Custom CEG-Lite vs laticrete Spectralock Epoxy Grout Review
Epoxy Grout Review
By Troy Cantini
CEG-Lite is custom building products brand of epoxy grout while Spectralock Stainproof epoxy grout is manufactured by Laticrete. The chemical formulas for these epoxy grouts vary significantly and so do the many properties associated with these epoxy grouts. Ease of installation, consistency of color and stain resistance are all different between these two types of epoxy grouts.
Spectralock epoxy grout is about 1/3 more expensive than CEG-Lite epoxy grout. Both CEG-Lite and Spectralock have mini kits as well as larger epoxy grout kits for larger tile installations. For larger tile installations it is always more economical to go with the larger epoxy grout kits.
A CEG-Lite mini unit costs around $24 for a container that will cover approximately 60 sq/ft of 12 inch tiles with 1/8 inch grout lines.
A Spcectralock Stainproof mini unit costs about $27 for a container that will cover approximately 40 sq/ft of 12 inch tiles with 1/8 inch grout lines.
As you can see Spectralock is considerably more expensive than CEG-Lite. The larger units will cut down on your price considerably for both types of grout but the comparable price ratio still remains the same. With epoxy grout the price should be considered but it should never be a deciding factor considering that the grout should last for the life your tile installation. You should also consider that the entire look of the tile installation can be influenced by the look and color of the grout.
Spectralock comes in a 3 part formula that is considerably more difficult and messy to mix and prepare than CEG-Lite. Spectralock epoxy grout requires you to cut open, empty and mix two plastic liquid pouches together with a sandy colored grout substrate. Cutting open the pouches and squeezing all of the mixture into a bucket is messy, takes time and if not done properly can cause the epoxy grout mixture to not be properly composed. When the directions are properly followed and proper care is taken most people will not have a problem mixing and preparing the Spectralock epoxy grout. Latex gloves should definitely be used to minimize the mess and skin exposure when mixing the components of the epoxy grout.
CEG-Lite epoxy grout is much easier to mix and prepare than Spectralock. CEG-Lite comes in a 2 part formula with a smaller pint sized bucket of liquid colorant and activator inside a main bucket of grout substrate material. The smaller pint size container contains the colored pigments and activator ingredients of the epoxy grout mixture. Simply mixing the contents of the smaller pint sized liquid with the main buckets substrate material is all that is required when preparing CEG-Lite. There are no messy plastic pouches to squeeze out and it is extremely difficult to make a mess or mistake when preparing CEG-Lite.
CEG-lite epoxy grout is extremely sticky and harder to move around and more difficult to apply than Spectralock. The initial application procedure and the subsequent initial clean up procedure are significant drawbacks of CEG-Lite. CEG-Lite grout is a thick, sticky, pasty mixture that is extremely difficult to move on the surface of the tiles with the grout float. CEG-Lite epoxy grout sticks to everything including the tile surfaces, the grout float and any foreign objects it comes in contact with. This causes a lot of the CEG-Lite epoxy grout to get wasted and also causes an increased time and energy spent cleaning up the excess epoxy grout later.
CEG-Lite recommends using a few drops of dish washing detergent in you clean up water and to wash your tiles with this clean up water with before installing the epoxy grout. This seems to help but the CEG-Lite epoxy grout still sticks to everything including the tile surfaces. During the initial application it is best to just force as much grout into the grout lines as possible while cleaning up as much excess grout off the tile surfaces as possible. You should only apply grout to about 10 sq/ft of 12 inch tiles at a time and move on to the clean up phase when using CEG-Lite.
Spectralock epoxy grout is softer, less sticky, and easier to move around and apply than CEG-Lite. Grouting with Spectralock is closer to grouting with regular cement based grout. Applying Spectralock is still more difficult to apply than regular cement based grout but much easier to apply than CEG-Lite. You can generally apply and move around the grout with the grout float much like you do with regular cement based grout. With Spectralock you can easily apply 20-30 sq/ft of grout before you are required to clean up the excess grout off of the tile surfaces.
