Coloring kitchen floor tile grout?

kelliaJuly 18, 2010

Hi! I've been a lurker for a while, love all the kitchen ideas! We have beige ceramic tile in our kitchen, however, I don't think the previous owners sealed it because it has turned really dark. I wouldn't care if the grout was darker than the original cream, as long as it was all a uniform color. I've tried cleaning it, nothing works.

Has anyone used any grout coloring products? Did it work? Was it hard to do? What brand works well? Will it hold up in a high-traffic area like the kitchen?

Thanks for any advice anyone can give me! :)

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Avanti Tile & Stone (Stonetech)

There are numerous grout colorants out there. Home Depot sells some. Clean the grout with a scrub brush and some TSP...flush it with clear water and let dry. Take the grout color and pour into a small container and apply it with a child's toothbrush. Be ready with a towel or micrifibre cloth to buff out the inevetable spills on the tile edge.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 6:13PM
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I used "This Old Grout" ordered it from their website and was very happy. My grout had dried about 2 shades lighter than I expected and with an old dog etc, I decided that I'd just seal and color at the same time.
Since my grout was new, I didn't have to do the etching step that they recommend, but it was very easy and looks great. Absolutely doesn't look "colored" or "painted" on at all.... just looks like grout and is totally waterproof.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 6:43PM
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Cindyandmocha just posted about having her grout colored to match the grout in another part of her house.

Grout oops thread

And the unparalleled Bill Vincent and Mongoct (who mostly post in the bathroom forum) have talked at length about grout colorants. I would recommend looking for past threads there.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:32PM
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Try cleaning it with Oxyclean, first. And not just a general cleaning, this first time. Mix a bucket of Oxyclean twice the strength of what they recommend on the side of the tub, with water as hot as your hands (with gloves on) can stand it. Use a scrub brush and scrub the joints, but don't use a mop to pick it up. Use a wet vac to suck up the solution, as quickly as you finish an area, so the dirt doesn't have time to settle back into the grout. Otherwise, the mop will just push the dirt back into the pores of the grout. Once you've gone over the whole floor like that, go back with cold clear water, and do it again, only this time don't worry so much about really agitating the joints. Again, pick it up with the wet vac. Once dry, those grout joints should sow a marked improvement. If not good enough, THEN start thinking about using a grout colorant.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:46PM
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Hi Kellia,
My name is Ken Sherman, President and founder of This Old Grout. I thought I'd shed some light on your grout problem. You are correct in looking at a grout colorant to solve the problem.

Because grout is porous, it will readily absorb dirt and spills. These stains quickly become permanent and can spoil the look of a whole room.

Even grout that is "protected" with a clear penetrating sealer will absorb spills and dirty mop water and will become uneven in color.

Grout colorants, grout dyes, grout paints and grout stains as they are called, go way beyond the level of protection a clear sealer can provide. Further, they restore the grout right back to a completely uniform color and shade of your choice. You can match your original color or change your grout to any other color without removing it.

The main advantage of a grout colorant, apart from the fact the grout looks new again, is the stain proofing qualities of the grout after it has been color sealed.

Color sealed grout is stain proof. That means even if something spills on the grout and is left to dry, it wipes away with soapy water and looks brand new again. Now please don't take this the wrong way, but none of the grout colorant companies (This Old Grout included) work for NASA, and we haven't invented a way for grout colorant to vaporize dirt from the grout surface. :) Any dirt left on the floor after mopping will still be there when the floor dries. Over time the dirty buildup will cause the floor to look dingy. But there is a solution to that....DRY THE FLOOR.

Every time you mop, dry the floor. Puddles of dirty water are dirt left on the floor when the water dries. Even a good rinsing leaves dirty residue on the floor.

Imagine after you mop your floor and rinse it you took a big white terry cloth towel and dried the floor with it...would that towel still be white? I can tell you from experience that it will not and that using your spouse's good white towels will cost you just under $60 for a new set from Target. :)

Color sealing your grout is the answer to your uneven color issue. No matter what you clean it with right now, it's never going to look new, or stay looking new unless it is color sealed.

Grout colorants are easily applied. In your case, I would recommend cleaning the grout with an easy to use prep cleaner. The prep cleaner will make the grout and the grout colorant bond together in a way that it will not come off (10-15 year durability).

After color sealing, maintain the grout with a neutral pH cleaner and lots of water when you mop. And remember to dry the floor. Your grout will stay clean. I've been back to projects my company completed in residential kitchens back in 1997 and with a drip of Dawn dish washing liquid and a paper towel, I can wipe away 13 years of dirty buildup to reveal grout that is brand new underneath.

