first big glitch, wrong grout

cindyandmochaJune 28, 2010

Soooo.. I have had to travel a lot during the last 2 weeks and only home on weekends. While I was gone last week they laid tile and grouted. I got a frantic call from my husband (he was at work as well) that the supervisor called him freaking out about the grout color. I told them it would be fine as long as its the same color as what is on the bathroom walls.

I got home the next day and it definitely was NOT the same color. The supervisor wanted to have them pull it out while it was still wet. He checked the bathroom wall and thought it was the same.

Well it dried much lighter. Likely (I think based upon learning so much from Bill Vincent over the past few years) that he used too much water in the mix. I used "haystack" throughout the den and bathrooms. This looks almost white.

Soooo.. I told them the solution is to use aqua mix grout colourant in "mocha" to match the haystack. The mismatch is VERY obvious at the threshhold of the den the way it is now.

I'm hoping this colourant will correct the problem, as well as act as the sealer. When I googled the problem, it actually led back to a post several years old by Bill on that very problem, with him listing the match of "mocha" to "haystack".

Soooo.. I told him the fix was to do that, and only that. I want them to try that fix first.

My contractor was suprised that I didn't freak out and that I met them at the door with a solution. The supervisor was suprised that I was nice about it to his boss who was also there, since I told him this kind of thing happens with grout.

Obviously they are not charging us for the fix (because I said that up front, "obviously we are not paying for this"), and it will take a few more days. But I also think I'll wind up with more stain impervious grout to be honest. If the color looks good, then all is well that ends well on that front.

Thanks Bill!

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Wow, I am impressed with your handling of the situation. I hope it works.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 7:42AM
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Hope everything works out for you. We had the same problem with our grout from Laticrete which looked almost white instead of the toasted almond sample. The tile store did a sample mix and theirs turned out way lighter too so it wasn't that DH used too much water. We ended up putting on a sealer/enhancer that Laticrete paid for and it looks much better. When I posted my problem I got replies from several whose grout also turned out way lighter than the sample. Maybe the quality of the grout has changed. We never had this happen to the grout used in the bathroom floor tiles-picked a rich burnt sienna and it still looks great after several years.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 9:20AM
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Thanks guys! They did the "fix" today and it really is a good match. Aquamix grout colourant in "Mocha" really is a good match for Mapei "haystack". The tile guys (3 of them) painstakingly applied it today with an artist brush, and it looks good.

I know it was a pain for them, but it's a huge difference and they did great work. It was likely much better than having to chip out the grout and be careful of the heat wires below.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 2:01AM
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Dear cindyandmocha, I'm glad the grouting worked out for you. I just wanted to say that your kitchen is looking gorgeous!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 7:58AM
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Dear cindyandmocha, I'm glad the grouting worked out for you. I just wanted to say that your kitchen is looking gorgeous!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 9:14AM
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That's a great improvement.

You'll love having the grout colorant over time. Your floor will be very easy to clean compared to "normal" grout and more fluid-proof.

I'm interested in seeing your finished pictures when you get there- it's looking really nice.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 9:20AM
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Nicely handled. I love hearing stories about how the knowledge gained on this forum enables people to resolve these types of issues efficiently, effectively and in an aesthetically pleasing way. The difference between before and after is very noticeable even in the photos, and it's great that you get the sealing properties too. Not too bad for a glitch. :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Oh I like the floor with the correct (darker) grout! Looks great!!

Our GC's brother sccidentally installed the wrong window last week. They owned up to their mistake and replaced it to the correct window (free of charge of course as it was their mistake). The point I am trying to make is, I almost settled for the incorrect window! BOY am I glad they changed it to the correct one (and they also installed the incorrect one too high, which they fixed with the new one).

If something is done incorrectly, take the time to have it redone correctly! That's how I'm livin' from now on.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 9:55AM
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Looks much better with the corrected grout color (DH and I much prefer grout to blend in with tile, so I can appreciate your wanting it fixed).

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 1:20PM
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You know, I like that colourant so much, I'm considering putting it in the den myself. That's a project I can do next year though, if I still feel that way about it.

It took a day or two to get use to seeing the darker in the kitchen. The cream grew on me, but it really was too much contrast. I can see that now from the old pic. In the second pic, I think the floor seems to be more neutral, which is what I wanted. Also, it now matches going into the den, which is the exact same tile in the darker grout.

