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Unread 12-31-2006, 07:15 PM   #1
Mr. Overkill
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Grout Shrinkage Problem

I just started grouting my kitchen floor yesterday and thankfully didn't have the time to finish the job.
The grout is cracking as it dries and my guess is do to shrinkage.

The grout I’m using is Congoleum premixed acrylic grout.
The grout says its OK for ceramic and porcelain tile with grout widths 1/8” to 1/4".
I’m using porcelain tile with 3/16” grout lines.
I wedged a screwdriver into a crack and the grout fills to the floor.

What can I be doing wrong?
Has anyone seen this problem before?
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Unread 12-31-2006, 07:17 PM   #2
Scottish Tile and Stone
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David, throw away the premix stuff and get regular grout. I didnt even know that Congoluem made grout. . I would take out the grout you have in and start over.
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Unread 12-31-2006, 07:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
What can I be doing wrong?
Using a premixed product.
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Unread 12-31-2006, 09:24 PM   #4
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Did you happen to use a premixed adhesive to hold the tiles down also?

This was my mistake using AcrylPro in a bucket and TrafficMaster in a bucket, the tiles ar all popping up and cracking grout lines everywhere, time to call the attorneys in
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Unread 12-31-2006, 11:40 PM   #5
Tool Guy - Kg
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David,

It doesn't look like it, but I have to ask....is that DuraCeramic?

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Unread 12-31-2006, 11:55 PM   #6
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This forum does not recommend premixed grout or thinset, especially on floors.. but your technique looks good...
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Unread 01-01-2007, 05:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for your replies all.

The tiles I installed (400 sq.ft.) are called Earthscapes by American Olean and the color is Ocean.
I installed a Modified Hopscotch Pattern using tile sizes:
12” x 12”
12” x 18”
18” x 18”
6” x 6”
The thinset I used is Flexbond by Custom Building Products.
The grout I bought is DuraCeramic Premixed Sanded Acrylic Grout by Congoleum and the color is silver.
The installation is on concrete slab that I leveled with Levelquick by Custom.
The slab was poured November ’04 so I know that is dry and I poured the Levelquick 3 months ago so that should be dry.

I was going to use SpectraLOCK grout by Latacrete because I wanted no maintenance but when I went to the tile store to order it they suggested the Congoleum stating that it was easier to use and a guarantee of no color variation between tubs.
The tile store showed me samples of the installed product (which looked beautiful) and stated that they have converted to using it on all of there installs now.

I am now out $160 for all the grout I bought and was just recently laid off my job because the company I worked for is closing its doors.
At this point I am stuck using what I have because I’m kind of tapped out of cash at this time.

I’m not asking for miracles here (or maybe I am)

1) Is there a fix to my problem other than scrapping what I have?
2) Is it possible that using a little too much water during cleanup could have caused shrinkage?
3) Is there anything else that has been known to cause abnormal shrinkage?

This is my first tile project and now realize I should have started with a smaller one for practice. OOPS
Maybe should have been the shower first but too late now.
My 2 other threads and unfinished projects
http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=24174
http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=24312

Building a house myself jumping from project to project as money permits.
Taking a lot longer than I would have projected (almost 3 years now).

By the way I did send an email to Congoleum but as my experience goes with customer service emails, I’ll be lucky to here back within a week if that fast. And the tile store is closed on vacation for who knows how long.

As always I appreciate all input (good news or bad)
Thanks to all
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Unread 01-01-2007, 05:33 PM   #8
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A long time ago someone posted their experience with the Trafficmaster premixed grout. They were able to follow up the first application with a second that filled in the cracking. You might want to give that a try.
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Unread 01-01-2007, 05:43 PM   #9
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Does the Congoleum grout have a width specification?

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Unread 01-01-2007, 06:25 PM   #10
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Hey sorry about the problem. Im not a tile guy but had a friend use trafficmaster premixed grout and had the same problem. He was using too much water to clean up so he only wiped the grout off the tile then waited untill the next day to wipe the haze off. then it worked but he would not susgest the product to anyone. you could get enough cement based grout to do you project for probley about 50 buck or so.

good luck and hope everything goes well

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Unread 01-01-2007, 07:02 PM   #11
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DL,
I went to Congoleum's site and the recommended grout line thickness is 1/16th to 1/4"...
They also do not recommend using non-vitreous tile with that grout..
It also can't be a cement based grout because they say if you want to remove a tile you have to heat up the grout and score it after heated..
I'm thinkin that either the thinset or the tile absorbed moisture and caused the cracking.. cause your grout lines look great.....
If that was the case, if you sealed the thinset and the edges of the tile - you maybe able to grout.... Just a thought... didn't say it was the right answer...... just a humble opinion...
What does our braintrust think?
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Unread 01-01-2007, 09:49 PM   #12
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DuraCeramic grout is a PITA to work with. It shrinks something fierce. It's the ONLY grout you can use when installing DuraCeramic, but it's such a pain, I wouldn't use it for regular tile.....even if the directions said it was ok.

Sorry someone led you in the direction to use it in the first place. If you want the down and dirty answer, go over the shrinkage cracks again as needed with more of the same grout. That's what we had to do with a DuraCeramic installation the day after grouting. Wasn't happy about it, but it will look ok.
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Unread 01-01-2007, 11:59 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the replies,

If I go over with a second application, do I need to open up the cracks more or just seal with second coat?
Also, I understand that will help the appearance but do I need to worry about possible long term problems down the road if I go that route.
I'm guessing since it is acrylic based, the second coat will seal itself to the first coat so if there is a spill nothing will get down beneath the grout.
As for the areas I have not applied a first coat yet I will try and be more sparing with the water during cleanup. The texture of the tiles make it harder to cleanup with a completely rung out sponge.
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Unread 01-02-2007, 12:07 AM   #14
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I'd just go over the cracks as they are.

And using less water is only going to make a marginal difference. You're right, the stuff is hard to clean off the face of the tiles. This particular product is a difficult material to work with. Just do your best.

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Unread 01-03-2007, 06:37 AM   #15
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Well I figured since I'm going to have to do 2 coats of grout throughout the kitchen and laundry room and 3rd bath and have only done about 10 of 400 sqft of the first coat. I figured I'd try to make the first coat quick and easy by only filling half way with a grout bag so I wouldn't have to clean the grout off the tiles during the first coat.

That didn't work out like I planned. I started in the bathroom and in order to get the grout packed full at the bottom of the grout joint I ended up squeezing enough grout that I had to clean up the tiles anyway. And by the time I finished the small bathroom my arms were to tired to continue from all the squeezing.
What are grout bags made for anyway? It seemed to me more work than using a float.

By the way, I talked to the owner at the tile store yesterday and told him my problem.
His answer was that he didn't realize it shrank so much and none of his installers have ever complained about it.
He also said that he has an installer that dilutes it with water to make it easier to work with.
That seemed to me that it would only make the problem worse. I don't think I'll be trying that route.

Anyway back to the float and cleanup.
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