Grout color disaster, help? can I stain it?

quesera1970March 18, 2014

Today's drama was so absurd I'm almost laughing. Almost. In the midst of a major remodel (kitchen and two bathrooms). One bathroom (our vintage black and white bathroom) was tiled horribly (major variations in grout lines, dealt with outer corners by chopping field tile, etc). Our other bathroom was tiled and grouted more consistently only....instead of getting CHARCOAL grout for our river rocks shower floor and slate-look porcelain floor, the tile shop handed our contractor CRANBERRY grout. And said contractor (not the sharpest tool in the shed, etc) didn't check the receipt, or even notice that I chose to use a cranberry colored grout in our black, white and gray bathroom.
Tile Shop said we could use an epoxy sealer that would stain the grout but my husband is skeptical and wants to pull it all out. Anyone have experience with staining their grout? fwiw i don't think the pink grout has been sealed yet.

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Well, you could make a deal that you'd be willing to try the epoxy colorant/seal, but if you aren't satisfied, it all must be redone... Or, you could just have it redone.

The quicker it is taken out, the easier it will be because it won't be as cured.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:12AM
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Grout stain was taken off the market many years ago because it was toxic, especially the dark colors.

Grout colorant is really an epoxy paint. It is still going to have a painted look. It does seal the grout but it will eventually wear off in a couple of years. I do not know how well it will stand up to heavy cleaning and scrubbing and cleaning chemicals. It will be hard to make it look good around all of the pebbles.

I used grout colorant in my house to cover a light color grout (bad decision on my part) that did not look good under heavy traffic. It kept me from having to regrout most of my house. It has made cleaning much easier because the grout does not absorb the dirty water when I mop. I have a lot of dogs in my house. If I were to do it over, I would install grey grout. I used black epoxy grout with my wood looking tile in two bedrooms and it is wonderful to mop, especially after puppies.

Sorry, I vote to redo shower floor with black or charcoal epoxy grout.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 10:03

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:00AM
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Circus Peanut

Oh dear.

I really think you should have them take it all out and re-do -- any grout colorant will just be a paint, in effect, and a shower floor gets some heavy usage.

Surely the contractor will take the blame for this and swallow the cost of redoing the floor, since it's pretty clear very few folks would choose pink grout with black stone..?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:22AM
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Yup. You didn't understate it when you titled this a grout disaster! You also seem to have a pretty good sense of humour about this. Been there... reminds me of my kitchen renos when I had to send my drawers/OTF cabinet back oh about 7 times in total...I remember one lovely fellow yelling at me over the phone (as I was trying to be very clear about what he needed to do to make sure that the wood veneer on the divider matched the outside of the cabinet), "J....C....., WHAT KIND OF F...... IDIOT DO YOU THINK I AM?" The funny thing is he did send the cabinet back with the wrong veneer! LOL (I didn't even let them unload it off the truck, back it went...again!)

You and your hubby do not even need to consider a band-aid solution to this gross error. It's not up to you to figure out who gets to swallow the cost of the redo. Hubby is right, it needs to be pulled out and redone. And, Oh, DON"T assume it will get done properly without supervision...stay on top of this!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:32PM
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Is this the same contractor who tiled the other bathroom with mistakes? The same contractor who didn't notice the grout was pink when it was first mixed? The same contractor who didn't bother to double check the color with you and applied it anyway?
I agree with all above, get the doofus to re-do your shower--at his expense and double check everything each step along the way.
I tried coloring grout once, many years ago. My results were not great. The color it came out wasn't even remotely close to what I wanted.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:16PM
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When I set pebble-style sheets, I almost always pull off a portion of the perimeter pebbles and rotate and reset them by hand. Doing that blends adjacent sheets together into a seamless look and eliminates a the sheet lines that you can see telegraphing through in your floor.

If you want to keep your pebbles "as-is", then a charcoal colorant is the only color I'd recommend as the grout will blend with your pebbles and hide those sheet lines. So I agree with your choice of color.

Aquamix Grout Colorant is the colorant I recommend. It is epoxy, it's a fine product. Colorants can be screwed up, so I'd have a get-together with the folks at the tile shop and with your installer. Tell them you're willing to try the colorant, but if you're not satisfied with the results you'll retain the option of having the entire pan R&R'd at no cost to you.

If they hedge, have them R&R it now and get a better pebble installation and the proper grout color in the process.

Good luck with it.

Right now the floor looks like it's covered with peach mildew.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:36PM
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Mongoct, your description of peach mildew is spot on. Yuck!
We tried an epoxy stainer, but it just looked like a black, clumpy mess so we are redoing the tile. And now that you mentioned it, I do see the sheet lines--I couldn't even see them before because the color was so dramatically awful. I will ask installer to do that with the pebbles. Cross fingers this time it will work.

And yes, this is the same contractor who has messed up a bunch of stuff. He has made right on a lot of it, but not without teeth gnashing, repeated requests, and genuine bafflement on my part.

Today's job, however, is to get the granite installer to come back and redo one of the seams for our kitchen counters. It never ends!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:13PM
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I am about to redo the grout lines in my epoxy-grouted kitchen with the Aquamix Grout colorant due to a bad grout job.

It costs about $25 for a bottle and it covers 200 SF. There are different prep instructions for new grout vs old grout which you can read about on the Aquamix web site. The colorant can be applied with a toothbrush or paintbrush so they shouldn't have trouble getting into the nooks and crannies and going light to dark is better than going dark to light! I guess I would try the grout colorant first before having them rip out the shower bed. And if I remember correctly the Aquamix product is more of a stain than a paint so it looks more natural. At least I am hoping it does - my floor depends on it!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 8:22PM
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I'll bet this stuff will turn that Cranberry into Charcoal, and if you have to apply it every now and then, you've got plenty:

Here is a link that might be useful: Tenax

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:22AM
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