The advice on here is great. I am always suprised that contractors in the kitchen business don't read this forum and scour it. Aside from the abundance of customer insight, its a wealth of knowledge about fixes for things. They were scared to death I was going to make them dig that grout back out.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 1:27PM
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Did they just paint the colorant on? The second pic looks so much better. What a great fix! I had a problem in my master bath while they were using epoxy grout where two areas (12x12 accent tiles) came out much darker than the rest of the grout. I was wondering if I could just paint over that area with a colorant to lighten it up to match the rest of the bath. Do you think that's possible?
Here is a pic. It's the last two accent tiles on the left hand wall. I have replacement tiles but no one wants to touch it in fear of breaking other tiles. It was my Bil so I had no recourse.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 2:37PM
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nursetammi, I have the same problem in my bathroom too. I think we should post this over on the bathroom forum and ask Bill Vincent. I found an old post of his from 2006 for this fix for my kitchen there (that aquamix "mocha" colourant was a match for mapei "haystack" grout).

I have this same tile in my bathrooms and den, and I told hubby today I want to do the same in the den. I want to do it in the bathroom too, but don't know how it does in wet areas. However, since the original post was in a wet area, I don't see why not.

When I read up about the product, there is a "cleaner" product you can purchse for older tiles to use first. Since this was just new grout, they didn't bother. They used a little artist brush and just started in painting.

The original post indicated this stuff should last longer than the tiles themselves because of its makeup (about 20 yrs and I'll be in the carribean or nursing home by then).

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 1:22AM
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And now for the good news-- your grout is now permanently sealed, and additionally, the dirt won't stick to it any more than it will the face of the tile itself.

They didn't have to be so painstaking with it, though, but now that it's finished, that explanation will be for another thread! :-) Glad to hear it all turned out for you. :-)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 11:13PM
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Congrats on not freaking out!! I always do whenever we make a change (even that goes as planned) because I'm worried I won't like it.

I had always preferred the white/off white grout with tiles because it looked clean, but your pics may have converted me! Looks so much better with the darker grout!

Not to be a thread stealer, but I have some questions about aqua mix! Where can you get it? Home Depot and such?

Do you have to be really careful when putting it over the grout and will it come off your tiles? I'd be putting it over old grout, so I'd just need the cleaner and then the colorant, right? No extra sealer is needed? Is it just a weekend job and is it that hard to do?

Thanks! :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 7:59AM
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For the most part you need to go to a tile showroom. BUt there is a place on line that I know of where you can buy it. Link's below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aquamix Grout Colorant

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:14AM
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This is the reason I love these forums! I just learned something new from this thread--that I can color grout! I have off white subway tile in the kitchen with too-white grout. I'd like to color it light gray instead for more of an old fashioned look. I just ordered Aquamix free color chart. Thanks SO much!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 10:36AM
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They were so paintstaking with mine because the tile itself has little variations around the edges. It's not all square around the tile itself -- teensy little jags. There were actually 3 men on the ground painting in the colourant with little artist brushes. They started around 9 am and were done by noon. Its a large room, so I'm thinking (after watching them) that I could do the same in my den. I can get rid of the dirt, and have a color that exaclty matches my kitchen -- which is where the den leads into and what I was trying to match in the first place.

Bill can this be used in very wet areas? i.e. can I use this colourant in my bathroom and shower area??

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 4:18AM
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I love the result! I read about the Aquamix and what an awesome product! You have converted me too! I want my grout to blend with the tile....will definitely be ordering and fixing my tile grout to match!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 7:09AM
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Bill can this be used in very wet areas? i.e. can I use this colourant in my bathroom and shower area??

Yes, it can. About 4 years ago, I tiled a couple of steam rooms for a corporate health club in Hartford, Ct. Right outside one of those steam rooms was a area where their maintenance staff had replaced a area of loose tile, and used the wrong grout. Just on the other side of this area were the locker room showers. I hit it with the grout colorant the first week I was there, and in week 7, when we were getting ready to leave, it still looked good. So if an area like that can take it, I'm sure your bathroom can.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 8:00AM
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That is awesome news. It sort of bleeds into the bathroom forum but awesome news nonetheless. I suspect the guy that did our shower about 5 years ago did NOT seal as he said he did. I'm thinking if I do this in my walk-in shower (which is also "haystack"), I'll finally have a blended house. Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 1:57AM
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