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Question from B. C.

Thanks to all your tips, my wife is really feeling much better with her MCS. In fact, we’re now carefully considering putting a tile floor where the carpet used to be in the bathroom adjacent to her bedroom. Using your recommendations we have found safe tile adhesives and grout sealers but we can’t find anything about safe grouts.

Can you recommend any products for a chemically safe grout and are there any problems to watch out for in the cement board underlayment materials?

Debra’s Answer

Any grout is fine. There’s a latex additive that has a bit of an odor, but it dissipates quickly as the grout dries. By the time it’s ready to use, there is little or no odor. If any odor remains, it will be gone within a week or so. I’ve laid tile on the floor without the latex additive with no problem. It just makes the grout more flexible and less likely to crack.

The standard cement board underlayment is also fine. Two brand names we have used are Hardibacker and Durock. There is also Wonderboard, which was the first product of this kind.

Do NOT use “greenboard” which is ordinary sheetrock covered with a green coating . Not only does it have a strong odor, but it also falls apart when it gets wet.

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