grout colorant/sealants [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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10-10-2006, 06:39 PM
anybody have any experience with "this old grout" brand of colorant /sealer for grout/tile? they have colors to match most brands/colors of grout to fix inconsistent grout colors , etc... I want to try the "haystack" color custom polyblend grout stain/ sealer/colorant. do y'all think it would work. I presume it works like aquamix colorants. thanks MA

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John Bridge
10-10-2006, 07:09 PM
Hi Mark, :)

We are testing This Old House right now. Yes, it does work like Aquamix. :)

10-10-2006, 07:11 PM
Hi Mark.

Coincidently, a number of us (Moderators) are running tests on This Old Grout (TOG) colorant right now. Haystack is one of the colors I have.

For comparison purposes I am running concurrent tests with Aqua Mix Colorant. Thus far I'm finding no differences between TOG and Aqua Mix's product. TOG is easy to apply, easy to clean up, and a "perfect" match to Custom's Haystack color as depicted on their grout color card.

What I have not tested for yet is durability. The plan is to let the colorant fully cure for 20 days before "scrub" down. For me the 20 day mark is coming up Oct. 18th.

10-10-2006, 10:03 PM
if the grout is already sealed, what must you do to prepare the surface for the "THIS OLD GROUT" colorants? or can you just apply it right over the sealed grout? I called the company and they said the product "bonds" to the grout. Also, do you think this product by itself will seal well enough to use in a custom shower with 3 body sprays, ie.. lots of water; or do you think I should use it to get the color consistency and then use Aquamix's sealers choice gold to seal over it without changing the color? thanks MA

10-11-2006, 09:03 AM
Mark, can't answer your questions with any level of authority. Our level of experience with This Old Grout is ziltch... but growing. A brief introduction to this product is about where we are at.

However, as of this five minutes we do have some beliefs and they include: We do not think the use of a grout colorant in a shower environment is well advised, no matter who sells it or what they advertise.


10-11-2006, 09:12 AM
I'm thinking the folks at This Old Grout aren't real keen on the idea of using the product in showers either, Mark, although I know it's been done.

I've sent their rep a link to this thread so maybe we'll get a little advice for you from the horse's mouth. Or maybe not. :)

10-11-2006, 12:04 PM
I have grouted bathroom floor and wall shower wall and both times the "bone" custom polyblend dried lighter than the card and with lots of probable "efflorescence". I agitated with vinegar and wiped down, which gets rid of most of the white, but the "bone" color is not consistent along grout lines. tolerable, but not what i expected. I was super careful about avoiding too much water in mix, I mixed in evenly, slaked 10 minutes, wiped down only once after forming the grout lines by tool, not sponge. yet, still got the white stuff, and inconsistency. therefore, I decided i would use enhancer sealer to darken it up a bit and make it look more uniform, but oddly the grout seems to soak the sealer and/or water in unevenly. some areas act like they have been sealed when you put a foam brush loaded with sealer on it. so at this point, i thought i would use a product to "paint" the grout a darker color, hence i chose "haystack" color matched sealer from "this old grout". It arrives tomorrow. If you smarties out there are still testing TOG's stuff, do you have a recommenation for what I could do at this point? Pictures of the install are on different thread "porcelain tile sealant". thanks for any help you might provide. MA

by the way, Mike, does the Haystack TOG dry as expected, ie... look like the card?

10-11-2006, 03:02 PM
by the way, Mike, does the Haystack TOG dry as expected, ie... look like the card? See second paragraph, last sentence, post # 3.

Mark, you will most likely have to strip the sealer off before "coloring". I'm saying this only because with Aqua Mix Colorant, which I am more familiar with, that is the case. Actually there is a caveat. Per AM:

Grout Colorant is not recommended for use under water in pools and ponds.
Do not use solvent-based cleaners on re-colored grout joints.
Previously applied sealers, with the exception of Aqua Mix Penetrating Sealer, Aqua Mix Grout Sealer, Aqua Mix Pro-Solv, Aqua Mix Ultra-Solv or Aqua Mix Sealer's Choice Gold, must be removed to provide a bondable surface. Aqua Mix Sealer & Coating Stripper is recommended for this procedure.

We don't have the same level of technical information available to us with TOG that we do with AM so stripping the sealer before applying the colorant is an educated guess.


10-16-2006, 04:21 PM
continue to have issues with efflorescence, on all grout lines if i scrub with vinegar wash the white goes away and a beige color returns. but when i applied a test sealer: Aquamix Sealer's Choice Gold, the sealed grout turned back white, i guess just from the wetness of the sealer. what do I do????

#2: do you think it would be okay to simply apply the TOG, "bone" grout colorant/sealer to unwashed grout, right over the white stuff? on a test board it seems to bond right away and change the color appropriately?

please help> need to get grout done as glass shower doors are arriving...


10-16-2006, 06:56 PM

10-16-2006, 11:25 PM
Straight from the horses...

