Spectralock Pro PremiumAnyone who reads my blog (and lets be honest – who doesn’t?) knows that I am a diehard SpectraLOCK junkie. For those who don’t know what that is, SpectraLOCK is an epoxy grout made by Laticrete. It is stain-proof, pet-proof, and bullet-proof! (Don’t try that, it’ll really piss off the wife…) If you don’t know any of that – you need to read my blog more! :guedo: So just like everything I love – it changed.

Laticrete has recently come out with SpectraLOCK Pro Premium grout. A little birdie told me that this will replace the SpectraLOCK pro grout in the near future. Given that, I need to figure out how to use it – because it works differently than the stuff I’m used to. The difference in the workability may very well be due to the temperature, humidity, hangover flu bug, or any number of factors on the particular days I was working with it.

But it just doesn’t feel ‘normal’ to me – you know? It seems like it tightens up (gets stiff) and starts to roll out of the grout joints more quickly than the other stuff did. So, as with any installation product, if it begins to cure faster than you can use it you should just mix up smaller batches. And being the awesome DIY crowd you are – it’s probably a good idea for you to know how to do that anyway. So this is the best way I’ve found to do it.

A few basics first: SpectraLOCK is sold in different unit sizes. The base unit is called … wait for it … a FULL unit! Wait, where you goin’? This isn’t complicated like the metric system or anything, stick around. There is also the COMMERCIAL unit, which is what I buy (and you likely will not need) and it contains four full units. There is also the MINI unit – this is 1/4 of a full unit.

So: 1 commercial unit = 4 full units and 1 full unit = 4 mini units. Now, you can split up whatever you feel comfortable with, I split the full units into mini units. And this is what I’m about to show you. However, if you feel the need to split them into smaller units, or split the mini units into smaller units you can do that as well, you’ll just need to change the measurements.

When you break down the components into smaller units you need to do it by weight. I don’t see why splitting the liquids down by volume would be significantly different – but I was always told to break them down by weight. So do that. Really.

SpectraLOCK has three components, the part A and part B liquids and the part C powder. The part A is the yellow stuff in the foil bag, part B is the white stuff. Part C powder is in the carton. For this I’ll be splitting up one full unit so the bags and carton may look larger than what you have – mine’s bigger! :dance:

You want to have a scale (scrape off the *ahem* ‘illegal substances’) and some one-quart ziploc baggies (the unused ones). For a full unit you’ll want to split each liquid into four baggies. Each liquid baggie weighs a different amount! So don’t just go puttin’ the same amount of everything in all the bags, it won’t work, you’ll have 1/2lb. of the white liquid left – then whaddya gonna do?

  • Part A (foil bag) has 5 ounces of liquid in each baggie (4 baggies)
  • Part B (white liquid) has 5.2 ounces in each baggie (4 baggies)
  • Part C (powder) has 2.25 pounds in each baggie – or whatever you choose to dump it into (4 of ’em)

Just measure out all those components and zip them up. Once you’re done with that you’re ready to mix smaller batches in workable sizes. I just measure out the powder as I go along – I’m a rebel like that. 8)

AGAIN! If you have smaller units or want smaller batches you’ll have smaller measurements. You just need to weigh out what you have and split them into equal parts.

The photo above shows one full unit in the back, the two large bags and the carton, and one of the smaller units after I’ve measured them out, the two small baggies and the cup of powder. The amounts in the baggies and the cup is what you’ll be working with at one time.

To mix them just get yourself a nice clean container (scrub the beer coffee rings out of it) and add the two liquids together. Just roll up the baggie from the zipper side down until you have no room left to roll (like toothpaste) and snip off the corner of it with scissors. You can then squeeze all the liquid out of it with a minimum of mess.

Snip off the end of the bagSqueeze it out like toothpasteSnip off the tipSqueeze it out like toothpaste

 

Once you get those in there YOU NEED TO MIX THE LIQUID TOGETHER! Do that before adding the powder, or it’s gonna be one big mess you don’t wanna deal with – take my word on that. :D

MIx the liquids together before adding powder!MIx the liquids together before adding powder!

