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Unread 07-02-2009, 08:27 AM   #1
TexasTiler
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Grouting Procedure Advice

All,

Hoping you can provide me some guidance on grouting.

I have successfully completed setting 250sqft of 18x18 (Roman Noce from Lowes) Porcelain tile with 3/16 spacing. The tile edge is slightly tapered with rough/chipped edge as they shoot a nail along the edge to get that affect. I am using Mapei Keracolor S grout.

Having read through the various issues diy's have had with grouting (color variation, blotchy, etc). I decided to lay some of my scrap tile on a sheet of 2x4 plywood, so I could do some trial runs at grouting making sure I could establish a process with repeatable quality/look.

After my first try, the dried grout is much lighter than the samples from the manufacturer, and the dried grout on the side of the plywood that I did not work with the sponge is the perfect color. I suspect I used too much water when working the joints, or did so too early.

Here is my procedure, I hope you can provide me some pointers so I can try again tonight ( I removed all the grout from my plywood test bed).

1> Mix grout as per Mapei instructions (26 oz of water per 10lbs)
2> I used the same drill mixer that I used for my thinset. I think its way too fast (rpms), as it made the grout like whipcream/icing instead of peanut butter. (Should I mix by hand?)
3>Wet tile and apply grout using float
4> Wait 30 minutes (haze on tile surface, grout lines still dark and some what wet) and then use a wet sponge (not dripping) to work the grout lines in a circular motion with no pressure
5> Wait another 30 minutes (haze on tile, grout lines much firmer, and use damp sponge to clean haze
6> Wait 2 hours and then use terry cloth to buff tiles

What should I try differently on my second test? (I am not shy about running additional test runs, as I want to get this down pat before going to my actual floor)

Thanks in advance for your guidance and advice!

Ray
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Unread 07-02-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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the only problem I see here is the drill. I prefer to mix by hand, although you do get terrible arm pump. You must mix with low speed if you are using a drill.

I would say get a different drill, or mix a small amount by hand and test it out before whipping all of it up at once and having your arms fall off.

I belive you will find that the drill is your issue.
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Unread 07-02-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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I would also suggest mixing by hand. Make sure the floor and empty grout joints are dry or else the extra water might affect it
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Unread 07-02-2009, 04:20 PM   #4
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I would actually advise against grouting bone dry joints. with porcelain I would dampen the joints just a little bit. most stone will need a bit extra, and if the stone is very porous or cut from 3/4" slab, I will introduce quite a bit of moisture to the joints and let it sit a bit before grouting.

if your flooring is anywhere near porous it can potentially rob the moisture from the grout, and you'll end up with some cooky problems.

one particular floor I did was a marble floor which I did not know was cut from slab at the time. i couldnt figure out why i was having discoloration problems when the grout would cure. the homeowner finally decided to let me know, and after wetting the joints before grouting, the problem went away.
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Unread 07-02-2009, 04:32 PM   #5
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After mixing the grout let it slake (sit in the bucket undisturbed) for about 10-15 minutes. The grout should be mixed loose to begin and it will thicken and firm up after slake period. Remix without any water if you can. If it is too thick add just a hand full of water (yep just use your hand). A little water goes a long way with grout. So anyway, you don't want the grout so thick that you can't spread it but you don't want it real loose and running either. So some where in between. I like to make it a tad on the stiff side. I would not wet the tiles first. Keep the faces as clean as possible and grout joints full. Only spread what you think you can sponge off in about 30=45 min. time. Let the grout set up to the point of being somewhat firm. Sponge in circular motion and shape the joints. Keep the sponge wrung out completely. It should just be damp. Final wipe as you go with one side of clean sponge, flip over, wipe. Move to next tiles and start cleaning and shaping. Then, with clean sponge, wipe, flip, wipe. Repeat. Once entire floor is grouted, wait a couple of hours and then with clean water do the wipe, flip, wipe, rinse, wipe, flip, wipe thing again over entire floor. Leave floor until next day.

Remember, wring your sponge out well always while grouting. Do your grouting and your 2 hour later wipe down and leave it alone. Too much water is what ruins most grout jobs for DIY'ers.

Whew.......sorry that paragraph is so long but there you go.
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Last edited by java; 07-03-2009 at 11:30 AM.
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Unread 07-06-2009, 08:03 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone.

I did another 2 test runs this weekend on my plywood test bed, and got the same result - grout lines are much lighter than the left over grout I put on a piece of cardboard.

Grout is Keracolor S - Sahara Beige

I mixed 2 different batches by hand, a stiff mix which reminded me of feta cheese, and a creamy mix which was like peanut butter. I prefer the peanut butter mix, as it was much easier to work into the joint and spread. Both resulted in the same light grout line color as my very first test run. So I think I have ruled out the mixture question.

I followed Jason's guidance, after 30-45 minutes I used my completely wrung out sponge to work the lines and immediately followed by a final wipe.

I put the left over grout on a piece of cardboard so I could compare it to the color of the grout lines when it dried. As I say, the grout on the cardboard is the perfect color I want. One strange observation, the dried grout on the cardboard almost looks like someone took a can of "clear coat" to it, ie. it is shiny.

