is my grout too dark?

alison_charlestonAugust 16, 2011

I love the look of the light gray grout white subway tile. So I tried to do that too. I am thinking my grout is too dark or my gaps too wide. I don't love it. I hope I will learn to love it. My first feeling I goofed on an otherwise easy reno.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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sorry for the giant picture. ack. still trying to learn how to insert them.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 12:52PM
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I want to give you the easy answer, but will give an honest OPINION, (it's just that, I could be wrong) .It doesn't look bad. I do think it competes for the spotlight though. The marble and wall color are soft muted grays and the grout is a bit harsh next to them. I think it would look better lighter. Everything looks beautiful. Love the counters/walls/cabs/faucet.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:49PM
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My wife would say, "It looks dirty." But she's OCD about perceived cleanliness. I might have to agree with her on this one. Normally the darker grout would add some visual interest to an otherwise sterile scene. But your marble and glass cabinets with the neatly stacked items do a fine job of that on there own.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:20PM
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I would prefer lighter. But if I walked into your kitchen right now, I would see a high quality, beautiful kitchen and I probably wouldn't think about the grout because I would be looking at all the other great details of your kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Maybe folks will chime in on an easy correction as I'd prefer it lighter too. One thought is to try an off-white grout pen and painstakingly try to lighten it. Don't know that you could as easily re-grout, but that's an option. How much more tile do you have to deal with, as that may affect recommendations?

Looks like a nice reno so don't let this spoil your success!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:31PM
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Beautiful kitchen! But the grout does seem a bit dark.

We just used TEC Silverado for the subway tiles in our bathrooms. I'll try to post a picture at some point soon. I think the "Silverado" gives just the right amount of emphasis to the outline of the tile without being as dark as your grout. What color did you use?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:35PM
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yeah. I am pretty disappointed with it. I love everything else I have done and I feel like this fights with the glass cabinets and looks to busy.

I have another section to do. behind the stove. my kitchen it tiny so that is the good news. I have been living with it for a week and just don't love it.

do I get my dremel and try and get it out?
or is there another option??
I guess a white grout? these are just the cheapie subway tiles from Lowes.

I did this reno on a pretty tight budget and dont mind getting my hands dirty if I need to do it again.
I love everything else and don't want this to ruin the love for my new kitchen.

here is a link to my blog and the other side of my kitchen. It is a smaller field of tile I still need to grout.

Here is a link that might be useful: blog backsplash

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:42PM
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Years ago I read somewhere that mauve-ish grout works well with white subways when you want a slightly darker, more aged look. I've never tried this so I can't swear to it.

I'm assuming that you know that you can mix grout colors to obtain the exact shade you want rather than buying a 'standard' color. That's what I did in my bathroom.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:31PM
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here is a link to the page that shows the other side.

Here is a link that might be useful: backsplash

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:39PM
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Circus Peanut

Alison, we used 'Silver Shadow' grout from Lowe's for our cheapie white Olean subway tiles - perhaps a good halfway between your darker color and stark white?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:41PM
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I really like it, but it is definitely bold.

My understanding is that it is not possible to bleach dark grout to be lighter. What I might consider doing is using the dremel or grout saw to take out a bit of the dark grout - not all of it, just a good layer on top - and then re-grout with lighter stuff so you have a layer of your preferred color showing. I have done that sort of thing myself to touch up messed up grout, although I have not done it for a large field like this.

I'd also take a few of those tiles and glue them to a piece of backer to test out your next color or mix before putting it on your backsplash. There are a lot of options besides white, and you can always mix colors if you want. Mixing it from powder is totally no big deal, I've done it many times without the drill attachment.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:44PM
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circus peanut, I do like that color. the silver shadow.

so now how do I fix this??

get grout removal tools and fire up the dremel?

