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Does Grout Dry Lighter or Darker?

Does Grout Dry Lighter or Darker?

When laying down tiles in the bathroom or other places in their home, many people want to know whether grout dries lighter or darker.

As a home or business owner, the color of the tiles is not the only thing you will need to consider during a construction or remodeling project.

You will also need to choose the color of the grout used to fill the spaces between the tile joints. However, the grout doesn’t always give you the color you expect.

Grout dries lighter than the dark color it is when you lay it down wet. Grout is a mixture of cement, sand, and water, which gives a dark gray color when mixed well. However, once it is allowed to sit for 24 to 48 hours, it will become lighter in color.

This guide will help you find out why grout dries lighter than its wet color and whether there is something you can do to make it darker.

As a home improvement enthusiast who has had the pleasure of laying down the tiles in my home, I have ample experience in seeing my grout change color and what to do to get it to turn to the desired color.

How Much Does Grout Lighten in Color When It Dries?

Grout can lighten as much as 50%, and sometimes even more, when it dries. In most cases, adding water makes the grout change its color.

However, when the water evaporates, it leaves the grout lighter.

In some cases, the grout will resemble its original dry powder color when it dries.

However, in others, the color may change quite a bit from what you expect.

That is why you should always carefully read the grout manufacturer’s instructions to find out how to mix the grout in the right way.

Why Does My Grout Dry Lighter?

If you have ever noticed the color of the grout when your tiles are being laid out, you will see that they dry much lighter.

Here are some reasons why this happens:

Presence of Water

The most common type of grout is made from Portland cement.

This kind of grout may be mixed with sand, while others are smooth.

Smooth grouts without sand are used to fill narrow grout lines between tiles, while sanded grouts are used to fill wider grout lines in between floor tiles.

However, when you mix either of these grouts with water, they will instantly darken in color.

Once the grout becomes dry and set, it will return to its natural light color, which will be almost the color of the dry powder in the grout bag before it was mixed.

Amount of Water

How much water you mix in the grout will also influence the color.

If you add too much water to the grout, it will be diluted and will appear lighter when it dries.

You can also scrub off some of the colors if you use a lot of water and harsh detergents to clean the tiles.

If you want the correct, dark tone of the grout, it is important that you follow the directions given by the manufacturers and be careful when cleaning the tiles.

Uneven drying

Uneven Drying

If your grout has not dried evenly, it might appear blotchy with both dark and light gray colors.

This can happen due to the material of the tiles, which allows your grout to dry at different rates.

If the tiles leach a large amount of water before the grout has a chance to cure properly, it will look lighter.

Natural stone with pores will suck more water out from the grout than denser stone tiles.

In addition, if you are using two different types of tiles, you might see a difference in colors in the grout lines because of the different water absorption rates of these two kinds of tiles.

The substrate material beneath your tile can also impact the color of your grout the same way.

If it pulls a greater amount of water from the grout before it sets, it will make the grout lines appear lighter.

Another reason you will see a difference in your grout colors is if one area of the tiles is exposed to a higher degree of sun and wind, which may dry it out more quickly and give it a lighter shade than the tiles that are in dimmer and less-windy places.


Even something like lighting in the room can make your grout appear to have a lighter or darker color.

The grout may appear to be much lighter than you expected in some angles and light.

This difference can be perceived depending upon whether the room is lit by sunlight or artificial light.

What to Do If Your Grout Turns Out Lighter Than Expected

If your grout comes out lighter than you wanted it to, there may be a few things you can do to fix its color.

Applying an Enhancing Sealer

An enhancing sealer can enhance the characteristic of the material in the grout without causing a gloss.

You can use it to darken the color of dry grout.

Apply the sealer to the grout lines to give the lines a darker shade and to prevent stains and blotches.

Keep in mind though that it will only deepen the existing color, meaning you might not get the exact dark color it had when it was wet.

Enhancing sealers are different from common grout sealers, which seal the grout invisibly, so make sure you buy the right kind.

Using Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is a product that doesn’t shrink, crack, or discolor, which makes it ideal for laying down tiles, particularly where aesthetics is taken into account.

This grout is more expensive but is also very durable. In addition, it comes premixed in the bucket and does not have any water which can eliminate many issues we have mentioned above.

This type of grout dries extremely fast and makes for stronger bonds between the tiles.

Staining the Grout

One of the most popular ways to change the color of the grout is to stain it.

To do that, you should first scrub your grout with bleach water to kill any mold forming on it. You can then use a stain to color it.

Take a fine paintbrush and dip it into a grout stain and sealant jar.

Work it on every line of the grout any excess or spills off the tile before it dries.

This process is quite tedious; however, it is very effective in changing the color of your grout to the one you want.

Summing Up If Grout Dries Lighter or Darker

Grout dries lighter than what it looks like when you lay it down wet. This is due to many underlying factors, but if you want to have your grout dry darker, employ some of the tips above in order to get the color you’d like.

You can also keep it the lighter color, as this often looks good with many styles of bathrooms and tile choices.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.