Grout Line Choices – Keep Your Customer Happy
Picture this: You’ve beautifully stained and engraved a flagstone pattern on your customer’s driveway. The color is perfect and the grout lines are a lovely light shade of gray.
Then you apply the sealer.
Yikes! Gone are the good-looking grout lines, only to be replaced by dark gray (your customer calls them horrid and unsightly) grout lines.
How can you avoid this nightmare?
According to Chris Mirabal, Senior Tech Advisor at Engrave-A-Crete, there are two methods for dealing with grout lines when installing a flagstone pattern.
- Apply stain to the surface.
- Apply the sealer.
Engrave the grout lines.
Advantages: The grout lines show up a nice, light gray.
Disadvantages: (1) All the stones will be the same color. You won’t be able to apply a contrasting stain to individual stones because you won’t know where they are until you engrave and you can’t stain over the sealer that’s already been applied.
(2) The grout lines are now unsealed making them susceptible to stains from the environment such as oil, leaf stain, etc.
- Stain the entire surface.
- Engrave the grout lines.
- Use a contrasting color(s) to highlight random stones. (If you get a bit of stain in the grout line, touch it up with your engraving tool.)
Apply the sealer.
Advantages: Individual stones can be highlighted for a more interesting and natural looking pattern.
Disadvantages: The grout lines will be dark.
Be sure to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both methods with your customer before you begin the job.
By letting him make the decision about which method you use, you will eliminate the ugly surprise of grout lines that don’t live up to expectations.