Laticrete grout problem [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

PDA

View Full Version : Laticrete grout problem


DanNC
06-09-2007, 09:15 AM
I bought all the materials at the "L" big box store and had a tile guy lay about 225 ft in a hallway and two bathrooms. I bought two bags of mocha grout by Laticrete. The first and part of the second bag were used for the field tile, and to my disgust, the grout turned out cement grey, nothing like mocha. The tile guy later laid several more tiles under each door to butt up against the carpet, using grout from the bottom part of the second bag. It turned out dark greyish brown, which was juxtaposed with the light cement grey. It looks horrible. Laticrete has washed their hands of the problem, saying they can't guarantee their colors. "L" big box store is trying to solve the problem and asked me to get ideas and quotes from tile professionals. The only guy who is interested in the job suggested staining the grout with an epoxy stain/coating at a cost of $800. He has never done this before, however. I really don't want to rip everying out, and wouldn't mind staining the grout if that's a reasonable solution. I'm looking for advice and suggestions. Other than to never buy Laticrete products, of course. I already learned that.

Sponsored Links


Dog paws
06-09-2007, 09:22 AM
Hi Dan, epoxy stain works pretty good. I've rescued quite a few jobs with it. The stained grout will be a little more pronounced than unstained grout but will hold it's color and last a long time.

DanNC
06-09-2007, 09:39 AM
Thanks Michael. I'll attempt to attach a picture of the problem.

ToddM
06-09-2007, 11:41 AM
Had a very similar experience with the same grout and color recently. Did not use the admix when mixing the grout as the customer provided all materials and was too cheap to spring for it! Also was not informed until after the fact about the exceedingly high silica content in the well water. End result was a whole lot of efflorescence and some really ugly looking grout. Was able to remove deposits with a mild acid wash / cleaning. The grout was considerably lighter in color than the sample when done but nice and even in color. Customer was still not happy so we tried to "enhance" the grout with no success. Acquired some of this: http://www.colorfastind.com/products/groutcolorant.htm
and the homeowner applied. Funny thing was that the grout colorant was exactly the same color as the recently cleaned up grout! Not even close to the laticrete sample color. Looks great though. Took a couple of hours for a total newb to apply and she did a really nice, thorough job of it (165 s/f 13 x 13 tile). One tip - throw that stupid brush they send with the kit in the garbage and get a toothbrush. Cut it down width wise if needed to match the grout joint width. pour some colorant into a dish and dip the toothbrush and apply to grout, kind of scrubbing colorant into surface. Keep a rag with you and carefully wipe any excess off the tile edge as you go before colorant sets up. Good luck!
ToddM

Zoid
02-16-2009, 07:53 AM
I know this is an old thread, but I want to add a "Me Too!" warning for this color in case someone is considering using it in the future. I used the Laticrete Admix with Mocha, and the dryed grout turned out gray, just like the picture above and NOWHERE near the Laticrete color chart. When it is wet, it is dark and on color, but it dries totally different. Instructions were followed during mixing and grout cleanup. Tried cleaning with vinegar solution, brush, etc. with no change. Upon cutting some out, the gray color is uniform throughout the grout.

I'm so ticked off that I am cutting out and regrouting an area of about 30 12"x12" tiles, and I probably will not use any Laticrete grout this time around.

MikeT
02-16-2009, 02:24 PM
Okay, I give up. Who makes the best grout?
Thanks,
Mike

butterblood
02-16-2009, 05:25 PM
Personally, I've always had good luck with TEC. But I've used most brands and I don't think I've ever had any major problems (at least that I'm aware of).

Rob Z
02-16-2009, 05:48 PM
We have used hundreds of bags of Laticrete cement grouts and thousands of units of epoxy grout without any hints of a problem like these two problems that you have had. I also know Laticrete to be a responsive company when something might have gone wrong. Hopefully, these are anomalies that won't occur again. :)

Zoid, was it the 1776 additive that you mixed in with the grout?

brad brownell
02-18-2009, 08:38 AM
We have experienced the same problem with laticrete grout there was no color in the latte now we will have too color it but will be using a different grout from now on. It has cost us alot of time and money!!!

Zoid
02-19-2009, 07:12 AM
Yes, I used the 1776 Admix.

dking
05-20-2010, 10:43 AM
I have the same problem with the chocolate truffle. Some areas look great but others are very light brown to tan. I also have some grey sections mixed in. I was suggested by a tile company to try concrete stain mixed to match the color and then apply a sealant over it. Any advice on this?

