Stain Proof grouts
I know what you are thinking: Stainproof grout has over-promise and under-deliver written all over it. But these grouts are the best performing grouts when it comes to absorbency. They’re not cementitious so they don’t fade over time, they don’t need to be sealed, they are color consistent, and non-porous.
As far as installation this kind of grout is the most difficult to install, are the most expensive, usually take the most time to install, and can be difficult to clean up during the installation. Keep in mind these grouts are not dirt-proof or cleaning-proof. But when cleaned the whites turn back to white and not some sort of dingy form of white.
Epoxy[box type=”shadow” align=”alignleft” class=”” width=”140px”]Fun fact: You can add a “Dazzle” ingredient to Spectralock and make the grout glitter or glow in the dark![/box]
Probably the toughest of any kind of the grout, stain proof or otherwise. Epoxies are extremely hard and durable. The are used in commercial kitchens and can be exposed to the harshest environments. They never need to be sealed. Typically work for grout joints 1/16th-1/2 inch.
These are the most difficult to install and the most difficult to clean after the installation if something was missed or not washed thoroughly. Epoxies must be mixed in full batches and spread all at once. If you don’t move quickly enough you will waste some of the expensive product or maybe spread too big of an area and not be able to get it all cleaned before it sets up.
They also can yellow in UV light (sunlight). My personal experience is that they are the most difficult kind of grout to get “full in the joint”. They typically want to wash down too far and create too deep of a grout joint.
All the big companies make an epoxy grout but the most popular residential epoxy is Spectralock by Laticrete. Make sure to get Spectralock Pro Premium. It makes a difference.
The category of grout with the worst name. The first generation of these grouts were made from urethane but the newer single component stain proof grouts are some sort of siliconized acrylic (or something; they don’t tell you exactly). So we can’t just refer to all of them as “urethane grout” anymore.
Most of the popular stain proof grouts that are actually urethane are owned by a company called Bostik. They own Quartzlock2, Dimension, Starquartz (I think this is now Dimension), and Trucolor. Dimension is a translucent grout that is made for glass tile installations. The newer single component grouts that are not made of urethane are Fusion and Flexcolor CQ.
These come in a bucket that can be resealed. You don’t have to use a full batch at a time. You can use however much you want and put the lid on and stop. Although cleaning during installation can be an issue, much like epoxies, these grouts seem to have an “antidote” to them that make the cleanup easier.
For the urethane grouts like Quartzlock2, Bostik makes a cleaner called Blaze (edit: Apparently it’s not called Blaze anymore). After the grout is dry you can use this cleaner to clean up any grout haze that may have been missed during the initial cleaning. To clean up Flexcolor CQ, Mapei recommends their Heavy Duty Stone, tile, and grout cleaner. For Fusion, CBP recommends four different cleaners. Personally, I’ve found that Lift-off Latex Paint Remover works great!
Not for pebble tile, steam showers, or submerged (like fountains)
The best stain proof grout is…
[box type=”shadow” align=”alignright” class=”” width=”300px”]Glass Tile: When installing glass tile the best kinds of grout would be either a cement grout or a single component. The single component has increased flexiblility and some even come in translucent colors. Epoxies tend to be too inflexible for glass and can yellow over time from UV light.[/box]
well…it depends. I prefer the single component “urethane” types and I think for most DIY’ers that they are the better way to go. They are easier to apply (my opinion), you’re not forced to use an entire batch at one time, you can touch them up later without buying and mixing an entire batch, and I think they are easier to clean up if you miss spots from the initial install. But you can’t use them everywhere- especially pebble tile.
I prefer Fusion over the others but Flexcolor CQ, while being a bit newer, has received good reviews also. Another advantage of Fusion and Flexcolor is that their respective companies have color matching 100% silicone caulks to go with the colors whereas Bostik’s urethanes don’t. Spectralock also has matching silicone colors.
In my opinion, single component grouts have struck the best balance between ease of use, best appearance, and top performance. But the most important thing is to use the right grout for the right application.
Update (9/2017): There have been a number of reports of problems associated with the single component grouts. I have several projects that I’ve used these grouts on and haven’t had one issue. Even after checking back on the projects.
However, for the time being, I am currently recommending not using the single component grout on shower floors.
If you desire a stain-proof grout I recommend an epoxy grout such as Spectralock.
Which grout do you prefer? Share your experiences with these grouts or others in the comments below.