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Old 09-02-2009, 08:23 PM   #1
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botched grout/tile job


I had a large room recently tiled. The grout came out 2-toned and a completely different color from the grout color sample. The tile people dug the grout out and replaced it. Once again, it came out 2-toned (it was a dry mix). The grout company representatives are coming out to see it because the tile people are putting a claim against them. The grout company wants to do a colorant on top. I feel this in unacceptable. That is something you do on old grubby tile, not a brand new $6k job! I want to have the grout dug out for a 2nd time, and replaced with a pre-mixed grout. Problem is, when tile people dug out grout the 1st time, they chipped and scratched lots of tiles in the process, which they had to replace (after I discovered them). They did not dig out the grout flush to the tile edge, so I ended up with many tiles having a striped edge with a different color grout. I imagine this very well may happen again. Is it unrealistic to expect an excellent to near-perfect grouting job against the tiles when grout is being replaced for the 3rd time?

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Old 09-03-2009, 05:36 PM   #2
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botched grout/tile job


No replies, probably because you are a complainer that does not of what you speak. Sorry for offending, but.......... I have used dry mix grouts for a long time, 24 yrs in business, and even had to fix some grout, but it always came out the same. We don't have any idea what the installer did or did not do, we only have your grumbling as a point of ciew. Trust me, you do not want premixed grout!! There are dyes that work very well, which is what I assume they were talking about.

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Old 09-03-2009, 08:44 PM   #3
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botched grout/tile job


hello1,

You really don't want anyone to use any of the premixed grouts. There are many horror stories about most of that stuff. Standard everyday Portland cement grouts have been around for decades and have served the industry well if installed properly.

Here's some things to look for.

(You don't mention how much tile you are talking about and the quantity would be good to know.)

1. ALL grout manufacturers recommend that the installer dry-mix the entire container of grout powder before adding any water. This will eliminate any settling that may have occurred during transit and storage. In the event more than one container of grout is necessary then the contents of all the containers are to be interspersed while in their dry form before mixing with water. If this is not done it would be considered "installer error".

2. Mixing the grout too thin (using too much water) will cause grout to mottle and dry in various shades. The thinner the grout the easier it is for the installer to install but the quality of the grout suffers. All grouts come with powder-to-water-mixing-ratio instructions. Unfortunately not all installers know that much about installing grout. If this is done it would be considered "installer error".

3. Any Portland grout can be ruined if too much water is used on the surface of the grout during the cleaning process. The color pigments can be washed away. Grout is to be cleaned with a clean damp sponge and never flooded with water during clean up. If this (flooding) is done it would be considered "installer error".

4. If the thinset used to install the tiles is allowed to purge upward between the tiles in some areas this can cause the grout to dry in various shades. The thinset will absorb the moisture quickly where it is present and cause the grout to cure too rapidly. But other areas (where thinset is not so present) the grout will cure normally and slower and a color change is possible. If this is done it would be considered "installer error".

5. Grouts can go bad. They can destabilize and "go off" in the bag without any hardening or indication there is a problem. Grouts have a shelf life. If old out of date grout was used this is considered installer error. The freshness of all grouts is easily obtainable and determining the suitability for use is the responsibility of the installer.

This isn't to say that a fresh product couldn't be bad but the truth is...it is very rare.

6. If grouts are not installed at the same time during the same atmospheric conditions color variations can occur. The manner in which the grout is installed is the responsibility of the installer.

As far as expecting perfection I would say if you aren't being totally anal and in fact have a problem then you should be entitled to better than what you have received at this point. However, you are dealing with an imperfect product by its very nature being installed by imperfect craftsmen who are only human. I wouldn't expect perfection but I am not excusing what has taken place based on YOUR report.

Lastly...the remnants of the old grout along the tile edges is inexcusable and just plain lazy on the part of the guys that removed the grout. All signs of a previous grout can be removed, and without damaging any tile.

I would be surprised if the store owner is able to shove the grout costs down the throat of the manufacturer in this case. Unless they know of problems with that particular run of product or unless they highly value the store owners business.

