Change Tile Grout Color
"Once my grout was dry and cured, I used a special oil-based grout stain I purchased from the tile company. Not all grout manufacturers offer this stain."
Change Tile Grout Color Checklist
- Deep clean grout first to expose original color
- Use Stain Sover oxygen bleach to clean
- Oil stains penetrate deep into grout
- Do a test near a wall or in a closet
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DEAR TIM: The grout on the wall and floor ceramic tile in the master bathroom of our new home was supposed to be the same color. The floor grout is much lighter than the walls.
The builder and tile company agree it is a manufacturing defect as the batch of dry grout was mixed wrong at the factory. The tile company wants to stain the floor grout to match.
What is the best way to stain tile grout? What could have been done to prevent this problem? Jennifer H., Virginia Beach, VA
DEAR JENNIFER: Years ago, I had the same thing happen to me. When I left the tile store I made sure the batch numbers on the grout bags were identical and even from the same pallet. I assumed that since the bags were next to one another on the pallet the contents had to be from the same giant mixing hopper at the factory.
Can Colored Grout Not Match One Another?
Yes, you can have colored grout batches that don't match.
Well, don't ask me what went wrong, but I ended up with two totally different colors once the grout dried. It was a huge problem.
Can Tile Grout Color Be Changed?
Grout colors can be changed successfully and permanently. I had to do it in my own home on my Entrance Hall slate floor.
When I built my home, the salesperson at the tile store sold me a super-duper grout additive that was supposed to make the grout stronger and more stain resistant.
Can Grout Additives Alter Grout Color?
Yes, grout additives can change and ruin colored grout. I suggest you don't use them.
The additive was a milky latex product that was mixed with the dry grout. I added it exactly as was told by the additive and grout manufacturers and the end result was a splotchy mottled deep gray grout instead of the jet black color I was supposed to get. It was a DISASTER!
I decided after this #Failure that I'd never again use a grout additive.
What Is the First Step of Changing Grout Color?
The first step is deep cleaning the tile and grout. There are two reasons:
- The dirt, oil, and grease need to be out of the way so the new stain penetrates into the grout.
- Clean and dry grout ensure you get an even finished color. If the grout is dirty in places, your finished stained grout WILL BE different shades!
What is the Best Tile Grout Cleaner?
I've used Stain Solver oxygen bleach for decades to deep clean floor and wall grout. It's a pure white powder you mix with hot tap water.
After you stir it for a couple of minutes, you just pour it on floor grout. It starts to bubble and fizz as the trillions of oxygen ions start to clean the grout.
I usually wait about fifteen minutes, then I use a stiff scrub brush to ensure all the dirt, oil, grease, etc. are taken off the grout.
To clean wall tile, I just put the Stain Solver solution in a simple spray bottle and spritz the grout. CLICK HERE to order Stain Solver now.
What is the Best Tile Grout Stain?
I feel the best tile grout stain is one that's oil-based. These tend to soak in deeper to the grout so the color is deeper and long-lasting.
You can use any oil-based stain to change the color of your grout. CLICK HERE to see common ones.
Once my grout was dry and cured, I used a special oil-based grout stain I purchased from the tile company. Not all grout manufacturers offer this stain. I wish they would.
Does Tile Grout Stain Look Like Wood Stain?
The stain looked just like a can of stain you might use on woodwork. It worked perfectly and the color of the grout is the jet black I wanted in the first place. Even after repeated floor cleanings, the color is as rich and deep as the day I put it down.
Why is Oil Stain Better?
Oil stains, in my opinion, work better than water-based ones because the oil solvents allow the pigments to penetrate deeper into the hard cement-based grout. Be sure your contractor gets an oil based grout if at all possible.
The neat thing about oil-based grout stains is they can be applied to grout of any age. You can stain grout thirty days or thirty years old with the same fantastic results. Remember, you get the BEST RESULTS when the grout is perfectly clean. Don't skip this step.
Do You Have a Contractor Checklist?
For the staining job to be a stunning success, you or your contractor need to follow a few simple steps:
- The grout must be completely clean and dry
- New grout should cure at least 30 days before staining
- Deep clean dirty grout using Stain Solver - it will not remove any of the grout's existing color
What is the Hardest Part of the Job?
The hardest part of the job is applying the stain. You must do it carefully with certain flooring materials. Tiles that have a high-gloss glaze are the easiest to stain.
If a little stain gets on the tile, it can usually be wiped off the tile with little effort. But tiles with little or no glaze and slate can be a nightmare to stain. You must slowly and carefully apply the stain to just the grout.
What are the Best Brushes to Apply the Stain?
I find that a stiff artist's brush with a square tip and 1/4-inch-wide bristles works best. You do not want a brush that has limp bristles. You need a stiff bristle brush that will give you excellent control.
Once the grout is dry, you may choose to seal it. It is not necessary, but it does help keep the grout clean. The sealers minimize the amount of liquid that can penetrate the grout.
How Can You Avoid Mismatched Grout Color?
You can avoid mismatched grout colors by blending all of the bags of grout together before you add any water to a small batch of the powder.
After my nightmare years ago, I always bought one extra bag of colored grout. Before I started grouting, I took all of the bags and emptied them into a clean wheelbarrow.
I blended the dry powdered grouts together until they were well mixed. The grout was then transferred to clean dry plastic buckets with tight-fitting lids. This method produces grout that is absolutely uniform in color when it dries.
Does the Grout Stain Fade?
Grout stains really work and work well. A high-quality stain will not fade.
For some reason, they are not talked about very much. All too often people re-grout to get rid of ugly grout when many times a simple stain will rejuvenate a ceramic tile job.
The best part is that colored grouts can enhance colored ceramic tile. Frequently tile setters or architects specify white grout when a colored grout actually makes the colored tile look better.
Can Dark Grout Be Stained a Lighter Color?
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to make a dark grout appear lighter. Keep in mind that grout stains are not paints.
In fact, you would never want to apply a paint to grout as they are films and will peel over time. Grout stains penetrate into the grout and carry the color pigments with them. Some stay at the surface so you can see the new color. But never will enough light pigments stay at the surface to mask a dark colored grout.
Are Some Grout Stains Just Paint?
There are grout stain products out that are just paint.
A stain is a thin liquid much like water that soaks into the grout. Paint is thicker like gravy and forms a film on top of the grout.
These messy paints will look horrible. What's more, if it is a paint, it will peel.
Always do a TEST to see if it's a penetrating stain or a paint-like film that sits on the surface of the grout.