Epoxy grout question

I am about to use Laticrete's SpectraLock epoxy grout on a kitchen blacksplash. 4.25" square glazed tile, 1/16th grout line. I have the "narrow grout line" additive.
I've done several tile jobs in the past, including floors, counters, tub, shower, walls, but I've always used conventional grout.
Does anyone have experience with this grout? Advice? Tips and/or tricks?
DJ
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I grouted my countertops with epoxy and didn't care for it. Unlike the nice, smooth easy-spreading conventional grout, epoxy spreads like hot bubble gum, is a pain in the ass to remove the excess and, oh yeah, stains like regular grout anyway.
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Try www.johnbridge.com for great tile advice.
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DJ wrote:

Experience? Yes, but you don't. Stick to conventional grout.
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G Henslee wrote:

I checked out their website regarding this product and in fairness I should add I haven't used this particular product. I don't know what Laticrete has done to make it easier to install than epoxy grout, but maybe they're onto something. It's touted to be 'easy' for the first time diy'er and easy to use as cement based grout, so let us know how it goes for you.
This is interesting: "A new design component, LATICRETE SpectraLOCK Dazzle, adds metallics or “glow in the dark” enhancements to the grouts."
The kids will like that aspect of it...
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wrote:

Pray tell, how is one to gain experience if one does not try new endeavors? None of us would even be here to have this discussion had our parents not been a bit adventurous at some point in their lives. <G>

Well, right off the top, I'd say it is not quite as easy as conventional grout, but manageable. I would not necessarily recommend it for someone's very first tile job.
Reading the instructions it gives a working time of 30 minutes, a bit further it says to begin cleanup within 20 minutes. With those time constraints in mind, I called in the friend who had helped me with the cabinets and counters. He didn't have any tiling experience but I figured he could follow behind and at least start the cleanup. Knowing what I do now, I would not try it without another person there to help.
Mixed per instructions, which says to add the "narrow grout line additive" for joints less than 1/8" and hold out some of the sand/color Part C. One of the AB epoxy parts had a congealed lump in it, I ignored it, left it in the bag. The instructions say to "mix to consistency", whatever that means.
Once mixed, which took some effort, the consistency was pretty thick, more like a stiff, dry mortar mix than what I'm used to with grout.
Directions say to wet surface of tile which made quite a bit of difference in how the grout would or would not stick to the glazed surface and how easily the float floated across the surface. I used a float designed for epoxy, much stiffer than a normal float. I really don't think a normal float would have worked nearly as well.
It definitely takes some effort to get the grout into the joints, glad I had the stiff float. I did about 4 feet and asked if my helper would like to try it. He had watched me and I gave him a few hints, he picked it up right away.
Once he worked his way over a bit, I started behind him with the cleanup. Directions say to add 1/2 cup white vinegar to 2 gal. of water. As soon as I started, the excess grout began to turn white, as did the grout in the joints. Wipe, rinse, wipe, rinse, new water etc. I must admit, at first I was a bit worried, it looked like crap for a while, but gradually it began to clean off nicely.
My buddy was doing such a good job I just let him continue. Actually it was much more work grouting than cleaning up. This was on a back splash, 4.25" square tile, 1/16" joint, cabinets and counter already installed, leaning over, fair amount of muscle involved, I gotta bad back...
I sorta pulled a Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer on him, but he didn't mind and it left me to go about the detail work on cleanup.
Directions say to begin final cleanup with dishwasher detergent and water within 2 hrs. The grout definitely has an oily factor to it and again, in the beginning, it didn't appear the cleaning solution was getting it all off. Wipe, rinse, wipe, rinse, new water etc. Finally it did quite well, leaving a slight oily haze. I tried some Windex type window cleaner on the haze and lo and behold I was left with a clean, shiny surface. It helped that I had a bright shop light to illuminate the tile, easy to see where it was clean and where it needed some more work. Pay attention to the edges/margins, it's easy to miss some in that area.
We were about 50 minutes into it when the grout started to stiffen to the point it would no longer go into the joint easily. We only had a couple of feet left to go. Although one mini unit was spec'd to do the entire area, I'd purchased an extra one in case we ran out of working time.
I was about to mix up the other batch when I thought, "Hmmm, if water will remove/dissolve the epoxy, why not try adding a few drops of water to the mix to loosen it a bit. I tried it on a small amount of grout and asked helper to see if it worked okay. It did, so I added a very small amount of water to the remaining grout in the bucket. That extended it well enough to finish.
We can't tell the difference where the regular mix stops and the water extended grout began. All this was yesterday, looks great today.
Would I use it again? Yes, if the application called for it. The color, Copper Beech, came out exactly the way I wanted and perfectly matches the tile. The grout is pretty dark, if it's going to stain it will have to be light stains. The color is slightly darker than it looks here:
http://www.spectralock.com/lifestylecolors.shtml
It's hard as a rock now, I hope I never have to dig any of it out...
The colors are not very true in this photo, not nearly as red as it appears in reality and the variation in individual tiles are not nearly as apparent in reality:
http://www.spodefest.net/images/kit_2b.jpg
BTW, that's not green slime on the micro, just a reflection from outside the window.
Thanks to all who replied, great NG we have here!
David
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DJ wrote:

Thanks for posting the product report.
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We did a small wall mural behind a stove with SpectraLock. I think it took 1/2 to 2/3rds of a mini-unit.
I don't think it's as easy to use as they claim but everything came out well in the end and it seems to be holding up very well. If you're doing a large area, note that the times in the instructions are accurate. The working time of the stuff is only about 30 minutes and you need to be cleaning at 20.
I took a quick look at the instructions again to refresh my memory and noticed that they say to wet the tiles before starting. I'm not sure we did so that may have led to some of the cleanup difficulty we had. I'd definitely wet them if I was working with it again.
The only other difficulty I remember having was mixing A and B. One of the parts had chunks in the pouch and it took a bit of effort to dig them out and mix them back in. There isn't much material to work with in the mini-unit. I'm not sure if it was old or what but I didn't think it had been for sale that long at the time.
Make sure to leave out some of the part C powder in exchange for the narrow joint additive.
Doug
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I did it on my granite tile counter 3 months ago. It works fine, and is pretty easy to do. I did most of it within 30 minutes. But I did few patches one hour after the mix. Everything worked fine. I don't really see any difference from the regular grout in terms of application method.
SpectraLock is similar to, but not exactly epoxy. It is much stronger than regular grout. My only complaint is that it is sanded grout. While itself maybe stain resistent, we often pour flours and like on the counter. It is difficult to clean that up with a brush. Maybe we should use wired brush. But not sure if grout would withstand that.
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