If this title did not grab your immediate attention, it should have. It’s a dangerous mindset, but ignoring instructions is also one of the first shortcuts people in a hurry take. Many of the products tile installers use on the job require mixing, so it is extremely important to follow the manufacturer’s written instructions. As an example, we will focus on High Performance Cement Grouts as found under ANSI A118.7. These grouts include a redispersible, latex/polymer powder to which only water is added at the job site.

Grout manufacturers conduct extensive research in the development of their products and continuously improve (change) them as new technology becomes available. For this reason alone, it is crucial the instructions on the bag or box are followed to the letter. For instance, an original formula grout that previously required the addition of 2.75 quarts of clean, potable (drinkable) water to a 25 lb. bag may, after being changed or improved by the manufacturer, now only needs two quarts of water to function properly. That is a significant difference!

Similarly, thinking all grout manufacturers require the same amount of water to properly mix the dry powder is a serious error. The amount of water is geared specifically to the chemistry in the bag. Arbitrarily modifying this ratio can cause numerous complaints and failures.

What is involved here are two items—change and taking time to read the directions. Change can be difficult. Most people resist change, but it must occur for the new method to succeed.

Embracing change willingly. READ the directions. It will help eliminate a lot of unnecessary problems and headaches.

It is a fairly well understood fact that people in general do not read the directions for most products, especially the ones with which they are familiar. The mind-set of “I know what I am doing and have done it this way for 20 years!” is a bad idea. If the information on the bag or the data sheet is not reviewed on a regular basis, changes may have taken place…and the results may not be favorable.

Notice the grout in the attached photo is so soft that a thumbnail rubbing across it will cause it to turn into a powder. Also, on the left side of the photo, you will see a shade variation in the grout color. Both of these problems occurred due to the installer or finisher adding too much water to the grout.

Embracing change willingly. READ the directions. It will help eliminate a lot of unnecessary problems and headaches.