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Unread 05-13-2021, 12:47 PM   #1
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Grout problems with MAPEI Ultracolor Plus FA

We recently had tile installed via Lowe's in our bedroom and bathroom. We picked the Woods French Gray tile and Pewter colored grout by MAPEI Ultracolor Plus FA that is supposed to have high stain resistance and no sealing required.

There were lots of problems (eg. hollow sounding tiles when tapped), but the main problem is the grout. They were supposed to use the MAPEI UltraColor Plus grout that Lowe's delivered along with the tiles, but I am not sure that that is what they used.

First of all the color is much too light. It is supposed to be Pewter:

Secondly, the grout is almost powdery. I can rub it with my nail for a couple of seconds and make a scratch in it and my finger is full of dust. We have had tiles in other rooms where the grout is extremely hard and I couldn't do this with a screwdriver. (it has now been almost 2 weeks since grouting)

Also, when I put some water on the grout it gets absorbed and the grout looks very dark for a long time. I don't think this should happen with this self-sealing grout?! When it's wet I can rub it off even easier. I'm afraid that this will not last in our bathroom.

Questions: Could they have mixed the grout incorrectly or does it look like they used a different grout?

Thank you.
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Unread 05-13-2021, 11:55 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Hi, Arthur. Welcome.

The darkening grout isn’t telling us much. The biggest clue to what they used is in the leftover bag(s). I’m quite certain that your invoice from Lowe’s shows that you paid for a bag(s) of grout...which means any leftovers belong to you. The installer should have left any unused portion of the bag with you.

From the shape of some parts of the grout in the first picture, it appears to have been mixed quite loose. Loose, watery grout is responsible for weak grout. Loose, watery grout can also lead to poor color performance.

The fact that it is able to be scratched out with a fingernail almost 2 weeks after install means that it’s defective in some way. I would visit Lowe’s to tell them of your defective grout and wish for corrective action.

While I can also tell you that a day-1, kindergarten, very basic minimum industry standard is to obtain at least 80% mortar coverage between the tile and substrate in a non-wet application, I can’t tell you how much you actually have. It’s easy to speculate that you’ve got less due to the hollow sound you’re describing, but this is something that you need to remove a tile to examine directly. So, you can tell them of your hollow sounding tiles, and the industry standard to obtain at least 80% coverage, but I don’t know how they will handle that or if they’ll care at all. Maybe they’ll take it seriously...or maybe they’ll be like a deer in the headlights. I have found a very broad range of knowledge and customer service from Lowe’s, so I don’t know how good or bad they will treat you.

I’m assuming the bill has been paid in full? I’m not one for advising a dispute on a credit card...if that’s what you’ve paid with...unless it’s clear that someone has taken your money and doesn’t seem to intend on fulfilling their end of the contract. I’d visit the store right away to get a feel for what they are prepared to do about it. Mostly, it’s been my experience that they will try to do a minimalistic approach to fix the situation unless it seems daunting or confusing to them...in which case they might go for a replacement.

Good luck.
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Unread 05-14-2021, 06:51 AM   #3
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If you have any leftover grout the dry powder is what the final result should look like. I’d go off that instead of the color chart.
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Unread 05-15-2021, 06:07 AM   #4
Jason Cantin Mapei Technical rep
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Discolored and or soft grout is often an indication that it was either mixed with to much water, or cleaned with to much water. Both of those concerns are the grout has ben exposed to to much water before or during the curing process. The grout can still change color when wet even though it doesn't need a sealer. this doesn't necessarily indicate a problem.
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