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Unread 04-18-2010, 09:21 AM   #1
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Rapid white pebbles turned brown, yellow ...

Hi, I just joined this forum and wished I had known of it before. I am German, so please excuse if I make mistakes.

I am still in shock about what happened to my rapid white pebbles after grouting. They became brown, yellow and grey and I wanted to keep them white. Before putting them on the wall I had given my installer the instructions of the pebble company. It said that you have to seal the pebbles first with a non-enhancing sealer in order to keep the natural light color. I saw that they had used some sealer but I don't know if it was enough. When he put on the grout (I didn't know that you had to use Spectralock and obviously didn't my so called professional know it all tile guy), the pebbles picked up all those colours. Unfortunately I wasn't there when he grouted and only saw the results the day after. It looks horrible. I was going for a spa like feeling ... light, bright, beachy ... with adding light blue/green glass tile and accessories. Further in the corners they used regular grout and I know from Germany that this doesn't last long.

The tile guys argue that this is what the tile looks like after grouting. Period. What was supposed to be a nice light bath turned out to be rustic and it doesn't fit the beachy guestroom feeling that I was going for at all.

Is there any way to make the pebbles white again without painting them ? Or do I have to take everything out ? It's on the shower wall and the shower pan.

I look forward to your ideas and thank you a lot !

Sunny greetings from Florida !
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Unread 04-18-2010, 09:26 AM   #2
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It would help to know exactly what pebbles were installed and what other products were used. What kind of grout? (sanded, non-sanded, manufacturer, color etc) What kind of sealer? Have any pics of the pebbles before install and after?

Kyle's Tile LLC
Ocean View, Delaware

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Unread 04-18-2010, 09:34 AM   #3
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Hi Boca, Welcome!

Being from Germany, I'm sure you can expect craftsmanship that you didn't receive.

Where did you purchase the pebbles from? Did they have a display with them grouted?

I agree with Justin. A photo and additional info should be able to help us point you in the correct direction.
John Koessler

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Unread 04-30-2010, 08:38 AM   #4
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Urgent question about white pebbles

Hi everybody,

I have to make a quick decision and would appreciate any help.

A few weeks ago I had bought white rapid pebbles and was told that they would stay in that natural light color if they were sealed before grouting. Well, the tile guy sealed them without enhancer (I don't know which product he used), but they turned brown, grey, yellow and greenish after he put the grout on.

Since this rustic finish does not match my beachy theme at all, I want to take them out and do it over. But I would need to know what you have to do and use to keep them in the original light (unenhanced) color. Especially I would need product information for the sealer and the grout.

Thank you so much for your support !

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Unread 04-30-2010, 12:35 PM   #5
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Usually a non enhancing product keeps things the way they look from the tile shop. I would make certain he used the correct product first. Also, it is always best to do a sample piece before committing to the whole thing.

I have never had the problem you have, especially on pebbles.
Joe Lenner

Infinite Ceramic & Stone
NTCA Pennsylvania State Rep
CTEF Certified Installer #769
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Unread 04-30-2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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Joe is right, more then likely he used an enhancer. and always test a sample peice.

taking em out is gonna be a bear(glad it is not me). as well as trying to strip that sealer off if you go that route.

Find out what he used first and formost.
Robert Schlieve
Done Right Tile
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Unread 04-30-2010, 01:30 PM   #7
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yes I agree if they were sealed correctly the color should not have changed. Contact where you bought them and talk to the manufacturer and ask them these questions since they do sell the product and are responsible to guide you in the right direction, or the distributor where you bought them.

Jon Donmoyer

JD Tile

CTEF Certified Installer #825

Custom Tile Installation in Hershey & surrounding areas

Serving Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks, Chester, & Montgomery Counties PA
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Unread 04-30-2010, 02:40 PM   #8
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Welcome, boca561. Would you please enter a first name in your permanent signature line for us to use?

We consider all the questions here to be "urgent" and you'll find that they're usually better and more quickly answered if you keep them all in one project thread so our folks can see the history and what's been previously asked and answered. To that end I've combined your new thread with your previous one on this issue.

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Unread 04-30-2010, 08:58 PM   #9
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As i see it it could be one of two things.

Either he used an enhancing sealer and then grouted,which will be impossible to remove.

Or,he used a crappy cheap sealer and the stone absorbed grout pigment,and or has iron oxide.First if it's just pigment you may be able to acid rinse(if they can be acid washed without harm)and remove a lot of the pigment but not all i don't think.Or some of the damage is iron oxide which also cannot be removed,and will only get worse if city water with chlorine is used.

Soo,you have 3 choices.
Try acid washing on a small spot and see what happens.
Leave it as is and hope some of it wears off over time.
Tear it all out and start over with a pro.

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Unread 05-01-2010, 10:48 AM   #10
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Hi everybody ! Sorry for not getting back earlier. On top of all the issues I am facing with the remodel my computer was down.

Many thanks for your answers !

I tried to acid wash the pebbles last week but it did not change anything. I guess I won't get around starting from scratch. The tile guy (who was supposed to be a pro, working with many contractors ...) also used too much grout so that you partially don't see the pebbles anymore. Well, even if I could go along with the color of the pebbles, that kills the look as well. And he used it in the corners as well, which might cause cracks etc. In Germany we don't use grout in the corners, we use silicone. What would be the correct thing to do here ?

He did use a non enhancing sealer (don't know the brand) once before he applied the grout-and the stone did not change in color. I had given him the instructions from the internet store I bought the material (natural stone outlet, actually very good products) and gave him a copy of a picture from Island Stone as a reference (I bet he didn't read them), The change in color only happened when he applied the grout. Since I wasn't present at that time, I didn't see what he did but I'm afraid that he didn't take off the grout of the pebbles.

Before I start all over again, could you please recommend all the products that we will need to use so that I can give clear instructions to the new tile company. Is there a special grout that keeps everything white and light as well (prod, color).

On top of that, they screwed up another bathroom too
I try to solve that problem as well. The main issues here are related to a 2x2 mosaic on the shower floor where they didn't get the pitch right and the water will be standing. The plumber already warned me about possibly having to redo the shower pan. If they manage to take out the tile without damaging the "filling material" (I don't know the right term) they put it, can it be retiled if smoothened out and pitched properly or can I expect more problems ? What a mess ... and a very costly experience.

Anyway, I highly appreciate your help. My nerves are sort of on the verge.

Many many thanks
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Unread 05-01-2010, 01:09 PM   #11
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Yes, he should have used a caulk in the corners.I must tell you if he used an enhancing sealer it will definitely bring out the colors,and is impossible to remove,unless you knew the brand and could talk to the manufacturer.

The stones should be sealed with an impregnating sealer before grouting,maybe Miracle 511,or Aquamix,or Dupont.Any cement grout will do,or use a high end grout like Tec Accucolor,but make sure the tile guy knows what he's doing and watch him.Look in our Liberry for instructions and proper shower building,and keep reading here...sorry

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Unread 05-01-2010, 03:21 PM   #12
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Rapid white pebbles turned brown, yellow ...

Many thanks Dave !

Great weekend
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