Antique white grout disaster

AmberleSeptember 8, 2012

Hello. My contractor has grouted three times with two different brands of unsanded grout. The issue is that the grout color (Antique White) isn't uniform. It's blotchy ivory and gray. Looks dirty and sort of moldy.

After the first time, I called the manufacturer (TEC) and they said he used too much water. So he re-grouted. It was still blotchy and horrible looking so he switched brands, grouted again. Same effect.

My contractor says that there are color variations (red, yellow, black) in the grout and it will never be uniform. He said to achieve a uniform effect, I would have to use paint! I went to Home Depot and asked if that was correct, and the person said it was not. Rather, they said my contractor either used too much water or did not mix the bag of dry grout well before using a portion of it.

Does anyone know what's going on here? My contractor is coming by tomorrow to seal the grout, and I need to resolve this. The appearance is simply not acceptable.

Thanks so much in advance!

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First, it can take a while for all the moisture to work out of a newly tiled wall. So in some cases of blotchy grout, it's simply latent moisture working its way out of the wall system.

Second, yes, the cause of blotchy grout is usually too much water. Too much added when originally mixing, or making the mistake off adding a bit more water to loosen up the mix halfway through the grouting, or even using too wet a sponge when wiping down the tile after grouting.

Not mixing enough: I think this is a universal problem with most installers. They don't mix long enough. Or they use a high speed drill instead of mixing at a slow RPM. Or they don't let it slake. Or after slaking, they add more water.

So yeah, there certainly are a lot of errors made with grout.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 8:22PM
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FWIW, we (our tile guys) used TEC XT Antique White Unsanded grout throughout our main floor with vein cut travertine (1/32" grout lines) last fall. It wasn't blotchy then, nor is it almost a year later.

After all the grout had dried, we noticed within 2 or 3 grout lines, very, very small portions of those lines (maybe 1/8"-1/4" segments), where the grout dried a little darker than rest of the grout. Our tile guy scraped out those tiny spots, re-grouted them, and they matched the rest of the grout perfectly.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 10:01PM
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Thanks very much! It's helpful to have a data point for successful, uniform installation.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:07PM
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Oh, another FYI for you; we needed to caulk at the base of the wood stairs that meet that floor tile. The tile place told us to use TEC Pearl caulk rather than the Antique White caulk. Said it was a much better match to their Antique White grout. It does look okay together.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 12:14AM
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Ditto- TEC Antique White installed about 1 month ago - it isn't blotchy at all...

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Mix with a drill.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:01PM
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