Why is My New Tile Grout Inconsistent in Color?

The general expectation of the homeowner is that the tile grout color they have chosen for their new tile installation will have a consistent color throughout the wall or floor. Unfortunately, this is not always so. Color variation is common and should be expected.

The risk of the greatest color inconsistencies are by relying on the hand mixing of the powder grout. But even using a pre-mixed grout does not guarantee consistency in color.  While the manufacturers promote the pre-mixed grout as having “color consistency” that simply is their way of stating that the color is in color coated quartz crystal beads suspended in a water based, clear acrylic. There is no guarantee that the color will be consistent once applied to the surface.

Bathroom floor tile. Bathroom wall tiles with grout Tile backsplash

Several factors that can alter tile grout color

  • The hand mixing is inconsistent.
  • The color from the same bucket of grout can look different if on a wall or a floor in the same area such as a shower.
  • The color can change based on the lighting/shadows.
  • The color will change when the surface is wet because different grouts have varying water absorption rates.
  • The color can vary on a surface depending on the various depths of the multiple joints created by the sub surface mortar/thin set.
  • The color will vary depending on the batch code of each pre-mixed bucket used.  There is no manufacturer’s guarantee that the exact color will match from batch to batch.
  • The grout is only water resistant and stain resistant and not waterproof and stain proof.  Sealing can reinforce the water resistant and stain resistant properties.

If you don’t like the color variation in your new grout, there are stain products that can be applied over the grout lines. One particular product by Mapei is called Grout Refresh. This is a penetrating stain painted over the grout.

But if you know that you want a consistent color before the grout installation, your better choice is epoxy grout. While this grout is more expensive and more difficult to install, it will deliver consistent color and is waterproof and stain proof and does not require a sealant.

We can help you choose the tile grout color and product that will work best for your project. We invite you to take a look at some our recent renovations!