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Unread 10-21-2020, 04:25 PM   #1
Kat at the Coast
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1/8" grout line can go either way?

Grout question: I have read extensively on this forum, and on manufacturer's product instructions and 1/8" seems to be the transition point where most manufacturers say that you can use either sanded (>=1/8") or unsanded (<=1/8").

I have tiled several times in the past, but during those installations - I was way on one end of the spectrum or the other i.e.: rectified granite tile with 1/16" unsanded, (came out as smooth as slab!) and tumbled marble with wide sanded grout - custom dyed to match (the texture looked great with the rough tile).

Now I find myself in that no man's land - facing 1/8" grout lines with shiny 4 x 12 white ceramic tile with polished marble insets. I really am trying to talk myself into using unsanded - no risk of scratching those pretty tiles, and the smooth texture gives me visions of being able to keep the grout cleaner, longer.

Do you think I will be okay with unsanded, if I mix it nice and stiff? (less shrinkage from water loss, right?)

Thanks in advance for your time and help!!
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Unread 10-21-2020, 04:33 PM   #2
jadnashua
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Unsanded is smoother, sanded is stronger, not all sanded are created equal...some use a finer sand than others...

So, it sort of depends on what you use.
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Last edited by jadnashua; 10-21-2020 at 09:17 PM. Reason: being dyslectic today, sorry...
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Unread 10-21-2020, 06:14 PM   #3
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I think Jim meant to flip and reverse the stronger and smoother.

A lot of grouts now don't scratch and can span widths from 1/16" - 1/2" out of the same bag. As long as you're not buying the lowest price point grout line at any of the big box stores you're usually getting what I'm talking about.
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Unread 10-21-2020, 06:25 PM   #4
jadnashua
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The sand in the matrix of a sanded grout is typically harder than cement by itself depending, of course, on the proportions. For example, deck mud is not stronger than a much leaner, concrete mix would be, but when it comes to grout, sanded tends to be stronger than unsanded.
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Unread 10-21-2020, 06:40 PM   #5
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I would use Custom's Prism or Laticrete's Permacolor. Both are inline with what Justin talked about. If you worry about scratching it, make a sample board with scrap pieces and grout it first.
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Unread 10-21-2020, 11:27 PM   #6
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I second Davy’e exact suggestions for those specific grouts...and I also second the idea of a test board to answer your question on scratching up front.

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Unread 10-22-2020, 08:14 AM   #7
Kat at the Coast
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Questions for shower walls?

I really do try to read a lot of threads before wasting anyone's time with my questions.

Unfortunately, I am finding advice that either conflicts, or does not precisely answer my question.

So here is the situation: tiling a tub surround with ceramic 4 x 12, inset niche with carrara marble. Using Kerdiboard underneath.

Still trying to decide on grout color and brand. I like the idea of the Flexacolor CQ and similar products, but having to work so quickly to avoid a hazy mess that is hard to clean is deterring me. I am a pretty good tiler (for a DIY weekend warrior), but I am not fast.

My questions:
1.Sealer (from what I've read here) is supposed to give you time to blot/clean stains before they soak in. Is that really an issue in a shower? So do I really need to seal the grout? (Assuming I squeegee or towel dry the shower walls after use?)

2. Seal the marble or no? I have read some that says absolutely yes, other says that natural stone needs to breathe to dry out. Our water is very hard, btw - does that change the answer? (btw - marble is only on the inset, vertical part of the niche, it will be "lined" with ceramic)

3. Grout color - personal preference is king here, I know, but... trying to decide between these two:
a. the lovely seamless look of white grout with white tile, along with it's ability to camouflage minor potential imperfections (gasp!) in my grouting technique.

b. a darker grout - medium gray, to lessen the worry of discolored grout later (does white ever stay white - even on a wall?), but potentially highlight any boo-boos in grout technique.

I really do appreciate everyone's time and help.
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Unread 10-22-2020, 08:28 AM   #8
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I'm a little biased here because once I used spectralock epoxy grout, I've never considered using anything else. It can also be divided up into smaller batches which will extend your working time and ability to start/stop at a certain point without issue.

1.Sealer (from what I've read here) is supposed to give you time to blot/clean stains before they soak in. Is that really an issue in a shower? So do I really need to seal the grout? (Assuming I squeegee or towel dry the shower walls after use?)

You won't need a sealer if you use spectralock epoxy.

2. Seal the marble or no? I have read some that says absolutely yes, other says that natural stone needs to breathe to dry out. Our water is very hard, btw - does that change the answer?

