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Unread 03-13-2014, 05:16 AM   #1
showalbc
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Spectralock questions

I'm an experience DIYer but have never used Spectralock grout. I've got a bit under 300 sq ft of plank style tile with 1/8" grout joints to do.

The Laticrete calculator said a bit over 150 sq ft per full unit of Spectralock so I ordered 2 full units of Pro Premium. I've watched the Youtube vidoes and read some threads here but haven't seen this addressed.

I assume it is going to take me 45-60 minutes to spread a full unit of this out. The directions call for the initial wash after 20-30 minutes.

Should I stop 20-30 minutes after putting the first bit down and start washing? Get the first bit washed and then continue and hope I don't exceed the 80 minute pot life?

Should I get a helper to start washing while I finish spreading?

I don't really want to try and mix partial batches.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 06:29 AM   #2
Davy
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Hi Brian, welcome. It should be ready to wash in 20 to 30 minutes but the temperature has a lot to do with that. Press on the grout with your finger to see if it has firmed up any.

If you didn't want to measure the batches, you probably should have gotten smaller units. Even though they don't recommend it, I always buy the large units and carefully measure them. That way I can spread a half batch at a time.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 06:53 AM   #3
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Davy, thanks for the reply. So you think it is best to only spread for 20-30 minutes and then start washing? And for you that is about half of a full unit?

I know I saw a thread here about measurements to mix partial batches, I'll try to search for it, but does anyone have a link to that thread?

The tile is on a basement slab, it should be a little cooler than the ambient air, probably about 60*.

I've also seen some posts about putting extra in the freezer to extend pot life. Maybe I could spread for 30 minutes and put the extra in the freezer while doing the first wash and then continue to spread the remaining?
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Unread 03-13-2014, 07:16 AM   #4
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Get the mini tubs. By the time you get a mini tub applied a few minutes later you should be able to clean. I like the sponges with the white scrubby on one side the work great for the initial clean. When you start to clean have 2 buckets of water one for cleaning the sponge first and a second bucket with the cleaning solution provided and clean the sponge again, this makes the cleaning solution go farther. Good luck this message will self destruct in 5 minutes.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 07:22 AM   #5
zeaflal
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I found the 80 minute pot life to be optimistic. The longest I ever went before finishing a batch was 50 or 60 minutes, but I would not have been able to spread it with a float much longer. It is definitely more fluid at the very beginning in case there is a location where you really want fluidity. Lower temperatures should help. I started with refrigerated powder but did not try to keep the grout cool after that. I didn’t need to stretch the time more and I wondered how cold is too cold. Seems like going below the dew point might be a bad idea.

I had no problem doing first wash after that. Didn’t even need to hurry but I certainly wouldn’t wait. I found the best strategy was being very clean. That started with leaving minimum residue with the float. I aimed for perfection on the first wash. Didn’t happen of course, but I got close. Then aim for perfection again on the second wash. Never did a real third wash, although did need to touchup a couple of spots. Once it is “clean”, sliding your hand gently over the entire surface is a way to find residue you can’t see. That works better if the tile is dry. My biggest problem was with grout residue that was far away from the joint – so far that I had not even attempted to clean that area.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 08:00 AM   #6
Davy
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Be careful when cooling the grout. I once put it in the back of my truck on the way to the job during the winter. Then grouted a kitchen floor. The cold grout wanted to set up on the face of the warm tiles but was still runny and wet in the joints. By the time it set in the joints, the face had to be scrubbed real hard to get it off. I should have known better, I made a mental note about that.

Brain, it depends on the size of the tiles and width of the joints as to how many square ft the grout will go. Working with a helper surely helps. To avoid wasting grout, one can go ahead and start washing if the grout starts to set while the other continues to spread grout.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 09:45 AM   #7
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Brian, if you have large units, I would strongly suggest you mix and try some smaller batches to get a feel for it and the go to larger amounts. A kitchen scale makes it very easy to pour out and mix any batch size. The 80 min working time is nuts, by that time the grout will be like a very firm clay, try it and see.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 06:25 PM   #8
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get a helper to spread while you wipe.
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Unread 03-19-2014, 01:13 PM   #9
showalbc
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I thought I would post the follow up to how my grout job went for anyone searching in the future.

I was going to mix half of a full unit to start with to get a feel for how the grout worked. I had bought measuring cups to use to get the proper ratios. However, after seeing the consistency of the Part B (like toothpaste) I decided I wouldn't be able to get a good mix if I had to pour it in multiple containers, plus I would loose some stuck to the sides each time I transferred it. So, since I had 2 helpers I just decided to go for the full unit.

The Spectralock mixes up just fine and had a similar consistency to regular cement grout. My tile was 6x24" wood plank style with 1/8" grout joints. I had no trouble working the grout into the joints. I was working fast b/c I wasn't sure how long I had before it stiffened up. I was able to get the full unit spread in about 45 minutes. It had definitely got more stiff towards the end so I think the 80 minutes is unrealistic.

The initial color of the grout was much lighter than I was expecting. This had me a little worried since I've never seen grout get darker, only dry lighter.

I had one of the helpers start wiping about 30 minutes after I started as per the instructions. This grout leaves a very shiny, tacky film on the tiles. That was something I hadn't read about, the tackiness. Not a big deal, but unexpected. The wood plank tiles have a texture so I wasn't able to completely strike off all the extra grout with the float. Plus, I was working fast and getting tired so I wasn't doing a perfect clean job.

The initial wash went ok, the grout smooths out nicely when wiped with a finger. I used a cup of vinegar to 2 gallons of warm/hot water and changed the buckets frequently. After the first wash, I mixed up my second full unit of grout and continued spreading while the helpers waited to start the final wash on the first section. The shiny epoxy haze was very apparent even after the first wash.

An hour after the first wash we checked the first section and it seemed like the grout wasn't very stiff so we didn't want to start washing and messing up the joints. We waited another 30-40 minutes and it seemed to be stiffer so we started the final wash. We used the white handled scrub pads and used the sponge to wipe up. By this time I had finished spreading the second full unit.

We spent the rest of the day washing as appropriate with the directions. At one point we thought we had it fully cleaned, but when I went back to one of the first sections with a direct light over it you could see the shiny haze, it was even still a little tacky. At this point I didn't think the sponge was picking up the film so we used the scrub pad and then buffed it dry with old bath towels. This did a great job and removed all the shiny haze.

In the end it turned out great. The color darkened dramatically and matched the sample very closely. We had to scrub and wipe a little more than I expected but it eventually cleaned up fine and looks great. I came up about 10 sq. ft short on coverage, but I think it was b/c of how deep the grout joints were. I've got a mini unit on order to finish up, but don't expect any issues.
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Unread 03-19-2014, 04:16 PM   #10
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Good deal Brian, Glad you had helpers that did make the difference with the big tubs.
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