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Customer Upset that grout is darker?

Tcoulter

Active Member
Apr 18, 2017
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Trace Coulter
Hey everyone. I've been doing this for about 10 years now, but don't post much on here, I'm a lurker, haha. I have very few complaints, 99.9% of customers are thrilled with my work.

Today I did a Tile and grout job, porcelain, easy. The customer has a pretty nice home, and had me do her carpets and tile and grout in kitchen/ dining area. The grout at the edges and under rug looked to be a very light gray, close to white. In traffic areas, it appeared darker grey. I could immediately tell there was very little dirt, as the house was very clean. I hit it with some Viper Renew, which I rarely use, but I knew I just needed to unveil the new grout underneath since it started out so stinking clean, I don't think I have ever even done a job that was already so clean. I did notice that most of the grout looked to actually be darker after cleaning, rather than lighter, and not sure if the grout is just stained throughout, splotchy, or has some sort of efflorescence or something.

Overall it looked fine to me, and figured it would brighten up after drying completely. She sent me a txt, absolutely pissed, telling me the grout looks dark and that she paid me cause she thought I was going to make it new again (I thought I could, I usually do). She also sent a picture asking me why there is a hole in her grout. It was a tiny tiny hole, note even a full grout line width, I'm talking like 3mm x 3mm. I told her I could probably repair it for her if she would like. I didn't charge much for the job, actually gave her a special deal, and was there WAY too long, already losing money. She also told me that now the grout feels "rough" and was asking me if I can explain to her why her grout feels so rough now. I'm thinking "ummm that's a first...rough...grout? It's grout. It's rough" Now I have to go back and see what's going on or what I can do. I cleaned with both acid and alkaline. Also she says that her tile isn't shiny anymore and she is mad about that. This tile was not shiny to begin with, maybe just a tiny bit from oils or mopping or something, no sealers or polish or wax or anything like that.

Have you ever had a job where you thought "eh i guess it turned out pretty good" to only have your customer act like the world is literally ending and you are the worst person in the world? This lady knows a ton of people and I'm really wanting to keep her as a client and make her happy, as I always do. But I just don't know on this one. Is there any reason why the grout would be darker after cleaning that I am not thinking of? I plan on going back, testing in an area that I did not clean last time, and watching closely what happens and speed drying to see what's up. I'm also going to reclean and buff incase there is any sealer haze that got left on tile that is "dulling" it like she said.
 

the rugman

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Feb 11, 2006
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Bob Cairns
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I have had grout turn dark and take a day or 2 before it lightened up. The hole was already there - just filled with dirt. The rough part?????
Take a look - you could color seal it if needed. You just might have a psycho customer on your hands!!!!
 
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smartcarpetcare

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Mar 17, 2011
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mike rawn
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Yup unreasonable. Any perceived mistakes I try to fix etc. sometimes meaning no profit rarely. THOSE are the ones I get most of my referrals from!!!!
 

Scott W

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Tile can be shiny from a coating of oils in the air that have settled on the tile. Like dust on furniture, whatever is in the air is drawn to the lowest flat surface by gravity. Cleaning removes the oils and the "shine" giving it the original or "new" appearance.
 

Jun

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Mar 27, 2014
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John Rasing
Hey everyone. I've been doing this for about 10 years now, but don't post much on here, I'm a lurker, haha. I have very few complaints, 99.9% of customers are thrilled with my work.

Today I did a Tile and grout job, porcelain, easy. The customer has a pretty nice home, and had me do her carpets and tile and grout in kitchen/ dining area. The grout at the edges and under rug looked to be a very light gray, close to white. In traffic areas, it appeared darker grey. I could immediately tell there was very little dirt, as the house was very clean. I hit it with some Viper Renew, which I rarely use, but I knew I just needed to unveil the new grout underneath since it started out so stinking clean, I don't think I have ever even done a job that was already so clean. I did notice that most of the grout looked to actually be darker after cleaning, rather than lighter, and not sure if the grout is just stained throughout, splotchy, or has some sort of efflorescence or something.

