giving up on epoxy grout


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Old 05-02-12, 12:28 PM
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giving up on epoxy grout

I am a home owner working on a DIY re-tile project around the tub/shower (novice, second job i've attempted). My mindset was longterm as I see myself in this house for at least 15 years. I decided to go with epoxy grout. This is turning out to be harder than I thought to work with. I got about 1/3 of the wall done, when the epoxy started to harden and get sticky. It would no longer spread and I quickly cleaned up and stopped to think this over. My question is, do I have to finish the entire wall with epoxy grout? Or can I go to "standard" grout and finish the 2/3 of the wall? Thanks, in advance, for the feedback.
 
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Old 05-02-12, 05:01 PM
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I think color rendition will be your only problem. If you can find a normal grout, in an acceptable color, yeah, I'd ditch the epoxy stuff. Of course you could cut out the remainder of the grout and do it all in sanded grout, but that's a lot of work.
 
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Old 05-02-12, 05:34 PM
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I think you need to use one product for the entire area. Either stick with epoxy or remove the epoxy you installed and re-do it all with traditional grout. Since you got 1/3 done with epoxy I'd say finish it. Epoxy grout can be very difficult to remove. If you try to remove it, sooner is better than later. As it cures it becomes more permanent and difficult to remove.

Epoxy grout applies a bit differently than traditional grouts (though they really don't tell you that on the label). I don't think it spreads as well and the liquid epoxy really sticks to the surface of the tile. With larger tiles instead of blobbing it on and then working it at a 45 degree angle I like to apply it only to the joint areas. I either use a grout bag or a hock and trowel to pack the epoxy grout into the joints. With small, glossy tiles I think it's better to stick with the traditional method.

You were wise to stop once it thickened. You can push it a bit but once it starts to kick you'd better think of clean-up. The cure rate of most epoxies is heavily dependant on temperature. If you can't work fast enough to get the epoxy down before it thickens you can mix a smaller batch or refrigerate or freeze the components before mixing. Very thoroughly mix them when they are still cold and then work fast. You can even float your mixing container in a bucket of ice water to keep it cool. Only apply (remove from the mixing container) what you can quickly apply. Once you start applying it to the tile it quickly warms and the curing commences.
 

Last edited by Pilot Dane; 05-03-12 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 05-03-12, 03:58 PM
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What they said, tear out what you did, or keep going. But first, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR EPOXY GROUT!!!!! They are very explicit about working time, and what happens if you go past that work time. Once it sets, YOU ARE DONE!!! There is no wiping off the haze or anything else for that matter.
 
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Old 05-04-12, 04:20 PM
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Thanks everyone for their feedback. I picked up another bucket of the epoxy grout (Ceg lite) and made some adjustments. I got two buckets of cold water (threw some ice in there for good measure) and got two sponges ready (only needed one on my second attempt). After I mixed the batch, I put half in a large zip-lock bag and put it in the freezer. I think the key adjustment was that I took Dane's suggestion and used a grout bag. Instead of spreading the grout over the face of a tiles, I concentrated on squeezing it into the joints and used the epoxy float (epoxy floats are more dense and rigid than regular premium float) to work it in. It worked wonders and cut my clean up time as well. The cold water helped for keeping the sponge from gunking up. I finished almost 90% of the wall with first half the batch. When I pulled the other half batch from the freezer, it was still pliable. I put it in the grout bag (which started to harden at this point) and finished the wall with a lot of grout to spare. Thanks, again, all.

And like Bill said, once the epoxy starts to set, you are done! The stuff is nasty. Sticky and hard to clean. And overnight, it's solid. Lesson of the day, work smarter, not harder.
 
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Old 05-05-12, 12:20 PM
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I am glad to hear you got it to work out. It's different (difficult) to work with but once you're done that's it. I'm sure you will tire of the tile before the epoxy grout wears out.
 
 

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