Epoxy tile grout is a durable, stain-resistant substance used to fill in the spaces between rows when installing tile. Epoxy grout is different in its make-up and offers some useful properties that regular grouts do not. It is most commonly used for projects that require a more impervious surface, such as those exposed to grease, chemicals, or high amounts of traffic. While epoxy tile grout is very strong and even essential in some cases, it does have some downsides that make it undesirable in certain situations.
Epoxy tile grout is made up of epoxy resin and a hardener. The epoxy element makes this grout resistant to stains, chemicals and acids. It also has low water absorption and a higher compressive strength than concrete and is available in sanded and unsanded varieties. It will resist damage much better than regular cement grout and is often essential in commercial and industrial areas. In residential settings, it is most often used for tile countertops or backsplashes and, occasionally, high-traffic floor areas.
In some cases, the benefits of epoxy tile grout make it invaluable, but it does come with a price. Epoxy grout can easily cost four times as much as traditional grout. It is also more difficult to work with and many tile installers will charge more when asked to use it. Older epoxy grouts had to be used within 45 minutes of mixing and were difficult to work with. Newer versions have detergents mixed in that make them a little bit easier to work with and clean up.
Epoxy tile grout comes with significant benefits and downsides. The difficult installation and expense are well worth it for areas that require its strength and substance resistance. In addition, some homeowners prefer it for their residential projects despite the added complications. It is extremely durable and easy to keep clean, which may prove worth the initial effort with long-term use. Another benefit is that, barring any extreme temperatures, it will last forever in a sealed container; cement grouts have a shelf life of only a year.
There are also some newer formulas of epoxy tile grout that are combined with the cement of traditional grouts. These mixtures do not provide the complete stain and chemical resistance that full epoxy tile grouts do, but they are a good combination of the two types. They have more strength and durability than plain cement grouts with less expense and difficulty of use than epoxy grouts.