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Unread 09-21-2004, 05:35 AM   #1
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Unhappy Grout losing color

I have recently (12 months ago) had my bathroom tiled floor to ceiling. The floor tiles are blue with a medium to dark blue grout. After about a week I noticed a slight discolouration in one very small spot in the grout in the tiled shower base. This has gradually spread over the last months so that now there is almost no colour in the grout at all in the shower base grout. There is also some slight discoloration outside the shower door. The bathroom floor is also tiled with the same grout but shows no sign of losing color.
The grout is still sound and I have removed a small portion to see whether the discoloration is only on the surface or through the grout. It is through the grout entirely. ie. all the grout removed has no blue colour remaining. It is just a sandy colour.
I suspect that the colour may have been bleached by a cleaner. Can you advise what the problem might be please?

thanks
lee
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Unread 09-21-2004, 06:23 AM   #2
John Bridge
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Hi Lee, Welcome.

I think your guess may be correct. Blue grout coloring is easily bleached out. It might even be caused by the condition of your water. A sure way to keep a shower looking good is to dry it out with a towel after each use.
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Unread 09-22-2004, 03:42 AM   #3
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Red face

Thanks John,

Is there a way I can check the condition of the water? What do I need to test for so that I can identify the cause of the bleaching IS the water?

If I can eliminate the water as the cause it would make it easier to identify another source of the bleaching.

thanks
lee
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Unread 09-22-2004, 03:10 PM   #4
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i don't if you have a lab in your area that can do this. here, we go to an actual lab, they provide you with a steralized bottle, you take the sample and they test it to see if it consumable and whatever else you need to know. buying a home in the rural areas here, it is recommended to have this test down as some areas have really hard water and others have a high iron content. if we tile outside the city, we bring water to prevent any issues with grouting. learned about efflorescence the hard way a number of years ago.
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Unread 09-22-2004, 03:38 PM   #5
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Lee,

Let's back up here. Is the discoloration only on the floor within the shower, or is it also on the walls of the shower? The grout has lost color, but is the grout still hard? Can you scratch it out easily with a fingernail? How about the condition of the grout in random areas of the shower? Check in a couple of areas on each wall, above and below where the majority of the spray hits the wall.

I used to use a small brass brush to determine if the color was still there or whether it was a surface issue. I'd give a grout joint or two a light once over with the brush, always dry. Generally, brass won't leave oxidation stains like a steel brush will.

What are you using to clean and maintain the shower? Let's make sure this is a color issue...

Chris
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Unread 09-24-2004, 12:26 AM   #6
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Unhappy

Thanks Chris and John,

I have now registered so this is Lee.

The grout is sound. ie. it is still hard, and to remove the sample to view the discolouration I had to dig it out with a screwdriver. The shower floor is the most affected with the tiles being a blue colour and a blue colour grout. Also slightly discoloured just outside the shower door where the water might splash. The bathroom floor is tiled throughout with the same tiles running into the shower floor.
The shower wall tiles are grouted with a white grout and there is no noticeable discolouration.
The grout is being replaced next week but I am concerned that I will have the same problem ongoing.

thanks
lee
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Unread 09-24-2004, 10:17 AM   #7
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Hi Lee:

What Chris said...What are you using to clean the shower?
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Unread 09-26-2004, 04:10 AM   #8
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The cleaner I used is called Orange Power - reportedly contains natural orange oil and fruit acids.
I am unsure whether this product is at all related to the problem I have encountered, but I have discontinued it's use just in case.

lee
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Unread 09-26-2004, 10:46 AM   #9
John Bridge
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Hi Lee,

Now that you mention the discoloration extends out the door where water might splash, my water theory is confirmed. It could also be soap and other things used in the shower. The best and sometimes the only way to maintain a shower is to wipe it down with a towel after each use.
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Unread 09-26-2004, 10:53 AM   #10
jadnashua
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Does your water have a high chlorine content? Can you smell the chlorine when you take a shower? If so, you may want to put a filter on your system to remove it.

PH neutral cleaners are probably better for your tile (?), but they may not take water stains off as easily.
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Unread 09-27-2004, 03:27 AM   #11
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The shower water is rain water collected from the roof of my house into a tank. If it is the water causing the problem, what is it in the water that could cause the grout to lose its colour? Can I test for it (have it tested) to identify the water as the cause?

I hear what you're saying about drying the shower John.

thanks everyone
lee
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Unread 09-27-2004, 05:39 PM   #12
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I don't think it's the rain water unless you have "acid rain" down there, and I don't think you do. According to Canadians, acid rain is unique to the U.S., and we dump all of ours on Canada.
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