You, Sir, Are No Grout

I don’t know grout. That’s an area of expertise I’m happy to leave to the Polish workmen who magically appear every time I call my landlady and complain about the tiles dropping off my bathroom wall.

But Melissa over at Suburban Bliss knows grout. Or thinks she does. She’s pretty sure it isn’t the same thing as Silly Putty. Isn’t grout supposed to eventually harden? TrafficMaster Stainproof Grout from Home Depot doesn’t.

Melissa follows up with a complaint to TrafficMaster:

    Yesterday I started my letter writing and complaints with the company and several consumer groups. The company which makes TrafficMaster Stainproof Grout was first to reply. Assuring me that, from what she could tell in my pictures, the product was doing what it should. I guess it should be able to hold my pen in it, in case I want to write something while I’m showering.

    She said it never hardens like a cement based product and it says right in the ingredients it’s an acrylic copolymer, you silly woman, how could you have missed that? You see, I should have known this wasn’t grout but rather a glorified caulk. How silly of me.

The most entertaining post about grout I’ve ever read.

Don’t Buy TrafficMaster Stainproof Grout (Or Traffic Master Stainproof Grout either) [Suburban Bliss] (Thanks, Christy K-H!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Magicube says:

    Well, it is grout. It’s just not the grout she wanted or needed. I think these polymer grouts are used when you have larger gaps (between tiles and a tub) and you need a more elastic grout.
    If someone pushed this product on her saying it was going to dry rock solid, then that person or company is at fault. But there’s a whole world of construction materials out there of different types, and an uneducated consumer is more likely to make a poor choice.
    I read her post and there’s no indication that anyone lied about what this product is. I think she’s jumping the gun with her “campaign” against these companies when it might have been a poor decision on her part.

  2. Entertaining indeed. The bit about “in case I want to write something while I’m showering” feels like something right out of an Aaron Sorkin teleplay.

    This Melissa should go write for Studio 60.

  3. I think these polymer grouts are used when you have larger gaps (between tiles and a tub) and you need a more elastic grout. If someone pushed this product on her saying it was going to dry rock solid, then that person or company is at fault.

    Knowing nothing about grout I was going to agree with your point that this could just be a different type of grout but then I found the company website.

    What is TrafficMaster Stainproof Grout?

    TrafficMaster Stainproof Groutâ„¢ is ideal for new tile installations on floors, countertops and walls, in kitchens, bathrooms and entry ways.

    According to the company web site, she used the product exactly as intended.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Magicube said,

    I think these polymer grouts are used when you have larger gaps (between tiles and a tub) and you need a more elastic grout.

    Oh Magicube, you will be sorry when you use TrafficMaster grout for this! In thicker grout lines, it shrinks and cracks like nobody’s business. Other polymer grouts with which I have worked do not have this problem. Its installation is amazingly finicky – it is sticky, messy and difficult to clean up and dehaze. Although it is a pre-mixed product, it is certainly neither timesaving nor convenient to use.

    Although it claims to be “stainproof,” it *does* stain, and once stained, it can’t be bleached. Plus, it is water-soluble and inappropriate for use in shower stalls.

    This is a low-quality product marketed to inexperienced DIYers. I work for a family-owned tile company, and after once using this product at a customer’s request, we now refuse to use it ourselves and strongly recommend against it. We regularly get calls from people who used TrafficMaster grout and need their project redone.

  5. RandomHookup says:

    That’s the power of Consumerist–ask and you get a grout expert to chime in only a short while into the discussion.

  6. beaniegirl says:

    I thought I was alone in the world of TrafficMaster “Grout”. I just completed my brand new bathroom with this supposedly wonderful grout, only to have it begin disintegrating before my eyes.

    I have been to several Home Depot’s taking pictures of the product on the shelves because there is a “content label” that is supposed to be attached to the top of each bucket and in it is says that it is not suitable for shower pans. Too bad that the content label is not on more than half of the buckets on Home Depot’s shelves. And that the only limitation listed on the bucket is that it is not for outdoor use.

