Grout is one of the essential components when finishing most construction projects but most property owners only worry about it when it fails. Grouts are used to reinforce existing structures, fill voids under machines or structural elements, seal joints, and surfaces, among other uses. Whether you have a new build or a renovation project to build a home office, you’ll need to use grouting in multiple applications.
The choice of grouting is critical in determining the quality of your finished work. The two most popular grouting choices are epoxy-based and cement-based. This post explores these grouting materials to help you make the right decision.
Cement grout comprises a cementitious powder mix. This is a mixture of sand and water and comes in different varieties including sanded, un-sanded varieties. The sanded grout is mortar with sand added into it and it boasts extra strength to your joints. Sanded cement grout works best for grout lines over 1/8 of an inch.
Unsanded (non-sanded) grout is a mixture of water, cement, and non-sand materials. This is best used for joints under 1/8 of an inch. The lack of abrasive quality of sand makes this grouting weaker. If you use non-sanded grout in larger grout joints, there’s a big risk of shrinking and other damage to your surfaces.
While they’re popular in construction projects, cementitious grouts are porous and stain easily. Your contractor recommends sealing after the initial application dries. In areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms, this is not the most recommended grout system as it’s prone to water damage.
Epoxy grout has become a popular alternative to cement-based grouts and for a good reason. This grout has two parts; resin and hardener and you can choose between sanded and unsanded varieties. The biggest quality of epoxy grout is the fact that it’s impervious to most chemicals and stains.
If you’re tiling or fixing cavities in areas prone to chemical spills or staining, epoxy grout is the best solution. The grout system is more expensive and while the earlier grouts were difficult to apply, you’ll find products on the market that come with detergents in the hardeners. This makes it easier to work with the grout and also clean it after the job.
Because of their stain resistance, hardness, and durability, epoxy grouts are now the most popular option for tiling in moisture-prone and heavy-traffic areas. From kitchens, patios, bathrooms, floors, counters, to backsplashes, epoxy grout is a versatile choice.
Epoxy vs Cement Grout
When deciding between cement-based and epoxy-based grout, consider these factors:
- Cement grout shrinks over time unlike epoxy grout which retains its shape and doesn’t crack.
- Cement grout is lightweight and not suitable for heavy-traffic areas.
- Cement grout is highly porous and not resistant to chemicals or liquid spills and staining. Epoxy grout is a non-porous material and isn’t affected by chemicals or other materials
- Epoxy offers more durability which lowers the long-term cost unlike cement grouting which deteriorates with time and requires regular maintenance.
Whatever your project, the choice of grout is critical. With this insight on both epoxy and cement grouts, you can make a better choice and choose the right grouting