Brian in San Diego
05-20-2010, 01:22 PM
I would recommennd emailing or calling Laticrete's technical support.

technicalservices@laticrete.com or give them a call at 800.243.4788 x235.

Phil D
08-07-2010, 08:44 PM
I just finished tiling my bathroom floor and stall shower and sure wish I checked out this site before grouting with the laticrete product. I chose a dark 12x24 brown Porcelian tile and wanted a dark grout that would blend in with the tile and not stand out. I chose the laticrete sanded mocha grout, After the grout dried it turned grey(completely different color than what was on the color chart) causing very distinct grout lines exactly what i didn't want. All my hard work and money down the drain. Can anyone recommend a good grout color dye or better solution.

Shawn Prentice
08-07-2010, 09:14 PM
All my hard work and money down the drain.

I think it looks real nice, Phil. Good work! Just clean-up that grout haze :)

dhagin
08-07-2010, 09:27 PM
What Shawn said, looks real good Phil. Worst case, IMO, is a good cleaning and a grout colorant.

Give Laticrete tech support a call, but first check here. Lots of good info and don't forget to check the grout trouble-shooting guide. :)

http://www.laticrete.com/contractors/technical_services/faq/planning_a_job/cement_grouts.aspx

JoeBoxer
08-07-2010, 09:47 PM
Thank goodness I read this thread just in time. Thanks for sharing it guys.

I was about to dump some money on latticrete grout to cap off my project, but after seeing the pics, and numerous concerns, and lack of solution, I'll move on to other brand for grouts.

On another note, I ended up using Custom's MegaLite thinset mortar with crack prevention. Light, and extremely high shear bond numbers. Almost double that of Latticrete 255.

dhagin
08-07-2010, 10:56 PM
Hi Joe,

Laticrete has developed Permacolor grout which virtually eliminates color or shading issues. They also offer SpectraLock epoxy grout. Both of these are premium products used by and recommended by Pro's regularly, myself included.

I've also used their regular cement grouts without problems. Regardless of the product you choose, you've got to prep and install properly to get good results. Check out that link above, there's some prep info as well as spec sheets, a trouble-shooting guide and a FAQ section. :)

JoeBoxer
08-08-2010, 10:05 AM
Dana,

Thanks, I'll look into that. But with the support that Laticrete gave to the OP, I'll tip my hat, and gracefully make an exit from the Laticrete stockroom.

Yes, backing up your 1 small client, or the lack there of has its benefit and remification.

I know alot of people swear by Laticrete, but I'm getting a slow picture that they are letting their brand image, and product quality slip. I'm not jumping onto that sinking ship.

grymes56
08-08-2010, 02:04 PM
A company called AquaMix makes grout colorant in all of laticrete's available colors. Contact a Laticrete rep - I have heard on here that they will often send you out a bottle of the Aquamix at no charge.

hbrothberg
08-08-2010, 05:31 PM
Joe:

May we have your local Laticrete field person contact you to work with you to address your grout issues ....?


Henry

Shawn Prentice
08-09-2010, 06:08 PM
I know alot of people swear by Laticrete, but I'm getting a slow picture that they are letting their brand image, and product quality slip. I'm not jumping onto that sinking ship.

That's news to me. I'd like to see the data you used to formulate that picture.

Brian in San Diego
08-09-2010, 09:30 PM
Me too.

munchkin
03-14-2011, 09:19 AM
looking white/gray in areas. Waste of money, I really wish I read this forum too. We still have to do the kitchen so I will have to go out and purchase a different brand of grout

WendyHMN
03-14-2011, 11:06 AM
Changing brands probably won't help you. I can't count the number of threads I've read about color problems with every brand of cement-based grout. It's a tricky business and not beginner friendly. If you want a consistent color that looks just like the chart no matter how much of an idiot you are when applying it, go out and drop your money on Spectralock. I don't work for Laticrete. I don't even get a discount for saying nice things about them. Heck, I'm allergic to the stuff. But the results are freakishly perfect.

bbcamp
03-14-2011, 11:13 AM
Some colors are tough to get right, and the manufacturer's some times label the bag wrong, but the problems are usually in the way a newbie mixes or cleans the grout. Too much water in the mix, too much water in the sponge or too much mineral in the water deals with 90+% of the problems we see here.

Munchkin, please start a thread of your own and describe your project. Start from the demo, and end with the grout. Don't leave out any details.

