The Fundamentals of Color Grout

Making Your Surfaces Sparkle Like New Again

When trying to decide how to color your grout, your choices are to rip out your old grout and tile or restore your grout to an attractive uniform color using a grout colorant. Today’s grout colorants are easy to apply, can last for many years and best of all can make your bathroom look good with half the effort of re-grouting your whole lavatory.

Grout color, whether you are purchasing a dry mixture or wet pre-mixed grout will already have the color mixed in. These color grout fundamentals teach you that if you want a specialized color, in most cases, grout color can be applied to your tiling grout mixture depending upon the type of grout you used, urethane grout or cement based grout.

Changing the Tone of Cement Mortar Joints

When coloring your grout, you can also change your existing grout’s color after it has hardened by purchasing grout stain or some form of grout colorant.

If you are mixing a large amount of grout, to retain color grout consistency throughout your grout for both your floors and walls, mix all the bags of grout together that you purchased and store in a dry ready to use container.

Ensuring a Perfect Match

Most people assume that if a bag of grout has the same batch number that the grout color will match exactly, but this is not always the case, color grout fundamentals teach you that manufacturing inconsistencies can sometimes happen before the problem is corrected.

Just to be on the safe side a common best practice used by professional tillers is to mix all their bags of colored grout to retain consistent color throughout their tiling project. So remember to premix all your bags of colored grout together to avoid color fluctuations when tiling your bathroom.

Optimizing the Mixture

Be cautious about adding grout additives to your grout mixture for added strength or stain resistance because they can sometimes inadvertently change the intended color of your grout.

Premixed urethane grout is a fairly recent addition to the bathroom home improvement product market. The benefit of using urethane grout over cement based grout is that the urethane grout produces a stronger bond between its sand particles.

And because the urethane grout gets its pigmentation from a special coating that bonds the colored coating permanently to the grouts sand particles making the color of the grout fade and stain resistant, this feature will be a problem if you are trying to colorize urethane grout.

What to do When the Colorization has Worn out

This is in comparison to the pigments in traditional cement based grouts which incorporates powdered additives that colorize the cement particles which in turn coats the silica sand of the grout.

Needless to say, this can wear off and even fade with time. This phenomena can be seen in older grout floors and walls, and if you look close enough, you can actually see that some sand particles look lighter in color where the colorization has worn off.

Grout color can be changed after the grout has cured for at least thirty days or the allotted curing time designated by the manufacturer for the grout brand that you are using. And while the most popular colors for grout are grey and off-white, most homeowners forget about the other thirty or forty colors available by some manufacturers.

Another thing that you might want to consider is the lightness of your grout color, although pure white may seem to be a logical color, in reality, it produces too much contrast with most tiles and will often appear to be too bright.

Making Sure Your Crevices Blend in

A better choice would be a slightly off white grout color. Now the opposite can happen if your grout is too dark. When this occurs, the grout is seen as a sometimes visually impeding design element.

If your grout is going to be darker than your tile, then you should consider the distracting patterns it can create.

An additional consideration you should keep in mind is that you are more likely able to change the color of your grout from a light to a darker color than it is to change your grout from a dark to lighter color simply because it is easier to darken grout than it is to try and bleach out the pigments.

Clean Your Filthy Tiles

Mind you, this does not include cleaning grout, as there are numerous grout cleaning products that will readily clean the grime and dirt build-up from your old grouted tiles.

Before you stain your grout, you must first clean your ceramic tiles and grout using the appropriate tile and grout cleaners. Another important thing to consider is the type of tile that you have.

Seal Tile Prior to Applying Stain

If your bathroom tiles are terrazzo, natural stone or any raw clay variant, then you should seal your tiles prior to applying colorant because the grout stain may permanently stain your tile flooring

You can use a waterborne epoxy to colorize your grout, or you can use an oil based grout colorant. Some tillers have argued that oil-based grout colorants (stains) work better than water-based stains because the oil has a tendency to seep in deeper into the hardened cement based grout silica.

Joints Must be Cured

One thing to note is that before you apply the grout colorant, your old grout should be completely cured, cleaned and totally dry in order for the stain to be effective. Use a small flat, but firm bristled brush that is the same width as the tile seam.

This requires a steady hand, and you have to be careful to stay on the grout lines because tiles with less glaze on them have a tendency of absorbing the stain especially natural stones, though a very slight overlapping assures a good seal. With high gloss tiles, because they are less absorbent, it is easier to quickly wipe away the excess colorant.

About two applications of the grout stain should be sufficient to achieve the results you want.

Scrubbing off Excess Colorant for a Professional Finish

Once the grout colorant has dried based upon the manufactures specifications and there is still a little extra stain on your ceramic bathroom tiles, you can spray the floor lightly with water, wait a few minutes and then scrub the floor with a light-duty plastic scouring pad to remove the excess colorant.

As with applying the stain, you should work slowly and meticulously one section at a time. And if this fails, then you can use a new sharp razor blade to gently scrape the dried colorant off your tile.

A tiling best practice is to seal the grout with a sealant to keep the new grout color clean. The great thing about colorizing your old grout is that you don’t have to go through the hassle of having to re-grout your whole washroom.

As long as your old grout is not damaged, staining your grout can save you time and money yet at the same time it can revitalize your lavatory at a fraction of the cost on your next tile and grout restoration project.