| |

Grout mistakes and installed bathroom tile

*Thank you to Floor & Decor for sponsoring this post.

Last month I shared with y’all the process of picking tile for our kids bathroom, and I’m happy to say that it’s all installed, and we are that much closer to having a livable house! As a reminder, here is the tile we picked – a brushed marble tile for the floor, a tumbled marble subway tile for the shower walls, and a linear blue glass for the backside of the niches (all from Floor & Decor).

Tile selections for kids bathroom

Originally Adam and I had planned to do all the tile work (besides the shower pans) in the house ourselves, but we quickly gave up on that idea when the time came and decided to hire it out. I have no doubt that Adam and I could have done it, but installing all that tile would have taken us forever, there are so many other projects to work on. We probably would have ended up paying ourselves like 14 cents an hour to tile, and I’m sorry, but I’m worth at least a quarter.

So we ponied up the cash and watched our tile go in…quickly. Those guys didn’t mess around.

Here is the tumbled marble subway tile going into the boys shower…

shower tile installation

Shower niche progress

and the brushed marble tiles going on the floor.

brushed marble flooring installation - so pretty!

That’s actually the master bathroom floor going in because I didn’t get a progress shot of the kids bathroom, but it’s the same tile. I really liked it in the box, but as soon as it started getting laid out on the floor I fell in love with it. It’s SO PRETTY and has just the right amount of texture and variety without being over the top.

Then the tile guys asked me to pick a grout color…which, looking back on, I totally messed up.

My goal was to have the grout color be basically the same color as the tile (just ever so slightly darker). I didn’t want white (too fresh and new looking) and I didn’t want anything too dark (don’t want the grout lines to stand out), I really just wanted something that would disappear. So when they handed me the grout color chart and asked me to pick, the choice was pretty easy.

Choosing a grout color (alabaster)

I picked a color called Alabaster, which was an off white with just the right amount of greige. It was light enough to blend right in, but dark enough that it wouldn’t be too fresh looking or hard to clean. So I told them my selection and went on my way without a second thought.

A few days later I went back to see how it turned out, and the final result wasn’t quite what I had hoped for. Instead of the grout blending right in as an off white color, it was a darker gray. Even worse, the dark grout had filled all the holes and dents in the marble and as a result my beautiful tile looked downright dirty.

brushed marble floor tile

I was convinced that they used the wrong grout color, so our builder came over to have a look at it himself. He agreed it looked dark and dug through the trash to find the bags they used. Sure enough, it was Alabaster. My next question was “why is it so dark…did they mix it wrong?” So we took the bag inside and compared the little color example swatch on the bag to the floor. Standing up, it looked very different from what was on the floor, but if you bent down and put it right up next to the grout it was exactly the same.

Turns out, I just made a bad decision. Hindsight is 20/20, right? It also doesn’t help that the bathrooms have terrible lighting (as in none) right now, which makes the grout appear darker. And truthfully, if I stand back up and look at it (without any preconceived notions of what I wanted it to look like) it still looks pretty darn amazing.

8X16 rustic brushed marble tile

bathroom tile from floor & decor

I did talk to the tile guys about how it didn’t quite turn out how I hoped, and they were pretty understanding. Turns out they skipped a step I think is important (sealing the marble before grouting) which is why the dents and holes soaked up every last bit of grout, so they are going to come back and with some cleaner and a professional buffer thing and try to clean the tiles as much as possible. Then I’ll seal everything and we’ll be one step closer to a usable bathroom.

The good news about the grout is that I really like it in the shower.

Rustic marble subway tile

In fact, I’m pretty giddy about the shower and tub, it looks awesome. I can’t believe I’m going to let my crew of dirty boys shower in it…with the amount of grime they accumulate they should really just get thrown outside with a bar of soap and a garden hose. It’s a good thing we installed four niches, because we are going to need it for all the soap we go through.

bathroom tile

Those niches turned out great, right? They still need to be cleaned up and sealed (like everything else) and as soon as that happens I’ll share pictures again and the overall design plan for the bathroom.

Similar Posts


  1. Does the marble tile need to be sealed every now and then as well as the grout? I have tile in my bathroom and was told a sealer was put in during the mixing process so I wouldn’t have to seal it every year. I was also told to get a darker colored grout because it will hide stains later. FYI – I got coffee colored grout and you can still see the darker grout that’s dirty. UGH!

  2. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how you like the darker grout once little boys are running in with muddy feet. (at least I hope so!) I can’t imagine using light coloured grout on a floor. It would be crazy trying to keep it clean. We live on a mini farm and the amount of dirt and grim that get tracked in is ridiculous.

  3. The grout in between the tiles looks nice, and hopefully they’ll be able to clean the surfaces of the tiles. The shower does look nice! Very boyish. :)

  4. Ashley, Trust me, down the road you will be grateful for the darker grout on the floor. It will blend much better when the grout darkens because of tracked in dirt and body oils from little feet. Love your blog!

  5. I will chime in and totally agree with everyone — you will be SO glad you went with a bit darker grout. The bathrooms look great!!!

  6. I actually absolutely LOVE the gray grout with the tiles on the floor and the shower! As in LOVE LOVE LOVE! And once they get the floor tiles all cleaned up it will look even better! You didn’t make a mistake at all! :)

  7. I LOVE the tile surrounding the shower! Great job picking it out. That is exactly what I would have picked it I was doing my bathroom. Its really looking great.

  8. The tile looks absolutely fantastic! The flooring you choose for the interior of your home definitely makes a difference in its overall appearance, and you did a really good job thinking through what would look best! You’ve made some great progress! Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. The bathroom is awesome even with the dirty tiles. It reminds me of ancient-time bathrooms with those faux cracks and scratches on the tile surface. Moreover, I would never think of making niches in the wall, and they seem such a clever and convenient place to store items. You are terrific!

  10. YES! The niches are absolutely awesome. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! Sorry it didn’t all turn out like you wanted! I hope the cleaning helped get the grout out of some of the spots!

  11. I had to laugh when I read your post. We are using the exact same tile on the floors and on the shower walls that you have used. What I’m confused about is that you mentioned they should have seal your tile before they put the grout in. Correct me if I’m wrong but what I’m understanding is they should have sealed your tile before filling in all the dents and small holes? So the tile gets sealed completely first then apply the grout and use the grout to fill in all the dents and small holes and the final step would be to reseal.

    What I really want to ask you is is what color counter tops did you put in?
    I have white cabinets and I’m having a heck a time finding a counter top that I like. Both my bath room and the second bathroom have no windows and there both pretty dark.
    I would really appreciate your help and if you could send finished pictures of your restrooms.
    Thank you,

    1. I’m not a tile or anything, but yes, I think we should have sealed the tile after it was down, grouted , and sealed again.

      We actually don’t have A vanity or countertop in the bathroom. We are finishing the house ourselves and just haven’t gotten to this bathroom yet.. It has had a big plastic mop sink in it for over two years. I have no idea what kind of countertop I want to put in it, but I don’t think you can’t go wrong with white or tan!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *