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Unread 12-17-2011, 12:14 AM   #1
Clozzzer
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24x24 porcelain Lowes install gone bad. Need help!

I purchased a awesome 24x24 rectified polished looking tile called Rocca Orion beige. We selected Mapei color "harvest" to grout with and selected 1/16 grout lines with sanded grout. The install is being performed by lowes installers, and we are installing 1000 sq ft in a kitchen, 3 baths and a laundry room. They finished the grout in the kitchen, approx 500 sq ft, and a bath, 50 sq ft. Even before the grout dried, the color was almost white. As the tile is beige, this looks horrible.

Lowes said they can't remove the grout, as the grout lines are 1/16. They have offered to have the grout stained to a new Mapei color. I have heard that stains require much maintenance to keep up. Also, only half my house will be stained as the other half has not been grouted. They want me to choose another color for the remainder of the project.

What should I do?
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Unread 12-17-2011, 12:23 AM   #2
Brad Denny
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Hello Steve,
Welcome.
If it hasn't been very long the grout shouldn't be hard to get out. Did you see the install take place? What products were used? How long between steps in the process? Can you provide some pics?

I wouldn't stain it. Stain is a pain.
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Unread 12-17-2011, 02:57 AM   #3
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Sanded grout shoved into 1/16" grout joints?

Grout drying to a lighter-than-expected color is one of the most common complaints we hear about. In some cases, an excess of water used on clean up either washes away the color on the topmost surface of the grout or causes a tiny bit of efflorescence. In these cases, stripping away a fine layer of the light grout exposes the true color below. You can do a test with vinegar (mild acid) at a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water. Wet the grout line, allow it to dwell for a couple minutes, then scrub with a nylon bristle brush. Then rinse and allow to dry to inspect the results. Up the ante to full strength vinegar if needed. Do the test in an inconspicuous area. But do tell us how long has it been since it's grouted...as using vinegar on super fresh grout is likely to weaken it.

Color drying issues is what has me sticking to a couple of grouts that dry to the color advertised. If I need sanded grout, I use Laticrete's Permacolor, and if I can use epoxy, I use SpectraLOCK.

But getting back to your job. Grout doesn't get hard immediately. Like Brad said, if the grout job is fresh, then NOW is the time to remove it as it won't put up much of a fight to remove it. Can you tell us how long it's been since the grout has been down?

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Unread 12-17-2011, 06:04 AM   #4
Davestone
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Be careful using acid on the polished porcelain it may etch and dull the finish.

As said, sanded grout in 1/16?
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Unread 12-17-2011, 07:37 AM   #5
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What Bubba said plus;

Too much water to clean off the excess grout and / or too much water when mixing the grout in the first place. Both are common and lead to the same end result.

How do you know there was too much water in the mix? read this and compare it to what they did - if you watched them.
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Unread 12-17-2011, 10:00 AM   #6
Clozzzer
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The grout has been in a full 7 days. They put the grout in twice, back to back. The color of the grout in powder form is the same as the outcome in the floor. I can take some pics today.

Also, lowes said that removing grout from a 1/16 grout line will likely chip the tile. Is that true?

They are willing to stain the grout. You guys say staining is a pain. It won't be a install pain for me, but will maintenance be tougher and look cheesy?
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Unread 12-17-2011, 10:07 AM   #7
Brad Denny
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I think it would be both, Steve. I'd see if they would be willing to try an area of grout removal.
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Unread 12-17-2011, 05:43 PM   #8
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Steve, who's idea was it to use sanded grout in 1/16 joints?
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Unread 12-17-2011, 05:55 PM   #9
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Doesn't Mapei have an Ultracolor for small joints?
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Unread 12-17-2011, 06:00 PM   #10
Levi the Tile Guy
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Yes Brad, but Lowes doesn't sell it. Ultracolor is an excellent grout. I can't imagine trying to pack KeraColor S in a 1/16" joint unless it was very wet.
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Unread 12-17-2011, 06:44 PM   #11
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I have had good luck removing grout with a boxcutter and plenty of sharp back up blades. But you have to be careful not to skim the blade across the tile and scratch it. Grout removal tools all seem too thick.
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Unread 12-17-2011, 07:53 PM   #12
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Agreed Frank.
Hopefully one of those Lowes installers can come back out and give that a try. I have heard they are generally pretty good about taking care of their customers.
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Unread 12-17-2011, 09:12 PM   #13
Clozzzer
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Davy, lowes offered the service of the sanded grout. They seem hard pressed to "stain" rather than remove the grout. The stain just seems like a short cut.
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Unread 12-18-2011, 08:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
The color of the grout in powder form is the same as the outcome in the floor.
Are you sure they used the right color grout? Got a bag to look at?
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Unread 12-19-2011, 02:18 AM   #15
Clozzzer
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Yes, the bags are all the same as the chosen color. The installer told me that mapae is usually 2-3 shades off. The was like 6 shades off. Even still, 2 shades off is not acceptable either. It doesn't make sense that it would be off at all and if it was always off, they should get new samples of the actual outcome.
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