 

Once you get your liquids mixed together you can add the powder. Add about 75% of the powder first and mix it all up. Get a nice, smooth consistency, then you can add the rest of the powder. This helps get everything mixed evenly whereas if you dump it all in there and mix it you’ll spend more time getting an even mixture.

(Jesus, did I just type ‘whereas’??? I need a beer nap…)

Add about 75 percent of the powderMIx it up well
Then add the rest of the powder and MIx it up well

Here's your grout - get to it! Quickly, damnit!

And that’s it. It’s all ready to go. When you grout, fill your grout lines and begin washing the tile in about 10-15 minutes. In another 40 minutes or so you can begin the second wash. I’ve noticed with the new stuff that you’ll only have about 35-45 minutes of what I consider ‘workable’ time. It’s not like it turns into a rock after 40 minutes, but it does become considerably more difficult to work with.

If you keep your batches small enough to install in that time frame it won’t be a problem – it’s when you go past the viable working time that it starts becoming difficult.

While I have voiced my displeasure with the new mix in a place or two, after I calmed down and sobered up thought about it I realized that SpectraLOCK is still the easiest epoxy grout on the market to work with. That, coupled with the rock solid (pun intended) color match you get from it, SpectraLOCK will still be my epoxy grout of choice.

I just need to quit being such a hard-headed bastard and learn to work with it a bit differently. One of the key factors in doing that is to keep the mixes in manageable batches. Just take your time, a little extra now will go a long way toward the long-term durability of your tile installation. And it WILL be stain-proof!

Here’s some basic information about the new stuff from Laticrete: Laticrete SpectraLOCK Pro Premium

And here’s a chart for coverage to see exactly how much you’ll need: Laticrete Grout Coverage Calculator

As always if you have any questions at all feel free to post them below. I’ll answer them once I sober up get home from work.

{ 547 comments… add one }

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  • mary

    I did not see an answer to the post from Tyler. I am installing glazed italian porcelain tile which has pit marks to look like stone. The tile edge is chiseled edge. He is using 1/8 inch spacers. I want to use Laticrete and my installer thinks the grout will get in the pits and not come out. Do you suggest a pretreatment before we grout. If so what do you suggest. Is this not a problem? I am doing 1000 sq feet. Thanks

  • Tyler

    Hi Roger,

    We used a porcelain textured tile in our bathroom, kind of a cement look, similar to this:
    http://www.floordomain.com/images/ceramic/floridatile/time20/FloridaTileTime2.0Beige12x24Textured.jpg

    Our installer is worried about using epoxy grout because he thinks he’ll have trouble wiping the tile clean. The tile surface is rough but the finish looks slick to me, not porous. With very limited information, would you agree that can be an issue, and if so do you have suggestions for making it work, or what grout would you recommend as the next best thing? Thanks.

  • Kristen

    Hi Roger! LOVE your site! I just finished my first bathroom remodel and am getting ready to use the SpectraLock grout. Unfortunately, the special cleaning solution packets were not included in my mini kit (I have parts A,B & C though). I don’t want to wait another 2 weeks to order the cleaning packets – is there something DIY I can concoct (water + vinegar?) to clean up the grout after application, or do I need to order the clean up solution?

    • Roger

      Hi Kristen,

      Either vinegar or powdered dishwasher soap, like cascade.

  • Vickie

    When using Spectralock on my bathroom floor and tile walls, will I need to tool a bead of silicone at floor to wall, ceiling to wall and wall inside corners per typical tile grout?

    • Roger

      Hi Vickie,

      Yes.

  • lorna davis

    I thought I understood the difference between grout and caulk but after reading your posts, it sounds like Spectra pro premium epoxy grout could be used in place of- say, 100% silicone caulk?? I used 100% silicone to re-caulk our white marble shower- where the walls meet the floor- and it did not stick well, peeled right off when cleaning. I thought I followed the directions well as far as prep, curing time, etc. So, I need to re-caulk, but also thought I would re-do the shower floor grout lines. Can I use spectralock epoxy grout for both areas?

