Ceramic floor tile help needed

Page 1 of 2  
Greetings,
My husband & I (mostly my husband ;) have just finished laying a new ceramic tile floor. The tile is not slate, but has a slate-like appearance and texture, but still has a slight sheen.
Here's the problem: We just did the grout for the floor and try as we might, we are having a heck of a time getting all the grout off the tiles. Most of it is gone, but even the tiles that appear 'clean' are dull and lifeless now, due to a residue of grey colored grout. We figure that there are products that we can buy to remove the grout residue, but we're afraid that the product may stain or discolor the 'good' grout.
Should we first seal the grout with sealer and then try removing the residual grout from the tiles? Is the grout easily stained? Will using grout cleaner (provided there IS such a thing) after sealing the grout still possibly hurt the grout?
We're getting all kinds of different answers about sealer also. Some construction people are telling us to just put the sealer over the whole floor. Others are telling us not to seal the tile or it will 'glaze' it.
After discussing this nearly to death, I told my DH that I was off to ask the experts. So, I humbly turn to you, repair gurus.
Can anyone help?
Thanks in advance,
Rags
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thought I should add that we're using a 'polyblend sanded grout'.
Thanks,
Rags
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ragdoll wrote:

We had a contractor install our tile, but we did the sealing on the grout. The contractor's advice was to wipe tile off with vinegar/water solution after ...... I don't recall for sure, but I believe it was three days. They had been careful to sponge it off as they went, so there never was noticeable residue on the tile. But, then, our tile is same color as the grout. What do the grout package instructions say?
I did a quick search to see if there were instructions on the internet. They have a site, here, underconstruction: http://www.custombuildingproducts.com/product/Default.htm
Also have a customer service number: 1- 800- 272- 8786
Another website had instructions, two-part, which suggested hydrochloric acid for the mortar part of the stuff, and lacquer thinner for the poly part. Paint remover if the lt doesn't do it. I've never tried either.
When we were shopping for tile, I overheard a sad conversation at one tile store. Customer and her hubby had just tiled whole house. Used muriatic acid to clean grout haze. Muriatic acid ate the glaze. What should we do now? :o)
I like to use contractors for jobs that can lead to death or divorce if not done right :o)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

mixed a bit too thickly and dried quicker than anticipated. The main problem is that the tile is textured and the grout is embedded in the little pock marks and crevices of the tile. Only a small number of the tiles have that particular problem, though. The others just seems to have this haze that I'm referring to. It's smooth to the touch, just dull.

on the web.

we won't resort to anything 'harsh'. We're not COMPLETE dufuses! =)

using a diamond pattern. The interesting thing is that each tile is a different color. It's Daltile, a pattern called Cobblestone, in their Frech Quarter collection. There are easily a dozen different variations of colors, from slate blues, to greys, to rose, to greens, and I anally and lovingly chose each and every tile as we went, to get the perfect mix and contrast. We could never have achieved such loving perfection from a contractor. Now we just have to deal with the residue, grrrr...
Thanks,
Rags
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 22 May 2004 18:54:39 -0400, "Ragdoll"

If you ever do another tile floor remember that the water can never be clean enough and to get one area as clean as you can possibly get it before moving on to the next. In my opinion this is the hardest part of the job and, trust me, you aren't the first people to have this problem!
To get it clean start with vinegar and water mix to see if that will cut the residue. If the vinegar and water won't do the trick go to Home Depot (or better yet a real tile store) and ask them for something stronger. There are several levels of cleaners available. You want to use the weakest one possible to avoid any unnecessary damage to the rest of your grout.
Steve B.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<snip>

Thanks, we'll try the vinegar and water, but I'm still unsure if we should seal the grout first. Anyway, our tile center is closed on the weekends, hence the desire the seek quick answers elsewhere.
I very much appreciate your help.
Thanks,
Rags
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've had nothing but problems with Custom Building Materials products (Home Depot.)
My preference for mortar and grout is Mapei. http://www.mapei.com/MapeiAmericas/en/index.htm
For unglazed tiles (slate like???) you should coat the top surface with either a grout release or silicone sealer before installing, and definitely before grouting. Otherwise the mortar and/or grout will adhere to the surface. Be careful to not get the sealer or release on the edges of the tile where you want the grout to adhere though.
Your best approach is to start using a lot of elbow grease soon since grout and mortar will continue to harden for several days to a week. Be very careful using acids (hydrochloric...the harshest, or sulfamic) to remove grout since they may not act selectively. They may attack both the grout and tile. I'd suggest a phone call to your grout manufacturer and DalTile to see what they recommend.
If the tile is unglazed seal the entire floor. If not, just seal the grout because it is a waste of sealer to apply it to the glazed surface.
This is a good site for information and very useable products. http://www.aldonchem.com /
RB
Ragdoll wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

We bought all our products from a flooring company, but who knows? We'll keep Mapai in mind for possible future projects. Too late now.

Naw, they just look like slate. They're sealed, I'm sure. They have a slight sheen to them and they're ceramic. They're just 'textured'.