OK, that's enough for now. This should give you some knowledge of what you could be dealing with. Good luck.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:26 PM   #4
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I forgot to mention:
There is no way you should should settle for a grout colorant-fix. Paint is for walls. If you wanted a paint job you would have ordered one to begin with.

Let'em do it until they get it right.
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:35 PM   #5
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Hi Bill,
I have had the room dug out re-grouted once already. Even the tile store owner is perplexed with the 2-tone as well. The room is 11X14, plus a hallway, bath, and laundry. I have had lots of tile work in my home and this is the 1st time EVER that the grout hasn't looked uniform.
Why do you say not to go with a pre-mix? I was hoping that this would eliminate the color variation of the dry TEC grout. The finished TEC
product dried white and light gray. The grout tray sample, light buff, is suppose to be a taupe/light brown color. Even my husband is displeased with the outcome, and he is NOT a perfectionist at all! The grout looks "dirty". I feel that the colorant is a great option for correcting an old tile/grout job, but not for covering a new 6K "botched" grout job. It will, however, be very disruptive to have all the grout dug out a 2nd time!
Thanks for letting me know that it is attainable to dig out the grout to eliminate "2-tone" striping on the edge of the tiles.
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:15 PM   #6
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botched grout/tile job


Quote:
Hi Bill
It's "Bud".....Hi Bud!

Most of the pre-mixed grouts have proven to be problematic at best. Do a search and read the horror stories of people using pre-mixed grouts.

If you insist on using pre-mixed insist on the Star Quartz product. I doubt the store owner will spend the money but you may want to pony up the difference yourself.


Quote:
Even the tile store owner is perplexed with the 2-tone as well.
NONSENSE!!! If he owns a tile store he has seen this before. Many times. Don't let him pass off his "surprise" as if this never happens. It happens all the time. He just doesn't want to admit his people screwed up twice. This is installer error and nothing else. Store owners are always surprised when something goes wrong but the truth is stuff happens all the time and they are all prepared to deal with it.
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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Hi Bill,
Thanks for recommending Star Quartz. As it stands, this is the brand that had the color that I originally was drawn too! Did not go with it because of the additional expense of an already expensive job, but also because the tile store owner said they hadn't used it before (even though they sell it, strange); and that customers go with the TEC product and that is does a good job. I did not realize that Star Quartz was a pre-mix. Didn't even know that pre-mixes exsisted. (All my past tile jobs were with mixed grouts.)
The tile owner is willing to put the Star Quartz in. I will have confidence with this product now. Thanks again.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
It's "Bud".....Hi Bud!

Most of the pre-mixed grouts have proven to be problematic at best. Do a search and read the horror stories of people using pre-mixed grouts.

If you insist on using pre-mixed insist on the Star Quartz product. I doubt the store owner will spend the money but you may want to pony up the difference yourself.



NONSENSE!!! If he owns a tile store he has seen this before. Many times. Don't let him pass off his "surprise" as if this never happens. It happens all the time. He just doesn't want to admit his people screwed up twice. This is installer error and nothing else. Store owners are always surprised when something goes wrong but the truth is stuff happens all the time and they are all prepared to deal with it.
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:12 PM   #8
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botched grout/tile job


Sorry to have called you Bill twice. You're Bud, the nice guy! No confusion there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
hello1,

You really don't want anyone to use any of the premixed grouts. There are many horror stories about most of that stuff. Standard everyday Portland cement grouts have been around for decades and have served the industry well if installed properly.

Here's some things to look for.

(You don't mention how much tile you are talking about and the quantity would be good to know.)

1. ALL grout manufacturers recommend that the installer dry-mix the entire container of grout powder before adding any water. This will eliminate any settling that may have occurred during transit and storage. In the event more than one container of grout is necessary then the contents of all the containers are to be interspersed while in their dry form before mixing with water. If this is not done it would be considered "installer error".

2. Mixing the grout too thin (using too much water) will cause grout to mottle and dry in various shades. The thinner the grout the easier it is for the installer to install but the quality of the grout suffers. All grouts come with powder-to-water-mixing-ratio instructions. Unfortunately not all installers know that much about installing grout. If this is done it would be considered "installer error".

