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Unread 06-28-2020, 08:28 PM   #1
NWPhil
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Natural stone to hardwood transition

Hi,
I have a new project going, which among other things includes installing 3/4 maple hardwood floor and a black limestone hearth around fire place.
Not sure if it fits within forum, but the question I have is regarding caulk and grout from Ardex.
It is one of the recommended brands by the stone supplier along with Mapei,but we found the color we like with Ardex selections.
So my questions are regarding the silicone caulk I have to place between stone and wood joint - going for a seamless transition, so do need a flex joint. Ardex FL is the recommended grout btw
My fear is that there will be a huge difference in tonality between the grout and caulk
- does anyone have experience using both products? I would like to know if indeed it will be a noticeable difference
- this might sound silly or stupid, but could I just use caulk for all the joints/grout lines? This would keep a consistent shade, and yes, I am aware it's more difficult to install and clean.
Even applying grout will require to seal the stone surface and wood edges, along with taping all but grout lines and using the mason bag.
Thanks for the help
Phillip

tile: (under details&use shows recommended installation products)
https://www.artistictile.com/noir-snoa1624#

https://www.ardexamericas.com/product/ardex-fl/

https://www.ardexamericas.com/product/ardex-flex-caulk/
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Last edited by NWPhil; 06-28-2020 at 08:57 PM.
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Unread 06-28-2020, 10:47 PM   #2
jadnashua
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Grout does a few things:
- protects the edges from getting damaged if filled properly
- helps 'unify' the assembly into one

A caulk won't do that. If you're lucky, you might find an engineered expansion joint that might blend in either to the maple or the tile or grout.
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Unread 06-28-2020, 11:43 PM   #3
NWPhil
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Thanks Jim....
yes, I understand well your point.
Now, the limestone is not a tile - it's more of a mini-slab, 16x24x5/8 and weighs about 8 and change per sqft - roughly 22 pound or a bit more.
as far as movement, I am not so much concerned, as won't have much of walk-on stress either.
I know that grout on top of caulk it's a no-no, but what about the reverse?
could I fill-in the inside lines at least halfway with regular grout and then finish filling in with the poly caulk?
Thanks
Phil

ps: Ardex has also a 100% Silicone Sealant for Tile and Stone Applications - Ardex SX: no sag or slump
https://www.ardexamericas.com/product/ardex-sx/
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Last edited by NWPhil; 06-29-2020 at 12:06 AM.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 12:44 PM   #4
jadnashua
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The whole point of an expansion joint is so that the tile/slab/whatever that is rigid, can move and not butt up to a solid surface that may expand/contract at different rates. Partially filling the joint may make it weaker, but you still run the risk of crushing the grout. It may or may not damage the tile. Thinset (and anything made with cement) may be strong, but it is brittle. It has a slight amount of flex, but not much. The crystalline spikes that grow as cement cures can be shattered if they try to move too far. Once broken, they don't regrow. So, it's either caulk, an engineered expansion joint, or a literal gap where you need one versus placing something rigid in there.

Grouting a joint makes the whole tiled surface try to expand and contract at the same rates. A modified thinset when mixed properly, literally coats the aggregate and cement with that modifier and can provide a little bit of cushion for those crystals and can act like an adhesive, to improve the bond and help potentially with water resistance (not all modifiers will do that, though).

Your home, your choice. The potential damaging effects may not occur rapidly. Think bending a steel coat hanger back and forth...it doesn't break the first time you bend it then bend it back...it takes a repeated action. SImilar thing to the thinset bond. If you exceed its elastic limits (and they aren't very big!), eventually, you keep breaking bonds until you notice.

The industry standards, when followed, help to ensure a long-term reliability of the project. Depending on your actual conditions, you may or may not observe any problems.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 08:44 PM   #5
NWPhil
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Hi Jim,
I am thinking that might not have explained it well - my fault anyway I am sure.
The intent was indeed to grout all spaces between stone and caulk the outside edges adjacent to wood - i think we are in the same page regarding that.
I won't place anything else other than an expansion joint between wood and stone, either epoxy/silicone caulk or engineered expansion joint.

My concern is the potential different color tone - Ardex can stain the grout and the caulk with same exact color, but my experience with laticrette products showed me that they ended looking quite different - hence the concern and trying to find a viable solution for the inside lines.
Sanded grout is the manufacturer's recommendation - both stone and Ardex, for the stone size and recommended gap in between slabs (mim.1/4").
So, the idea stupid as it might sound would be to either use only siliconized acrylic caulk all around (Ardex even has a second type rated for no sag or slump) or fill the lines with regular grout to below 1/8" from stone surface (or sligh deeper) - the stone is 5/8" thick, and then after caulk dry and fully cured, fill up with the ardex caulk. (the stone will laid on thinset ofcourse)
I know it will be my call at the end and my own responsibility - just wondering if accounting for stone size and weight, and that is not in an exposed to water or foot traffic area, I can potentially get away with either of my silly solutions , or better yet, someone knows ( and tells me) that Ardex grout and caulk are almost a perfect match....

Thanks
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Unread 06-30-2020, 04:48 PM   #6
Jason@mapei
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An expansion/soft joint refers to EJ171. and is required where the tile/stone flooring abuts a "restraining surface". This is also true for wood floors as well they expand and contract seasonally. The color match traffic rated (floors not wall) silicone (flexible) is the correct answer. It may have a different sheen or appearance but is required. Sometimes you can hit it with a pad or mineral spirits to soften the sheen difference (I would try it first). If you choose not to do this you run this risk of the Stone floor buckling or breaking, you also run the risk of the wood floor buckling. Good luck.
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Unread 06-30-2020, 04:59 PM   #7
cx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil
...or fill the lines with regular grout to below 1/8" from stone surface (or sligh deeper) - the stone is 5/8" thick, and then after caulk dry and fully cured, fill up with the ardex caulk.
Putting a flexible sealant on top of the grout in a nearly filled grout joint will serve no purpose whatever, Phil. This is what a properly caulked joint should look like under optimal conditions:

Name:  Caulking Bead.jpg
Views: 73
Size:  33.3 KB

If you cannot find a flexible sealant that is an exact color and texture match to your grout, the folks at ColorRite will make you a 100 percent silicone sealant to match any grout color in regular shiny silicone, or satin, or sanded. They also have acrylic caulks in the same colors. You tell them what grout you have, brand name, make and model, and you'll get a near perfect color match.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-30-2020, 08:07 PM   #8
NWPhil
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CX, thank you very much:
that would be a great solution, and yes the silly proposal of mine was just to have matching color shade in the inside grout lines.

I prefer your solution vs just using silicone caulk everywhere, and I think I can go just a bit past 1/4" - like 3/8" but 1/2" is too much for my visual liking

Thanks
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Last edited by NWPhil; 06-30-2020 at 09:50 PM.
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Unread 09-23-2020, 01:52 PM   #9
wooohnellie
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NWPhil - what did you end up moving forward with on this install? I've got the exact same dilemma as you! Any photos of the final product?
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