    I have been emailing pictures, receipts, estimates, etc., back and forth with someone at Roanoke only to be told that they will only pay for the floor to be regrouted. Every contractor that does regrouting doesn’t recommend only doint the floor.

    This company shouldn’t get away with improper labeling. I sent an email to Michael Finney at Channel 7 News – maybe he will be able to take care of this.

  7. cacheme says:

    I cannot believe that I am finding so many negative posts on TrafficMaster Stainproof Grout. I have done three bathrooms including a hand set Venetian Stone, walls, counter, and floors. First I would recommend letting your Type I floor adhesive setup from 48 to 72 hours depending upon humidity. Why? Trapped air. You can check around edges as it cures it should begin to dry and turn white when completely set. This eleminates any trapped air bubbles underneath. They will be fully set if you cannot turn them with your hand but be careful as to not break the tile’s seal when checking. I would not recommend using thinset mortar with this grout. I have such great success with Type I mastic on all applications. Many tilesetters do not let adhesives dry or cure enough to complete the grouting of their project. Time is valuable but as a do-it-yourselfer why rush! I use Type I mastic on counters as well as tub surrounds and floors, it is by far stronger and my projects now are going into their second year with no cracks or shrinkage. I also used in my shower as well. To comment on the grout I have had great success using it you need to do small sections and be sure to clean your sponge often when wiping my tiles I used a common household sponge and WARM water not cold. I also used a razor blade to lightly scrape stubborn grout smudges from my grout as I did on my Venetian Stone. It is better to seal your tiles first before applying adhesives and grouting allowing them to fully dry first. Guess what happens when you do? The tiles are much easier to clean off as you complete your grouting. I am now preparing to do 4 more baths in our summer home with this grout and mosaic stone this time. But, guess what? Home Depot is discontinuing this product so I am scrambling around to pick up extra tubs I have just about enough but will need to find 1 more quart of Antique White sanded. I used sanded in all my projects and I applied the grout very heavy and worked in with a plastic putty knife. Why? Grout doesn’t stick to the plastic easy to clean and you can force and smoothe the grout down with the putty knife and evenly distibute your grout to the top of the tiles following right behind with a damp cloth or if you must use the grout tool at a 90 degree angle. When you do this technique bubbles escape more easily and you compact the grout into a thicker density and you can see the bubbles and air escape as you go. Lightly wipe your grout line in one direction only and it should stay very smooth. On my floors I used the grout sponge in a circular motion and pressing down lightly to penetrate to the floor beneath and my subfloor. As far as staining I haven’t spilled anything other than liquid handsoap although it would be wise to be careful with liquids that have dyes in them or any petroleum based products including perfumes. As far as shrinkage in earlier posts – the grout wasn’t applied thick enough it must be compacted and smoothed even with your tiles. But all I can say is I am a very satisfied customer and wish the product could be used more confidently in the tile industry.

  8. azulejoman says:

    Gallon sized buckets are selling for 1 buck each at Home Depot. Seems like they just can’t get rid of the stuff….

  9. AliGreen says:

    My Contractor (not a tile expert!) used this in my shower and told me to expect it to crack once. They went over it again and one month later it is bubbling up. Now he is going to rip it out and use a real grout. My family is in the tile business in another state and I am disgusted with myself for letting him use this product in the first place.
    I heard from him yesterday that Home Depot has taken the product off the shelves, but haven’t confirmed.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I used Traffic Master grout on my kitchen floor tiles and it is the best grout I have ever used. It is solid as a rock and easy to keep clean.

    I think these peple who used it on the shower floor neglected to read the label that clearly states not for use on shower floor, and hopefully you didn’t try to think the product with water. It is premixed and shouldn’t have anything added. This is the best product ever developed for grouting. I am sure these people did something wrong to the product before using it that they are not telling us about. I have tiled and grouted many floors, trust me this product is great!! No two ways about.