Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Love Story

Yesterday was a day that will forever change my DIY life.  It's a bold statement yes, but I am telling you that one trip to Lowe's was enough to do it.  You see, after Saturday's grouting issues, we took a step back for a bit.  We luckily immediately stopped grouting on Saturday when we noticed a potential issue, and thank goodness we did.  On Sunday, we woke up to discover that our grout lines looked like a patchwork quilt.  In a six inch span we had transitions of grout lines going from white to dark grey.  It was awful.  We did a bit of online research and found that many people complained of this in the Home Depot reviews of the grout that we were using.  In some cases, the issue resolved itself with time, but in others the grout had to be removed and re-done.  Knowing that we had only completed a 5 x 5 foot area of our floor, we quickly decided to cut out all of this grout and start again with a new product.

Our handy dandy grout cutter to the rescue once again!


I don't know if it is because we cut out the grout so soon after it was laid or what, but this was actually much easier than we expected.  Between Eric and I, we were done in 30 minutes.

Back to square one, we started doing our research.  Initially, we looked at using another brand of sanded grout, but noticed that similar color consistency issues were written about in those reviews too.  In our effort to find another solution, we stumbled upon a diamond in the rough...

I give you SpectraLOCK:


SpectraLOCK is an epoxy based grout that is stain proof and mold and mildew resistant.  Sounds fabulous, right?  The only downside to it is the cost.  It is about twice as expensive as regular sanded grout (it was $50 to grout our approximately 100 square foot bathroom).  However, if you factor in that you never have to seal this grout and that it is actually easier to work with than sanded grout, I think that it pays for itself.

So, last night after work, Eric and I set out to get our bathroom grouted.  The first thing to notice with SpectraLOCK is that you do not do any mixing with water.  You simply follow the instructions included inside and add part B to part A, mixing completely and then add in part C (which gives it color) and you are good to go.  We also pre-prepped buckets with a water/vinegar mixture per the instructions for the cleaning steps of the grouting process.  After literally five minutes of prep, we were ready to grout.


Just as with sanded grout, you apply with a float and just squish product into grout lines and then scrape with your float at a 90 degree angle to remove the excess.

You do need to work quick with SpectraLOCK.  They say that the working time is 80 minutes per batch, but our house was 80 degrees at the time that we grouted and we found are working time to be about 30 minutes.  Having anticipated this, we did not mix all of our grout at the same time, but in two separate batches.


What you are left with is this kind of oily residue that is sticky.  After letting it sit for 20 minutes, we went to work cleaning.  The cleaning step is simply that you dip and then wring out a grouting sponge in a pre-prepped bucket of vinegar and water and rub onto the tiles in a circular motion.  I would do this step two tiles at a time and then clean out my sponge really well and swipe the clean sponge across the tiles in a diagonal motion.  Honestly, it seems to work like magic.  The cleaning in a circular motion tidies up the grout lines and makes them look perfect.  The diagonal swipe gets of the residual residue.

An hour after the first clean, you do a second clean in a similar fashion to the first.  It is important that you make sure that all traces of SpectraLOCK are off your tiles at this point.  If not, and you let it sit for 24 hours, you are going to have an extremely hard time getting your tiles cleaned off.

Just to put it into a frame of reference, it took us three hours to do the entire floor.


 Those my friends are some perfect grout lines.


The grout color did turn out a bit lighter that what was advertised on the box.  We bought Stone Grey and it looks more white, but I am not complaining.  I would be concerned if I had to worry about this grout staining, but in this case, it isn't a worry.  I am so happy to just be done with the grouting step and to have had it go so easily the second time around.

Honestly, I think that we will forever more be SpectraLOCK customers and no, this is not a sponsored post.  Sometimes you just get what you pay for!


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