Ken Sherman
This Old Grout
866-OLD-GROUt (866-653-4768)

Here is a link that might be useful: Easy DiY Grout Cleaning and Restoration Kit

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 4:49AM
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I am hoping you will be looking at this again and I don't mean to barge in Kellia.
I have a master bath shower that was done partially with epoxy grout and after running out they used regular grout to finish (without my knowledge). There are places where the epoxy grout looks dirty or darker than the rest. Its not dirty because it was this way as soon as they were done grouting. Is there any way to lighten those areas on the epoxy grout with colorant? It drives me crazy every time I look at it. All the grout has been sealed

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 12:04PM
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Interesting. Ken-- what's the base of your product?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 12:18PM
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Just wanted to say that I'm a regular old homeowner Gardenweb"r ... and not associated with This Old Grout! Just a coincidence that Ken posted.

I used the product because I read about it on either John Bridge or a similar site and decided to give it a try. Was very happy with the match to Haystack, ease of going on, final look and the way its maintaining its waterproof qualities. (The 14 year old Jack Russell has tested out the waterproof capabilities a few times this month!)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 12:28PM
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@nursetammi-unfortunately, our Color Seal product will not stick to epoxy based grouts. The Color Sealer is designed to bond with cementitious type grouts that are more commonly used in a residential setting. It may be very difficult to match up the epoxy grout if you were to try to remove/replace the discolored areas.

@bill vincent- The Color Seal is a heavy bodied, water-based, modified acrylic emulsion that is tinted to match any grout manufacturers color. It forms both a chemical and mechanical bond with the grout to create a uniform color and stain proof surface that does not look fake, shiny or painted.

@gbsim-hehe..I think I remember speaking with you about your Jack Russell. Thanks for posting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Make Grout Uniform in Color & Stain Proof in 1 Application

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:02AM
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Obviously I gravitated to this thread. My kitchen remodel is on its last days, and one huge problem we had was a wrong grout color in our kitchen. I did a search on google and found an old post by Bill Vincent on the garden web from 2006. Go figure, I've been trying to adopt Bill for years on these forums ever since I started out with my bathroom remodel a decade ago.

Apparently Mapie "haystack" grout is the same as Aquamix "Mocha" grout colourant, and I have haystack throughout my house. In my new kitchen, my beloved darker haystack turned out a very bright cream color. I ordered my contractor to get Aquamix Grout Colourant in "mocha" to correct the problem. He did, and here are pics of it before and after. I am super happy with the fix, and it saved the contractor from having to dig out all that grout.

There are various grout colourants out there. Frankly, I am very tempted to try this myself in the den, which is what I was trying to match up with in my new kitchen to start with. My grout in my den is dirty.

IF you decide to go with a colourant... you will first need to clean your old grout. Likely the manufacturer of the colourant has a cleaner just for that purpose, before you apply the new color. YOU MUST do this process or you will lose your guarantee/warrantee on the colourant product. Colourant doesn't stick to stains and dirt -- it sticks to grout.

That being said, we are super happy with our fix.. below are the before/after pics from last week. (Bill if you missed my previous post on this, thanks so much!!!!)

pic before colourant (wrong color - it dried very "cream")

pic after the colourant fix...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 4:07AM
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If Bill V is checking in: Bill, would you recommend the Aqua Mix light gray or silver for a kitchen subway tile backsplash? The tiles are Horus art tile crackle in biscuit--a creamy off white. The grout used was off white making no shadow lines at all. I'd like to color the grout to get that shadow for an old fashioned look (it is a period kitchen). Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 6:40AM
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unfortunately, our Color Seal product will not stick to epoxy based grouts.

Aquamix' colorants will. They're a oe part epoxy base, ad will have no problem at all sticking to epoxy grout.

marita-- You want the lightest color you can find, without it matching to the color of the tile. I'd pick the gray. That's personal choice, though.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 8:04AM
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Cindyandmocha.... funny we had the exact same problem. Haystack came out like a cream color for us. I had a tile guy who I have great faith in and am sure it wasn't his "fault".
Plus the caulk line that I had (big expanses) between our dining room opening and also the mud room which was the right shade stood out like crazy.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 7:28PM
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I can totally relate gbsim...

BTW... I said earlier "it won't stick to stains and dirt"... that's not true. It can stick to a stain, but not dirt.

Get it as clean as you can first before using a colourant.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 1:48AM
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