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Unread 04-01-2020, 10:31 AM   #1
hstorms32
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Grout not turning out as hoped...

Hello!

I recently installed some 12”x24” “Montauk” black slate tiles in my guest bath, entryway, and laundry room. I LOVE the tile but am worrying that I messed up with the grout. I was wanting dark grout so it didn’t compete with the beauty of the natural dark tile. I used Mapei unsanded grout in the pearl gray color (picture attached). I went with u sanded because my leveling system spacers were 1/16”, but in some spots, the spaces are slightly larger, up to 1/8”. So far I’ve only grouted the entry and guest bath and am hesitant to start the laundry room before finding out if these issues can be avoided. The tile was sealed 3 times before grouting using Miracle 511 Seal & Enhance (which worked beautifully to bring out the color!). Grouting was finished less than 24 hours ago but I’m having a few different issues...

1) Why in the world is the grout so light?! Did I over-wash it? How can I fix this?
2) How do I get rid of the leftover grout in the nooks and crannies? The edges of my tile look TERRIBLE and it’s ruining the overall look I didn’t start scrubbing early enough after grouting to get it before it was dried. I’ve read that vinegar or baking soda can remove haze...will it also remove the excess grout from the tiles edges if I use a scrubbing pad or brush? Since the grout is so fresh, will a brush ruin the grout? I’ve also looked into other Miracle 511 acid washes which I am open to using if the vinegar and baking soda remedies aren’t successful.

Thank you in advance! I’ve read a lot of great info on this forum, you guys are so helpful

P.S. I’d consider myself an “experienced DIY tiler” but this is my first time doing floors so if you have any other tips for grouting a floor, I’d love to hear them!
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Unread 04-01-2020, 11:01 AM   #2
hstorms32
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Here is my ungrouted laundry room!
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Unread 04-01-2020, 01:11 PM   #3
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Welcome, Rae.

1. I dunno. Probably. Mechanically remove and replace or use a grout colorant.

2. Try whatever you like, but see #1.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-01-2020, 08:12 PM   #4
Tool Guy - Kg
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Grout drying “too light” is an extremely common problem. I gave up listening to the tech folks explain why it happened because no matter what I did or how closely I followed the directions, the grout would unexpectedly dry lighter than expected for medium to dark colors. When I discovered Laticrete Permacolor (sanded cementitious grout rated from 1/16” to 1/2” joints) everything changed for the better. It’s so good and dries exactly to the advertised color that I use it whenever possible. While it costs more than the standard inexpensive grouts, it’s worth it to me.

As far as what to do? You won’t like my answer, but I think it’s the most direct path at correcting the problem. I’d remove the grout from the joints with a grout-saw. Then I’d clean the face of the tiles with a wooden dowel sharpened in a pencil sharpener (to scrape grout residue from cracks/crevices), a wet white non-woven scrubbie (test your scrubbie to make sure it doesn’t leave marks of its own from the act of cleaning), and a relatively new damp grout sponge to scrub and scrub and scrub the tiles clean. But realize grout gets far harder with each passing day. It’s only 30 or something hours old. I’d get to cleaning ASAP. Then re-grout with something like Permacolor.

You could consider using a colorant on the joints to avoid having to remove it, BUT would it match the rest of your grouting efforts? I ask because I’m assuming you’ll upgrade to something like Permacolor grout and you probably want this room to match the other rooms. And a colorant doesn’t help for the residue in the cracks...you still have to clean that the hard way.

By the way, realize that Permacolor kicks off faster than most grouts, so don’t mix as much in the bucket...or spread as big of an area as you have been before cleaning. And be sure to have a scrubbie on hand as you’re cleaning to clean the cracks/crevices.

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Unread 04-02-2020, 06:57 AM   #5
RichVT
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Before you proceed with another product, I would recommend that you make a test board using scraps or leftover tiles. When you are happy with the results on your test board, duplicate that on your floor.
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Unread 04-02-2020, 07:50 AM   #6
Metropolitan Ceramics
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If you spray the grout with a spray bottle of water, does it become the right color? If so, you should be able to clean off the white haze. MAPEI makes a cement grout haze remover that is pretty good. Don't use acid on that stone without checking first to make sure it doesn't hurt the stone itself. Give MAPEI a call and they can walk you through your potential remedies. Chances are they'll be able to send you some Grout Refresh at no charge to help get things evened out.
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Unread 04-02-2020, 09:28 AM   #7
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good news is they are fairly long straight grout lines, should not be to terrible to replace.
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Unread 04-02-2020, 10:17 PM   #8
Tool Guy - Kg
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...unless the grout gets too hard.

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Unread 04-03-2020, 10:08 AM   #9
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Hey there Rae!

Sorry I missed this one by a couple days, hopefully this info isn't too late.

Cement grout can truly be a tough one to troubleshoot, as the final color is dependent on so many different factors. Anything from the porosity of the tile, to the amount and source of mixing water can really affect the final product.
If you would like to chat with us more in detail on how or why cement grout can discolor, give us a call at 1-800-992-6273.

In the meantime, there are two potential solutions available to get you that dark gray grout you're after:

1. Recolor the grout that's already installed. We make a product called Grout Refresh that works extremely well at recoloring and sealing grout. It will recolor your joints to any one of our 40 color options, including Pearl Gray.

2. Remove the existing grout (down at least 2/3 depth of the joint) and regrout with Flexcolor CQ. Flexcolor CQ is the standard in color consistent grouts, and since it has no free pigments or dyes, will dry to the desired color.

Please feel free to reach out here or over the phone and we will help you as best we can!
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