Epoxy grout - yay or nay?
July 6, 2016 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Is epoxy grout worth the extra effort and cost?

One overflowing toilet has blossomed into a full bathroom remodel and 600 sq ft of new flooring. A contractor will install about 300 sq ft of porcelain tile, on floors and in the tub surround. Is it worth it to use epoxy grout? The tile sub has used the product before so I won't be a Guinea pig. My GC is fine either way, but he has pointed out the increased cost to us. We are willing to spend more if it is a superior product. So, what opinions have you? Is installation tricky? Does it stay cleaner? Does it look like plastic? If you have it, would you do it again? Preferred brands?
posted by killy willy to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was told that it is not worth it if you are doing the job yourself because it is fiddly to work with, but worth it if you are hiring someone who knows what they are doing. I ended up doing the job myself, so no personal epoxy experience.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:52 AM on July 6, 2016

My experience says: much, much harder to put in (though, if the contractor is experienced, mitigated); did not stay appreciably cleaner or less stained in the end. It was harder to get a smooth surface than regular grout, so there were divots and troughs and features that collected dust and dirt eventually. Take this with a grain of salt -- I found it very hard to work with, so it may have been my inexperience.
posted by Dashy at 10:54 AM on July 6, 2016

We did it ourselves. If you get the contractor sized packs, use a scale to divide them up into smaller packs to make applying it easier. It was also suggested to us to cool the ingredients to give a longer open working time. Ended up having to go back and re-fill some gaps. Have someone appointed to be timekeeper and gap finder, so that you both wait long enough before going back and sponging, and have that extra set of dedicated eyes.

We applied over marble, seal it first, and I think ended up with an okay job, but, yeah, it's way harder to apply than the regular stuff. I don't know if I'd do it over marble again, but I don't think it'd be bad over tile. No idea yet on the long-term, but I think it's generally been easier to take care of.
posted by straw at 11:04 AM on July 6, 2016

I did it myself on my second tile job. I was not very experienced, but I found it plenty easy to work with. I do think it looks cleaner than the other bathroom.

I would be careful to take on a somewhat small area. I'd read the directions a few times. And I'd get your rinse water prepared ahead of time.

But in my opinion, it really wasn't that hard. (Now silicone caulk, that's the real beast, if you don't get it right on your first pass. Like working with bubblegum!)
posted by slidell at 11:21 AM on July 6, 2016

If you do it some places and not others, you might prioritize the tub surround. We skipped it there and are constantly having to scrub mildew off the grout.
posted by slidell at 11:23 AM on July 6, 2016

I used a non-grout grout while trying to repair a shower and over the months the shower water eroded it away. The product I used was probably a much lesser product than epoxy, but it's a question to ask.
posted by SemiSalt at 12:12 PM on July 6, 2016

We have it in one (half) bathroom and not in the other (full). It's harder to use than traditional grout, or at least the brand we used was, but the difficulty wasn't a deal-breaker. We just had to pay attention to the pot life and plan the work so we didn't get stuck with it curing before the job is complete.

The sealed traditional grout has shown some mildew marks over the years whereas the epoxy grout has been neigh-impermeable. We have a single tiny spot where some hair dye splashed and sat (unnoticed) but it cleaned up to where you can't even see it unless someone points out what to look for.

Ours looks almost exactly like traditional gloss-sealed grout. I'm not sure anyone but an expert could tell them apart.

Given how durable and maintenance-free it has proven, I'm now a fan. The cost difference is big enough that I wouldn't use it in a big room but for a bathroom, backsplash, high-traffic hallway, etc., I'll absolutely use it again.
posted by introp at 12:26 PM on July 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

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