If I remember reading correctly, unsealed marble was the correct way to go - although if you ask me, after seeing all the marble horror stories here and elsewhere, why not choose a marble-look porcelain? They are practically water and stain proof when compared to a delicate stone like marble.

3. Grout color - personal preference is king here, I know, but... trying to decide between these two:

a. the lovely seamless look of white grout with white tile, along with it's ability to camouflage minor potential imperfections (gasp!) in my grouting technique.

b. a darker grout - medium gray, to lessen the worry of discolored grout later (does white ever stay white - even on a wall?), but potentially highlight any boo-boos in grout technique.

Personal preference here, but I'd go darker if your grout joints end up uniform and you're comfortable with the resulting pattern. Another consideration is that fullness of joints can be corrected with epoxy or acrylic grouts.

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Unread 10-22-2020, 08:51 AM   #9
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Welcome, Kat.

It'll help if you'll keep all your project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered. A moderator can give it a more generic title any time you'd like to suggest one.

You're not wasting anyone's time with your questions. That's what the site is here for.
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Unread 10-22-2020, 11:28 AM   #10
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Hey there Kat!

Flexcolor CQ would be stellar choice from the sounds of your project. Since it's premixed, it is pretty DIY friendly as you can simply take out a small amount from the bucket, close the lid, and get to grouting and cleaning one area at a time.

Once installed, Flexcolor CQ is very color consistent and stain resistant as well. While you don't need to seal the Flexcolor CQ, it would be a good idea to seal the marble first to make grouting easier, and to help protect the marble. All of our sealer products allow moisture vapor to escape, though it does slow it down considerably.

I hope that helps!
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Unread 10-22-2020, 12:25 PM   #11
Kat at the Coast
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the latest..

Thanks for the replies so far.

I know that a lot of people here like the Flexcolor, but for a newbie, is the extra work of cleaning off the tiles going to such a huge slog that I regret using it?

I just did the kitchen backsplash a month or so ago, and the haze from "regular" grout cleaned off so easily. I kinda hate to give that up.

It seems that pros ( and product reps) like both epoxy and acrylic a lot, but they also get a lot of practice with it.

Do you truly recommend either of those for someone who has never used anything but regular grout before?

And...the latest in the bathroom project. The new, very expensiveName:  broken toilet 2 (1).jpg
Views: 44
Size:  36.1 KB toilet arrived:
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Unread 10-22-2020, 12:50 PM   #12
Kat at the Coast
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You gotta read this!

I was cruising through the Lowes website reading reviews and Q & A's of Flexcolor.

I figure that a lot of these folks are more likely to be people who are novices, and might be useful to me.

The title ( a typo, I know, but so funny..) of one of the questions was this:

"I'm looking to regret shower wall tiles."

I really needed that today!!!
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Unread 10-22-2020, 01:15 PM   #13
MAPEI - Technical Service
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Kat,

I'm undoubtedly biased towards MAPEI grouts in general, but of all the grout products in our lineup, Flexcolor CQ is my favorite! You get epoxy-like* benefits in a much easier to install product, so it wasn't a hard decision for me to opt for this particular grout in my own house.

For what it's worth, most ceramic subway tiles have a somewhat high absorption rate, and make any grout dry a bit faster (and more uneven) than intended. In cement grout, that is the last thing you want since the final color is determined by (among other things) how long the water stays in the grout before drying or being used in the chemical reaction of the cement. With Flexcolor CQ, that's not the case. If the grout dries too fast, the color is not going to be affected.

The big thing we stress to folks, professionals or otherwise, who have never used Flexcolor CQ is just work in small sections. One method we suggest is spreading about an "arms reach" area and by the time you're done packing the joints, you can turn around and get to cleaning the haze off from where you started. It keeps things rolling along at a nice manageable pace, but of course your mileage may vary, and you will need to find the sweet spot that works best for you.



*Flexcolor CQ is NOT epoxy
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Unread 10-22-2020, 01:29 PM   #14
Kat at the Coast
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OK, I am starting to feel more brave about the Flexcolor.

What are the chances of the white staying white on shower walls?
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Unread 10-22-2020, 01:41 PM   #15
jadnashua
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A cement-based, white grout will not be as white when it starts, nor stay that way. Between an epoxy and an acrylic, I think (do not know) that the acrylic should stay white with the possible exception (probably for both epoxy and acrylic) if it gets lots of UV exposure, which is not that common in a shower.
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