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Unread 10-13-2019, 10:45 AM   #1
SLMFD44
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Glass Subway Tile Backsplash Installation

Hi folks,

I'm trying to avoid a disastrous installation but am getting conflicting advice, hope you can help clarify. We are going to install 3x6 glass subway tiles on kitchen backsplash. In speaking to a local contractor, he says we should use Mapei Flexcolor CQ. The place where we purchased the tiles says do not use Flexcolor CQ as it will scratch the tile. I've tried to research online and can't seem to find a clear answer. Can anyone offer some assistance/experience? Any and all advice is much appreciated. Thanks very much for your time.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 11:37 AM   #2
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Welcome, Mario.

Using the Advanced Search feature you'll find this long thread in the Professionals' Hangout. When on that thread you can type scratch in the Search This Thread box near the top of the page and narrow your scope.

Bottom line? That single component grout uses round aggregate and is much less likely to scratch your tiles than regular sanded grouts. But the manufacturer recommends, as they all do, that you do some testing with your particular tile before committing to use it on your installation.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 01:11 PM   #3
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CX -
Thanks for the reply, appreciate it. I looked through the link you sent, mixed opinions. I'm going to try to somehow find out if the tile we purchased is low fired (made in China) - apparently those tiles will scratch. Just don't want to have to worry about it.

Thanks again for your time. Be well.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 01:59 PM   #4
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While you're researching your tile, determine if it meets the standards of ANSI A137.2. If it does, you'll be able to tell a good deal about its properties. If not, all you'll ever know is what you see in the advertisements.

You'll still wanna do your own testing with your actual tiles and your actual grout, though.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 02:12 PM   #5
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Thanks, CX. I've ordered the tile and it's been delivered, I'm kicking myself for not doing better research before purchase. I just did some more digging and can't seem to find anything about the standards of ANSI. I did, however, find that the country of origin is China, which I've seen people mention as a scratch-factor. Now I'm really hesitant to try the Flexcolor cq...
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Unread 10-13-2019, 02:43 PM   #6
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What other grout would you try? I'd go ahead and make a test board with a few tiles and grout it. Most likely you can lightly force the grout in the joints without scratching the tiles but a test board will tell for sure. The Flexcolor is less likely to scratch than a cement based grout like Cx said.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 02:49 PM   #7
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I'd still recommend the testing with any sanded grout you elect to use, even if you chose an unsanded grout. What grout joint width do you plan to use?

Unfortunately, I don't know the ISO equivalent of our A137.2 standards. They're relatively new to the industry and I don't even know for sure if there's an ISO equivalent. Perhaps someone else will chime in with that.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 02:49 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply, Davy. Wouldn't an unsanded grout eliminate any concern for scratching? I was thinking of using Mapei Keracolor if going unsanded. I appreciate the help.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 03:28 PM   #9
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Yes, unsanded will be much less likely to scratch, but I'll bet the "test it" advise will remain the same.

How wide are the grout lines going to be? Most unsanded grouts say they're ok for up to 1/8", but that seems wide to me.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 03:31 PM   #10
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Thanks CX and Dan. The tiles are already backed on mesh and the grout lines are 1/16. Not sure if that narrows down my options. Clearly I am new to this
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Unread 10-13-2019, 03:40 PM   #11
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Well, unless you wish to remove each tile from the mesh and set it by hand, it appears you're going with 1/16th.

I recently set some 2X6 glass tile as an accent for my shower, and also used it for the vanity back splashes. Though set on mesh, they weren't set very accurately so still needed to be adjusted, for which I used tile wedges to force them, mostly, into proper alignment.

I also used an epoxy grout, which some say may scratch the glass. It did not, and I didn't test it first. No idea where the glass tile originated though.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 04:08 PM   #12
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The Flexcolor CQ, in my experience is very forgiving as to scratches on glass and sensitive tile. Personally, I would have no issue with using it....
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Unread 10-13-2019, 04:08 PM   #13
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I can already see that I'm going to have to make adjustments to the grout lines, they aren't spaced evenly. I hadn't even thought of an epoxy grout so I just read up on it. Sounds like a great grout, like that it is stain resistant. Might be too difficult for a novice like myself. I liked that Flexcolor cq was ready to go but that idea looks like it's headed out the window... Thanks again for the reply.
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Unread 10-13-2019, 07:47 PM   #14
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I used flexcolor cq on a low fired glass and it was a disaster, fortunately it was in a small section and was easily replaced. I did test it prior to installing the tile and it didn't scratch and I thought I really thought I gave it hell. As for your spacing issue. I started setting the sheets and was having issues so I ended up pulling all the pieces off the sheets and setting them individually, things went a lot faster and easier after I did.
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Unread 10-14-2019, 02:38 AM   #15
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Thanks, Laz and Shawn. Two different experiences, seems to be what I'm finding. I keep going back and forth but I'm thinking I should just go non-sanded and not have to think about it anymore. I appreciate the simplicity and ease of what Flexcolor cq appears to be but instead of having to test and possibly waste product, I'll just go non-sanded. That being said... Any suggestions on unsanded grout? Keracolor was my thought but if something better, I'd appreciate any suggestions. Again, thanks for all the help.
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