No matter how often I clean the ceramic tile in our hall and powder room the grout looks dirty. And not evenly dirty. The grout that was protected by an entry rug is almost new looking and the high traffic area grout is quite dark and stained. The lighting in this hall is not the best so the photo below doesn't really show how dingy it is, but it does show the less stained grout to the left (that was under the rug) and the more stained grout to the right and towards the staircase.
While I would love new hardwood throughout our main floor (upstairs too in fact) this is not possible (we need a new roof, garage door.....) So my somewhat-terra-cotta-and-not-horribly-pink-like-the-photos-suggest fourteen year old ceramic got a good scrubbing and a grout painting. Grout Refresh by Mapei is the product I used and the colour is Biscuit. Lowes was out of the greyish colour and that might have been closer to our original grout but I can live with Biscuit. About $15 with tax Canadian so I'm sure my American friends can find it much cheaper. Used about a third of the bottle on all this area.
I have not been compensated or asked in any way to give a product review, this is just my experience with a product I had heard about a while ago and then stumbled upon one day in the hardware store (some girls window shop in clothing stores but I prefer hardware stores.) I followed the simple directions on the side of the bottle. I used a toothbrush as suggested to apply the product making sure I completely covered it. I didn't worry about getting it on the edges of the tile. Just make sure you don't work in a bigger area than you can reach and don't work yourself into a corner. You could use a 'dip the toothbrush in a container' method, but I just squeezed some out of the flip spout right onto the grout and then swiped a few times with the brush. Not too technical, eh?
Then the instructions say to let it dry for 30 to 60 minutes. I didn't have to wait too long because it took almost an hour to get the whole area covered. I was just careful not to step on any wet spots. After that it says to lightly mist the tile with water and SCRUB away the extra Grout Refresh on the edges of the tile. I used a towel rag and there was no heavy scrubbing involved. It came off quite easily. A bit annoying swiping up the excess that sort of rolls into painty balls (does that even make sense?!)
This step took less than an hour too. Now we need to keep off it for two hours and not let it get wet for 24 hours. The website says to avoid scrubbing or excessive cleaning of the grout for 20 days.
I was rocking my painting clothes and blue disposable vinyl gloves to keep my hands clean and protected. Other than the product the only other tools were a rag, a bucket of water, and the toothbrush. I kept the bathroom fan on as a precaution, but I didn't notice any weird or overwhelming smells at all.
Do I like the results? Yes and no. I like that is fresh and consistent in colour. I like that it doesn't look stained or gross. However I don't like that the product did not adhere in some areas, and this may because of the following instruction I found on the website:
"Substrate should be clean and free of dust, dirt, oil, grease, paint, curing
agents, concrete sealers, loosely bonded toppings, loose particles, and any
other substance or condition that may prevent or reduce adhesion" source here
If my grout was clean and free of all of the above, I wouldn't need this product now would I? This is a bathroom and a main entry of an active family (we don't have a side door or mudroom or garage entrance.) I do have a husband who works in a maintenance job, boys who spend a lot of time outdoors and in barns, a dog, and lots and lots of visitors.
So that might account for why the Grout Refresh didn't adhere in some spots. I definitely applied enough product but it just didn't stick in some high traffic areas. Not a lot, but enough that I will be touching up these spots in a day or two.
At that time I will add an update on this post. I will also post an update in a month or so to see how durable it is. My opinion today is that while the grout is not perfect, it is much cleaner and improved. It also looks quite natural, not like I painted it. I have this same tile in our kitchen and eat-in area but since that is a much larger area I will wait to see how well this works. I will also put a lot more attention into cleaning the kitchen grout before I attempt this. So, not too bad for about $15 and 3 hours work? Oh, and from experience, if you are working near an entry door be sure to lock it. Getting hit in the head with the door knob is not fun, just saying.
Edited August 2013 -very happy to say that the grout looks great! This is our main entrance area with work boots and lots of vacuuming and washing and it held up well.
I'm sharing this with....