This Old Grout Stain is easy to apply
TOG is a penetrating stain/sealer
Use an acidic cleaner to prep the floor/grout
TOG could be used in wet enviorments on a limited basis

Hey Guys,

I have been talking to some of the guys here about This Old Grout (TOG) and had sent the samples out to them a little while ago.

I will try to answer the questions that I can here.

TOG is easy to apply, easy to clean up, and a "perfect" match to Custom's Haystack color as depicted on their grout color card.

What I have not tested for yet is durability. The plan is to let the colorant fully cure for 20 days before "scrub" down. For me the 20 day mark is coming up Oct. 18th.

Yes! TOG is easy to use and clean up. Run a bead down the joint, work it in with a toothbrush and wipe off with a damp rag. The stain will stick to the grout joint without wiping out. Work in small areas - usually whatever is in arms reach.

Tomorrow should be the 18th so hopefully we'll see some independent results on duarbility. Expected life span when properly applied is 10+ years. (We actually have seen jobs that were applied in the mid 90's that still look great!)

what must you do to prepare the surface for the "THIS OLD GROUT" colorants? or can you just apply it right over the sealed grout?

You should prep the floor using an acid cleaner first. This helps open up the pores to get a better bond. You can use pretty much any acid cleaner like Stone Tech's restore or the TOG's "easy etch".

We do not think the use of a grout colorant in a shower environment is well advised, no matter who sells it or what they advertise.

Ahh yes, showers....

You are absolutely right, no one is going around recommending grout colorant in showers.... Although TOG has been doing some testing in wet enviorments. We have a pool job that was done where we color stain/sealed
the pool tile (actual constant wet area) - so far after this past year and a 1/2 the stain has held up very very well with no signs of fatigue or failure. At this rate we expect it to last quite a while.

There are also some contractors using TOG for shower areas. The experience has been successful when certain precautions are followed.

1.Use an acidic cleaner to open up the pores
2.Make sure the area is completely dry before applying.
3.Apply and then wait 7 days before using the shower - this applies especially to the floor

As a matter of fact, I had a few people ask me this recently and I tried it out on my own personal shower and has worked out very well so far.

Contractors using the above step are having very good sucess but on the other hand we have also had one reported failure with a person using the shower the next day and it hadn't had time to cure.

In my opinion I think it CAN work in wet areas. TOG is more than just a "paint" or "colorant". We technically call it a stain sealer because it has ingredients in it which create a penetrating bond in the grout. It's not simply a topical coating. The term "sealer" is used because it does actually "seal" the grout line. It will not darken the same way a normal grout line will, and dirt/soil will actually sit on the surface.

My only concern is - in these wet enviorments, the stain is really being "tested" day in and day out... So I don't doubt that TOG can "hold"...but if the floor is NOT being prepped will definitely fail...whereas in other areas, it doesn't see as much can definitely get away with alot more application error :shades:

#2: do you think it would be okay to simply apply the TOG, "bone" grout colorant/sealer to unwashed grout, right over the white stuff? on a test board it seems to bond right away and change the color appropriately?

I'm not sure what the white stuff is that you are referring to. Could either be efflorecense or could be sealer residue. Without actually seeing it and to be sure I would use an acidic cleaner to prep the grout before applying the colorant. Basically you want a clean bond (or as clean as possible) to the grout joint.

Hopefully that answers the questions here...
post or pm any additional questions :yummy:

10-17-2006, 08:26 AM
thanks for all the info.

- the white stuff i presume is efflorescence b/c the grout is brand new (7 days old) and no sealer applied yet. so basically i want to know if I can apply the TOG right away, or should I vinegar wash the grout to take off the white first ( I think the pores are open b/c plain water soaks right in /darkens up immediately and then redries white), its supposed to be "bone" from custom polyblend.

- if I do vinegar wash (100% straight vinegar and scrub with brush) and then let dry is that good enough to put the TOG on
- or should I immediately follow the vinegar ( while still wet) with ammonia to neutralize, then let dry and apply TOG?

thanks, confused/frustrated at this point... Mark

10-17-2006, 09:31 AM
Mark, take a sharp object and scratch through the surface of that "white stuff". Do this in an inconspicuous area and tell us what you find. More "white"? Or sub-surface grout that is darker in color, more like it should be.


10-17-2006, 10:27 AM
in most areas when scratched it seems i can see a darker layer underneath, when closely examined i can see little brownish pigments, but it is not consistent in all scratched areas. and yes, i mixed the grout very dry (peanut butter consistency) with a 1/2 drill and mixer, slaked 10 minutes, tooled grout lines, with minimal sponge cleanup after haze formed. when i scrub with 100% vinegar the white goes away and for the most part a darker color remains after drying, but it tends toward the "yellow" side and doesn't match the "bone" polyblend card. even though the grout that dried in the bucket looks perfect (which tells me my application/cleanup is screwed up)... if the appearance would stay as is after vinegar cleanup I would be content but...

tested areas:
1) applying Aquamix enhancing sealer: goes on mostly even and darkens grout big time, almost dirty looking brown
2) applying Aquamix Sealers Choice Gold: in most of the tested areas goes on perfect, but when dries, the light color reappears, but now its sealed, so thats a problem
3) TOG: "bone" color matched sealer, for some reason the stuff is drying much much lighter than the card and doesn't seem to match at all, bone polyblend is on the beige/ brown spectrum and this stuff dries white/almond like.

