When Black is Not Black

“The floor timeline is looking like they should be done by Friday, but honestly I’m hoping they can be done before that!”

Hahahahhahaha. Hahaha. Hahaha. Hah.

So. That did not happen. It was in incredibly stressful week of decision making, monitoring, second guessing my decisions, mistakes, regrets and triumphs (the minority).

First, the floor is not done. The tile is down in all the rooms (laundry, kitchen, back foyer, dining room), but grout still needs to happen in the back foyer and dining room.

Dining Room

What happened with the grout? Well, there was some miscommunication about whether the grout lines should be 1/8″ or 1/16″. When they started laying the tile they did 1/8″ which I thought looked fine. But when John got home he was like “Uhhh these grout lines are not 1/16″. Is this what you wanted?” At which point I panicked, but realized all would be fine since the grout I ordered was black and it would all blend together the way I envisioned anyway. This is the inspiration picture I used when making my tile and grout selection.

inspiration picture

I called the contractor and let him know my oopsie with the installation team, at which point he called the store and confirmed the grout quantity we ordered would still be enough for 1/8″. The store ensured us it would.

I don’t know if their calculator was broken or what, but there was no way we had nearly enough grout even for 1/16″!! The installation crew was only able to grout about 1/3 of the tile. So new grout was ordered and that was that. It should be coming this week and the contractor will finish grouting on Saturday.

Don’t worry, this story is not done. Remember I said I ordered black grout? I picked the color off one of those tester sticks at the store. The color is called Mapei Keracolor Black. BLACK. Let me say it again. The color is called B L A C K.

Mapei Keracolor Black

I was home while they were mixing it and started putting it in. It was perfectly black and exactly what I wanted!

But it dried light gray.

Mapei Keracolor Black

Not only did it dry light gray, it was drying blotchy and even white in some spots.

Mapei Keracolor Black

It was literally my nightmare. The whole point of me getting black grout was so that I wouldn’t have to deal with discoloration down the road. I called the contractor in a panic (second time) and he told me to hold off on panicking for another 24 hours since grout does take a full 48 hours to cure before the final color presents. I felt better, but I sent him some pictures to show him what the situation was. He immediately looked and the pictures and responded that something was wrong and he was getting on the phone with the grout manufacturer. After some back and forth with them, we learned that while the color is called black, and even though it was black on the tester stick at the store, the color BLACK dries LIGHT GRAY. Are you kidding me? If I had known it was going to be gray, I 100% would have made sure to get the 1/16″ grout line correct. They want to send a representative out to assess the grout and see if there was an issue with the batch.

I was pretty upset about it, however the lighter color is growing on me and the floors still look amazing. Compared to what we were living with before, I really can’t complain, even if it didn’t come out exactly as I envisioned. I used a trick of mine to clean off grout haze and it did seem to take down the white in some spots. Over the next few days, I think the color has been evening out a little (thank god), but it’s still gray. I also did some touch up on the few spots where the grout went wonky. I’ll give that one to the team- putting black grout on black tiles may have been more difficult than what they are used to.

Laundry Room

The contractor suggested dyeing the grout if I’m unhappy with it, but I just don’t know if I want to go through all the hassle (again). We just got the washer/dryer hooked up and I have 2 weeks of laundry to catch up on before we do anything else. It’s not that I’m unhappy with how the floors came out, I’m more disappointed that they didn’t come out like my inspiration picture.

I will wait to make a final decision as to what to do. John also suggested sealing the grout with something that will give it a wet look since it’s exactly the color I wanted when wet.

So anyway, I have a few posts coming up this week that are more useful than update-y, so stay tuned!