White Epoxy Grout Turning Yellow [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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11-09-2010, 08:39 PM
Today I stopped by a previous job at the request of homeowner because she said that her white grout was turning yellow. Much to my suprise she wasn't kidding...Basically all the areas that get hit with water have gotten a dingy yellow look to it. It is a tub shower done with Kerdi and finished with Laticrete Spectra Lock Bright white grout. I know that it's white grout, but the shower is only 6 months old and got a yellow dingy look to it. All of the areas that don't get hit with water are just as nice as when it was installed, it's just the areas that get hit with water. I was wondering if anybody has had the same problem?

Here are some things that I think might be contributing to the problem, but I'm not sure.

She has been using a tile cleaning "product" (like Tilex) to clean the shower with. Would using a cleaner like this leave the grout looking this way?

The house was built in 1930's and has old cast iron plumbing, could there be calcium or other minerals built up in the pipes that could causing it to change color.

She is on public water which has a quite a bit of chlorine added to it. It is also nortoriously "hard" water.

I tried to hit it with 50/50 water & vinegar solution but it didn't do anything. Anybody know what might be causing it or have a solution to brighten it up. My next idea would be to hit it with a little sulfamic acid to eat the top layer off, but I have never tried it with epoxy grout.

I have attached a picture to get an idea of what it looks like.

P.S. - The flash over exagerates the yellow in it, plus the tiles are actually white, not yellow, but you can kind of see how it turns from white at the top to yellow near the bottom.

P.P.S - Gotta love the teal paint! :confused:

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11-09-2010, 08:49 PM
Shane, have you contacted your Laticrete rep about the problem?

11-09-2010, 08:56 PM
Not yet, just thought I would check the boards first to see if anybody had seen the problem before.

11-09-2010, 09:20 PM
The rep would be my first stop.

I think it's been mentioned here in past, but I can't find it.

11-09-2010, 09:26 PM
Can't really be of any help as to why... but....

Shop I used to sub for had the same problems with Spectralock Bright White yellowing. This was 5 years or so ago. They stopped using that particular color because of it but resumed using it 3 years ago and haven't seen the same problems.

The jobs in question were not mine so I never looked into it further, but yes, its has happened to others.

11-09-2010, 09:27 PM
I guess my next step would be to find out who the rep is. I tried to find it on Laticrete's website, but to no avail. The only place that carries Laticrete within 100 miles of me is Lowe's so I don't know how helpful they would be in finding out that information. Does anybody from Washington know how to get in contact with our local rep?

11-09-2010, 09:30 PM
Looks like this problems was touched, though briefly, in the Spectralock thread.


Levi the Tile Guy
11-09-2010, 09:33 PM

11-09-2010, 09:51 PM
Thanks for the info. I will give them a call tomorrow and see what information I can get out of them. If they give me any answers, I will update you guys.

11-11-2010, 09:19 PM
that can not be from properly installed epoxy grout, epoxy grout will not stain. It can be a combo of using a cleaner and the ph balance in the water but its not the grout if it was properly installed. Call the manufacturer of the grout and ask them they always know this, they work with it more than anybody here im sure.

11-11-2010, 09:20 PM
what cleaning methods have you used to try to remove the discoloration?

11-11-2010, 09:37 PM
Welcome, Chris. :)

If you're in the tile trades, stop by the Professionals' Hangout and start an introductory thread, tell us a bit about what you do and get acquainted with some of the other pros. epoxy grout will not stain

Don't think Shane indicated any sort of stain, Chris, rather that the grout has discolored. Different issue, I think.

11-11-2010, 10:55 PM
Epoxy wont stain

Gotta be careful with that one too..Epoxy will stain..It's just hard to stain.

Yellowing in Epoxy is the number 1 issue with Epoxy..usually has to do with U/V or too much hardener..Neither of these are likely candidates in this scenario. I would contact your Laticrete rep..They will be as interested as you in finding the cause;)

11-13-2010, 12:09 PM
Chris...as mentioned before I just tested a small area with a 50/50 water vinegar solution with no success. I don't want to try to do anything else until someone from Laticrete comes to look at it or let's me know what to do.

Plus, it's not a blotchy type staining, it's more of a uniform discoloring like CX was saying, just in all the wet areas.

I left a message with Laticrete support, (as it's Saturday). Hopefully they will get back to me Monday.

Here is a picture that I took just after installing it and here is a another picture of the yellowing I took the other day.

11-17-2010, 11:06 AM
I just talked with Technical support, but he didn't have any answers to why it was doing it. His solution was to scrub it with Soft scrub with bleach and a nylon scrub pad and if that didn't work, he was going to send me grout colorant. It sure would be nice to know why though. He said that the only time he's seen it is when there is a lot of U/V light hitting the surface like Trask said, but this shower doesn't get any sunlight to it very often.

11-17-2010, 07:47 PM
I did a job one time with Mapei grout.It was summer and after it dried it turned yellow.So yellow in fact i thought it was pollen which we get a lot of sometimes.I tried to wipe it off and it wouldn't come off.I freaked and got out the vinegar and a brush and it took it right off.It never happened since and i have no idea why or what it was.

Jim Farrell Tiler
11-18-2010, 12:13 AM
i had a grout supplier tell me today ALL epoxy grour goes yello if in sunlight

11-18-2010, 10:32 AM
It does make sense that it would yellow, that's what epoxy does. If it was a darker color, the yellowing would just darken it more, which probably wouldn't be objectionable.

