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Old 06-24-2018, 03:12 PM   #1
KBD
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FC CQ advice?

Hello, all
I just registered to get some specific questions answered, and also to say what a terrific forum this is! I'm a DIY'er with a little bit of experience tiling various projects in my previous and current home. I've done several bath floors, kitchen and bar backsplashes, and I'm now in the process of my most ambitious project yet, a complete bath remodel w/ walk-in shower. I'm getting close to grouting, and have been drawn to Mapei's Flexcolor CQ. (I didn't think I was experienced enough to tackle epoxy!) This grout seems pretty ideal, although I have some reservations after reading through this forum.
For starters, my floor is a highly polished marble pebble mosaic. Very irregular grout spacings, from tiles virtually touching to around 1/2". I'm also a little worried about the possibility of scratching. Then there is cleaning since this seems super important with this product... how to clean such irregular shapes with varied grout lines without leaving a haze which seems very difficult to remove if not cleaned soon enough? I also understand it would help to seal the marble before grouting (thinking of Bulletproof). What is the best method to keep the sealent out of the grout lines with an irregular shape? From what I've read, Bulletproof seems to work best when allowed to 'soak' into the stone which obviously can't happen before grouting.
The wall tile is large format rectified ceramic which I'd like to use the same grout on if possible.
I've also noticed the Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA which my local F&D store tried to sell me on. Would that be better for my application given the extremely small to extremely large grout lines? My wife does want the 'sanded' look which it seems CQ is more likely to provide. Any advice or opinion would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again for the great forum.
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Old 06-24-2018, 04:08 PM   #2
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Welcome, Doc.

I've separated your post from that discussion of a particular grout as your questions would get lost in there. Any moderator can give it a more generic title any time you'd like to suggest one.

First thing I'd recommend is that you post a photo of your shower floor. Use the paper-clip icon above the Reply dialog box to attach photos from storage on your computer.

I would not recommend you use a marble on your shower floor at all, 'specially if it's a light colored marble. You can use the Advanced Search feature and enter marble and shower to see a good bit of discussion on the issue.

I would recommend a Portland (or similar) cement-based grout for your application, perhaps the MAPEI Ultracolor you indicated. I've never used the product and can't speak to the final appearance. I think it's unlikely to significantly scratch your stone, but you'll want to do a test board before using whatever grout you choose.

All penetrating sealers recommend letting their product soak into the surface, but they also recommend the material not be allowed to dry on the surface. Whether you seal and how you seal will depend somewhat upon what our knowledgeable folks see in your photo.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 06-24-2018, 08:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! Unfortunately, it's too late to change the tile, as 75% of it is already set. It would be an expensive nightmare to try to remove it at this point, but it's a guest bath so it won't get much use.... a week or two a year at best. My wife picked it out, and is totally in love with the look.
The Ultracolor CQ was discussed at length in the thread I posted in (I thought?) so that's why I posted it there. I'm just trying to gather as much information about that grout (or other possibly better alternatives if suggested?)
I'll get a photo of it and post tomorrow.
Thanks again
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:26 PM   #4
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Laticrete Spectralock is a user-friendly epoxy grout. Expensive, but good.
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Old 06-25-2018, 08:23 AM   #5
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I've mentioned this many times but the Flexcolor is good grout but it acts different than cement based grouts. It won't firm up in the joints but it dries on the face real fast so you have to go ahead and get it washed. I just installed a kitchen floor and the homeowner bought Flexcolor. Even an hour after washing, the joints were still very soft. This makes it easy to wash the joints too low, especially for someone not experienced with grouting. Even after washing as soon as possible, we had to wipe the floor down the next day with acetone to remove the grout haze.

I would use Prism, you can let the joints firm up before washing which will keep you from washing the grout too low. Especially with the wide joints you have.
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:30 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. This indeed one of the concerns I have about the Flexcolor, plus getting access to the whole room means having to cross over tile to get to the back for washing. If the grout is still so soft, that would also be an issue. I would just grout and wash in small sections, but of course there is always a patch or two which could be missed. One of the things I liked about Flexcolor is it is less likely to result in a different color if only sections are done at a time (ie: complete one part all the way through before moving on to another the next day) I've been meaning to get some photos of the tile posted on here, but have just been slammed. Maybe I can try that today. I was also concerned about the haze, but did a few minor tests the other day on some pieces of tile, and it's amazing how easily things just wipe off of it. None of the dried thinset will stick to the polished surface (I can just wipe it off with my finger, or a damp cloth) and I even tested some water (no absorption, it just ends up evaporating on the surface) soda (same thing, but it did etch the tile) wine (no absorption, dried residue wiped right off) and coffee (minor etching only) so I'm hoping that maybe the haze wouldn't be so difficult to remove? Do any of these companies offer small samples of grout so I could test them beforehand?
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Old 06-30-2018, 11:09 AM   #7
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I don't know of anyone offering small samples. The only reasons I mentioned the Prism is because it is easier to work with and like the Flexcolor, the color stays consistent. This is from the Custom website.