3. Any Portland grout can be ruined if too much water is used on the surface of the grout during the cleaning process. The color pigments can be washed away. Grout is to be cleaned with a clean damp sponge and never flooded with water during clean up. If this (flooding) is done it would be considered "installer error".

4. If the thinset used to install the tiles is allowed to purge upward between the tiles in some areas this can cause the grout to dry in various shades. The thinset will absorb the moisture quickly where it is present and cause the grout to cure too rapidly. But other areas (where thinset is not so present) the grout will cure normally and slower and a color change is possible. If this is done it would be considered "installer error".

5. Grouts can go bad. They can destabilize and "go off" in the bag without any hardening or indication there is a problem. Grouts have a shelf life. If old out of date grout was used this is considered installer error. The freshness of all grouts is easily obtainable and determining the suitability for use is the responsibility of the installer.

This isn't to say that a fresh product couldn't be bad but the truth is...it is very rare.

6. If grouts are not installed at the same time during the same atmospheric conditions color variations can occur. The manner in which the grout is installed is the responsibility of the installer.

As far as expecting perfection I would say if you aren't being totally anal and in fact have a problem then you should be entitled to better than what you have received at this point. However, you are dealing with an imperfect product by its very nature being installed by imperfect craftsmen who are only human. I wouldn't expect perfection but I am not excusing what has taken place based on YOUR report.

Lastly...the remnants of the old grout along the tile edges is inexcusable and just plain lazy on the part of the guys that removed the grout. All signs of a previous grout can be removed, and without damaging any tile.

I would be surprised if the store owner is able to shove the grout costs down the throat of the manufacturer in this case. Unless they know of problems with that particular run of product or unless they highly value the store owners business.

OK, that's enough for now. This should give you some knowledge of what you could be dealing with. Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
You're Bud, the nice guy! No confusion there!
There are people here that would argue with you.




OK.......

Bill it is!
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:45 AM   #10
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Hi Bud,
I have since found a reputable tile store that is willing to put epoxy grout down on my botched grout job. The original hire will remove the grout. He lies my new dilemma: the new tile guy (plus the 2 grout guys that came out from tEC) all said that because almost all the tiles are of different heights to one another (some are off as much as 1/8" high) that the epoxy grout won't look that great because of the tile height variation. He told me that it will be difficult to hide some of the tile edges and also not have the epoxy feather down on the low tiles. The tile corner points on the high tiles are quite sharp (unfortunately this tile does not have rounded corners) so you can feel these sharps points and high ridges when you walk across the floor. You can easily see the tile height variation buy just looking at the floor ( I should mention that these are machine made tiles, verses handmade, so they are consistent in size)! The original guys did not clean the tile surfaces as well the 2nd time they grouted, and there is grout haze over ever tile and in every nook and cranny on the tile surface, so the floor needs to be acid washed as well.
I'm wondering what recourse I have as a consumer. The original store owner is willing to remove the grout and I will have the new guy come in with the epoxy. But quite frankly, the floor should be relayed. There is no "spot fix" solution unfortunately. We paid for half of the job upfront ($3K). Even if the owner is willing to lift all the tiles and Detra and redo the job, I won't have any confidence that they will lay it flat the next time (the couldn't get the grout right the 2nd time). I could have them do a small area to demonstrate that they can lay a flat floor but it will be the same installer. I supposedly got their "best" installer and have since found out that they only have this 1 main guy.
What I really would like to have happen is to have them rip it out and return our $3K. My husband said that this will never happen and not to even say this to the owner. He said they may not take the grout out a 2nd time if I ask for this. I'm sure we would win in a small claims court, but we don't want to delay this job forever either.
Any recommendations/ideas for me? Walking away from $3K is not one of our options unfortunately.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:48 PM   #11
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I love when you post Bud... I learned a lot about grout from this thread... just before I start my project

Yeah, I think the store owner is BS'ing you... he knows exactly what went wrong... installation! He will try to pass it off to the manufacturer.. and if that doesn't work, he'll blame the moon and the stars.. but it's really the fault of the installers.

hold your ground... and if they destroy too many tiles, demand a complete redo

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