Epoxy vs. Cement Grout — What’s the Difference?

Epoxy grout has become more and more popular among tile contractors and builders. I find new benefits every time I use this product. Unlike cement grout, which is made from a cementitious powder mix, epoxy grout is made from epoxy resins and a filler powder. The grout is extremely durable and almost completely stain-proof. Regular grout isn’t waterproof, so unlike epoxy grout, it can absorb water when it’s wet and stain easily. If you’re tired of scrubbing the gunk off of your grout, epoxy grout could be your solution.

Epoxy grout is made from two different resins mixed with a filler, making it very waterproof and bettered suited to harsher cleaning products. Epoxy thinsets offer greater bond strength and chemical resistance than cementitious grouts.

Although it has plenty of benefits, note that epoxy grout is more difficult to work with than regular grout. It also tends to look like plastic, which some homeowners don’t like.

Regular grout is very easy to shape in outside corners where tile wraps around a wall, curb or shower niche. It is harder to achieve the same effect with epoxy grout, since it takes a little longer to set up in the grout joint.

I find it makes the most sense to grout a bathroom in three to five rounds. Epoxy grout sets quickly, so you don’t want to mix all the grout for the bathroom and then rush it into place.

Epoxy grout haze or residue on tile surfaces has a glossy sheen. Make sure your installer cleans your tile properly before and after grouting to avoid this.

The time necessary to clean the tile and the high price tag (it often costs three to fives times more than regular grout) can make some installers hesitant to work with epoxy grout.

Some epoxy grouts are designed just for glass tile. Many brands have a regular epoxy and a special glass tile epoxy, too. The difference is in the filler part of the grout. The filler for glass tiles is finer, so it won’t scratch delicate tiles.

Tip: Matching the grout to your tile color (or to the lightest-colored tile, like in this shower) makes for a seamless installation. There’s less forgiveness with contrasting grout colors; unless the tile installation is perfect, a contrasting grout will highlight the changes in grout width.

Brown, tan and mocha-colored grouts are hard to get right with regular grout. Many people are drawn to epoxy grout for its even color. The color of epoxy grout comes from the filler and is constant throughout. Regular grout can have its pigment removed during the cleaning phase.

You can make epoxy grouts sparkle by adding iridescent particles to your mix. Ask your contractor to prepare a sample board in advance to see how much sparkle you really want. The options are endless — you can even fine-tune colors by purchasing different fillers and blending them.

Tip: Medium gray is the safest color choice for regular grout, because many installations gray out over time as soap and water take their toll.

Although opinions differ, I’m not a fan of using a regular grout sponge with epoxy grout. The slightly coarser epoxy grout sponges tend to remove excess epoxy grout from the tile surface much better.

Using an epoxy grout is completely different than using regular grout; no step is the same. From mixing to application to cleaning, epoxy grouting has its own set of rules. Make sure your bathroom professional has experience with the product and ask for a grout sample board before installation begins.

When it comes to your grout needs, come on over to PlumbTile. Our expert employees will be able to help you match your flooring with the perfect grout or epoxy. They will be able to answer all of your questions and help transform your house into that perfect home.