    • Roger

      Hi Lorna,

      No, they are not the same and one can not take place of the other. Silicone is flexible, the epoxy is not.

  • Kelly

    Roger,
    Now that I have most of a full unit on the wall and lots of cleanup to do, I stumble onto your post :bonk:
    Maybe they changed the formula, maybe I am hard headed and stubborn enough to break rocks I don’t know. Somehow I was able to work it for an hour. It wasn’t fun (see breaking rocks above) but I did not have to resort to my holdback stash. I too broke out the scales and set aside 10% for boo-boos.
    Thanks for your blog I will be tuning in.
    Kelly

  • Jon

    Hi Roger,
    First thanks for the site – its wonderful and full of useful information.

    I have laid down 240 sq ft of ceramic 13×13 over Ditra using Laticrete 317 unmodified. (The Ditra was put down using 317 and 333 modifier about a week ago.) We just finished the tiling Friday night (actually 3AM Saturday Morning.) and want to know how soon we can grout. I have read 24 hours, but that seems to be with porcelain and/or modified thinsets. We are hoping to grout today with spectralock and move appliances in on Sunday afternoon.

    Am I pushing the cure time too soon?

    Thanks,
    Jon

    P.S. Don’t worry, I wont hold you liable for any advice. I recognize that it is simply the knowledge and experience of a friend that I am using to make my own decision. So if it fails, it’s on me. :wink:

    • Roger

      Hi Jon,

      With 317 you can grout in about 16 hours.

  • trbvm

    Tried spectralock pro. divided it by weight as follows:
    a- 100gm
    b- 39 gm
    c- 35gm

    Total 4 batches. each in a ziplock bag- lasted a couple of months. Worked perfectly. as for C- I tried it with less of it- still works great.

  • Matt

    Hi Roger,

    I have the same issues many have and that is that nobody local carries Spectralock. So that leaves me with having to order it online. But before I decide that path I would like your feedback.

    I have ~55ft^2 of unfilled tumbled 4″x4″x3/8″ (1/8-ish grout lines) travertine tile that I need to grout for my Florida outdoor fully exposed kitchen. I definitely want to use an epoxy grout for its durability aspects… The dilemma I have is that I want all my unfilled travertine tiles to have the pours filled and this will take up grout so that requires me to order additional material based on Spectalocks calculations stating they will only cover 56ft^2, do you have any calculations on how to calculate the amount of additional sq. ft this is equivalent too?

    The other option I have is to use Mapei’s Karapoxy which covers ~68 sq. ft so then I would image I only need one unit worth. Suggestions? Are there big differences in Kerapoxy vs. Kerapoxy CQ? Recommendations?

    Also any suggestions or tips on using epoxy grouts to fill the travertine voids/pores? I’ve read of people using impregnator sealers and a foam brush to pre-seal to assist with clean ups. Currently I have Miracle 511, but I can always return that.

    Lastly I installed this travertine tile with mortor thin-set onto Hardieboard (1/2″ thick)… Do you think I will have issues down the way with this all being exposed to the elements here in Florida (afternoon rain showers almost daily in the summer)? Anything I can do to make what I already installed more durable?

    • Roger

      Hi Matt,

      There are no specific calculations for that, it’s too inconsistent. I imagine the kerapoxy will do it just fine. The CQ is better than the regular, and what you should use outdoors.You can use the 511, but use it sparingly before you grout. You don’t want it down in the pores, just on the surface of the tile. Your substrate should be fine, and using epoxy is the best thing you can do at this point.

  • jamie

    Hi Roger,
    I sent a question to you a week or so ago and I can’t remember what thread it was connected to, so I can’t find your answer. Can’t see it in my email or junk email either.

    For a refresher, the question was whether or not you had used Mapei Flexcolor CQ ready-to-use grout. I used your SpectraLock grout 2 years ago on a project and it worked great. Local tile shop loves this Mapei stuff, so they are recommending it. Any comments?

    thanks,
    jamie

    • Roger

      Hi Jamie,

      Flexcolor cq is a very good grout, I’ve used it quite a bit. Be sure you pay attention to the required curing time before water exposure.

