Fixing Discolored Grout

I’m not a tile pro by any means, but I’ve installed tile in our various homes over the years at least 6 times now. So I considered myself, at the very least, somewhat experienced… However, our recent kitchen remodel (Finally, A Kitchen for the New Year) really had me stumped. My white grout turned yellow in places. Lots of research later, I’m still not really sure what went wrong. It was either too wet when I applied it or it didn’t dry evenly. 🤷‍♀️. I was left with this:

I know it’s a little hard to see… but this was freshly installed alabaster white grout and yet it looked like I spilled something down the wall that turned it yellow and dingy. Ugh. So after determining I didn’t want to screw up the rest of the grout work on the opposite wall, I went with a different brand of grout in light gray instead of white. This offered a bottle of matching grout color renew stuff (Polyblend Grout Renew) that I hoped would fix my yellow mistake.

This is NOT an easy or quick fix. This was painstakingly slow. Painting the grout lines with this fast drying grout stain using the smallest brush I had. You are supposed to wipe off any colorant that gets on your tile immediately. HA! If you wipe it off too fast or too hard, you’ll take it off the grout too. If you leave it 10 seconds, it’s dry and you’ll be scraping it off. A dry paper towel seams to stick and spread it into a bigger mess. A wet paper towel will take it off your grout… the “best” but worst way was to use my finger and clean my finger off on a wet paper towel after I’ve wiped off a 6” section or so. Even that is a mess and you might pull it off your grout line in the process. My fifteen feet of 18” tall backsplash took me 2.5hrs… Left side of this pic is “finished” with the gray colorant painted on, right is still original white:

As I got tired, I got sloppier… what I found out is that this product will scratch off a glazed tile pretty easily using a nickel. That won’t work if you have a porous/unfinished tile. I don’t know that I would recommend this job for a tile that might stain as it’s near impossible to not get it on the tile itself. As you can see here, this dried and didn’t fully wipe off, so I’m lightly scratching it off with a nickel. It comes off much the same as a scratch off lottery ticket. You don’t have to scratch hard, but it definitely won’t rub off with a damp rag.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it may need a second coat in places where you might have put it on a little thinner or wiped off more than you wanted when cleaning up. So you may be repeating this process… Sigh. But once it’s all on and dry, it seems to stay put. A little goes a LONG way. I didn’t even use 1/4 of a bottle. So I’ll keep it around for any future touch ups I might have. I’m very pleased with the final result. It matches the corresponding grout and I no longer have dirty, white grout!

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One Comment on “Fixing Discolored Grout

  1. Pingback: Finally, A Kitchen for the New Year – EdVenture Trekking

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