Grout is a type of mortar used to fill joints, cracks, and cavities in tiles, masonry, and brickwork. Grout can also be used in craft projects and is particularly useful in creating mosaics. It typically consists of water, cement, and sand; or cement and water. Used in semi-liquid form, it may be pumped, spread, or poured into cavities and allowed to harden, creating a tight, water-resistant seal.
The three main types of grout are epoxy, Portland cement-based, and furan resin. The epoxy type is strong and water resistant. It is available in 100 percent epoxy resin and modified epoxy emulsion form. Epoxy grout is generally more expensive than other types and can be difficult to find. However, it considered highly effective when a high level of water and stain resistance is desired.
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Portland cement-based grout is available in sanded, unsanded, pre-mixed, or powdered form. It can usually be found in do-it-yourself stores. This type of grout is commonly used in creating mosaics, as well as other types of craft projects. Portland cement-based grout is weaker than the epoxy type, yet better suited to crafts.
Furan resin grout is available in sanded or unsanded form. Instead of water, the furan resin type contains alcohol. This type of grout is considered extremely resistant to chemicals. It is best used when working with strong acids. Generally, furan resin grout is more difficult to use than other types and isn't well suited for creating mosaics and similar craft projects. In fact, it is usually only used by builders and contractors.
When using grout for any type of project, it is important to carefully follow the manufacturer's directions. It is best to avoid inhaling the fumes, especially if you are working with epoxy grout. Since inhaling the dust particles of any type of grout can lead to health problems, using a respirator or a dusk mask is also a good idea. Additionally, consider wearing gloves and safety glasses to avoid irritation to the skin and eyes.
Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions to learn the best methods for cleaning up after your project. Do not pour the residue down a drain as doing so could lead to serious pipe damage. Instead, it is better to allow the mixture to sit long enough for the solids and liquids to separate. Once this separation has occurred, you can pour the water off and simply throw the solid residue in the trash.