Grout dried grey instead of dark brown - tried haze remover

alannapOctober 14, 2007

Hi there,

We had our porcelain tile grouted a week ago and the grout had dried light grey instead of dark brown.

We have washed the area with soap and water, plus have used a HD haze remover. No luck, the grout is still grey.

Can you suggest the following:

1. why this happened?

2. what we can do to fix is as we don't want our tile guy to have to re-grout.

Thanks!

Alanna

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shaughnn

Hello Alanna,
What brand and color was the grout?
Generally, this is caused by a problem a couple of issues.
Too much water used to mix the grout will cause it to cure light. An overly hot or windy environment will accelerate the curing process and cause the grout to cure light. Using too much water when cleaning up the grout will wash the colorant out of the grout, producing light joints. Excessively "hard" water, highly treated water or "well water" will all adversely affect the grout's color.
Here's how you avoid it in the future.
Shaughnn

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 11:22PM
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organic_donna

Shaughn,
I read somewhere that using distilled water when grouting helps, is that true?
Donna

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 7:43AM
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biondanonima

You can use a grout colorant to change the color rather than regrouting. Do a search on grout colorant on this forum and you'll find the brand that the experts recommend!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:52AM
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bill_vincent

Do a search on grout colorant on this forum and you'll find the brand that the experts recommend!

Aquamix

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 6:07PM
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biondanonima

Bill is the expert of whom I was speaking - go find the Aquamix!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 8:15PM
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monicakm_gw

This happened to us too. I knew to expect a couple shades lighter so I chose a grout that was a tad darker than i wanted. We used Custom grout, color Haystack. It dried to Alabaster. I'm trying to figure out what we did wrong too. DH mixed the grout to a peanut butter consistency. He didn't use too much water when cleaning. The enviroment was climate controled to 75 degrees. Our water isn't hard but we are on a "community" well system. As for "highly treated" or not, I have no idea.
alannap, what I'm going to do to fix this (unless one of the experts can tell me why I should NOT, is use an enhancing sealer on the grout to darken it. I tested a spot in the back of a closet and it darkened it to the original Haystack color. Tile gurus...is this a good solution? Since the enhancing sealer brought it to a color I can live with, I'd much rather do that than apply a grout colorant (have to seal it anyway). This will be a lot easier and less messy than using a colorant, yes?
Monica

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:17PM
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alannap

Bill: Thanks for the information on Aquamix. We will definitely investigate.

Shaughann: The brand/colour we used was Flextile in Mocha.

RE: the conditions which could have caused it to lighten -- perhaps the warm day as it was unseasonably warm and humid for October in Toronto, Ontario. Or perhaps too much water added to the grout, or too much used when cleaning.

Thanks again for your help!

Alanna

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:17PM
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patricianat

Those little pencil things they have show a totally different color from dried grout. I was so happy my tile people knew that when I chose those light colors and they suggested I go much darker. I thought they were wrong, so I insisted. The tile guy had the good common sense to do 2 and let me see in an area where they would not show and then I was convinced --- they were right, I was wrong.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 1:29AM
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shaughnn

When installed correctly, most commercially available cementitious grout will dry to match the color chits. If your sales person or tile installer is recommending that you over compensate by choosing a darker color, then they are demonstrating their ignorance of the trade.
Distilled water helps because there are no elements left in the water which might lighten the grout, but most residential tap water will suffice. "Well water" is a problem because all that water has percolated down through the soil and carried with it salts and other minerals which will affect the grout's color development.
Let me define "too much water used when cleaning". If you can wring the hydro sponge and ANY water comes out, there's too much water in the sponge and you risk affecting the color development. You should be using the sponge to shape the joints initially and there is little reason to rinse the sponge more than ever 10 square feet or so. The initial pass is done with LIGHT overlapping circular motions. Then you rinse the sponge, wring it out completely, make ONE diagonal pass over the surface of the tile, flip the sponge for another diagonal pass and then rinse the sponge again.
Enhancing sealers can often revitalize a grout that's been improperly installed. I dislike grout stains and always advise against them unless the alternatives are just not practical.
Best of luck,
Shaughnn

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 2:25AM
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alannap

Hi Shaughnn,

I am now leaning towards the grout enhancer/sealer you are suggesting. With some more elbow grease, my husband was able to make the grout a light brown.

Is there a particular brand that you'd recommend?

Thanks!
Alanna

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 11:00AM
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alannap

Hi there,

Just putting this to the top to see if any of the experts can recommend a grout sealer/enhancer??

We will be working on the floor again this weekend.

Thanks!
Alanna

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 10:17AM
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tom_p_pa

Regarding sponges...we are talking grout sponges. They are made just for grouting and do not hold water like your everyday kitchen sponge.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 12:54PM
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monicakm_gw

Mind if a non-expert recommends a sealer? AquaMix solvent based Stone Enhancer. You can use it as a grout sealer too. I've put some on a section of grout in a closet. Now just trying to make up my mind if I want to actually darken it. I probably will.
Monica

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 6:31PM
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MariposaTraicionera

My grout came out too light! They used Mapei's Pearl grey but it looks like 3 shades lighter.

The tilesetter was wringing his sponge out. Wish I had read this first.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 2:29PM
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monicakm_gw

You've got to seal it anyway Mari, might as well use an "enhancing" sealer to darken the grout to where it should be.
Monica

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 7:19PM
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organic_donna

If the tiles have already been sealed once, you can't use an enhancer. Also, the enhancer will also darken your tiles so test an area first to see if you like the look.
Donna

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 6:38AM
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monicakm_gw

I think Mari is wanting to seal the GROUT not the tiles. She said her grout cured too light so that's why I suggested an enhancing sealer :)
Monica

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 8:50AM
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organic_donna

I don't think you can just enhance the grout. You probably will end up with the enhancer on some of your tiles.
Donna

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 6:52AM
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monicakm_gw

Donna, I'm pretty sure the enhancing sealer won't penetrate the porcelain tile. Tile/grout manufacturers always recommend that you use a cloth or sponge to wipe up any excess sealer if any gets on the tiles. Even tho the sealer can't penetrate the porcelain or ceramic, it can dry and look hazy or dull if not cleaned. I've already put enhancing sealer on my porcelain tile. It brought out the color of the grout and didn't affect the tile in the least. Mari, are you tiles natural stone or porcelain/ceramic? The information above is for the OP using porcelain tiles.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 2:21PM
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bill_vincent

You're fine with the porcelain. Monica's right. It won't touch the porcelain.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 2:25PM
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MariposaTraicionera

Monica, thanks for the additional info. We have glazed porcelain tiles (matte finish). My grout is so light that I really want something that would darken it. The tilesetter said today he'll use an enhancer with polyurethene? Does that sound right? He said it has a wet look, but if my tiles are matte, I don't think I'd like that.

Alanna, how did your grout turn out?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 1:40AM
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monicakm_gw

Mari, I believe when they say "wet look" they're referring to how the material *darkens* when wet, not a wet shiny or glossy look. If you're unsure if you'll like the look, use a sponge to wet a section of your grout. Get it wet enough to really penetrate the grout. As for the polyurethane...I don't know. One of the tile guys will have to answer that. It might be the same as a "solvent" based sealer (vs water based). That's what the AquaMix Stone Enhancer Sealer is...or it was 5 years ago when I bought it.
Monica

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 11:44AM
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MariposaTraicionera

Thanks Monica. He's coming today so I will ask questions and make sure we try it in an area (walk-in pantry) that might not matter so much.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 10:59AM
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