man I so should have done a test run. live and learn I guess. there are worse goofs i guess.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:56PM
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I like the gray grout. What color grout did you use?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:01PM
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There are products on the market to stain grout a different color. DH and I were going to hire a tile guy in town to color the grout if we left our floor in place but we just switched out the floor instead. It is part of his business called Grout EMT or Grout RX. I also have heard of grout doctor . Look in your area. This can be done.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:13PM
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I think the dark grout looks both more modern and more vintage than lighter grout works. It is entirely a matter of personal preference, neither good nor bad.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:54PM
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i like it. it adds a little extra oomph (is that a word?) to the basic subways. and i am envious over how easy it will be to keep looking clean! i have had my fair share of gasps when first viewing tile or stone or anything involving a remodel. i've learned to step back and give it time. usually i find it's not that i don't like something, it's just not as i expected.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 5:15PM
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Circus Peanut

You could use something like the Aquamix Grout Colorant (it's the brand I've seen most recommended by tile pros, but there must be other good ones), but I agree that since your job is so fresh, you might be best off removing the top layer of it with a small grout saw, rather than trying to make the dark color lighter. (The grout dye is something like a paint and might not wear optimally for backsplash scrubbing?)

It's not a HUGE area (or HUGE mistake, either!), so it shouldn't take more than a few hours to saw out the top layer and replace it with the correct color. Whether dremel bit or simple hand grout saw is up to your level of skill -- it's easy to slip and scratch the ceramic glaze with either one. Do whichever you feel most comfortable and steady-handed with.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 5:15PM
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Beautiful kitchen! I think the grout works just fine. It does not look dirty to me, because it's consistent in color.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 5:59PM
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I'm no expert here but if I were going to do something like saw or dremel out grout between new tiles, I'd lay down a layer or three of duct tape on each side to protect the tiles the best you can.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 6:08PM
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I would go a little lighter. If you go the colorant route: I just used Aquamix grout colorant on my powder room tile floor. The grout was actually too light (and always looking dirty) so I went a little darker, but the product can be used the other way too. No problems with durability to far!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 6:23PM
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I think it looks great. It reminds me of sajimatas beautiful kitchen. As Marcolo said it looks very vintage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sabjimatas kitchen

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 6:36PM
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Your cabinets and sink area look beautiful! I saw the second post in this thread, and thought someone else was posting a picture, and first impression was -- OOH, lovely, soothing, love the cabinets.

Didn't notice that the grout was too dark until it was brought to my attention. Of course at this point -- you probably don't notice anything else.

May we please have some more pictures of the kitchen / the full view?

Good luck and many thanks for this thread -- creating a tile board is something I WILL do when the time comes!!!!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 6:39PM
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I know this is going to sound stupid, but I think it will look a lot better once you get your switch plates back on the wall. Now there are dark holes around the switches, which picks up the dark shade of the grout. Once the white plates are on there I don't think the dark grout lines are going to grab your eyes as much as they do now.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 6:46PM
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It is not bad but I do prefer a shade lighter. Only you can say if it is worth messing with or to leave it alone. I can say it does not look like a mistake or problem, just a question of preference.
If you can re-do it, circus' color is a nice one. I like how it is not trying to match the tile and it adds definition.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 12:32AM
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I also agree that its not bad. It reflects the dark lines in your insert cabinets. When I did a search last night for herringbone tile installations I saw a lot of kitchens that reminded my of your tile and grout combination. I went to your blog site and your kitchen is so cute and you did a terrific job getting your kitchen just right. I have a small kitchen too 7x12 with 4 doorways. Not much room to fit counters, appliances, and a small table. Love what you've done with your kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 7:02AM
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I like it -- agree with those who said it looks vintage and dresses up the tiles as well. It definitely will stay cleaner looking than a light grout will. One more thought -- I actually tried to get my grout that dark -- bought the darkest stuff I could find and it lightened to a medium grey, you might find yours lightens a touch as well. I'd definitely wait before taking a dremmel to it.

Looked at your blog and wanted to say, first, cute house! Also, I really like your chalkboard idea -- might just try that, too!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 8:17AM
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It's *really* not bad. I don't normally like dark grout and it took me a minute of looking at it before I thought "well, maybe a LITTLE lighter". It really is a nice textured look, but it competes a little with the cabinets. What size grout lines did you use? Maybe doing that grout with REALLY small lines would have worked. At any rate, I know I've seen the grout coloring pens at Lowes, so that might be something to investigate. It's certainly not an eye sore, just maybe not perfect. Over all gorgeous kitchen though, and great use of the Lowes AO--I love them!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 9:31AM
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Thanks for all the feedback. I am going for the more vintage look. my house was built in the 1940s so I want to add some vintage cottage charm to it. The honed marble, white Ikea cabinets, black island.