Overall it looked fine to me, and figured it would brighten up after drying completely. She sent me a txt, absolutely pissed, telling me the grout looks dark and that she paid me cause she thought I was going to make it new again (I thought I could, I usually do). She also sent a picture asking me why there is a hole in her grout. It was a tiny tiny hole, note even a full grout line width, I'm talking like 3mm x 3mm. I told her I could probably repair it for her if she would like. I didn't charge much for the job, actually gave her a special deal, and was there WAY too long, already losing money. She also told me that now the grout feels "rough" and was asking me if I can explain to her why her grout feels so rough now. I'm thinking "ummm that's a first...rough...grout? It's grout. It's rough" Now I have to go back and see what's going on or what I can do. I cleaned with both acid and alkaline. Also she says that her tile isn't shiny anymore and she is mad about that. This tile was not shiny to begin with, maybe just a tiny bit from oils or mopping or something, no sealers or polish or wax or anything like that.

Have you ever had a job where you thought "eh i guess it turned out pretty good" to only have your customer act like the world is literally ending and you are the worst person in the world? This lady knows a ton of people and I'm really wanting to keep her as a client and make her happy, as I always do. But I just don't know on this one. Is there any reason why the grout would be darker after cleaning that I am not thinking of? I plan on going back, testing in an area that I did not clean last time, and watching closely what happens and speed drying to see what's up. I'm also going to reclean and buff incase there is any sealer haze that got left on tile that is "dulling" it like she said.
Check if the grout was color painted before. I had the experience too, but it was opposite. It was dark and when I cleaned it, it turned white,Lol. My customer didn’t know about it that it was painted. She liked the dark color because it matches the tiles.I ended up giving her money back and she was cool with the deal. Good Luck.
 

Tcoulter

Active Member
Apr 18, 2017
147
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Trace Coulter
Check if the grout was color painted before. I had the experience too, but it was opposite. It was dark and when I cleaned it, it turned white,Lol. My customer didn’t know about it that it was painted. She liked the dark color because it matches the tiles.I ended up giving her money back and she was cool with the deal. Good Luck.
It didn't appear to be painted/ color sealed to me. I am thinking it may not even be darker, but the bad spots just didn't appear as light as she wanted it to.

Is it possible that spills and things have just soaked into the grout and some areas and that's why the main kitchen/ hall area grout is darker, and no acid will help?

Again, I've probably done 1,000 tile jobs, and I don't think I have ever received a single complaint, other than a few where I would go back to touch up or something. I am thinking I might be refunding her money, just because I might not be able to get it all the super bright color, and she seems convinced that I just suck at what I do and took all her shine off of her tile. Hopefully me educating her will help!
 

Jun

Member
Mar 27, 2014
117
20
18
Real Name
John Rasing
It didn't appear to be painted/ color sealed to me. I am thinking it may not even be darker, but the bad spots just didn't appear as light as she wanted it to.

Is it possible that spills and things have just soaked into the grout and some areas and that's why the main kitchen/ hall area grout is darker, and no acid will help?

Again, I've probably done 1,000 tile jobs, and I don't think I have ever received a single complaint, other than a few where I would go back to touch up or something. I am thinking I might be refunding her money, just because I might not be able to get it all the super bright color, and she seems convinced that I just suck at what I do and took all her shine off of her tile. Hopefully me educating her will help!
That’s true. Maybe they spilled cooking oil or or some coloring liquid and got soaked through/absorbed.
I use viper venom for tile & grout. I had a bad experience with the viper renew. I don’t know now if they change the ingredients already. Viper renew takes out the shine of marble transition/between the door and it creates marks on the stainless steel, ( it says on the label ,but it’s hard to avoid cover everything) kitchen appliances.
Maybe, they did wax it before just lightly and now you clean it came off.
 

PistolPete

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Sep 28, 2014
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Peter Dymond
Could be a impregnating penetrating sealer residue. I've seen that one time before.
Also write up a disclaimer sheet and go over it when you sell the job.
Mine explains that cleaning cannot overcome damage and defects. We usually see a 90% or better improvement but stains may not be removed.