Grout-Aide Markers, frequently sold, as pictured, in “Value Packs” of three, is a product that, like so many others, raises the hopes of people with dirty and old stained grouting that if only THAT problem could be easily and cheaply fixed, remodeling or retiling an area could be avoided. These products run the gamut of various bleach-based applications, heavy duty chemical cleansers and paints of one kind or another. The product under review here is of the latter variety. Grout-Aide Markers contain a water-based paint (white or in other available colors) in a tube looking very much like any other large felt-tipped marker. The tip, or ‘nib’ as they refer to it, is reversable, so as one side wears out (as it usually does) before the contents are used up, you can pull the felt tip out and turn it around to an unused side. That’s a nice touch. What isn’t a nice touch is that the product doesn’t work very well at all.
I have found that it is especially useless in any area where there is water or high humidity. This pretty much excludes any useful application in either bathroom or kitchen – the two areas in most homes most apt to be tiled and grouted. It goes on pretty easily, but as I discovered, discoloring of old grouting is not simply a surface phenomenon. The discoloring literally reappears after a few days – rising from it’s deeper penetration of the grout back up to the surface where you can see it.
The bad penny keeps turning up, again and again. Like various other chemical and bleaching preparations I have tried, it is a superficial solution and a very time-limited one at that. In fact, I’m not sure that there is ANY cheap way out of discolored tile in those areas of your home short of complete retiling. Incidentally, the franchised company, Grout Wizard, will fail you over a brief period of time as well … been there and tried that, too. Spending $1,000 to save $10,000 is only a good value if it works. The Grout “Wizard” doesn’t work any better than these markers.
So, everybody would like to save money. Everybody would like their grouting – especially in bathrooms and kitchens – to look and remain stainfree. Most of us would like to be able to restore the original whiteness (or whatever color it was when new) without having to tear the room apart and retiling it. I have found no evidence that this is possible, and I have tried more products that I would really like to admit to.
On it’s behalf, I can say only that this product is one of the less expensive doomed-to-fail items available for you to invest your wishfulness in. But, don’t expect to escape a retiling job with a stick of water based paint. Like some famous quote maker is often quoted as having said, “If it sounds too good to be true – It probably is!” Start saving your cash for the real work or retiling and/or remodeling.