Toddman
03-14-2011, 12:21 PM
Like Wendy and Bob said, this problem can happen with all grout, it's not just isolated to Laticrete grout. Trust me. We could start a thread about the problems with Customs Polyblend as well. The nature of the cementitious grout is that the coloring is in the powder. If you mix up half the bag one day and half the next day.. it's almost impossible to get the same result on color. More of the colored powder may have been at the bottom of the bag, too much/little water, it also depends on how you sponge it off. A lot of room for error, especially for a newbie. That's why it's best to mix up the whole bag or grout everything at once, for starters.
All companies clearly state there is no guaranty on the color. The epoxy grouts are a different story (and more expensive and harder to work with). They are designed differently and give a near perfect color match every time.

Stop the Laticrete bashing!

Mountain Tile
04-23-2011, 09:58 AM
Not trying to bash, but I'm done with laticretes cement grouts. The Spectralock is awsome, but I am tired of my work being ruined with grout not drying the right color or inconsistent color. Just had problems on two installs costing me two days of labor trying to fix it, one glass, the other marble. I have no problems with their thinsets and other products, just can't take it anymore. Unfortunately I made the mistake of recommending Permacolor to a friend and all he got for his troubles was hours of staining grout joints and a couple bags of more permacolor. I won't deal with my rep, tried reaching out to Henry, no response. They really need to work on their grout problems and customer service. Rant Over!

jondon
04-23-2011, 10:30 AM
I think they should just do away with cementitious grout, period. Like Chuck stated you do the installation and follow the directions on mixing the grout and come back the next day "hoping" the right color is there in the joints. Do away with cement grouts and the customer doesn't have a choice on using the "cheaper" grout. The good stuff or nothin.

When it isn't you gotta get colorant to try and get the color it was sposed to be. That might be a fix for the grout company but what about your time & labor to wait a few days in gettin the colorant and installing it. What do you get for that, all the while the customer is fuming.

Installing tile is a great trade, the grouting aspect of it makes it a mystery. Those of you can say installer error, yes it's always the installer but that is an easy way out. Whenever you have a product like grout that has to be mixed with liquid you have possibility for problems, if not the product the surrounding conditions.

When the grout looks like the sample, your golden. But lets face it, grout often does not come out like the sample and then we the installers are left holding the bag to fix it on our time. The grout companies can't lose. Just send out colorant. There my color-Rant is over:D

Chuck, congrats. on hitting the 2500 mark!

Mountain Tile
04-23-2011, 10:48 AM
Thanks Jon, I have to say I have had problems with most grout manufacturers, but it's rare. It always seems to be the higher end jobs too, just too often with laticrete. And not that any other co. service is any better either. I never had one problem with Tecs grouts, they are just a not as available to me. I really do like Customs grout, although many here have problems with it. Laticrete does make some great thinsets though! For now I will just stay away from their grouts. When I walked in the marble bath I grouted the day before I was sick! Tried everything, washing it, finally I Used a little coffee (stop laughing ) to darken it up a little, worked ok, but not the match I picked the grout to be. And the glass splash dried a completely different color then the client picked, luckily for me the client likes it. Now I have a $4000. glass splash to do, Don't know what grout to use. Two different types of glass, one says use sanded, not sure about the other. Dist. says use Permacolor, but I don't think I'll roll the laticrete dice on this one.

Brian in San Diego
04-23-2011, 11:13 AM
I think the Permacolor is a far stretch better than Laticrete's cementious grout. The problem I had with it was the clean up. Didn't clean up the way I would have liked.

jondon
04-23-2011, 04:07 PM
posted by Brian:
I think the Permacolor is a far stretch better than Laticrete's cementious grout.

I totally agree Permacolor is much better than they're sanded and unsanded grouts. One drawback though is how fast it sets up, or fires off as they say. The color consistency in this grout is a huge improvement but how fast it fires off is a drawback. I was doing a backsplash last Summer with the permacolor and it was fairly warm in the kitchen. I had to work like mad to get it in before it was unusable. My hands are not what they used to be with the damage from the slab work so it is sometimes a task to grout. Sanded and unsanded are easy to install compared to the permacolor but then you have to worry about the color. In a perfect world the grouting process would be much easier and less worrisome.