The clean up phase of CEG-Lite is a laborious, time consuming task that during your first time using this grout will surely question your decision about going with this type of epoxy grout. Wiping the tiles across the grout lines vigorously with the grout sponge is the only sure way to remove the excess grout off the tile surfaces. You will find that during this initial clean up you should not be worried about forming smooth, even looking grout lines as you are more interested in removing the excess grout off the surface of the tiles. After you have removed all the excess grout from the tile surfaces then you can go back over the grout lines with a grout sponge to even out and form the grout lines. Evening out or "tooling" the grout lines means using the damp sponge to lightly go over the grout lines to straighten up and even out the grout lines. With CEG-Lite the grout is extremely stiff and hard so it is relatively easy to tool the grout lines without significantly disturbing the grout in the grout lines. It is important to clean up and tool all the grout lines before moving on and adding more grout to the next section of tiles.
The clean up phase of Spectralock is much easier than CEG-Lite. The grout lines can be tooled and formed to look nice and even during the initial clean up phase. Tooling the grout lines during the initial clean up does not require you to go back over the grout lines later to tool them like CEG-Lite. Spectralock grout lines are more easily damaged and disturbed than CEG-Lite grout lines so subsequent tooling and forming of the grout lines is a more delicate process than tooling CEG-Lite epoxy grout lines. The ease in tooling and forming the grout lines generally makes it much easier to get nicer, more even grout lines with Spectralock than with CEG-Lite.
After applying CEG-Lite epoxy grout and tooling and forming the grout lines there is no need to come back later to remove the epoxy grout haze. This is one of the main advantages of CEG-Lite epoxy grout over Spectralock epoxy grout. Spectralock epoxy grout haze is not difficult to be removed but must be totally removed approximately one hour after the initial epoxy grout application. You want to remove this epoxy grout haze after the grout has slightly hardened and the epoxy grout haze is still relatively easy to remove. Removing this epoxy grout haze requires having a second bucket of clean up water handy and using a clean sponge to ensure that all of the epoxy grout haze is totally removed from the surface of the tiles. Many tile installations have been ruined by not properly cleaning up this epoxy grout haze.
CEG-Lite epoxy grout will partially set for foot traffic in 18 hours which is generally in line with Spectralock's epoxy grout. CEG lite epoxy grout will not totally set for 7 full days. Shower installations should not be exposed to water for a full 7 days after applying the CEG-Lite. Spectralock on the other hand will set in the same 18 hours for foot traffic and totally set 72 hours after installations. Shower stalls and other wet areas can be fully used after this 72 hour cure time. As you can see having to wait a full seven days after grouting a shower is a disadvantage of CEG-Lite that should be considered with this epoxy grout.
Both tile surfaces were grouted with the bright white colors of epoxy grout. The Spectralock Stainproof bright white grout looks much whiter than the CEG-Lite epoxy grout. The CEG-lite bright white grout has a much grayer look to it than you would expect from a bright white colored grout. This grayish color is much grayer than any cement based grouts bright white color. Possibly with darker colors CEG-Lite you will give a less grayish tint than with the bright white color. The Spectralock Stainproof grout on the other hand gives a beautiful bright white even looking color that will surly get a wow effect after installing.
To test the stain resistance of CEG-Lite and Spectralock we put some common food and grease stains on the surface of the epoxy grout samples. The stains included grape jelly, coffee, hot sauce, soda, yellow mustard, soy sauce, dirty motor oil and ketchup.Since the CEG-Lite bright white grout is actually a more grayish off-white color so the test is favored in CEG-Lite's favor. We allowed the stains to sit on the grout samples overnight and dry on top of the grout samples.
The next day we cleaned the grout samples with a hot PH neutral cleaning tile cleaning solution and viewed the corresponding results. As you can plainly see the Spectralock Stainproof grout had much better stain resistance than the CEG-Lite epoxy grout sample. Only the mustard, hot sauce made some noticeable stains on the Spectralock grout sample. The coffee and dirty motor oil also made slight stains which were barely visible. We consider the stain resistance of Spectralock extremely good. Spectralock has better stain resistance than cement based grout that has been sealed with a quality grout sealer. The CEG-Lite on the other hand showed much more noticeable stains for a variety of of the contaminates that were applied to the grout sample.
As you can see from our test results the Spectralock Stainproof grout made by Laticrete is superior in many characteristics than the CEG-Lite epoxy grout made by Custom Building Products. CEG-Lite is cheaper and more accessible being sold in Home Depot stores but the superior characteristics of Spectralock make it a much better choice considering it will be there for the life of your tile installation.
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