Epoxy Grout

There are some settings — notably those exposed to acids and greases — in which even an additive-enhanced, sealed grout falls short. Such harsh conditions call for epoxy grout. Made up of two parts, resin and hardener, epoxy grout comes in both sanded and unsanded varieties and is impervious to most chemicals and stains. Early epoxies were unforgiving and difficult to apply, and had just a 45-minute pot life. This made them fast to cure but slow to be embraced by many tile setters, and anathema to beginners. The new generation of epoxies contain detergents in the hardeners, which make for quick cleanup with water and improve workability. Because epoxy can discolor porous surfaces, such as unglazed quarry tiles or limestone, these should be sealed before grouting. But its stain resistance, hardness, and durability make epoxy grout the best choice for applications such as kitchen counters, backsplashes, floors, and other heavy-traffic areas. Epoxy grout is expensive — as much as $8 per pound, compared with $1 to $2 for cement-based grout — but there is an upside to the cost differential: Powdered Portland cement grouts have a shelf life of only one year, while two-part liquid epoxies, if they are not subjected to freezing temperatures, will last forever in their sealed containers.
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