Bad grout job or cheap tile?
Vicky Chrisner
October 23, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I found porcelain floor tiles I love. They are a darkish color - multiple tones of brown, with a brown grout. Imagine my delight when I realized they were cheaper than most of the tiles we considered! Happy, happy, joy, joy. They were installed. They looked great. My contractor covered up the floor to protect it. Work continued - drywall, cabinetry, etc. The covering was removed Friday. Work continued - lights just went in on Monday. The next evening, I am looking at the floor and I notice that there is a teeny white line on the edge of the tile above the grout. I guess the grout settled? Or maybe this was always there and without lighting in the kitchen I couldn't see it well. But it's there. On every single tile. Brown tile, white edge, brown grout.

Do we think this could be because the grout line is too compact? Or did I just get too cheap of a tile?
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Christina
Can you post a photo?
October 23, 2013 at 4:03PM   
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Vicky Chrisner
Not exactly easy to photograph, but here ya go.
October 23, 2013 at 4:09PM   
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Vicky Chrisner
Another pic
October 23, 2013 at 4:10PM   
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atrice
Tiles...the cheap tiles have basically printed layer on top, you can see edge due to color not going through the tile. Luckily on the floor no one will notice.
October 23, 2013 at 4:16PM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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yoboseiyo
it looks like a combo of cheap tiles and the grout settling.
October 23, 2013 at 4:25PM      Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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PRO
Creative Ceramic & Marble
I agree. I'll be the first one to call foul if the installer screws up. But this is the tile, not the installer.
October 23, 2013 at 4:26PM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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incubus_of_habit
A thought...your tile is brown, so has a bit of a wood tone going on. They make what are essential large crayons that are used to fill holes and scratches in stained wood. They come in a wide variety of shade of brown. Might be worth investigating to see if that would be a cheap way to conceal the white.
October 23, 2013 at 4:30PM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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Vicky Chrisner
yeah... that's what I figured. Note to self: Pay attention to this! The only time I have ever had c-tile installed, either the tile or the grout was white, so this issue has never surfaced for me before. incubus_of_habit ~ You may be on to something. I am thinking that the touch up "crayon" won't stand up to the cleaning and abuse a kitchen floor will take, but I was seriously wondering about those wood stain touch up pens. It would surely be something that would need to be redone, but maybe it would last for a several months? I am going to try it. Thanks everyone!
October 23, 2013 at 4:45PM   
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yoboseiyo
i don't think that the stain pens would hold up either, but it's worth a try.
if you can find grout colorant in the same color as your grout, that would work better.
it's basically grout stain, but it sticks to tile pretty well.
October 24, 2013 at 5:14AM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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PRO
Creative Ceramic & Marble
They probably won't. But it'll wear off unevenly, matching the mottled appearance of the face of the tile, so that's a GOOD thing. When the edges first get done, it'll be similar to the same condition that exists now, only in the other direction, shade wise.
October 24, 2013 at 6:41AM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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PRO
Someone's in the Kitchen, Inc.
Hi Vicky - Sorry that this aspect of your finished job bothers you. I don't find it bothersome, myself. The grouting work looks just as it should - no fault of the installer here.

Your tile is glazed, with a slightly eased edge (often called a cushion edge, although not soft, of course). This edge helps the tile joints look better in situations where adjacent tiles are not perfectly flat (...as no floor is perfectly flat).

The darker color pattern overlay on your tile ends just as the "cushion" starts - typical . But the base color follows the cushion down over the edge, as does the glaze. It is intended to resist stains, etc., of course - so trying to color it in a way that will stay is, I'm afraid, futile.

