How To Darken And Re-Color Grout

Grout Re-Coloring Tips

By Troy Cantini


It is a common problem for the grout color to look much lighter than desired.   Using too much water in the grout is a common reason for the grout color to look too light or splotchy. Too much water in the grout can also cause the grout to look splotchy with different areas of dark and light colored grout throughout the grout lines. The color and look of the grout can ruin the look of the entire tile installation. Luckily there are ways to darken grout and make it have a more even looking appearance.

splotchy looking light colored grout

The first thing that you should do when you realize the grout color is not to your liking is to analyze the grout.  It is important to allow the grout to dry for at least a week to ensure that the grout has fully cured and the color of the grout has fully stabilized. In some cases there may be a grout haze on the surface of the grout that is causing the grout to look too light.

If a grout haze or an efflorescence film has formed on the surface of the grout You should try to clean the grout with water and a mild acidic tile and grout cleaner.  The acidic clean will react with the grout haze and allow it to be easily cleaned up and wiped away. You should then thoroughly rinse the grout and allow the grout to fully dry to asses the true color and condition of the grout.

It is important to not do things to darken the grout that could damage the tiles and also cause irreparable harm to the existing grout.  You should never try to seal the grout with an impregnating sealer until you are satisfied with the look and color of the grout. Clear impregnating sealers will initially darken the grout when they are applied but when they dry the color of the grout will be exactly the same as before you sealed the grout.

Enhancing sealers will sometimes work to darken the color of the grout.  Enhancing sealers are impregnating sealers designed to enhance the color of stone tiles. Enhancing sealers were never designed to darken or enhance the color of grout. You should always test an out of the way area first to see what type of results you can expect.  In some cases an enhancing sealer will give you satisfactory results for darkening grout. Enhancing sealer are also likely to darken the grout more in some areas than others. You will most likely end up with darker looking grout with uneven areas of darker and lighter colored grout.

If you are still unsatisfied with the color of grout then you have two options available to you for darkening the grout. The first most difficult option is to replace the existing grout. In some cases where the grout is also cracked or installed sloppily it may make sense to simply remove the grout and install a new darker colored grout. Also after you remove the grout you may consider installing an epoxy or urethane grout instead of a normal cement based grout. Epoxy and urethane grouts have the advantage of being much more truly and evenly colored. Another advantage of these synthetic grouts is that they never have to be sealed and they are much easier to clean and maintain than normal cement based grout.

darkening grout with a grout colorant

The easier, less messy way to darken the grout is to colorseal the grout with a grout colorant.  Colorsealing grout involves applying a topical colored sealant to the grout. The grout color will take on the color of the grout colorant and your grout will now have a much more even color than it originally had. A grout colorant will also seal the grout and protect it better than a normal impregnating clear sealer. In cases where the grout color looks too dark you can also use a grout colorant to lighten up the color of the grout.

If you see that the tiles and grout still look stained then an acidic cleaner can be used to remove the difficult to remove stains particularly in the grout lines.  You can pour an acidic tile cleaning solution directly on the tiles and grout and you should see a fizz effect as the acidic cleaner reacts with the grout. An aggressive scrub pad can then be used to scrub the tiles and grout lines to restore the grout lines to like new condition.

dark even looking grout after darkening

Colorsealing grout is a great way to darken the grout or change the grout color to whatever you want.  Grout that has been sealed with a grout colorant is a lot easier to clean than grout that is sealed with a normal impregnating sealer. Grout colorants cost more than a normal impregnating grout sealer but the benefits of the grout colorant will pay out over time. Never having to seal your grout again and having easy to clean and maintain grout will make a color sealer more economical and less work in the long run.

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