All these grout colors and different materials being used in this day and age are great for the people making them & selling them. What is not so great is for us installers have to deal with all the issues of grouting, getting the right colors, using the right grout for the material, so on so forth. As for standing behind us installers, the companies offer you replacement products but unfortunately a replacement doesn't help us recuperate the labor it takes us to fix something. Being the manufacturer or a retailer is the way to make the profit, being an installer is the low end a the totem pole.

Like I mentioned earlier, SpectraLock is the way to go if the customer will pay for it. On certain materials though they don't want you using it.

Toddman
04-23-2011, 04:44 PM
:goodpost:

Mountain Tile
04-23-2011, 05:33 PM
I would have gladly used SpectraLock, but I don't think it's the right grout for botticino marble. If I'm wrong, correct me. I absolutely love SpectraLock, but not for glass and marble installs. I still have the shower and walls to grout on the marble job, I was gonna try polyblend or tec and then I will know if there is a problem with the Ph of the water or the grout, My guess is the grout. I did grout the shower floor with Spectra lock and it's perfect.

The Kid
04-23-2011, 08:38 PM
How many of you are offering your client actually grout sample boards? I have been doing this for a while now for a couple of reasons.

1)It allows me to know/understand how the grout is going to work with the material it is being applied to. (polished, honed, etc.)

2)Actual colors are never what the grout chip represents them to be, but always the color is consistant to what my boards are because I try to replicate the process as I would if it were being installed.

I typically let the client pick 3 colors they like, charge them for the 3, charge them the time it takes to make them, and the next day after they are made they pick a color. I have found that this way there are no suprises, and the clients really like the "thats the one I like" expierence.

tilelayer
04-23-2011, 08:58 PM
Do away with cementious grout? Yeah ok more like do away with permacolor. 99% of the time the people crying about their grout issues is rookie mistakes and inexperience, why is it when I hire a new guy to grout he does a bad job and I have to watch him and hold his hand, when a homeowner grouts they are the new guy. Probably too much water during the wash, grout wasn't ready to be washed.. grout mixed too loose, water in grout joints from the water bucket, and we all know those days where the weather and humidity just makes the grout, "funny". I know one thing cement grout is fine its the people installing it. rant over!

Unfortunately to get a perfect grout job everytime you need to screw up a couple jobs, thats why the trades got apprenticeship or at least had apprenticeships.

Mountain Tile
04-23-2011, 09:43 PM
Rick, I took what you said into consideration, about the unsanded grout. I grouted the laundry room, floated the grout, just a rough wash to tool the joints and get the majority of grout off, next day polished with a microfiber. It dried just as bad or worse then the bath area, No, it's the grout.

Tiletim
04-23-2011, 09:51 PM
How many of you are offering your client actually grout sample boards?

I do it on every job I do - charge T&M just as you do also.
it also gives your business a leg up on your competition - says you go the extra mile for your client.

On very dark color cement based grouts I only use distilled or purified bottled water for application and clean up - yeah it's a pita to drag around water with ya but I get no surprises the next day.

I push Spectralock on most jobs then Permacolor.
Jon, mix Permacolor in smaller batches - yep it does fire off quicker.

I've been looking at the urethane stuff lately.
pack the joints/float off excess/tool the joints & clean - no waiting - goes fast
did I mention easy start (open the tub and stir) & easy stop (put the lid on the tub) - and it's always the same color the next day too!
only thing I don't like is the 7 day wait time in wet areas to put in service & it's spendy.

Unfortunately to get a perfect grout job every time you need to screw up a couple jobs
man aint that the truth

Mountain Tile
04-23-2011, 10:03 PM
Tim, do you know if the urethane grouts are ok for marble and glass?

Levi the Tile Guy
04-23-2011, 10:40 PM
Chuck, I am very surprised Henry hasn't gotten in touch with you. I can never get in touch with my rep, and don't care much for him, but Henry always gets right back to me. I guess I prolly shouldn't always bug henry with questions and such but like I said he always gets right back to me, and I have only talked to my rep once. Heck he (my rep) doesn't even respond when Henry tells me he will have him get ahold of me or when Henry has forwarded him my emails. But I still stand by Laticrete products, and the customer service I get from Henry is way way above the rest

Tiletim
04-23-2011, 10:45 PM
Chuck, I know there is Starquartz: Starglass for glass installs & Quartzlock 2 for most everything else.

But do a little research and check out the install peramiters here (http://www.starquartz.com/grout.html)

Mountain Tile
04-23-2011, 10:47 PM
No biggie, Henrys a good guy! That's the thing, I don't care for my rep either, But henry shouldnt have to deal with these things. That's what reps get paid for. Now my Schluter rep is great. I'm just tired of these problems and having little response. I can get the same kinda service with tec or custom with fewer problems. It's not a personal thing, just business. I can't afford these problems.

