Not all grouts are made equally. Some are more durable and aesthetically pleasing than others. Due to the above, when choosing a grout to use in your tile installation job, you must make a thorough analysis.
Today, we will compare two popular grouts types: MAPEI Flexcolor CQ vs Ultracolor Plus FA. Both grouts are made by a leading manufacturer in the building industry, MAPEI. However, they have different formulas, and each option is suitable for varying scenarios.
What is MAPEI Flexcolor CQ?
Flexcolor CQ is a color-coated quartz ready-to-use grout. Compared to traditional cement grout, MAPEI is more affordable and easier to install.
Flexcolor CQ offers the best color consistency out of all grouts because it’s made of quartz aggregate. It is an ideal option for interior and exterior tiling jobs. It can be applied to a wide range of tiles, from natural stone to ceramic and porcelain.
There are a couple of features that make the MAPEI Flexcolor CQ stand out. For instance, it is highly resistant to water-based stains.
It’s relatively easy to clean and doesn’t need a sealer. You can get Flexcolor CQ in a wide range of finishes, from white to chocolate and gray.
According to MAPEI, their Flexcolor CQ is resistant to mold growth. That’s why they recommend it for exterior use. Its formula is also designed to prevent shrinking and cracking.
The Flexcolor CQ is widely available. You can find it in most stores or buy it online from platforms such as Amazon.
The Flexcolor CQ is designed for joints ranging from 1/16″ to 1/2″. It dries within 24 hours and won’t stain the tile surface.
Thanks to its potent formula, the Flexcolor CQ can be used in wet conditions, such as shower floors, walls, and around the bathtub. Also, most reviews about the Flexcolor CQ are positive. That indicates that this is a good grout to use on tiles.
What is MAPEI Ultracolor Plus FA?
Also, from MAPEI, the Ultracolor Plus FA is a polymer-modified grout. Professional tilers prefer to use it because it is a substitute for unsanded and sanded grouts. This grout covers tile joints ranging from 1/16″ to 3/4″.
The Ultracolor Plus FA is a fast-setting grout known for resisting efflorescence. It’s very good at repelling water and other types of stains.
It is also an upgrade from cement-based grouts. If you go for this type of grout, you are assured of better stain resistance and minimal surface absorption.
A close similarity between MAPEI Ultracolor and Flexcolor is that they are available in the same type of colors. On their website, they have a color sheet of suitable options you can choose from.
For those with a green thumb, you will be glad to know that Ultracolor Plus FA is made with recycled materials.
A couple of things worth noting about the Ultracolor Plus FA is that it is a rapid-setting grout. You have to work fast. You may waste a large amount of the product if you are not a pro. It’s a good idea to work in smaller sections.
How Are They Different?
• Tiles Joint Coverage
Flexcolor CQ can be used on joints measuring 1/16″ to 1/2″.
Ultracolor Plus FA, on the other hand, can be used on joints measuring 1/16″ to 3/4″.
This means that Ultracolor Plus FA is more ideal if you have bigger tile joints. However, this is rare because most tile joints measure 1/8″ to 3/16″. But the difference is worth noting down.
Even though they are made by the same company, the formulas used to make these two grouts are very different.
Flexcolor CQ is a quartz aggregate-based grout.
Ultracolor Plus FA is a polymer-modified grout.
This difference in formula contributes to factors such as color consistency and shelf lives, as you will see later on.
• Setting Time
Flexcolor CQ isn’t a fast-setting grout. It has more working time.
Ultracolor Plus FA is a rapid-setting grout.
When looking for grout, the setting time is something you need to consider. With the likes of Ultracolor, the setting time is pretty fast. Therefore, you have a limited working time before the grout starts to dry.
This is often challenging for most DIY tilers. If you doubt your grout installation skills, you should go for a non-fast setting grout such as Flexcolor CQ.
Flexcolor CQ has a longer shelf life of around one year.
Ultracolor Plus FA begins to dry immediately after the lid is opened.
Let’s say you settle for Flexcolor CQ. If some is left behind, you can store it in your garage and use it for future tiling jobs.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Ultracolor Plus FA. The rapid setting formula makes this grout dry up pretty fast.
Therefore, with this option, you should only buy the amount you plan to use during that job. Any leftovers have to be discarded because they won’t be usable.
• Color Consistency
The presence of quartz coded with clear acrylic in Flexcolor CQ gives it a more vivid color consistency than its counterpart.
The above doesn’t mean that Ultracolor Plus FA looks terrible. But if you prefer a much truer color, I would strongly advise you to go for MAPEI Flexcolor.
Flexcolor CQ is a more popular choice than Ultracolor Plus FA.
If you ask professional tile installers and experienced DIY enthusiasts, they prefer to use Flexcolor CQ over its counterpart, Ultracolor Plus FA. Why? The above differences should give you a couple of hints.
How Are They Similar?
• Both are Made By MAPEI
One of the main similarities between these two grouts is that they are made by the same company. MAPEI is a reputable manufacturer in the construction industry.
All of its products are known to be of high quality, even though there may be some differences regarding the formula.
• Both are Available in 40 Different Colors
When you compare the color sheets of both grouts, you will notice that both are available in 40 different colors. The colors are the same. Therefore, this shouldn’t be a deciding factor when comparing these two grouts.
• Both are Water and Stain Resistant
The Flexcolor CQ and Ultracolor Plus FA are both formulated to be stain and water-resistant. Except for the gradual wear, these two grouts made by MAPEI are durable.
• Both Don’t Need Sealers
If you are used to most grouts, you must be familiar with sealants. The purpose of sealants is to prevent moisture from entering the grout and weakening its structure. The good news with Flexcolor CQ and Ultracolor Plus FA is that they don’t need sealants.
• Both Can Be Used in Wet Areas
You can use Flexcolor CQ and Ultracolor Plus FA around bathtubs, shower walls, and floors. Both grouts are designed for use in wet and high-moisture areas.
Pros of MAPEI Flexcolor CQ
• It doesn’t need a sealer
• Better color consistency
• It can be used on interiors and exteriors
• Water and stain resistant
• It has a longer shelf life
Cons of MAPEI Flexcolor
• Not suitable for bigger tile joints
Pros of MAPEI Ultracolor Plus FA
• It can be used on joints as big as 3/4″
• It is highly resistant to shrinking
• It is resistant to stains
• It is available in many colors
Cons of MAPEI Ultracolor Plus FA
• It is not very popular
• It is a fast-setting grout
Which is Better? MAPEI Flexcolor CQ vs Ultracolor Plus FA
After evaluating the features, differences, pros, and cons, MAPEI Flexcolor CQ is outrightly the better choice than Ultracolor Plus FA. It has a better color consistency, longer working time, and shelf life.
It’s even a more popular choice than Ultracolor Plus FA. The only scenario where Ultracolor Plus FA seems more applicable is when you are interested in grouting tile joints that are as big as 3/4″ wide.