Help! Hazy grout!

bichonlover3July 30, 2009

We have old Italian/Tuscan looking tiles in our kitchen. We used charcoal grout to pull out the charcoal in the tiles. It looked Great! Then it dried! We have light gray grout with a white haze on it. How do we fix that? I read that the grout manufacturer sells some type of paint? or stain? that rejuvenates grout. What if I used a black on the existing grout?

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You are describing color seal. some are good and others have problems. I would hire a pro so he can guarantee the results.
An enhancer would give the grout the wet look, if you liked it before it dried you may want to try that. always test in an inconspicuous area

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 4:01PM
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I just read a thread where one of our tile experts suggested cleaning with vinegar to remove grout haze. OH... I think that was glass tile, I don't know if it works the same on stone... could it etch?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 6:22PM
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If the tiles are Natural Stone, and they have any amount of calcium in the
stone content, then YES - ANY ACID can DAMAGE That kind of material.

OP - If you have limestone, marble or travertine - you have pretty much "screwed the pooch".....

Can you post any pics of the troubled areas? This would go a long way in
suggesting a remedy for your situation.....


IF your tiles are ceramic, there's a good chance that you can get the "film"
(that's what you're seeing on the surfaces of the tiles - comes from NOT washing
the tiles down soon enough during the tile grouting process...) OFF of the
faces of the tiles......

This can be done effectively with either plain white vinegar, or a solution of
miuriatic acid and hot water (ratio of 1 part acid to 10 parts water)...
Don;t be alarmed about the acid - if you have an in-ground swimming pool,
you'll no doubt have some Muiriatic laying about.

in eiither case, you're going to need some kind of chemical action that an acid
does on the Alkali elements of grout film - namely, it breaks it down, and helps
you wash it off of ceramic tile and some natural stones that do NOT contain
any calcium in the stone..........

Test a piece of scrap with some vinegar to see if the tile reacts negatively -
if it does not - clean away with the vinegar... eventually the "film" will come off
with a lot of elbow grease... rinse the area with clean water when your done,
and your backsplash should look great!!!



    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 7:26PM
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Don't you just love this forum! Thanks for setting me straight Kevin... I've learned SO MUCH from you guys.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 7:31PM
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Uh, Kevin, correct me if I am wrong but I think the OP is concerned about the grout having a white haze, not the tiles themselves. I think the enhancer idea that was suggested might be worth a try. Okay, back to lurkdom for me. ;)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 7:53PM
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Dannie - the white haze won't come off with enhancer.....

Here's your correction - The white haze is most likely cement film that
is also on the tile - this is what happens after the grouting process when
the grout was allowed to dry too fast, and not all of it was cleaned off
of the tiles....

There's also the possibility that the grout joints themselves have a white
haze on the surface - this happens too when the joints are not properly
washed off with good rinse water - sometimes a thin film of Portland cement
will form (not always uniformly) on the joints and the tiles - but usually on
the tiles.

I learned this early on in the trades as a Tile Setter's apprentice in 1978.

In any event, all enhancer will do is to make the film darker - it won't remove it.....
better to use some kind of acidic solution - like vinegar to solve this issue....


    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 11:26PM
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Circus Peanut

Kevin, I think the OP is talking about some kind of efflorescence on the grout lines themselves, not residue haze on the tile faces?

This can happen when you use too much water to mix (or any water: some grouts just take the latex additive with no water), or the tiles are bone-dry (you're supposed to wet them before grouting) and the color leached out, or there's something in the water that reacts chemically with the grout coloration.

I'd check with your grout supplier and possibly consider re-grouting. You can also try one of the grout colorants which is basically like painting the grout. The tile experts on this forum have recommended Aqua Mix grout colorant as being a good one.

Good luck!

A great place to ask this question is on John Bridge's tile forum; I'm linking a post asking about the very same issue:

Here is a link that might be useful: haze on charcoal grout

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 11:51PM
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Your right - the OP could be talking about efflorescence, but I doubt that
that's the main issue here -

Efflorescence happens when salts that are in a sub structure - like brick or block -
get drawn out of that material when it gets wet and the salt wicks to the new
surface - the face of the brick or block AND the joints.

this is most common when tile is set directly on block using cement mortar, AND
there is a lot of moisture IN the block - looking for a way out - THROUGH -
the block - or whatever was installed OVER the block - like tile or face brick.

If the tile is ceramic - it was fired to totally change the molecular structure of
the assembly, thus locking in colors and tints - because at high temperature,
the colors and tints fuse to the clay molecules. Once installed - water will have
absolutely no effect on leaching out colors - but SALTS - YES !!! So, there is
a chance that salts IN the tiles themselves - COULD be the cause - but this is
something I have only seen in Mexican Saltillo (sorry - NOT a pun there...) tile
that does have "lime pops" and some salts in them from time to time.

IF this is a Saltillo based product - there is a chance that efflorescence could
be the cause of the problem - but pics will help determine this once and for all...

There could be something in the water, but if it's regular tap water, and the OP
drinks the same stuff without wincing every gulp - I'd say the water's not the culprit either.....

In 31 years - I have never seen efflorescence on an interior application - especially
if it was installed in a dry, ambient temperature - over drywall or plaster
wall board...
And it is kept dry after installation.......

It could be eflorescence - but I doubt it - but then again - I could be wrong too!!!!

It would help me determine my opinion of the cause if Bichonlover3 would post some
pictures of the area in question......... THAT would help a lot!!!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 11:42AM
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