Prism® Ultimate Performance Grout sets a new standard in cement*
based grout technology. Prism's calcium Aluminate cement based
formula offers consistent color with no shading regardless of tile type,
temperature or humidity. And it will not effloresce. The rapid setting
formula results in high early strength and dense joints for the highest
stain resistance in grout joints up to 1/2". A unique blend of lightweight
recycled glass and fine aggregate sand allows for a smooth
consistency that is easy to spread and clean.

I will say that the Prism may be harder to find. I get it at Daltile. I've bought Flexcolor at Floor and Décor several times. They usually keep a good selection of colors. A plus for the Flexcolor is that it never needs to be sealed. Not a big deal in a shower but is nice when grouting a back splash or kitchen floor.

I've used both many times, just trying to explain the pros and cons of each one.
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:39 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply, Davy. I did look for some Prism locally, but struck out (most places in my area are closed on the weekends anyway) but I did go back to F&D and decided with the considerable investment thus far that it was worth buying a little of both the Flexcolor and Ultraflex and try both out on some test tiles I set the other day. From what I understand, the biggest issue with the Flexcolor is the possibility of residue which is difficult to remove, and the slow set time means cleaning to avoid the residue may result in too much coming out of the grout lines. The Ultracolor has the advantage of up to 3/4" grout lines, like the Flexcolor doesn't need sealing, but sets very fast (like 5 minutes!) so you have to work very quickly. That could be a plus for keeping the grout in the lines, but working by myself is going to make it difficult. We'll see how the test turns out and I'll go from there. Kinda expensive since there was no 'small' size of Flexcolor, but I reckon it's worth the $45 to rule it in or out!
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Old 07-01-2018, 07:03 PM   #9
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Prism has been off the market for a few months or so.
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:57 AM   #10
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Hi Doc, I'm sorry I missed your questions when you first posted them. Hopefully you haven't selected one of the other grouts that people felt compelled to recommend for some reason.

The short answer is that you should use Ultracolor Plus FA for your pebbles. Flexcolor CQ can be used anywhere else you are asking about. For the long answer, feel free to give us a shout at the number below and we would be happy to walk you through the nuances of the grouts.

Thanks for considering MAPEI!
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:51 PM   #11
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Paul, who said Prism is off the market? Someone needs to tell Dal tile in Plano, they don't know anything about it.
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:40 PM   #12
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My lati rep. They are bringing a new formulation back. Dunno the new name
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:53 PM   #13
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Another vote for Spectralock from a DIY perspective. Slightly different but not harder to install than cement grouts. But awesome color consistency and longevity are guaranteed.
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Old 07-16-2018, 08:47 AM   #14
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Thanks for the responses everyone! Sorry I've been off radar for a while, I had to go out of town for a bit. Dan, I appreciate your reply, and since I had to go out of town I had not decided on any grout yet but did try a test between the Ultracolor and Flexcolor. Kind of an expensive test since there were no small buckets of the Flexcolor, but it was worth doing. I am now in agreement with you that the Ultracolor Plus FA is the way to go. Both were easy to work with and I was originally a little intimidated by the fast setting of the Ultracolor. However, when I went to do my first wash, the slow set up of the Flexcolor was a problem with the big grout lines. It was almost impossible not to wash too much out of the lines. I deliberately left some on longer to see how hard it would be to remove from the pebbles (with both grouts) and the Ultracolor was far easier to remove the haze, even when left on for hours. The Flexcolor was extremely difficult to remove when left on long enough to avoid sucking too much out of the grout lines. I liked working with the CQ, but just don't think this is the right application for it. The highly polished pebbles are a breeze to clean with the FA, as well as on the ceramic wall tile so that's the way to go! I'm going to do one more test today, setting up 3 different wash times to see how far I can push it to give the grout enough time to set up and still be easy to wash. I really want to try to keep the grout as close to the surface as possible since it's a shower floor on one side.
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Old 07-28-2018, 04:26 PM   #15
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New question!

Okay.... so I got the floor grouted, and it was easier than I thought. Thanks, Dan for your input. That helped a lot! The Ultracolor was perfect for the task, and running a few tests to see how long to wait before the first wash was critical due to the large grout spaces. So all good! NOW, I have a new question. I'm about to grout the walls, and of course will use grout caulk on the change of planes. However, since this is a walk-in shower with a below-floor shower pan, I have a rather large grout line at the pan where it hits the wall. (the beginning of the dip in the pan creates a larger grout space in the center) Looking at the spec sheet for the Mapei grout caulk, it says a maximum of 1/4" width. This is much bigger than that at the widest, more like 1/2-3/4". So should I just goop a lot more caulk in there, or use the Ultracolor all the way to the floor due to the size of the gap? It's not a depth problem, so using a backer rod is not the solution... it's just the width exceeds the specs by a significant amount. Also, since I am using the Ultracolor Plus FA, (which is not really sanded nor unsanded) which caulk would be better suited to match? I'm thinking sanded, since there is a bit of a 'sand' texture to the FA... thoughts?
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