Grout question.

ikea_gwJuly 12, 2013

Today our bathrooms were grouted. The shower floor and the master bath floor use the same color grout but due to grout size differences one is sanded (shower) and the other is unsanded. Both are pewter from Polyblend. The unsanded grout turns out to be exactly what I expected (gray) but the sanded grout is turning blue and remains much darker. It's been only 5 hours so I know it can still change but I is the blue color normal? Thanks.

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It's been over 14 hours now and the grout is definitely blue. I am thinking either it is mislabeled or the contractor did something wrong in mixing it because there is a tiny smudge on the wall tile that is also blue. Should I call my contractor about this over the weekend or just wait until Monday?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 6:22AM
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Retained moisture can be an issue. Grout can take a few days to dry, much depends on the tile too. If it was set over a thick mud bed or a lightweight (cement board) base, how much thinset was used to set the tile, the time between tiling and grouting, etc. It can take several days for moisture to leave the system. An enclosed shower may take longer to dry than a wide-open room with better ventilation.

It can also be lighting; the bulb itself, or sometimes an off color can show due to the tile color.

Then there are all the other issues; minerals in the water, the grout itself, etc.

But first I'd give it a chance to dry on its own. No hair dryer assist, etc.

Certainly call and leave a courtesy message to let him know about the situation. Tell him you understand it's still not fully dry, but you're simply letting him know that there may be a problem. And tell him you'll call again Monday if the situation has not resolved itself.

Hope it all works out for you.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:13AM
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The tiles were set 3 days before the grout went in. The tiles are over schluter orange membrane over cement. They had some paper and a spare kerdi board covering the tiled shower floor when they worked on the walls. Which now that I think about it may have well slowed down the moisture from escaping. I've observed the guys use quite a bit of thinset while doing the wall tiles. Is it reasonable to think they also used a lot on the shower floor?

The question is though would the color really be blue if the moisture is the problem? There is a smudge of grout on the wall as well and it is blue too. This leads me now to think the grout is just that color. I sent a message to GC. I just hope this isn't going to turn out to be a huge delay for us as we were very close to be done.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Take photos. Overall plus detailed. Some of the unsanded that is the proper color, some of the sanded that is blue.

On Monday you can also contact Custom Technical Support. While you are on the phone with tech support you can email the tech the photos for them to look at.

As to why the color is blue, I really can't say. It can be simple latent moisture. It can be bad water (minerals, etc), an installation error, a bad batch of grout, old can be quite a few things. Polyblend is already modified in the bag, any third party type of additive could have caused the problem too. Third party mix-in types of sealers, microbial agents, or using even more latex admix instead of just adding water.

I've used polyblend many times, I've only had one grout issue and that was about 15 years ago.

If your tile guy is a good tile guy, he'll be able to diagnose after putting his eyes on the work, because he knows the chain of custody (so to speak) with materials and methods used in the construction of the shower.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:37PM
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Here is the overall photo. You can see the pewter grout color (unsanded version) on the curb here. It has a small amount of white on it but overall it is the gray color we wanted.

This post was edited by ikea_gw on Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 14:22

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Here is the zoomed in shot. The mosaic is 3/8 inches thick.

This post was edited by ikea_gw on Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 14:23

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 2:15PM
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Looks blue to me. I would be unhappy with that color with your tiles. Did the tile person do a mockup of grout with your tiles before they proceeded? If you take this grout out and redo, be sure you have a test grout sample done.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 9:12PM
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They didn't do a mockup. I guess nobody was expecting the gray grout to be blue. How much work do you think it is to take the grout out and will it damage the tiles (floor and wall) in the process? Also how much dust will it generate? We are expecting so I am concerned about that.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 9:10AM
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Hello Ikea
I don't think anyone has done anything wrong here.
This is a pretty rare occurance.
You will need to check your water-a high content of copper may be the cause.
You will need to correct that.
As far as replacing the grout-it can be done without causing any dust at all.
You have many grout lines so it will take some time.
Fein makes dustless tools just for this.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Hey srosen, if it is caused by water wouldn't the pewter unsanded grout also turn blue? Or there is a difference in chemical reaction due to the sand and nonsanded difference?

Thanks for reassuring me that replacing the grout can be done and will not be too dusty. Our contractor will do the replacing and they actually in general do a very good job. I feel bad for them though since that is a lot of grout to remove and they were very ready to finish up the bathroom.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 11:32AM
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I really don't know if this could be an option for you , but this happened to me on my kitchen floor and the tile man used grout paint to correct it . The paint had a sealant in it too . I think if its doable that will be easier than taking the grout out and replacing it . Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 6:39AM
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The tiler decided to regrout. They are taking the grout out as we speak with no power tools. It appears that the problem may have been that they used grout boost for the unsanded version for the sanded grout. I am making them test the grout now on tile before putting them on.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

What wonderful news! People make mistakes, and the sign of a good contractor is that he will admit it and correct it in order to make his customer happy.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Babka, indeed. Overall I've been very happy with them even though there have been mistakes here and there. They are always willing and ready to correct them without me raising much fuss over it. Hopefully no more major mistakes like this though until we are all done. We are anxious to move back upstairs and start working on cleaning and doing the nursery.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 1:15PM
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That's great-I have heard of other problems with grout boost as well.
Grout colorants can work as well-not sure what there life would be in a shower stall.
Better to replace the grout making sure it doesn't discolor again. Wouldn't hurt to call the grout manufacturer and see what they say.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:29AM
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Just want to update that old grout was removed nicely and we actually put in a lighter shade of sanded grout (silverado) on the shower floor last night. It looks great. Much better than the original pewter so all this may just be a blessing in disguise.

srosen, we are all pretty sure it is the grout boost and this could just be that they used the wrong version of grout boost on the sanded grout. They mixed up the pewter sanded grout without grout boost yesterday and it was the right color. We have grout boost in the unsanded grout in 2 other places and they seem to not change the color at all.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:39AM
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Now that is indeed blue!

And after seeing the photo, yep, I'd ask what the installer added to the grout. Bad water and bad grout won't come out looking like that, but a 3rd-party mixture added to grout? Unfortunately, it's all too common.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 1:30PM
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