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Teebadoe 02-21-2010 08:09 PM

Shower grout discoloration
What could be causing grout discoloration in our shower?

Approximately 6 months ago we remodeled our bathroom and installed a tile shower with a glass enclosure. We noticed from the beginning that the grout was a bit uneven in color. This didn't bother us too much. We used linen colored (light tan) Custom sanded grout. After a few weeks use the shower floor began to discolor. It started in the corner that gets the most direct flow of water and, after another week or so, spread over 3/4 of the shower floor. It began to "wick" up the side (in the corner where it began). We quit using the shower for approx 2 months. During this period I tried drying it out with a space heater/fan for about 3 days. There was only minimal change. Our tile guy has tried the acid wash and a couple other things to see if it would clean up. The floor lightened but remained splotchy. He resealed it inside and outside of the enclosure and we began using it again to see further developments.

We've noticed recently that the floor and sides are getting darker again. There are areas on the outside of the shower pan (outside of the enclosure) that are also dark. The walls that get some water darken and lighten, as they dry but still remain splotchy. Additionally, it is darkening in areas that do not even get wet other than by steam. At the top row of tile the grout on the wall (84” high) is discoloring.

Some general information, the shower is not heavily used – approximately 6-8 times per week. We dry off inside the shower so there is very little water outside of the enclosure. We have a bathroom fan, window and very high ceiling which allows for very good ventilation. It is 6"x6" ceramic tile (floor is 2"x2") with 1/8" grout.

My contractor and tile guy met with me a few days ago and we are still stumped. We have a great general contractor and our tile guy is an experienced installer. We've discussed the materials used, the weep holes, the slope, etc. Both are willing to fix it but we are unclear as to what the problem actually is. The next step is to remove a few floor tiles, replace them with new tiles and try epoxy grout. The shower will be used for a while to see if that section discolors.

If the replaced grout area does not discolor the plan is to remove and replace all the floor tiles. (Shower is approx 4’ x 3’ x 84” high.) Remove the grout on the walls. Replace the current grout with epoxy grout. Hopefully, the shower enclosure will not have to be disturbed.

We would very much like to hear your suggestions and ideas regarding what is causing the discoloration.

Mop in Hand 02-22-2010 11:09 AM

Good info on grout sealers -

youcan 11-03-2010 07:07 PM

Same problem

We had our bathroom remade last month and only started using the shower a week ago and are running in the same problem of water stains appearing in odd spots on the grout. The shower has been sealed twice and we believe quality work was done. However, yesterday after I took the shower I noticed the discoloration in the middle of shower wall and at the corner of the basin. Today the shower was not used and the discoloraion did not disappear. The contractor is supposed to pass by next week, in the meantime we plan not to use the shower to see if discoloration will go away with time.

I was wondering if you can update us on your status since it has been some time since you posted the original post and if the issue was resolved.

We are getting very worried because we are just done renovating and hope that this is issue can go away with just another layer of sealant or some minor maintenance work.

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