The question usually comes up shortly after you have decided to use Argelith tiles in your facility.
“What kind of grout should I use for industrial tile?”
The answer is the dreaded “it depends.”
When you were choosing flooring for your industrial building, you learned that the effectiveness of any floor covering is affected by what is happening on it. The same holds true for installation materials. The right combination of flooring and setting material will give your business a solid foundation. The wrong combination will leave you scrambling to make repairs. Let's look at your options and where they perform best.
Cement-based, or cementitious, grouts are popular because they are attractive and affordable. In the right environment, a cementitious grout does a good job holding together the floor.
A good installer knows cement-based grouts may be affected by the weather at the time of installation. Temperature, wind and relative humidity can all have an impact on the grout’s strength and appearance.
When it’s time to mix the grout, the temperature of the materials can also matter. Major manufacturer Mapei recommends 24 hours of allowing both powdered grout and mixing water to acclimate to room temperature before mixing.
There is a downside to these strong and inexpensive grouts, however. Cement-based grouts are porous, with absorption rates typically between 5 and 18 percent. (Some high-performance grouts have lower absorption rates.) That means they are prone to staining and are not suitable for environments like bottling plants or chemical factories, where floors are subjected to large quantities of water and chemical attack. We typically recommend cementitious grouts for the automotive industry and dry manufacturing plants.
If wet floors, chemical attack or sanitation protocols are just a day in the life of your facility, you would be better served by a resin-based or epoxy grout. These high-performance grouts are chemical, stain and heat resistant, with an absorption rate around 0.4 percent – almost as low as the tiles themselves.
So why isn’t epoxy grout used all the time? It’s more expensive, for one thing, and not as easy to work with. And as you read above, not every environment needs that level of performance.
It’s important to remember that when it comes to grout, “chemical resistant” is a relative term. Epoxy grouts are not interchangeable. Each grout is formulated to perform in a specific environment, so it’s important to match your grout with the activities in your facility.