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Old 02-23-2019, 03:54 PM   #1
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Grout Dryness


My shower walls are those large subway tiles, about 10x3" spaced at 1/4. I have just grouted them with Polyblend Sanded, the 7lb box. My first batch came out quite dry and kept falling off the tiles as I forced it into the joints. I added a bit more water for my second batch which applied a bit more easily like thick peanut butter. So there were 2 areas of wall with differing water ratios.

After 3 days none of the grout felt very hard. I called the Polyblend support line and they suggested spritzing with water 3x a day for 3 days. I've done that but only see a minor difference. They also said a full cure takes 28 days, so I may be jumping to judgement.

As a test I bought a new 7lb box of Polyblend Sanded and made sure to follow the directions to a T and did a small ungrouted section of subway tile with it. Again it is hard to force into the joints and crumbles off my trowel and the wall. But I stuck to it and am waiting to see if this new section hardens properly.

Watching videos online I see people applying the Polyblend product with a smooth creamy texture and not struggling with the dryness I get by following the box directions of 1 pint water to 7lbs dry. Am I doing something wrong here? Other than being a sinner?

Last edited by arcticranger; 02-23-2019 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:44 AM   #2
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Re: Grout Dryness


How wide are the joints? Is it 1/4" (based on you saying 'spaced at 1/4')?
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Old 02-24-2019, 10:59 AM   #3
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Re: Grout Dryness


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Originally Posted by stick\shift View Post
How wide are the joints? Is it 1/4" (based on you saying 'spaced at 1/4')?
Yes 1/4.

The last batch has dried much harder. It was a new box of Polyblend while the previous batch was from a bag that had been sitting on my porch for a year and had a lot of lumps in it. I'm not sure if this stuff goes "bad" or not.

Either way the 7lb grout to 1 pint water mix seems difficult to work with on smooth vertical surfaces. All these clumps just falling down into my bathtub. There is no way this could be applied as a "coat" over multiple tiles which you then clean off.
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:44 AM   #4
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Re: Grout Dryness


I prefer unsanded grout and thin grout lines on walls, myself.

Here is how I mix grout. I dump some water in a aluminum pie tin. Then I dump some grout in then stir to get the lumps out. Then I dump some more grout in and start working it with the putty knife. I keep doing this until the grout gets into the plastic stage where if it is not worked it is stiff but if pressure is applied it liquefies, then when no pressure is applied it is stiff again. I do not use ratios. I also do not mix more than around a fistful of grout at a time. I do not apply it as some sort of "coat" Instead I force it into the grout lines an inch at a time with the flat of the putty knife then wipe the excess off with the putty knife. When it's under pressure of the knife it is liquid and goes into all the cracks. Grout likes to feel under pressure you want to force it don't be a pansy with it.

The last job I did was so small that I decided not to waste $15 on a bag of grout from the home depot. So I went to the habitat for humanity restore and found a box of grout in the color I wanted (they have tons of the stuff) that was so old that it didn't even have the same box design as the current grout does and bought that for $4. It worked perfectly. I also used a loaner bag of thinset that was so old that it had to be broken and ground up with a hammer. Once more, no problem. In addition doing it this way I can easily fill up to 1/8 grout line with no shrinkage or cracking. And the stuff dries rock hard.

The key with grout or cement or concrete is to get it as dry as possible before pouring. The more water the weaker it is and the more it shrinks as it hardens. Too dry and it won't hold together. Concrete that comes out of a Ready Mix truck has way to much water in it because they want it easy to flow. So they add polymers into it to strengthen it. People think grout is ready when it's sloppy wet. But you want it just to the point that it's barely holding together. And you don't want to mix up a lot of it at a time or by the time you get to the end of it it's too dry.

Last edited by tmittelstaedt; 03-01-2019 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:39 AM   #5
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Re: Grout Dryness


I had been wrong about the tile joints they are 1/8 not 1/4. So I went with the premixed and it's rock hard. Done.
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Old 04-04-2019, 10:20 AM   #6
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Re: Grout Dryness


premix grout is for people like you who as children never constructed large dams out of mud in the stormwater ditches :-)

The biggest downside of it is that a year from now the tub of premix will be rock hard since it starts curing once you open the container. You would be wise to post the remainder of it as a freebie and get rid of the container.
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Old 04-05-2019, 11:32 AM   #7
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Re: Grout Dryness


Quote:
Originally Posted by tmittelstaedt View Post
premix grout is for people like you who as children never constructed large dams out of mud in the stormwater ditches :-)

The biggest downside of it is that a year from now the tub of premix will be rock hard since it starts curing once you open the container. You would be wise to post the remainder of it as a freebie and get rid of the container.
Funny comment. And fyi I did have a year-old tub of the premix in my basement which I did not use, thinking it was bad. Turns out it was still fine, just needed some stirring.

As far as building dams you are correct, however I have built sonar systems for USCG, air tracking and satellite imagine platforms for USAF and chem weapons detection arrays for Army bases. That's the short list. So I am not sure who the manly man is here.
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