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Old 09-19-2009, 04:43 AM   #1
tiley
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Dark grout turning white, ceramic shower

Ok, had a stunning shower ceramic tile install done a few months ago. Because I had previous mildew issues, when everything was gutted, my installer decided to use the Kerdi system for extra protection, good cement board, hydroment grout, etc.... I selected a polished ceramic tile, large set like marble with thin grout lines with dark 'french grey' grout. White smaller tile was used for floor of shower(no problem there). I let it dry several weeks before I took my first shower, but literally a week or two later, the dark grout went white! I thought soap was doing it- because it was only happening from the waist down, or where the water was hitting grout. I called the contracter, who has a lot of experience and he was kind of perplexed, but said that he remembers sealing it. And the only thing to do was use an epoxy stain. I called in another expert, and he was equally flumoxed, and said it was mineral, calcium deposits from the water, and there was nothing to do (or look into a similar grout stain from the manufacturer). Finally, I went back to the tile store and spoke to their experts, and they said-- efforvescence !(spell??). Anyway, he seemed to think that the water is going behind the grout and not evaporating right, and that I should try a vinegar cleaning or a one step harsher acidic wash, or the contractor should check the weep holes??? He also said not to stain anything, and maybe it would go away after a time.

Now, I have my questions? Did the Kerdi system cause this, indirectly, or was it a faulty install? Why is the water going thru the grout at all? Should the thin lines of the grout have been sealed, or not? The tile floor of the shower slopes down to the drain, as does the seat. They used good materials, and had experience. Will the vinegar wash do anything? Totally confused.

Bottom line, I love my shower, but it was made to be used, and even if the vinegar helps, if I keep the water on, isn't it going to turn white again??? Is water building up behind the tile? Arghhh. What's the best, easiest, less caustic way to fix this, so my grout turns dark again? And how do I approach this with my original installer, if it makes him look faulty? (he'll probably deny that anything is clogged)....Or should I move on with someone else to fix?

Thanks so much.
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:18 AM   #2
dgunnels
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Welcome Tiley. Do you have a first name that we could call you. We're friendly like that!

Before we dig any deeper I want to find out where you live. If you have hard water that might be your problem. Calcium buldup is vicious is some places, my location included. IF this is a calcium/hard water problem then the answr is you are going to have to dela with it. It is an ongoing battle. If this isn't the problem we will dig more deeply.

By the way, how many Kerdi showers has your installer done before yours?
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:55 AM   #3
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Hi Tiley,

What makes this so unusual is that efflorescence normally manifests as the grout dries, not two weeks later.

The grout is portland cement, not pre-mixed grout?

The Kerdi method causes the grout to dry/cure a little slower because moisture can't soak into the substrate and has to evaporate out the front, and this sometimes might cause a little minor discoloration. I've always been able to remove it with vinegar, though. Takes a lot of scrubbing.
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Old 09-19-2009, 09:27 AM   #4
tiley
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Thanks for responses.... yeah, the whiteness started literally after the first shower I took. So that might have been a week or so after it was done. If not longer....
I live in DC, so I don't know how good or bad the water is...

Anyway, the installer, seemed to have done several before. And I know the french grey grout was hydrament, or whatever it was called, the cement used all over, I have no idea?

Do you use straight vinegar, or dilute. (Was afraid, I'd have to start scrubbing.) Ironically, I chose a dark tile and dark grout, so I wouldn't see mildew, and now I have white grout, and I have to scrub it to get it back to dark color!! Jeez....

Anyway, any other ideas appreciated.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:10 PM   #5
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Is the discoloration or flim just on the grout or is it on the tile too?
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:50 PM   #6
tiley
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Just on the grout.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:18 AM   #7
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My solution - Oil it baby

G'day,

I used baby oil. I know that sounds strange but my grout now looks brand new.

Note: My tiles are "slate like" rather than ceramic so the oil is absorbed into the tile. They look fantastic now! My primary focus was to correct the efflorescence on the dark grout but I also conditioned my tiles

Steps:

1. Clean tiles, scrub stains, rinse well and dry
2. Saturate the tiles and grout in baby oil (which is just scented mineral oil). I used the no-name stuff $3
3. After oil has penetrated the tiles and grout, wipe off any excess oil with an old towel

Over time you will need to touch up areas and repeat the oil application, especially where the tiles are exposed to water. Subsequent applications do not need to be left for as long as the initial application.
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:48 AM   #8
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Hi Vicki, I'm don't know what will be the outcome long term. The oil may seal off the stone completely and cause effloresence problems later. I'm sure it looks good now but sealers made for stone and grout will breathe better than baby oil.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:04 AM   #9
Slim560
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Dark grout turning white...reply

I had the same problem with my mocha colored grout and mosaic tiles also turning a chalky white color. After callin aereral places and asking multiple people what could be the cause I it, no one seemed to be able to help solve the issue. I have previously looked at the local home improvement stores but didn't seem to find anything to work. I recently bought a product made by DuPont but when I called for assistance on applying the product I was told I had the wrong thing to help solve my problem so the representative recommended DuPont's sealer and enhancer. I have since put on three coats and it has worked wonderfully in bringing back the richness I my grout and tiles, yay. I can't say how it's going to stand up to the water or how long it will last because I have not showers in there yet. I hope this helps and good luck.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:20 AM   #10
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Welcome, Candy, and thanks for the tip. The original poster has not been on the site for several years, but perhaps someone else might benefit.
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