Anyone 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! 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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.