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Unread 11-12-2014, 11:29 PM   #1
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White-ish grey grout and dirty white epoxy grout

We just had our bathroom redone. I have questions regarding any ways to clean the grout before I try and get the contractor to redo things. I've attached photos of both.

The floor used grey unglazed porcelain tiles and Laticrete Permacolor grout in platinum (dark grey color). The tiler did not prepare a sample at the job site (I didn't know to ask for one until I did more research now). The color is noticeably lighter (whitish) then I expected. He claims it is drywall dust (the floor was carelessly left unprotected during other remodeling work). The GC sent out someone to clean it up (using oxyclean and a steam cleaner). Nothing much changed. Before the recent clean there was a really obvious spot where a tile was replaced and the new grout was much cleaner. The cleaning seems to have just moved everything around -- or caused more efflorescence?

A quick scrub with a grout brush brings up a bunch of dirt and some loose grout so I don't think she did much. Soap and water or TSP didn't seem effective when I tried to clean it. I was reading and think it could also be efflorescence. I might try a dilute acid (muriatic/sulfamic/phosphoric?) The grey grout looks good wet and Laticrete suggest that sealing could help maintain the wet look, specifically with a Miracle 511 product.

In the shower pan we have 2x2 white matte porcelain tiles (Daltile) and they were grouted with Latricrete Spectralock also in white. During the course of the remodel (the shower has never been used) the grout is quite dirty. This is especially noticeable as there was a very large unattractive grout line that was fixed later and that is much cleaner white compared to the rest. There are also dark marks on the edges of some of the tiles from scraping epoxy grout haze as the grout was not cleaned adequately and at the appropriate time. I tried to scrub the grout with Comet+Bleach but this didn't appear to have much effect.

I was hoping for any suggestions that I could try and then tell the contractor to finish the clean up. I really just want the job done so I can have my bathroom back. I would appreciate any of the expert advice from forum users!

Thanks so much,
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Unread 11-17-2014, 09:30 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Welcome to the forum, Lyle.

If you really want to know the color of your grout, grab a handful of leftover grout and make yourself a small sample board. Permacolor is easily the most consistent colored cement-based grout I've worked with. It dries the same, time after time. If your sample doesn't match what's on the floor/wall, then it's almost certainly contaminated with dirt/dust.

Time to put on the brakes from all your testing. If it really is drywall dust, the only solution is a painstakingly slow scrubbing and wet vacuuming, followed by repeating that many times. In some severe cases, it's faster and easier to simply regret the area.

Pick up the phone and talk to the person you paid. The person you made the contract with. Tell them that the project was left with contaminated grout and you didn't pay for contaminated grout. And that you intend to pay them the balance they are owed AFTER the grout has been cleaned up properly. Hopefully, you still have something of an outstanding balance left to pay.

P.S. Muriatic acid has a lot more destructive capability than most folks think. From scarring lung tissue from berating in fumes....to rusting everything those fumes come in contact with. It doesn't belong anywhere inside a house at any time. Ever.

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Unread 11-18-2014, 09:16 PM   #3
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Are you sure it is really permacolor. I have seen contractors use the cheaper 1500 laticrete grout in place of permacolor. Grout bag should say permacolor. You can try to use an acidic cleaner to clean the grout and see what that does. It should do much better with the grout haze and drywall dust then the other meathods.
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Unread 11-20-2014, 06:07 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies Tool Guy and Seattle Tile Cleaning. Thanks for the advice. I still owe the contractor the majority of the cost 75% for the job. Based on the color of the grout around the replaced tile it looks like the original grout must be contaminated.

I've also found substantial damage to the tiles in the shower that likely occurred when the hardened epoxy grout haze was scraped off. Looks like that is going to have to be remedied too.

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Unread 11-21-2014, 11:47 PM   #5
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Hi Lyle, Welcome!

With white epoxy, it's not uncommon for installers to not mix the entire packet of Part A & Part B. If they are mixed at the correct ratio, and the correct amount of Part C added, it can leave the grout looking discolored.

Regarding the dark gray grout... Have you tried scratching below the surface of the grout to see if the correct color shows below?
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Unread 12-15-2014, 12:00 AM   #6
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Regarding the epoxy, I have had a nightmare cleaning my sand beige (a light tan) SpectraLock... which I foolishly installed in almost the entire house. The stuff has two problems. First, as advertised, it doesn't stain, but it's a bear to clean. I firmly believe that cementuous grout with frequent sealing is a lot easier to clean. And second, in lighter colors, the color uniformity leaves something to be desired, even if you take pains to mix the colored sand into the epoxy very, very vigorously and well.

The best product I've tried over the last few years (and I've tried a LOT of different cleaners) has been something I just started using called "Nano Scrub", made by AquaMix. If you're inclined, give it a try - maybe it will help. I like it better than anything else I've used. Good luck to you... I feel your pain!!
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