11-18-2010, 10:48 AM
I am a little scared now. I am working on a bathroom which has a skylight.

I have not grouted yet, but already purchased spectralock bright white!

Should I be concerned (it is too late for that I guess)?

11-18-2010, 05:35 PM
If it were true that all epoxy yellows, then I think the whole shower would yellow. If you take a close look a the first picture you can see that it goes from "Bright White" at the top where the water doesn't hit it, to "yellow" where the water hits it a little lower. My aunt is the home owner, so she offered to do the soft scrub with bleach (thank god, I don't want to get Popeye arm this week). I will let you know if it works or not. If not it looks like I might have to Picasso it with the grout colorant.

11-18-2010, 06:27 PM
I had a white grout turn yellow in a shower and outside walls.Never found a reason and bleach,which did turn it white again..didn't last.I ended up using silver Aquamix grout colorant and 3 years later the joints still looks the same.

12-06-2010, 11:06 AM
Any updates to this thread? I'm about to use Custom's white epoxy grout in my bathroom.

Houston Remodeler
12-06-2010, 11:26 AM

I don't know if CB epoxy has been around long enough for the pro's to voice an opinion.

12-06-2010, 12:10 PM

Thanks. Any comments on other brands? Is epoxy yellowing a thing of the past?

07-31-2012, 11:05 PM
I had my bathroom remodeled several months ago, and the licensed contractor used SpectraLock in bright white. I have experienced the exact same problem mentioned here. Additionally, the grout stains easily. No cleaning product or method I've used seems to work, both on the yellowing and the stains. I am not sure what to do. I cannot call the contractor. After they blotched the quartz countertop, it was clear that they were not going to take responsibility for any thing else that went wrong.

07-31-2012, 11:21 PM
Wow, old thread.

I had the same problem with some white Mapei Kerapoxy I installed a few years ago. The customer wasn't upset about it, so it was a non issue.

If it had become an issue, I really dont know what I would have done about it :shrug:

Did some more white epoxy a couple years later and fore-warned the customer about the issue I had. Did the job... no issues. Again :shrug:

10-29-2012, 07:55 PM
I have exactly the same issue with specra lock Ultra white, I have tried everything including acid cleaners etc, nothing seems to help

03-05-2013, 03:03 PM
Just a thought which may be very obvious:
Could it be that the water has iron in it and the yellowing is actually rust?
Are there any other areas in the house with discoloured fixtures, like toilets or sinks?
Can you get a sample of the water from the house and have it tested at a lab for iron content?
We used to see this in old houses when I was a kid and the pipes and fixtures were all made with cheap steel.

03-05-2013, 03:04 PM
Does this mean I should change my mind and not use Spectralock in the shower I am about to tile?

Stone Dude
03-05-2013, 05:08 PM
Try cleaning with diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide and warm water.

07-12-2013, 01:06 AM
Just wanted to put an extra word in, here, for info purposes...

I've recently done a job with Mapei Kerapoxy - Frost color (white) and have had some severe yellowing. In this case, the yellowing occurs very quickly (ie. a day or two later). The tile in the shower (with daily water & away from the window) exhibits the same blotchy/non-uniform yellowing as the tile in the main bath, near a window & with no water contact (both floor and walls). Also, the grouting has been done 3 times (heated, stripped, and dug out w/ utility knife), by 2 different installers and different buckets of grout...but the same results.

The pics show some examples of the issue. A Magic Eraser has been somewhat helpful in cleaning the yellowing and epoxy stripper has helped, as well...but neither have done a great job. I've installed a fair amount of Kerapoxy in all shades, but this is the first time I've had serious problems with this kind of discoloring.

Spoke with the Mapei rep today, who had no ideas on the problem and is sending a "patch kit" (colorant) to address the issue. Considering what tileman2000 said, earlier in this thread, I'm hopeful & fairly confident that this will take care of it...but it's a "head-shaker".

07-12-2013, 04:52 AM
I'm no chemist,but i think these epoxies have been siliconized,and silicone does turn yellow with light.As said,the lighter colors will show it more.
And if virtually no cleaners seem to remove it it must be a chemical reaction.

I have had a laundry problem where some types of rayon get black streaks when bleach is used.And no way to remove it.

Mo Anam Cara
12-08-2017, 08:54 AM
Hello, I realize this is an older subject, but I have the same problem but after 6 months of no problems. We installed the tile over the summer. Iíve noticed most people are claiming this is happening in their bathroom. Mine is in the kitchen on a north wall. We had a first cold night of the year last night and dropped to around 13 degrees over night. When I woke up this morning I noticed the north corner of my backsplash had turned a dark yellow. I used bleach on a small section and it did remove it with a little scrubbing. I researched online and found many others have had the same issue with white grout but in bathrooms. I got mine from Home Depot. I donít remember the brand but the color was called Snow White unsanded. I use a unvented gas fireplace to warm my house that has been known to produce humidity being unvented. For some reason I feel that this has definitely to do with the atmosphere. My north wall where the tiled backsplash is gets very cold. So I am thinking the heat from the fireplace in combination of the humidity and the cold wall turned my grout yellow. I donít feel it has to do with minerals in the water used to mix up the grout, otherwise why would other areas in my kitchen not have this happen? Itís just the north wall area. I have not used any cleaners but mild dish soap and water to clean and there hasnít been much of that but a few splatters here and there. The first photo is a close up of what it actually looks like all over that North area. The second photo is the same area but a distance away. The third ishows a section I cleaned with bleach.