Over time, your brown grout likely will grey-up a bit from use - and your cushion edge will tend to blend a bit more visually. And I expect that with your initial close flooring inspection over, other beautiful aspects of your new room will hold your attention,

Hope you enjoy your room! Mark
October 24, 2013 at 6:59AM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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Vicky Chrisner
Great feedback, all. I asked my husband about it and he said he didn't have any idea what I was talking about. HA! For now, I think I will just let it go. I never considered grout colorant, if it continues to bug me I will experiment with a few things - in the pantry areas - and see how things work out. Thank you all very much.
October 24, 2013 at 7:43AM   
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tileboyz84
Tile is sizing bad n looks very cheap made no matter the purchase price
October 28, 2013 at 6:09PM   
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Marilyn Wilkie
I think it looks ok in the pictures. Think of it as a design element??
October 28, 2013 at 6:14PM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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sunnydrew
You are only sensitive to it because it is new. After a while you won't even notice. If the grout is not sealed it will get darker over time ( from dirt, water etc,) so the white edges will likely be more prominent, or maybe they won't even show anymore.
October 28, 2013 at 6:43PM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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Vicky Chrisner
tileboyz84 - what do you mean it is sizing bad? When you say it looks cheap, besides the white edges, why do you say that?
October 28, 2013 at 7:27PM   
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PRO
Linda
If you don't tell any of your visitors about your concern, they will never notice it. Heck, even you won't see it after it has been in for some time. Stop looking down and start looking at your new cabinetry and lights...you'll be too busy to be bothered by that line
October 28, 2013 at 7:40PM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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J Petempich
For some reason I have seen this on other and maybe most stone printed porcelean tiles but never on ceramic tiles. All porcelean tiles on the edges look different to me and that is how I know ceramic from porcelean. To me it is just the look of a porcelean tile and something that you accept. You have the better shine and a harder tile. Some ceramic tiles I can see a computer print (dot matrix) on them from about 8" away. Tiles aren't meant to be viewed close up.
October 28, 2013 at 7:44PM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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Vicky Chrisner
Petempich - interesting. Hmm... I don't have a lot of experience with this... I mean, I have seen a lot of tile before, but the only tile I have ever had put in before was white or had white grout... which means something like this wouldn't be noticed. Now I will be looking for it! I do know that you can get tiles that are colored all the way through. When I asked at the tile shop why someone would care about that they just shrugged. They should have explained. I don't know if they didn't know or just didn't bother trying to explain. I will from now on!
October 29, 2013 at 6:40AM   
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PRO
Creative Ceramic & Marble
Vicky-- with respect to sizing-- he's talking about the different sizes of the tile, causing different sized grout joints. That's to be expected to some degree. Most 12x12 tiles (or bigger) will vary as much as a 1/16", and still stay within the parameters of standard grade tile spec. It's the whole reason why it's recommended not to use tight joints with most tiles-- so you have room in the grout joints to adjust for it.
October 29, 2013 at 12:00PM        Thanked by Vicky Chrisner
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Vicky Chrisner
Gotcha. Thanks for clarifying. The grout lines are pretty consistent. I am not going to say completely 1000% perfect, but I wouldn't expect anything that is pieced together by humans to be "perfect". The border - which you can't see in these pics - is small flat stones, each applied by hand - purposefully without pattern, and they certainly have different sized grout lines. It's really pretty.
October 29, 2013 at 12:06PM     
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J Petempich
If you are wondering about your choice of grout, the first time someone spills grape juice or wine on the floors, you will be glad you have a color. Even if it is sealed it still gets in the grit of the grout.

As for the statement of color going all the way through the tile. Turn over any tile of porcelain or ceramic and you will see a solid color on the tile's back, white, teracotta, grey etc. Only real stone will have color grains and crystals all the way through. If a ceramic cup or porcelain plate is broken, it is white inside just like a tile. Maybe a tile that had a brown back would have hidden the coloring on the side and edges of the tile but someone who put white grout with the tiles would be complaining about it right now. I really don't think most people notice this. You have the lighter color in the stone pattern. For some reason I see the edges of porcelain tile and stone more than on ceramic. I am not sure why but it is just the way they are made. @Creative Ceramic & Marble please read what I added and see if you agree.
October 29, 2013 at 2:53PM     
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PRO
Creative Ceramic & Marble
Exactly right. ^
October 29, 2013 at 2:55PM   
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