Mountain Tile
04-23-2011, 10:48 PM
Thanks Tim, I have heard good things about those grouts, I'll do a little research.

Levi the Tile Guy
04-23-2011, 10:48 PM
They can't do away with cementanious grouts. If spectralock and other resin grouts like it came way down in price maybe, but in this economy there are people that flat out can't afford the stuff, and that would be the deal breaker for tile period. I am sure wood and vinyl guys would love that though.

MarkTarkus
04-23-2011, 10:51 PM
Sometimes you just get a bad batch. I have grouted white subway tile with Mapei Warm Gray probably 3 dozen times. On the job I just finished with it, the color was nowhere near what it always has been.

I try to use permacolor or ultracolor plus whenever I can but the colors I need are not always readily available. I have never had problems with either of those and I like the fast setting stuff.

Mountain Tile
04-23-2011, 10:52 PM
Levi, I don't have a problem upselling the epoxy grouts, both grout and labor. But it's just not the right product for every install

Levi the Tile Guy
04-23-2011, 11:09 PM
I agree. But I prolly do have a problem upselling them, as only about half of the customers I approach with an epoxy go for it, but some people just can't afford it.

WendyHMN
04-24-2011, 07:18 AM
Tim, do you have any pics of installs with the urethane? I love Spectralock but it doesn't like me (any contact with wet grout or wash water gives me a rash). StarQuartz might be just the ticket for my next bathroom. Is it as stain resistant as Spectralock? As color consistent?

jondon
04-24-2011, 10:07 AM
I have used Urethane grout in the past but just haven't been impressed with it, maybe they have improved it. Just didn't seem firm enuf when I put it in a floor or seem to hold the joints on the wall. Yes Wendy I think if SpectraLock doesn't agree with your DNA, the GranQuartz would be something to try. It comes in a tub and the Urethane sits on the top of the tub, you have to mix it every time you use it. Doesn't harden up until expose to air, maybe since you are a Scientist you can esplain it a lil better than I. StarQuartz is a "stain resistant" adv. grout, it is already mixed in the tub or should I say proportioned out.

When I speak about the cementitious grouts, the reason is you have the chance for human error always. You can do a sample board if you have the time but you are mixing a small batch. I have done sample boards in the past when a customer can't decide. What is the sense of having the grout samples if we always have to make our own sample boards? Inconsistency in color is the reason. My point is I wish it would be more consistent. And I don't care how long you been doing tile inconsistent grout color can happen to anyone.

I agree Permacolor has helped a lot, like Mark says he likes it firing off quick. I would too if my hands hadn't taken a beatin with the slabs. As was expressed mixing smaller batches I agree would be the answer:tup2:

With epoxy grout you are taking the factor of mixing H20 into it. So it is gonna look like it should. Though you have the factor of the material you are using and any bad effect, so you have to be careful there.

I agree Levi, some people just cannot afford the more expensive Epoxy grouts and as was mentioned they are not for every job depending on the material. As installers though we want to finish a job and move onto the next like a carpenter, plumber, electrician. For them when they are done, they are done. For us tile installers, doing the tile is only one phase, then we gotta hope the grout is successful. Just doesn't seem fair and as a trade we prolly make the least but we always have to deal with the:

GROUT FACTOR

I agree too, reps should be helping people directly with these issues. If you have an issue and your rep. doesn't take the time to respond then yes I agree your rep. isn't doing they're job. Maybe some reps think if they don't get back to you the problem will just work itself out, and in many situations it probably does cause you don't have the time to wait around:shrug:

As for Henry yes he does mingle on this forum, my hats off to him for his interaction with us directly. As for problems we should be using the chain of command, the reps. If your rep. doesn't have time then I guess you gotto do what you gotto do. I am sure if you contact him directly at least you will get the reps attention:stick:

Scottish Tile and Stone
04-24-2011, 09:23 PM
So far Ive never had a problem with any laticrete grouts..

phil o
01-12-2012, 08:02 AM
i had the same problem with the mocha spectralock grout, the color on the actual carton you buy is nothing like the online color chart. they are sending me some kind of dye so at least their customer service is good. wish i would have known that prior to laying it all down. looks gray to me, no brown at all in that grout :bonk: