If you have read anything on either of my websites you should know that I tell everyone on the face of the planet who will listen (all three of them) that Laticrete’s SpectraLOCK is the only epoxy grout I will use – period. So rather than just talk smack I’m gonna show you why.
You see the bottom of that logo up there? The part that says ‘Grout that Locks in Color and Blocks Out Stains’? I’m going to put that to the test. And being the kind of warped individual I am – I’m gonna do it in the most ridiculous, convincing way I know how.
Since I have kids I happen to know what the most vile, dangerous, and toxic staining substance on the face of the planet actually is. It is not red wine, a sharpie, or grape juice. Not even close.
It’s cherry kool-aid.
If you have kids you know exactly what I’m talking typing about. If I even set my beer Pepsi near a cup of cherry kool-aid it turns pink through either osmosis or sheer fright, I’m not sure which. This stuff is brutal. I’m fairly certain kool-aid consists of toxic radiation and sugar. The toxic radiation is purchased in powdered form and my kids add about 3 lbs. of sugar per quart.
They like their radiation sweet.
After grouting one of my showers with SpectraLOCK’s #89 ‘Smoke Grey’ grout I created little grout cakes. Since I wasn’t hungry I decided to test the stain resistance of SpectraLOCK, just because I can. And, because I tell all of my customers that they should choose SpectraLOCK, I should have something to back up my preference rather than the ease of installation – that simply makes my job easier.
To the right you will see a photo of two of my grout cakes (I’m gonna copyright that term) and a small bowl of toxic radiation cherry kool-aid. Normally when I place something light colored like that next to a bowl of cherry kool-aid it starts to tremble with fear. SpectraLOCK grout cakes do not tremble – ever. They just sat there with a smirk as if to say ‘yeah, so…?’
Now, normally it takes about .0314159 seconds for just about anything to permanently stain when placed anywhere in the vicinity of cherry kool-aid, let alone actually soaking in it.
So I carefully calculated the ideal amount of time to leave the grout cake soaking and after a lot of beer thought I decided that to get an overly-realistic sense of how stain-resistant SpectraLOCK actually is I would leave it in there for … two weeks.
Hey, I have a job. I don’t have a lot of time to watch grout soak in kool-aid.
In all of the photos below the cake that was soaked in kool-aid is the one on the left. It’s fairly obvious but I don’t want to be vague.
So, after two weeks … I’ve done it! I’ve actually stained SpectraLOCK! Well, I’ve colored it anyway. So to see whether or not it actually stained I needed to try to un-color it. (You can go ahead and copyright that term if you wanna)
To get rid of the pretty pink color I decided to use Oxy-clean, which is available just about everywhere. The active ingredient in Oxy-clean is oxygen bleach and it is great for getting most stains out of most things provided it is only dirty or ‘colored’ like our grout cake up there.
I did not scrub, brush, or otherwise attempt manual cleaning of the grout cake during any of this. I simply mixed some Oxy-clean and water and let the grout cake soak in it for three hours then rinsed it off. After about three hours oxygen bleach basically loses its effectiveness since most of the extra oxygen molecules (which is how it works) are gone. It’s simply water and soda ash at that point.
So after one soaking and rinse …
Not quite as red but still a pretty pink hue to the SpectraLOCK. Given that all I did was let it soak for a while and rinse it I find that to be fairly impressive nonetheless.
So I did it again…
That is impressive to me! It tells me that the coloring of the cherry kool-aid (I’m still convinced its toxic radiation) did not actually stain the grout but rather was only sitting on the surface in the pits and dips of the ‘cake’.
So I did it one more time…
Yeah, that’s nearly the same color as it started. If you look closely you can still see a very slight pink tinge to the grout cake on the left but for all intents and purposes I believe it to be the original color. And that could probably be eliminated by another one or two soakings or, you know, actually scrubbing it.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure some may think that this is a post about the effectiveness of oxygen bleach. Well, it is that too. But, I will tell you that it does not get cherry kool-aid out of everything – that’s how I know cherry kool-aid is actually toxic radiation. Once something is actually stained the color becomes a part of whatever it has stained – chemically. Oxygen bleach will not remove that. Believe me, I’ve tried.
And before I start getting all the ‘well oxygen bleach IS bleach – duh!’ hate mail – it actually isn’t (bleach). It will not ‘bleach’ the color out of anything, it simply removes dirt and surface stains from stuff. It does this by releasing oxygen molecules when mixed with water which then attach to the stain and released it from whatever you are attempting to clean. It will only do this if it is not actually ‘stained’ but rather only has the stain on the surface. Bleach actually removes the color, oxygen bleach does not. You can use it on your dainty red unmentionables if you want.
So it is my conclusion that yes, SpectraLOCK grout is actually stain resistant – and then some. The claim that SpectraLOCK ‘locks in color and blocks out stains’ isn’t just hype. I’m absolutely certain that if cherry kool-aid will not permanently discolor it after two weeks fully submerged that your kitchen backsplash, entry floor, and shower tile will be nearly bulletproof. I’m absolutely confident that if you clean your tile with any regularity it will continue to look brand new for a very long time.
So now when you see the Laticrete SpectraLOCK advertisement of a tiled floor with a glass of wine spilled on it you now know it isn’t just a marketing ploy – they really did that. And I really did this – with cherry kool-aid.
Because wine isn’t made with toxic radiation.