Black fades to Gray [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-14-2001, 08:48 PM
Does anybody know if there is ANYTHING you can do to keep black grout black? It seems that everytime I see a tile job where black grout was used,sanded,it loses it's pigment and after only a short time.

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Bud Cline
06-14-2001, 09:20 PM
That kind of strikes me as peculiar because I have a project in mind that I did 5 years ago, kitchen floor, kitchen counter top, bath floor, vanity top, and kids bedroom. I have been working inside and outside of this house for the past five years and everything is in pretty good shape, grout is still black as the day it was installed. Some discoloration on the vanity top but the water there is 15 grains.

06-14-2001, 09:32 PM
The two most difficult grout colours to keep clean?
1. White
2. Black

It also wouldn't hurt if they used black sand in the black grout, since the white silica shows through after a while.

Sonnie Layne
06-14-2001, 09:37 PM
I would suspect a difference in manufacturers qualities of the dyes used, perhaps you two could share and compare the brands? I'm only a painter, and I'm thinking lamp black, but you'd sure have to be careful, as it'll not come up easily.

06-14-2001, 09:47 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head!! In each case I noticed that the grout not only wasn't black(in places) but was concrete gray.The sand used could easily cause this.I'd be willing to bet that the grout was an el-cheapo.Combine the "wrong" color sand with cheap dye and .....PRESTO....faded grout!

06-15-2001, 03:29 AM
I'm guessing that since it is black, the only color change you could notice is a lighter shade.

Any efflouresecense(I'm sure I butchered that) or latex migration at all is going to be apparent. Also, wait as long as possible before clean up, to prevent taking floating pigment off the top of your grout joint during initial curing of the grout.

By the way, there was a discussion recently about tooling the joints, like in masonary. Has any one ever heard of using the end of your handle on your margin trowel to pack the joint? Or tooling it with the handle.


Bud Cline
06-15-2001, 06:46 AM
I don't understand! Why would you want to tool the joints? Hell anyone can do enough damage with a sponge as it is.

I have "tooled" wall grout on 4 X 4, but thats only to dig my ass out when I get ahead of myself and everything "sets" way too fast.

John Bridge
06-15-2001, 08:47 AM
Two points.

Lamp black is indeed what is usually used, and no, it doesn't come off of anything it touches.

I don't use black grout. The closest we come is deep gray/charcoal.

Actually three points. I don't use primary colors either. They stain everything they touch.

Well, four points. Everybody may not be able to get away with this attitude. You've got to be up around sixty to succeed with this approach.

Bud Cline
06-15-2001, 09:45 AM

Don't tell all our secrets man. Just because we have the look of seasoned veterans of this profession people perk up and listen.


How do you think Gobis gets away with the stuff he does? I was always taught to respect my elders, weren't you?

John Bridge
06-15-2001, 05:15 PM
Well, I have to divulge just one more item. Gobis is a relative youngster. He appears as seasoned as he does only because of that crop of hair he's never harvested from his face. That and the fact that he's a fierce looking devil to begin with. [You're saying Dave G. might be lurking? Oh sh . . .!]

Bud Cline
06-15-2001, 06:10 PM
Oh hell, he's a biker, what can he know?

Derek & Jacqui
06-15-2001, 08:18 PM
Over the years I have noticed that black grout goes gray
and gray grout goes black [especially in kitchens].

Yes, I do stick my joints, usually with a dowel about an inch in diameter but only on tiles with bevelled edges, never on quarry, marble or granite. My reasoning is: the cleaner the tile, the less grout you have to wash off, the less time you waste going for clean water, the less haze you get. (As we use the grout bucket system, we don't get haze anyway.)

John Bridge
06-15-2001, 08:51 PM
Now this is becomming interesting, Jacqui. You use the term "stick" when referring to tooling the joints.

For me the topic originated in Australia. I mentioned "striking" the joints, and a lady came back and said "tooling."

I guess what interests me is that anyone in this country (or anywhere else) can still afford to do it.

It definitely connotes QUALITY.

I'm still waiting for my bucket to arrive. Don't know whether I'll go to "sticking" or not.

06-16-2001, 06:21 AM
The reason I heard (stiking, tooling or sticking) was done was to pack the joint to make the joint fuller and have less air pockets or bubbles.

Haven't seen it done, one of those lab types told me to suggest it. But what do they know?

Dave Gobis
06-16-2001, 07:27 AM
Of course I'm lurking John. And your right, I'm a youngster, will be 50 on Wednesday. Had a Board meeting yesterday ( Arts boss is on the board )and that took every spare hour of the week to get ready for,as we have a class in session. They want MORE students. So, when are we having our first class John? On the striking joints subject, we always struck them on countertop installations to bring the creme up and compact the joint. That was the way we were taught in apprenticship. I apprenticed with my grandfather who learned from his father. Thats the only reason a young guy like me can understand you old geezers.

John Bridge
06-16-2001, 04:21 PM
Well, I'll tell you what, Dave. I honestly do appreciate what you guys are doing. I've known for a long time that we haven't been keeping up in training new people, especially in mud work. And I don't know about the rest of the country, but the union isn't strong here, so the formal apprenticeship program doesn't do much.

So it ends up we've got a bunch of idiots running around here slapping stuff in for home-builders, and the commercial work isn't done much better.

Do we need the CTEF? You bet. I think we do. Tell me how I can help without going broke in the process. Just don't expect me to preach a gospel in which I don't believe.

There are a number of things we're together on, Dave, but there is one in particular, and I include everyone on this board. I know we all want to do the best job possible -- we want our work to last a lifetime, and we resent all the scabs who sully our good name.

06-16-2001, 04:35 PM
Well said John! A deep desire to be the absolute best tile setter I am capable of being is what drove me to latch on to Derek&Jacqui's coattails.Derek has installed tile in places and configurations that would scare off most setters and that vast experience has already benefitted me enormously.
I worry him to death with questions but his dedication to quality installations keeps him from choking me.

Keith Alford
"If You Don't Know...ASK!!!"