specific questions to help:

1) after agitating with vinegar, do you immediately wipe down with ammonia, or do you wipe with water, or do you simply towel vinegar off and let dry as is? It does not seem that a "vinegar haze" is appearing after wash, i just want to know if vinegar dried into grout could be affecting the sealers choice gold going on?
2) how do you do the whole vinegar/ammonia/tap water wash on vertical surfaces on walls and shower walls? I've been spraying it on with spray bottle and trying to agitate quickly as it runs down the wall... PLEASE BE SPECIFIC ON HOW YOU GUYS DO THIS STUFF, HOW LONG YOU LET IT SIT, HOW LONG BEFORE YOU WIPE UP AND WHAT YOU USE TO WIPE UP

I have been trying to find a solution for some time now on this problem, so please be specific on how you do these steps if able, you've got a true DIY here and things aren't working out, please help me. thanks Mark (wife is going to kill me soon) Anthonio in St. Louis .... GO CARDS!!!!!!!!

10-17-2006, 02:38 PM
Mark, I've only got a few minutes now so this will be brief.

First of all, your experience with This Old Grout is completely different than mine. You've mentioned using two colors thus far, Haystack and Bone. I have also used both those colors in the testing I've done and in my case, they are an exact match to Custom's color card. Not saying I doubt your word, not at all. Just saying something is going on in your case I cannot explain, or resolve.

It sounds to me like the vinegar might be working for you. Apply, let that soak in for 15 minutes then scrub with a small brush. Rinse with clean water, let dry, then check color. Don't bother neutralizing with the ammonia water solution until one area is done.

10-17-2006, 03:31 PM
can the ammonia neutralizing be done after grout is dry? MA

10-17-2006, 04:32 PM


10-18-2006, 08:56 AM
did the vinegar wash again as you described, I sprayed on straight vinegar with a spray bottle to all grout lines, let soak in for 15 minutes, then scrubbed with stiff brush; but, as these are walls, the vinegar just seems to run down the wall and doesn't soak in evenly so applied more and more and more until it all looked wet and scrubbed. then i did a flood rinse with tap water only, made quite the mess on the floor, and then wiped up with dry towel. came back this morning to see results. ouch..... everything i did now looks white everywhere
- Is this likely vinegar residue or more efflorescense? if its' vinegar residue what did i do wrong ( no ammonia?) too much tap water rinse?

thanks Mark

10-18-2006, 10:29 AM
Mark, lets go back to posts #7 & 9. In #7 you talked about sealing grout with an enhancer. Then in #9, using another sealer on a test basis, AM Sealers Choice.

Question is: Have those areas you are currently trying to clean with vinegar been sealed? (either with the enhancer or with Sealers Choice).

If the answer is yes then I'm afraid the vinegar wash will be to no avail, just as you are experiencing right now.


10-18-2006, 01:14 PM
no, all the sealants mentioned, both TOG products tested (haystack and bone colors), were all done in unviewable areas/test boards, etc... I haven't burned any bridges with the viewable grout yet.

At this point, i have vinegar washed nearly the entire room... floor and the neoangle shower walls, at least once.
- to see the area i'm talking about see thread "porcelain tile sealant" or search under my name and on page 2, there are pics of the bathroom**

I initially had the shower walls looking pretty good after the first vinegar wash, which I let dry after scrubbing without doing a flood rinse with tap water or ammonia, and it got rid of the white haze and left a decent shade of brown/beige, not quite the "bone" color expected but satisfactory. I decided to rewash with vinegar as some moderators told me, let sit 15 minutes as it ran down the wall, and flood rinsed with water, but this time when it dried it was all white everywhere again. so i quess i will rewash with vinegar and let dry on its own, unless you tell me not to since i need to seal it or use the TOG grout colorant/sealant next. It just seems the actually timing and process of applying vinegar/tap water/ ammonia neutralization is all screwed up and maybe thats what i need help with most. You guys have told me that vinegar wash can leave a haze after washing so if thats what happened this time, how do i fix that (specific please). mark

10-18-2006, 08:49 PM
Mark, we need to chat.

I just discovered you have three threads running concurrently with this grout problem of yours. I had no idea all that was going on. Not to mention all that undisclosed and very important background information contained within those other threads.

That's a big time no-no partner :bonk: . You need to keep all this stuff together. :nod: My responses would have been much different had I known all that.

OK...that's behind us now. Water under the bridge. We're still friends. :)

So....going forward lets use this thread here for ALL grout related questions and issues, except for colorants. We'll keep this thread alive to use only for This Old Grout colorant related questions, should you decide in the end to use it. Deal?

Normally I would merge all these related threads together but doing so now would result in a jumbled up mess because when merged, all the posts get rearranged according to Date & Time stamps.


10-18-2006, 08:53 PM
New Rope!! New Rope!! :D