Grout colors versus caulk colors [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

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Hubitom
09-14-2009, 04:29 PM
Hey guys,

Newbie here. Found this forum by accident, and I have to say that there are a lot of nice people here trying to help others. I can't say that about all the forums that I visited (not necessarily tile related) and participated in.

Anywho, here's my question (and a little intro, off course). I just finished tiling my kitchen, and I grouted with Light Smoke from Polyblend. Off course Homer doesn't sell you nonsanded caulk versions, yet they have a large variety of matching grout colors (pretty much all missing their respective cailk colors). I found a store online that sells matching colors to TEC and PolyBlend grouts.

When looking at the samples that they sent I noticed that my finished grout (cured for over a week, sealed with TileLab Pro) looks significantly different than the sample (but it is evenly different, not just in spots).

I noticed the same with the grout that I used in my 2 bathrooms that I did a year or so ago. And there I used TEC Sandstone.

What really sticks out like a sore thumb is the difference in grout to the so called matching caulk (and in my bathrooms I used TEC matching caulk).

Now to my question. Should I select the caulk color that is supposedly the grout match, or should I try to use something that is closer to the actual color??? I want to get my caulk as close to my actaul grout color as possible.

Thanks.

Thomas

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cx
09-14-2009, 04:46 PM
Welcome, Thomas. :)

It might be an exaggeration to say we've heard that complaint a thousand times hereabouts, but it would not be a gross exaggeration.

So, for you and all the lurkers out there, let me give you the absolute straight dope on the cause of that problem:

I dunno.

I've seen the cementitious grout come out matching the color of the sample strips, and even the charts, so closely that even my favorite artist customer would approve it for use.

I've seen times when even to my eye, a very poor eye, indeed, could detect a difference.

I've not seen, but heard here many times of color differences so stark that it was assumed there must have been a packaging error. I've seen at least once when it was a packaging error.

But why it happens? Can't say.

We can usually blame poor mixing and poor water use and even poor water for the blotchy and uneven colors, and sometimes for lightening the color, but sometimes the color is just different, seems like.

As for matching the caulk, I can say my experience with the color-matched caulks is that they are a match for the samples and they are very consistent in matching one another.

Best, and, I guess, only, preventative measures I can suggest are always mix your grout with distilled water, and as little of it as practical, and to always lay out some test strips with the actual mixed product and let it cure before committing to applying it to your tile installation. And squeeze you a line of your caulk beside it and let that cure, too.

You don't like what you see, use something else. Money spent on such testing is invested. Money spent fixing a problem after the material is installed on the tile is wasted.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Hubitom
09-14-2009, 04:59 PM
CX so what you are saying is that when my grout looks different for whatever reason, I should match it as close as possible with whatever color is closest, and go with that caulk? After all, the color that is in between my tiles looks quiet different. Or did I miss your point?

Btw, I took some leftover grout, and applied it to a piece of tile to dry in order to see how that would turn out. And it actually is a very close match to what it is supposed to be. But that is on a large piece, and the tiles are spaced 1/16th. Interesting, isn't it???

dhagin
09-14-2009, 05:48 PM
What CX said. Get some caulk, maybe a few colors, squeeze out a sample of each on a scrap tile and let it dry/cure. Hold next to your cured grout. Pick the closest match. This is what I typically do to get the best match.

Hubitom
09-14-2009, 05:54 PM
Ouch. I have to order those colors from someone online, and they charge only 8 bucks per cartridge. If I'd go to my local provider I'd shell out 15 bucks per cartridge! But I guess you guys have a point. Once it's in, it is.

Anywho, thanks for all your help.

cx
09-14-2009, 07:35 PM
Btw, I took some leftover grout, and applied it to a piece of tile to dry in order to see how that would turn out. And it actually is a very close match to what it is supposed to be. But that is on a large piece, and the tiles are spaced 1/16th. Interesting, isn't it???Yes it is, Thomas, and that's why I not only make up those samples for my customers, but keep them until the job is completely finished.

Don't look the same color in the grout joints? "Sorry, Ma'am," say I, and go to the trailer and get the sample to hold up there against the wall. Different angle, different light, different shape, different whatever, the grout/caulk is the right color, it just looks different.

Ain't never had a customer argue beyond that. :)