  • Jon

    Hi Roger,
    Well we have finally gotten around to finishing this project (a year in the making.) I have learned a lot and have another question for the expert – yes, that is you, jackassery included. :censored:

    We now have new bamboo floors (installing that was fun) and are getting ready to do the entryway in tile. it is a 5 ft by 6 ft area with closet, wall and Bamboo floor surrounding it. The deal is that my wife hates, I mean absolutely hates transitions. She wants the bamboo and tile to be the same height (not that hard to accomplish) and next to each other without any metal or wood trim covering the joint. So my question is: Can I lay the tile a grout-line width away from the bamboo and then grout that space with spectralock when I grout the rest of the new tile? If not, can I use soft joint silicone between the two floors? If not, how would you appease my wife (so that there is no bump between the bamboo and tile?)

    Thanks, as always, love the site (and the elves that send me info regularly.)

    Thanks,
    Jon :rockon:

    • Roger

      Hi Jon,

      You can do it with a soft joint. You don’t need to do it with a full grout line width, you can go to about 1/16″ – 1/8″ away from the bamboo.

  • Greg

    Roger, thanks for this incredibly informative web site. Have purchased and downloaded the tips e-book, but I have a question I haven’t seen addressed anywhere yet. maybe I just missed it; if so, my regrets. i have written Laticrete with this question, but have not heard back yet.

    We have selected Laticrete Pro Premium epoxy grout for our new pool with glass tile. The tile is at and above the waterline, not in the pool itself. We have a question about the Part C colors.

    Our tile is all glass, and a range of colors from a medium blue through turquoise, and into a pale sky blue. The perfect grout color would be an aquamarine, like the Bostik urethane grout [not suitable for pools though].

    The Laticrete Sea Glass color is beautiful, but once installed, from a distance, looks too much like traditional “white grout” pool tile. I have done test board installations of the Sea Glass with and without Blue Hawaii Dazzle, and it is very attractive, but the Dazzle effect is not sufficient to “deepen” the Sea Glass enough. Twilight Blue is also beautiful, but too dark against the pale tile.

    is it possible to blend the colors? For example, could i divide the Sea Glass & Twilight Blue colors by half, thoroughly mix that blend into Parts A & B, and still enjoy all the technical strengths of the Pro Premium Grout?

    Thank you very much, and I hope you have a great Memorial Day holiday.

    • Roger

      Hi Greg,

      Yes, you can mix the colors. Just make sure you mix the same amounts for different batches, but there’s not a problem with it at all.

      • Greg

        Outstanding; thanks for the very quick response. Cheers!

  • crystal

    Doing a regrout on swimming pool tile so will be underwater most of time. Is spectralock pro premium grout a good choice? Anything as good that I can find locally. Will a full unit be enough for 200 linear feet 1/8 wide by 1/8 deep? Thanks

    • Roger

      Hi Crystal,

      I have no idea, I’m not a swimming pool guy. You can call laticrete’s tech line and ask them. Yes, a full unit will be enough grout for that.

  • another kevin

    Hey Roger!
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge on spectralock grout! Question about the wash packets… I have divided a full unit into halves so I don’t get overwhelmed. Should I also divide the wash packets or come up with a vinegar solution or something else for when I mix the 2nd batch?
    Thank you,
    Kevin

    • Roger

      Hi Kevin,

      You can split them in half, or use white vinegar in your wash for the second.

  • Nick

    Roger,

    I used the Spectralock Premium on my travertine shower. I noticed that it had an enhancing effect on the travertine, which I was not expecting. I purchased your recommended 511 Porous Plus to seal after I grouted but doubt it will penetrate due to the sheen/enhancement left by the grout.
    I was wondering if you have had the same experience with this grout and if the sealer I purchased will still penetrate.
    I was going to seal first but read on here somewhere it was preference and since my travertine was not filled, it was best to seal after grouting.

    • Roger

      Hi Nick,

      The ‘enhancement’ can be cleaned off while cleaning the grout. You can still seal it, it’ll penetrate.

  • Bev

    I am so confused. 1) I was just at the tile store to get grout for my 12×24″ porcelain bathroom floor. The owner said I needed to get “sanded” grout for my 1/8″ grout lines. (He did not have a good color match so went to Lowes. 2) at Lowes I was told I neede “u sanded ” grout for 1/8″.
    3). I walked out with Mapei Karacolor U Unsanded Premium Superior.

    No one said anything about epoxy additive or stainproof , bulletproof, etc. and of course I want that. ( the Mapei label mentions adding their Grout Maximizer” replace the water?? Not sure they even had that as Lowes was discontinuing the Mapei.

    So sanded or Unsanded. Mapei or something else?

    Thanks Bev.

    • Roger

      Hi Bev,

      You can technically use unsanded, but sanded is a better option. Every manufacturer has a specific admix you can add to their grout.

  • Elina

    Dear Roger,
    Our tile guy did not apply sufficient regard on our show walls (one very thin layer with no filling of cracks between cement boards). We are concerned about water proofing our shower walls and asked him to use epoxy grout. He does not want to use that but is suggesting Latecrete Plasma. Is this a good idea? Would Spectralock be bette. He also refuses to use Spectralock or Plasma on pebble tiles on the shower floor and wants to use Permacolor. What should we do?
    Thanks,
    Elina

    • Roger

      Hi Elina,

      First you need to ensure that he has enough redgard on the walls, otherwise it’s not waterproof. Laticrete plasma grout is fine for all your tile, spectralock would be comparable. Permacolor is also an excellent choice.

      However, if you are throwing those grout suggestions out there in order to make up for lack of waterproofing that isn’t going to work. Your shower NEEDS to be completely waterproof first, the grout won’t fix that.

      And he’s ‘refusing’ to use it??? Aren’t YOU paying HIM??? If he’s not doing what you want can his ass and get someone who will do what you pay for.

  • greg

    Roger – A few questions : I got Pro a mini batch of Pro Premium for $37 from the local tileshop- is that a good deal? I found it on amazon for $40 so I am assuming so. Only problem, it takes them 3 weeks to get it. That being said, my next batch for the floor I might just get it off amazon. Question – Part A and B say pro premium, but part c just says Pro – is there a part “C” pro premium or is it the same as the old.. just plain old pro.

    • Roger

      Hi Greg,

      That’s about average pricing. Part c is all the same stuff.

  • the dadude

    I have a shower pan with 1″ round tile I am in the process of re-grouting. Based on recommendations, I am planning to use the spectralite pro premium. My challenge is trying to figure out how much I’ll need. I have dremeled out the old grout, average depth about 1/4″ and I have about 8 sf to cover. Based on some old fashion geometry, I figure I need about 1 cubic foot of grout….the problem is, I can’t find the volume in a package…anywhere.
    Any ideas where I can find that info? Currently I have ordered 4 mini’s and 1 full pack of sand, figuring I can split it into 4 mini units. I really don’t want to start and run out 2/3 of the way thru.

    • Roger

      Hi Tim,

      No info of that sort exists that I’m aware of. You should, however, only use about two (maybe three) mini units, you have plenty of grout.

  • Kevin

    Hi Roger-

    Based on your ringing endorsement :-) I bought Spectralock Pro Premium for my current job. Question: on the Pro-premium, bucket label says part A is 1.3 lbs, and part B is 1.3 lbs. From your description of breaking into smaller units (which I need to do), you have part A & B being different weights. Was this from the previous Pro (not Premium) formulation? Please advise..
    Thanks!

    • Roger

      Hi Kevin,

      Those weights indicate one full commercial unit, which is four full units. Four times my measurements equal the amounts you’ve indicated.

      • Dave

        Roger, you wrote above in your formula to break down a “Full unit” into four parts:
        Part A (foil bag) has 5 ounces of liquid in each baggie (4 baggies)
        Part B (white liquid) has 5.2 ounces in each baggie (4 baggies)

        As Kevin points out, a “Full” unit has 1.3 lbs of A and of B, ergo, dividing by four would give us 5.2 oz of A per baggie and 5.2 oz. of B per baggie, correct? I’m not sure what your answer to Kevin above means.

        • Roger

          Hi Dave,

          The bags that the liquid comes in are different weights. If you have 5oz or part 2 and 5.2 of part b then you have the correct breakdown. Regardless of whether schluter says it’s 1.3lbs. or not, when measured out my measurements are and accurate breakdown.

  • SUZI

    Roger,

    Any updates to your opinion of Spectralock pro versus pro premium since writing this article? Thanks!

    • Roger

      Hi Suzi,

      The pro premium is a great grout. As I stated, it does work a bit differently than the regular pro, but I’ve gotten used to it and it isn’t a big deal. As with most things you use on a regular basis, when it changes you just need to get used to it – this is no different. It works very well, just ‘different’. I don’t know how else to describe it. :D

  • greg

    That was confusing! I have about 60 sq ft of tile with 3/16″ grout lines. According to laticretes handy tool, 1 premium pro mini package will do 72 sq ft of my tile (12×24 x 3/16″ thick) so.. if my math is correct I can just get the mini package and not have to worry about splitting it up.. correct? thanks!

    • Roger

      Hi Greg,

      Correct (if you have 12×24 tiles). If you have 12×12 you need double that.

  • Dan in Gladstone, Or.

    Perfect advice Roger. I divided my ‘full’ supply into two batches and it went very well. It may take a while to get rid of the film. Thanks again, Roger for the Heave-sent advice. Dan

  • Lynn

    We are getting ready to install a polished marble floor and walls in our master bath. I do not want to have to worry about my grout changing colors as i hate the grout lines in my kitchen for this reason. The people at Lowes were trying to sell us on the TEC Power Grout because the no longer carry the Spectralock. I just want the one that will truly stay looking clean and new. We are spending a lot of money so the last thing I want to do is compromise on the grout. My marble is beige with white so I’m thinking on doing white to contrast rather than beige to match. I’ve looked on Tec Power Grout’s website and they claim to be better than Spectralock. I have no idea which one is truly the better product. Please Help! Which would you use and why?

    • Roger

      Hi Lynn,

      I would likely use the spectralock, mainly because I have more experience with it as well as easy access to it. That said, power grout is a very good grout. As far as it being better – personal opinion. They both do the same thing. Either would be fine for your installation.

      • Lynn

        Thanks for your fast response. I have already purchased the TEC Power Grout but was considering taking it back if the Spectralock was more stain resistant. I would have to order it online because noone in my area carries it anymore. I’ve watched the video for both grouts and it says the Spectralock must be cleaned with vinegar and water so I wasn’t sure if the vinegar would damage the marble and the hand made decorative marble we are installing around the walls. The TEC Power Grout says the cleanup is with only water. Bottom line, I want the one which truly won’t stain and will stay white.

        • Dave

          Probably too late to reply, but I have 2000 feet of tile floor using Tec Power Grout, and, while it claims to be highly resistant to stains, I know it WILL stain, even if sealed. On the other hand, the kitchen countertop and back splashes in our last house where I used Spectralock (in 2005) were bulletproof. I used to pour red wine on the grout and let it sit there when we had friends over. We ate at that counter for 8 years and when we moved out the grout looked like I had just put it in. Never used anything to clean it but Windex or a little detergent and water.

  • Claire

    I just read another batch of your posts with Q and A’s. My installation is scheduled to begin in 3 days, so I need to decide on grout that can be bought locally or shipped by then. I notice that in addition to Spectralock, you stated that Fusion Pro is a good product and mapei epoxy (spelling?). Could you compare these 3? I am confused as to whether Spectralock and Fusion Pro have basically the same mix involving epoxy and grout chemicals/substances, and whether one is better than another for stain, waterproofing, and never (hopefully) having to grout or seal again! Also, can you comment on the advantages/disadvantages of using the mixed products versus epoxy? I know I am being OCD about this, but I had a terrible time with my current grout, so I want to identify the best one for the new tile. Thanks! Your site is wonderful.

    • Roger

      HI Claire,

      The end result of all three is a grout that is stainproof. The only difference in nearly any of these types of grouts is the installation ease/method. If you use ANY of them you’ll have what you’re looking for.