It is fair to say that, even today, cementitious grouts are still the contractors and builders’ favourite. Historically epoxy grouts have always been perceived as difficult to work with, hard to apply, even worse to wash down, and a nightmare when residues are difficult to remove.
Countering this is the growing popularity of epoxy grout finishes due to necessary hygiene requirements relating to Covid-19, and the fact that they are now easier to work with than ever. Because of evolving technologies being invested in for their development, many epoxy grouts have EC1 Plus status under GEV requirements relating to VOC emissions. All this means that they are far more user-friendly and kinder to the client as well as more importantly the environment.
Unlike cement-based grouts, which are made from a cementitious powder mix, epoxy grout is made from epoxy resins and fillers. The grout is extremely durable and is completely waterproof. Normal cement-based grouts are water-resistant, and therefore they will absorb water when they are dampened, which in turn means they can stain easily when in contact with pigmented liquids such as wine, coffee and fruit juice. There are a range of proprietary cleaning products to help resolve this issue, however none which would compare to the inherent stain resistance of an epoxy grout.
Epoxy grouts, also known as reactive resin grouts, provide a huge range of benefits which can cover many different applications. The impermeable characteristics of epoxy make it ideal for situations where hygiene is of the utmost importance, such as hospitals, commercial kitchens, and food production facilities. Increasingly epoxy grouting is being sought in external applications where a durable, waterproof grouting system is required to patios or terraces where indoor/outdoor “follow through” tiling is being sought by domestic homeowners. Other advantages to take into consideration here are the improved compressive and mechanical strength characteristics of an epoxy grout, greater UV stability and overall quality of finish when compared to a cement-based grout.
For those looking to achieve a more unique and eye-catching finish internally in shower or wet room areas, there are highly decorative epoxy grouts. Mapei are now introducing Kerapoxy Easy Design with a colour pallet of 40 colours, (including 12 that are brand new to Mapei’s coloured grout range), and beyond this the introduction of Mapecolor Metallic to be incorporated into translucent epoxy grout to give a specialised finish, particularly effective with glass tiles and mosaics, that is more environmentally friendly.
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