This morning I flipped over the grout on the cardboard so I could look at the grout color on the bottom that was in contact with the actual cardboard. Interestingly, the grout color on the bottom matched the grout line test bed. That is, it is a much lighter shade.

I am stumped. Not sure what to try next - Should I wait longer than 45 minutes before working the lines/wiping?

If all else fails, I was thinking I should try a darker shade of grout - if it dries to a lighter shade, then I will have what I want.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Ray
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Unread 07-06-2009, 08:11 AM   #7
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I share your pain with grout efflorescence. My advice is to use Laticrete's Spectralok and call it a day. The color will match.
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Unread 07-08-2009, 09:28 AM   #8
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Ok, I tried a few different things to no avail.

I washed the dried grout lines with 50/50 vinegar and water thinking maybe it is efflorescence. No change to the grout color, it is still light.

I scraped out the grout and ran another test run. This time I used distilled water for the mix and clean up. Same light grout color.

I then noticed that the clump of grout drying on the cardboard has, after several days, dried to the same color as the grout lines.

My conclusion at this point is the dried grout color must be correct. Therefore, I am going to get a darker shade and test that out to make sure it is what I want.

My existing 12x12 floor tiles have 3/8 white grout which despite being sealed and cleaned, have been a nightmare to maintain. Hence my OCD in going with a 3/16 grout on the new tiles, and trying to find a color (dark grey) that will be easier to maintain.

Speaking of which, StoneTech seems to be the preferred choice from my reading. Is that a brand? I see some places call it StoneTech, others call it Dupont's Stonetech. Are these one in the same?

Thanks!
Ray
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Unread 07-08-2009, 09:48 AM   #9
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Dupont Stone Tech or just Stone Tech same same.


Most grout is a little lighter in use than the stick sample. I shoulda mentioned that but I thought you were dealing with efflorescence.

Actually most times if you hold the stick down next to the grout joint it will look the same but from a standing up position it always looks just a tad lighter.

Get some darker grout and make sure you like it before using it. You have got to be tired of scraping grout joints.
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Unread 07-08-2009, 10:37 AM   #10
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I think a big piece of the issue is just mere optical illusion. A 3/16th line of grout surrounded by visual volume of the tiles cannot possibly look the same as a fre-floating blob. But if you were able to isolate the 2 grouts with a magnifying glass you would see the same color. I have a degree in art, with lots of color theory. Its just the way things work.
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Unread 07-27-2009, 07:59 PM   #11
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Help with discolorization

Hi everyone,

I'm back - After finally selecting a color (LightSmoke), I made the decision to go with CB Prism Surecolor Grout to avoid discolorization and/or efflorescence.

Just my luck I ended up with discolorization!!!

I can't figure out what I did wrong - Here's my steps
(18x18 porcelain tile color through body with 3/16 lines)

1> dry mixed a bag of prism grout in a bucket to ensure no settling
2> mixed water as per bag in new bucket (used the low end of the water - bag says 4-5 pints, I used a little more than 4)
3> mixed with low rpm drill, let slake for 10 minutes, mixed again
4> grouted 2 rows of tile (24 tiles/54sqft) took about 20-25 minutes
5> used damp sponge to work grout lines
6> re-mixed grout in bucket again with drill (no water added) and grouted 2 additional rows of tile took about 20 minutes
7> used damp sponge to clean first 2 rows
8> used damp sponge to work grout lines of 2 new rows
9> waited 25 minutes and cleaned last 2 rows

What I ended up with was that the first 2 rows are darker than the last 2 rows. In fact, the grout in the last 2 rows looked to have dried quicker. The color difference occurs exactly where I left off between the 2 rows.

Retracing my steps, not sure what I did wrong. I called CB technical line - One person told me that it must be something in my substrate (but its a concrete slab and and gray thinset throughout). I was told to wet the grout lines everyday with a damp sponge for the next 3 days. Another CB tech person told me that maybe my water was too dirty when working the joint lines.

Its been 24 hours - the 2 rows are still darker (i think it did get somewhat lighter). The only thing I can think of is that the first 2 rows have deeper (not wider) grout lines, because the floor was slightly sloped and I made it even by using additional thinset. I was thinking that the additional grout would take longer to dry.

I have read through the various posts, should I do the following:
1>wait a few days to let grout cure and see if color improves
2>use 50/50 vinegar water and scrub all grout lines if color is not acceptable
3>scrap out grout and start over I have only done 110 sqft in that room still have another 110 to do but didn't proceed once I saw the color difference. I wanted to find out what went wrong so I could correct it.

Looking forward to any guidance or advice. Its ironic I used Surecolor to avoid this problem.

Ray
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Unread 07-27-2009, 08:23 PM   #12
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As John said, back in the day there were only two colors, white and grey. Couldn't get yourself into much trouble then.

You could always put some vegetable oil on the grout joints. LOL!

Or you could stop caring. That's what I'd do. Hardly anyone looks at the grout joints unless they're whacky.
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