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I just finished grouting the wall tile in my new-construction bathroom. I made a point of using a high-quality grout product, and went with Laticrete Permacolor Select (with bright white color packets). Overall, I'm happy with the result, but...

I had difficulty with this product because it cures very fast in the bucket while I apply it. I barely got an hour's worth of application until it became too hard and unusable. I had to use four different 12.5 lb. bags for my project, and I never was able to use all the grout in the bucket, and ended up wasting a lot of it.

The recommended amount of water is 1-1.2 quarts. I used varying amounts in my 4 sessions, and had the same experience each time. I whipped it during the session, but that didn't seem to make much difference (I did not add water ever, except in the original mixing).

So my question is: does Laticrete Permacolor Select grout cure quickly? And is it to be expected that it will only last one hour in the bucket? Is there a trick to keeping it from curing too quickly in the bucket? And is there an equivalent product that lasts longer in the bucket?

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    If you know you won't be able to use all the grout in the period of time why not use 1/2 a bag. Just figure out the weight of the water for the full bag and then weight the portion of material you will be using and use the proportion of water. Jul 12, 2022 at 16:39
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    In my opinion pros can get away with mixing their own grout as they have lots of experience mixing it to the right consistency and they can apply it quickly before it dries out. Personally to avoid these issues I used a premixed grout, Mapei Flexcolor CQ. It was fantastic for my application. Jul 12, 2022 at 18:31
  • @FreshCodemonger Good idea, but the color packets require a full bag. To me it would be risky to try to halve it, in fear of slightly inconsistent color between batches. Do you agree?
    – Mark
    Jul 12, 2022 at 23:36
  • With the bright white color I wouldn't expect it to be an issue. If you use a kitchen scale and get the color packet split in the same proportion you should be good with other colors too. Jul 13, 2022 at 6:01
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    "I barely got an hour's worth of application" - correct. You get 20 min. If it takes you longer than that, then you're already cutting into the next 20 that you have to remove excess and polish off the haze. An hour to grout a floor? You're fired. "hardening of cement/grout is a [exothermic] chemical process rather than a drying one" - the more you mix the hotter it gets, and the hotter it is the faster it cures. Pro tip: don't make your own colors and have to arbitrarily mix entire bags.
    – Mazura
    Nov 11, 2022 at 6:33

2 Answers 2

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The warmer it is the quicker it dries / sets. Use cold water. Some people even put ice into the water.

I used epoxy grout from mapei and I was scared it was going to start to setup really quickly but I was grouting in December and I ended up with a lot of extra work time over the stated work time on the package.

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Professionals regularly keep opened buckets of grout, plaster etc. from curing by applying saran wrap. Just don't cover the bucket, but apply it onto the product, so that air won't reach it.

That way one can reuse an opened bucket for the next workday.

Obviously this only works for pre-mixed air-curing materials

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    this will help a bit, but keep in mind that hardening of cement/grout is a chemical process rather than a drying one. Cooling (see Fresh Codemonger's answer) will help a lot more.
    – MiG
    Jul 12, 2022 at 7:53
  • Air has little effect on cementitious curing. Clearly the question is not about premix.
    – isherwood
    Nov 11, 2022 at 22:07

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