Could very well be a "bad batch" of urethane grout. Did they request a cured sample to test? If it turns out that the grout is indeed the source of the odor, the manufacturer is responsible for all labor & material costs to remedy the problem and possibly other damages. I don't care what the disclaimers may say on the container. Contact a lawyer.

I'm not a litigious kind of guy, and I have been on the manufacturing side all of my life. But if the problem is really with the grout, they should be held responsible.
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Unread 02-27-2011, 04:21 PM   #9
Nathan Dandridge
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this person wants the floor removed entirely, what would be the best way to remove all the flooring, the ditra,and luan included? What would be the best way to remove all the flooring at the same time, can you attach a diamond blade to a skill saw or sawzall or do you have to remove tile with a hammer drill first?
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Unread 02-27-2011, 06:30 PM   #10
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Hi Nathan

I suggest having a manufacturers rep comes out first, and contacting a lawyer as Mike suggested.

For removal, you could use a diamond blade in a circular saw to start. The key is to get some crowbars under the luan, and try to pry as much of the floor up as you can. Since luan was used, it was probably stapled every few inches.

You're just going to start the project and see what you run into, and come back here if you have any problems. Unfortunately removal is going to be quite a messy undertaking. Use plenty of plastic to protect as much as possible from the dust.

We also make sure the furnace or AC is turned off during the process also.
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