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What is Going On with This Grout?

3 months ago
last modified: 3 months ago

We have a 1 year old house with lots of tile. No problems anywhere EXCEPT one of the showers. Both on the floor and some of the walls. I'm seeing 2 issues: (I am very 'tile ignorant' as you may tell from my questions...)

1. The gray grout selected seems to be coming up in places exposing a white grout beneath. In some places the gray grout is a very thin veneer that can flake up. That may actually be thinset where they pushed the tile in too deep? And they may have attempted to 'cover it up' with a thin veneer of matching gray grout?

2. In places the gray grout gets very DARK when exposed to water. Kinda like cement might. It then takes a long time (hours) to dry and remains dark while retaining moisture. Yet in other areas the gray grout stays light or only slightly darkens when wet and quickly dries. It's strange - as if in some places it is more porous and absorbs or retains water longer but not so in others. When it's dry it all looks pretty much the same. Also when it retains moisture like this it may be more prone to mildew...? Are there different kinds of grout or different ways to mix to make it more or less absorbant?

Anybody with some grouting experience can help explain what may have happened? And how best to fix?

Here's an image several hours after water exposure where you can see dark gray (still moist after hours) grout, and some light gray (this grout quickly dried out just like the tile surface). This can happen on some of the walls and the floor. It is NOT in places where water might 'pool' (there's good drainage).

You may also notice a few bits of white here and there - that's where the gray has flaked off showing white grout or thinset underneath.

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