LATICRETE Installation Systems Series - Focus: GROUTS
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
We're doing a series of deep-dives on our installation system products, starting with Grouts.
TLDR: Laticrete grouts are some of the best options in the industry. We stock the majority of their colors and are looking to start bringing in their premium premixed grout soon. To give us feedback on your interest and colors of choice, please go to our survey page here.
Grout is often seen as a necessary evil of tile assemblies. It’s the one component of the assembly surface skin that is permeable* and susceptible to attacks and degradation. Modern design trends are frequently featuring grout as a protagonist despite these facts. Between mosaics, the revival of multi-scale modular programs and the ubiquitous small format modules like subway tile – grout is something often becoming an integral part of the visual language of our spaces in addition to its functional characteristics.
*Some unglazed or semi-glazed ceramics and porcelains do have some available surface porosity. Most tiles today are fully glazed and due to the atomized glass particulates in glazes, offer an impervious surface.
Even though it is the miscellaneous goop that is smeared into the crevices of our tile assemblies – there are better options to improve aesthetics, performance and long-term sustainability. As the go-to supplier and importer of peak performance European ceramics in BC & Alberta, it’s essential that we have the grouts and other assembly products that are worthy of our ceramics and porcelains.
For that premium pairing here at Centanni Tile, we turn to Laticrete Canada. As the driving innovator in mortars and membranes, they are responsible for so many industry-first innovations. Laticrete’s product-mix of premium grout materials is one of those better options that packs a lot of technology and style into their line of grouts.
Just to give a quick and poignant example of how dialed in and progressive the mad-scientists at Laticrete really are; they are the only grout manufacturer using Microban additives in every offering of their grout products. One thing we’ve all learned this year is that improved hygiene awareness and adopting passive protection practices are kind of important for our survival as a species. Microban is a natural mineral catalyst that works for the lifespan of the tile assembly at a cellular level to inhibit growth of mold, mildew and bacterial microbes. Talk about a timely value-add! As we mentioned, this progressive tech is found in the entire line of Laticrete’s grouts, not just the expensive top-end. The complete line of grouts are also Greenguard Certified to assure low VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) to keep the indoor environment healthy and safe for occupants.
We’d like to take some time to introduce you to some of your Premium Laticrete options that are stocked full-time in our Burnaby warehouse. We’re always open to introducing new items to our stocking program and with bi-weekly trucks on 4-day turnaround from Laticrete’s west coast distribution center, special-orders are a breeze. Reach out to us anytime if there’s something special you need (or just want to try) for your upcoming project.
Technology has progressed far beyond the days of classic sanded or non-sanded Portland cement grouts. The permacolor line of grouts offers the benefits of sanded and non-sanded grouts in a premium polymer-modified, rapid-setting cementitious grout. The super-fine aggregate allows for use on most glazes* and is able to work with joints from 1/16” to 1/2” (1.5 to 12mm). It's even walkable after a short 3-hour cure! The unique composition and proprietary, integrated polymer additives mean that Permacolor installations shouldn’t even require sealing and offer excellent color-fastness when mixed to spec. If you just can’t believe they don’t need sealers, the StoneTECH line of sealers does offer penetrating and topical sealers for you OCD types. With 40 standard colors, there’s a perfect match for almost everything.
*for more delicate, double-fire, high-gloss wall tile and third-fire decorative or metallic glazes, a mockup test should be performed to ensure the aggregate will not scratch or otherwise harm the glaze. Note that Permacolor select does offer a non-sanded base safe for use with such products.
All the performance and benefits of the Permacolor grouts with couple little twists. Color Packs separate from the standard base-grout. Offering a broad array of colors including the standard 40 Laticrete colors along with 40 more of the top competitor’s colors means no matter what is specified, you can stay in the comfort of Laticrete’s wheelhouse and still give the client what they want. In addition, the Select variant of the permacolor line also incorporates StoneTECH grout sealer directly into their formula – meaning that you’ve already sealed your grout once it’s finished the install!
The instructions for this grout are a little different than other traditional cement grouts owing to the unique color-pack system where the separately supplied color-packs are added to the mixing water in their own dissolving pouches prior to adding the grout base and mixing. Make sure to follow the instructions on the box or this datasheet. This process of separating the base from the pigment allows for unparalleled formula consistency of Permacolor, since the production lots are the same for all colors in their deck. Ideal for multi-phase projects or later-date additions when color-consistency is crucial.
But what if there’s still not the exact shade I need to match my exacting vision?
Well, then take heart. You’re just like Steve Jobs and will not settle for anything less than the PERFECT shade of grey to match the Italian limestone in the Apple Stores. Laticrete has the solution made just for you… and of course, Apple. The ANYCOLOR variant of Permacolor Select means you can easily pick any shade from Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams or Pantone chipsets and we can make custom tinted color-packs just for your project. We handle all the process after you give us the swatch, you just handle the results and of course, accolades.
Pro-Tip: for smaller jobs, you CAN in fact mix less than the full box at a time by mixing the color-packs into the full measure of water and then mixing smaller batches from there but it’s best to know the consistency and use precise fractional measures if doing so to retain performance.
Used to be that there was water mixed cementitious grouts for standard jobs and 2-part epoxy grouts for demanding environments. While Laticrete’s Spectralock Epoxy was the first of its kind and remains one of the highest performance and easiest to work with epoxy options, they still felt there was room for a third variety. Enter Spectralock1 – a single-component grout with most of the epoxy benefits like relative stain-proofness and high compressive strength. Actually, the compressive strength is often the biggest reason to go for epoxy grouts for demanding environments and one of the biggest draw-backs for other single-component grouts. The patent-pending formula of Spectralock1 premixed grout reaches 3500 psi after 7-day cure, 7x stronger than the nearest competitor!
With the addition of Spectralock Dazzle (Part D), there are 12 metallics and even a glow in the dark component that can be added to this revolutionary premixed grout!
To help you all out with your daily work... If you want to ensure that your last minute job will have grout available to match your specs, here's a handy resource of our stocking program. Don't worry, we'll update this if there are any changes, so you can always come back to reference it.
We're currently looking at adding the Spectralock 1 to our permanently stocked line and looking for some feedback from you. Hop over to our survey page to have your say on the matter and give some input on the colors you'd frequently use.