I think I will put on the switch plates and live with it for awhile before I do anything drastic.

As Kates Kouros said, just not as I expected.

I am going to work on the accessories in the kitchen and I am adding the Tolix style counter stools for the island.

Thanks for the compliments. my kitchen is tiny plus with the W/D right there too it made for a challenging reno. the changes have helped a ton. Taking down the wall most of all. now I have a place to put groceries, or to fold clothes :)

I love this site and welcome the feedback good and bad. It really helps so so much.
I should have asked around before jumping right into the grout. I like the contrast before I grouted, and I have been living with that for a few months. so the darker grout really messed me up. I think if I have solid doors it would be better. less "clutter" .

The color of the grout is "Smoke Gray" it is premixed from Lowes. it is TEC brand.

it hasn't been a week yet. so maybe it will lighten more. and I will like it more.

I need to take some more pictures of the entire kitchen.

Thanks again. Y'all are the BEST!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 12:42PM
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We are using subway tile also and the tile place recommended just a slight difference in the grout color. The one they recommended was alabaster which we bought. Also the subway tiles we have do not need spacers, they have a small edge that keeps them separated slightly. I think your kitchen is beautiful but I do agree that the grey distracts a little from all the other beautiful features.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 2:24PM
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i have to say i like it. it's a bold choice that not many would make because it seems to almost be counter-intuitive when considering super white tile. i think it's a very classic look.

The black trim on the mirror really helps the grout tie in, I think. Maybe you could bring in some darker accent pieces?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 2:56PM
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OMG ladoladi!! I just pinned that on Pinterest!! too funny.

I was looking at all the subway tiles on there for inspiration. I do have to say that I like the darker grout more than white grout. that I have decided.

one thing I did do , was get rid of the jar of lemons. that seems to help. not sure why. Putting on receptacle covers. though I do need to find big ones to cover the crazy tile spacing.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 5:00PM
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I have always liked a contrast in the grout and tile colors, when it comes to subway tiles. (Otherwise, it's hard to see the tile.) It actually looks more classic or vintage. I have to say like it, especially after looking at the pic that ladoladi posted. I think it helps seeing it finished.

Also, what is your countertop and who did it for you??

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 5:11PM
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I love it. But then again, I love lots of texture, especially when things are monochromatic. I think the dark grout really adds a lot of texture to the backsplash. So if you like it, then definitely leave it. If it will always bother you, then try to fix it. I would definitely live with it a while, though, before you commit to any re-doing.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 6:06PM
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Hi Fellow Alison
I love the grout and the nice contrast it offers against the countertop and cabinets. Just a thought but how would stainless receptacle covers look, pulling out your knob color.

Anyway just had to say I love your kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 6:51PM
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Looking at it a second time, I am liking it better. I love that bathroom pic too.... Sometimes, you need time to breathe with it for a while.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 6:54PM
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it really looks like a 100 year old tile job. judging from the black on white items in the lovely glass cabinet above, that is exactly what you were after

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 7:24PM
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I think your grout is great.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 7:25PM
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aww y'all are too sweet. I definitely wanted the more vintage look than modern.

my counter top is honed granite. since I have a whopping area I got some remnants. sink, counter top and install was $800 total. MVP Granite and Flooring is the place I got my sink and counter top. They were ok. I felt a bit snubbed and unwanted since I was such a small job.

I went with all the GW suggestions to get honed and the 311 sealer. I must say no stains yet! and if there are any etches I dont see them.

stainless covers. hmm didnt think about that. will have to look into that too.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 8:09PM
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Alison your kitchen looks wonderful! When I looked at the closeup pics of just the tile, I thought the grout did look dark and understood how you felt. However, when looking your other pics which show the backsplash at more of a distance with your beautiful cabinets it looks perfect!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 8:23PM
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granite?? I meant Carrera marble.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 8:33PM
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I personally would have gone this route, I think it looks wonderful !! your marble is amazing also, it's a perfect combo.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 6:06AM
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