WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A POLYMER GROUT

by Timothy Smith, Sr. Product Manager - Stonhard

There are several advantages to polymer grouts compared with their cementitious counterparts, such as strength, chemical resistance and cure rate. Polymer grouts are either epoxy-based or urethane-based grout systems.

Generally speaking, epoxy and urethane grouts will have greater compressive strength (approximately 7,000 to 7,500 psi) compared with a standard cementitious grout (approximately 4,000 to 4,500 psi). This strength becomes an important factor in areas where there is heavy, continuous traffic.

In the construction industry, the speed of installation is more important than ever. Schedules are continually being compressed to ensure projects are being finished on time or early and under budget. Cementitious grouts are water-based materials that generally need a 28-day cure or drying time prior to the overlayment of floor finishes. When using an epoxy grout or a urethane grout, the overlayment can be applied in as little as 18-24 hours after application. This helps to keep fast-paced schedules on track and reduces downtime for the customer.

Chemical resistance is another key advantage that polymer grouts have over cementitious. Acids can break down the individual components used in cementitious grouts. Epoxy and urethane grouts have a unique resistance to many acids, ensuring they hold up over an extended period of time in chemically-aggressive environments.

With so many advantages, it’s natural to inquire, “What’s the difference in price?” Surprisingly, when you compare cementitious grouts with some polymer grouts on a cubic-foot basis, there isn’t a significant difference. However, when you consider performance factors such as strength and chemical resistance, and the substantial time saved with installation, an epoxy or urethane grout more than makes up any difference in the price tag.