What would cause colored grout to fade to white in a tile shower?

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We had a new walk in shower installed about 10 months ago. We noticed the grout on the walls and floor around the shower were fading. The tile is brown swirl with medium brown grout. Some of the grout is almost white now. We have a softener and we have not used any chemicals on the shower at all. What is happening and what can we do about it?

  12 answers
    • Helen Newcomb Helen Newcomb on Nov 07, 2017
      Thanks for the article. Was very informative. Makes me worry that it was not installed properly and that there will be more issues down the road....
  • Crystal Crystal on Nov 07, 2017
    Does your tile cleaner have bleach in it? Is so, this may be the cause.
  • Dfm Dfm on Nov 07, 2017
    limes scale is white. If you are using a product with bleach or peroxide to clean it you may have bleached it out. There are colored grout sealants you can use to put color back on the grout.
    • Helen Newcomb Helen Newcomb on Nov 07, 2017
      Have a water softener and don't think that is the problem. Have never used any cleansers or bleach so that is not the culprit. I have tile floors with colored grout and mop them all the time and never had the grout fade. Wonder if the grout was not sealed properly and the water has leeched the color out?
  • Ebbjdl Ebbjdl on Nov 07, 2017
    How long is your material guaranteed for? Call the installer, or the company he works for. The tile is made by some company, which should stand behind their product.
  • Maggie Maggie on Nov 07, 2017
    I would say the water. Maybe the grout wasn’t sealed? Would clean well with CLR then grout paint which usually includes a good sealer. Then spray seal grout according to directions - I think every 6-12 months.
    • Helen Newcomb Helen Newcomb on Nov 07, 2017
      I agree that either the grout was not mixed correctly and/or not sealed properly. This concerns me about what it will mean down the road.....
  • Helen Newcomb Helen Newcomb on Nov 07, 2017
    Contacted the company that installed the tile/grout....they are going to come "recolor" the grout.......any suggestions on how to make it last this time?
  • Crystal Crystal on Nov 07, 2017
    Could be a hard water calcium build up
    • Helen Newcomb Helen Newcomb on Nov 07, 2017
      Thanks for responding. Though I do have hard water, I also have a softener and wipe the shower down after use. I never had buildup in my old shower and don't think that is why the grout is turning white. The tile has no discoloration, just the grout.
  • Ginny Ginny on Nov 07, 2017
    Hard water; bleach; cleanser you are using. Go back to tile distributor or installer for compensation.
  • Helen Newcomb Helen Newcomb on Nov 07, 2017
    The installer is going to recolor/paint the grout. Just concerned that an underlying problem is not being addressed.
  • Helen Newcomb Helen Newcomb on Nov 08, 2017
    Have a water softener. Don't use cleansers on it that have bleach or otherwise. Called the company that installed. They are going to come and recolor and seal the tile. Never had this happen with other tile in the home.
  • Helen Newcomb Helen Newcomb on Nov 11, 2017
    Wasn't the tile...it was the grout. Tile never changed color. The company has since recolored the grout and resealed the area. Fingers crossed this lasts....
  • RD RD on Nov 12, 2020

    Helen, I am having the exact same issue with my new grout in the shower. It's supposed to be almost white grout but one section has faded out almost completely to a gray color. It's been several months since initial install and it seemed to discolor overnight. It is in an area of the shower where water tends to pool so I'm thinking it's got to be related to the water. Did you ever figure out what was wrong/did the recoloring work? Thanks!