Epoxy grout is used in cases where conditions are too harsh for other grouts and sealants to withstand. It is impervious to most chemicals and is great at resisting stains and moisture. Although it is great due to its durability, it has its own disadvantages. So, what are the problems with epoxy grout?
A major problem with epoxy grout is that it stains and discolors porous surfaces such as unglazed tiles. Some types such as acrylic epoxy grout turn yellow easily and can make your floors and tile joints look stained. Also, since it dries fast, it leaves behind tiny holes after application.
I’ve discussed these issues below, so keep in mind that epoxy grout is expensive compared to alternatives, causes floor discoloration, and dries fast, making it hard to work with.
What is epoxy grout?
Epoxy is made of two parts resin and hardener, which come in both sanded and unsanded varieties. These ingredients make epoxy grout able to withstand harsh conditions, making it one of the best grouts. Its strength and general performance make it suitable for both outdoor and indoor jobs.
Epoxy grout locks tiles tight, protecting your subfloor from moisture damage and protects them from cracking and chipping as it acts as a bond between the tiles.
Problems of Epoxy Grout (Disadvantages)
Although it’s one of the best grouts in the market, Epoxy grout also has its setbacks. First, the cost of purchasing Epoxy grout is very high.
It also has chemicals that cause discoloration of your tiles if they are not properly sealed or if you let it sit for long or apply too much of it. Always work fast when dealing with epoxy grout because it dries really fast.
Epoxy grout is expensive
On average, epoxy grout costs $8 per pound compared to $2 per pound for the normal cement-based grout. In addition to the high cost being a problem of epoxy grout, it also costs the installer more time for installation and clean-up. These hours may translate into more hours of labor, which can be costly.
As you can see, the cost of epoxy grout can be as high as 4 times that of conventional grouts. You only want to use it when it is absolutely necessary.
It discolors the floor and porous tiles
Discoloration of grout is a common problem when using white epoxy grout. The most common causes of epoxy grout discolorations are:
- Chemicals are found in toiletries like shampoos, soaps, hair dyes, and other personal items.
- Polymers found in sealers and waxes discolor over time, causing yellowing.
- Some tiles such as white marble contain iron which over time bleeds into the grout and oxidizes it causing yellowing.
- Cigarette smoke that settles on grout lines can turn the grout yellow over time.
- Dirty mops and dirty cleaning water.
The discoloration and yellowing of epoxy grout is, however, not permanent, since you can restore the appearance of the floor by cleaning up and repairing the epoxy and the stained areas.
If the grout is in good condition and is not falling apart, the following methods and reagents may be used to clean it:
- Vinegar Epoxy grout remover
- Homemade Alkaline grout joint cleaner.
- Steam cleaner for the most notorious stains that the above methods won’t be able to remove.
It is better to take precautions or the necessary measures to protect your floor. Discontinue using some products if you have to and maybe smoke outside if that’s what’s causing your epoxy tile joints to discolor.
Epoxy grout is hard to work with
Epoxy grout demands installers to work fast. It dries faster compared to other types of grouts. Sometimes pinholes appear after application. Usually, because of its consistency, it traps bubbles just below the surface, and when the air bubbles begin to rise they break through the surface creating little holes.
Also, due to drying faster when the tiles around the area being applied are not well sealed, chemicals in the epoxy grout may make them discolored. To protect your tiles, work fast and wipe the grout off in the specified time bracket.
I’ve found that the clean-up process is quite demanding, which is a major drawback with epoxy grout compared to the normal cement grout. In fact, the grout dries too fast, so if you don’t clean up the messes immediately, you’ll end up with stubborn stains to remove.
Advantages of epoxy grout
Epoxy grout might have its drawbacks, but the pros beat the cons. The initial purchase price might be expensive but it is a long-term solution compared to other cheaper options. Epoxy grout is moisture, stain, and chemical resistant making it a good solution in harsh conditions. It is easy to clean and requires minimum maintenance.
Due to its two-part structure (resin and hardener), it has the ability to withstand chemicals, stains, and moisture, it makes epoxy grout stronger and more durable than other grouts.
Its design is to perform excellently in harsh conditions, which gives it the ability to last longer in the normal home environment. Once you apply it, you won’t have to reapply for several years.
Epoxy grout is nonporous and moisture resistant. Coffee and wine stains and other acidic liquids wont leave stains or discolor it. This feature makes it a good fit for kitchens basements and bathrooms.
Other advantages of Epoxy grout are:
- It is moisture, mold & mildew resistant.
- Chemical resistant.
- Low maintenance cost.
Epoxy grout alternatives
It is difficult to find an exact match to epoxy grout because it’s a product that extremely stands out. However, some grouts come close and can be used as alternatives.
It is a single component grout, made from either an acrylic resin or urethane. If you are on a budget, Acrylic grout might just do the job for you. Just like epoxy grout, it is quite durable also requires minimum maintenance, chemical, moisture, and stain-resistant.
Does epoxy grout need to be sealed?
Epoxy grout does not need to be sealed because it is nonporous and can be used in areas that are water-prone without the danger of moisture and mold damage. Grout sealing means adding a component to the grout to make it moisture, mildew resistant.
Where to use epoxy grout
The fact that epoxy grout is moisture and stain-resistant makes it a perfect fit for Kitchen floors. Water and dirt is always pouring on the floor but it won’t leave stains or get moisture attacks
Epoxy grout is chemical resistant. Soaps and detergents have chemicals that might “eat” the grout but because of the components in Epoxy grout, it can survive such conditions.
- Pebble floors
- Porcelain tile
- Shower walls
- Bathroom tiles
Is epoxy grout worth it? (My Review)
Generally, even with the above-discussed drawbacks associated with epoxy grout, cost, discoloration, and everything, epoxy grout is worth every coin. It might be expensive to purchase it initially but the cost of maintenance is minimum.
It does not require to be sealed after some time and could last for years without the need for replacement. It performs great in harsh conditions hence very durable. There is no fear of stains and moisture attacks.
READ NEXT: Disadvantages of Epoxy Flooring