We've used so much elbow grease that we can barely raise our arms, I'm afraid. The tile is too beautiful and colorful to resort to acid, unless advised by the retailer, whom we'll contact Monday. As you say, we need to move quickly, so I 'm looking for quick ideas and suggestions

Thanks, RB, I really appreciate the input! I'll investigate the site you suggest.
Rags
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ragdoll wrote:

The time to use the elbow grease was when the grout first started to haze, wiping it off with an old terry towel. Or burlap. Too late now. _________________

Acid is about all you can do. You need something that will eat up the thin haze of grout which is chemically basic. That means acid. Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid. It won't attack any glazed surface as the glazing is fused silica (glass) and that is attacked only by hydrofluric acid. If you doubt that, consider that muriatic acid comes in glass bottles.
Hydrochloric acid is normally sold in - IIRC - a 20% solution. Or perhaps it is 28%. No matter it will say on the container and you need to dilute it still further to about 4%. When doing so, ALWAYS ADD ACID SLOWLY TO WATER, NEVER VICE VERSA. Adding water to the acid can result in a violent reaction and spattering.
The dilute acid will attack any grout it encounters including the grout in the joints. However, the grout there is much thicker and removing a whisker off the surface will hurt nothing. You can tell when the acid is working because it will fizz. When it stops fizzing it has neutralized itself with the grout. If the grout haze is removed beforehand, neutralize the acid with baking soda. If it isn't gone, apply more acid.
Using acid is really no big deal. When I lived in Mecico we used it regularly to clean the "mosaica" floors which are sort of like terrazo. Just mixed up a bucket full, sloshed it around with a rag mop (wearing rubber soled shoes) and hosed it down when it stopped fizzing. It does produce rather noxious fumes.
-- dadiOH _____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.0... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico ____________________________
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dadiOH writes:

Nope.
HCl acid of commerce is typically 20 deg Baume, or 31.45 pct HCl.
The "acid into water" caution is important for sulfuric acid, but not HCl.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Richard J Kinch wrote:

Maybe I was thinking of Baume, been a while since chemistry. Still, I was close, what's 3.45% in the grand scheme of things? :) ______________________

Not a bad general habit though.
-- dadiOH _____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.0... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico ____________________________
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ragdoll writes:

Gloves, sponges, HCl acid diluted to 10 pct or less.
Test acid on a scrap tile. No decent glazed tile should be affected. If anyone said acid ate their glaze, then it wasn't a ceramic glaze, it was something utterly cheap.
Be careful storing the acid. The vapor exits the sealed plastic bottles. Over time it will corrode any metal inside a cabinet or nearby.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Richard J Kinch wrote:

I mistook ________ for glaze on the tile I bought. Fill in the blanks: Saran Wrap? Clear Nail Polish? Varnish?

I don't know who the "Ceramic Tile Institute of America" is, but here is a link to an article on their website that says muriatic on tile can damage the grout and/or the glaze. "Never use muriatic...."
http://www.ctioa.org/reports/fr4.html
I know many glazes contain metals, but don't know how much quicker the acide would eat them up.....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<snip>
I want to thank EVERYONE for your input and ideas on this problem. We scrubbed the floor again, using vinegar and it did, indeed, remove the residual haze from the tiles, for the most part. They look good now. The problem with the remaining tiles that still have grout in the pock marks and crevices is really only evident when the tiles are wet, which is how we missed it in the first place. We are asking our tile people for any ideas but we were told by another person that they DO make a grout cleaner that works well.
I really doubt that we'll resort to acid on the floor. That really sounds like something that we would be uncomfortable about trying without professional help and the problem is not severe enough to warrant that. Honestly, the only people that would ever even notice the grout are myself and my husband.
So, we'll try a grout cleaner, as one last resort, and if that doesn't take care of it, it will just have to wear out on it's own.
Thanks to all the advice, however, we'll certainly be more prepared if we ever decide to lay this type of tile in the future! And I am happy that I was able to spark a scientific discussion about acid and chemistry. It has all been very interesting.
Thanks again to all,
Rags
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
NorMinn writes:

This doesn't say anything except "don't use acid". Nothing about glaze.
Of course it eats grout. That's the whole point. You're trying to eat the grout that is in the wrong place.
Note they say, HCl acid is widely used for cleaning tile. That's because it works safely and effectively if properly applied to compatible surfaces.
The other acids they cite are preferable if you can find them and afford them. Most of us can't.
HCl fumes are noxious and corrosive, a mechanical hazard but not poisonous to the human body; your stomach makes it.
There are infinite variations in tile compositions, and acids will eat many of them (marble, some slate, travertine, etc). But a ceramic glaze on a ceramic tile should be inert. Acids used to be stored in carboys made of the same materials. Analysis of the ingredients (often obscured by the manufacturer) and testing is the best way to know.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Richard J Kinch wrote:

The article says "# Never use hydrochloric (muriatic) acids." Even IF the glaze covered the tile on all surfaces, it may have metals incorporated that will react with acid. MA reacts with cementitious compounds, right? Right through the edge of a tile?

Not colored grout, though.

The tile guys say don't use HCl.

Can't afford to use the wrong stuff on my $2,000 floor by saving (maybe) $5.

Water can drown ya. Hcl can eat up the lining of your airways. Not good. And, in a previous discussion, I believe we "discovered" that it gives of hydrogen gas. Typical human behavior, even IF one bothers to read labels, is to think if a little is good, more must be better. Aw, I'll leave the water out and get this job done FAST.........

Do you know what "overglaze" is? "A ceramic or metallic decoration applied and fired on the previously glazed surface of ceramic ware. (ASTM C 242)." Glass is colored by adding metals. Overglaze is used in ceramics to add color on top of glaze. Soooooo, the bottom line is that I don't know how my tile is colored - just the tile body, the glaze, overglaze? And whilst the "harmless" HCl is fuming away on the tile inside your house, it might be eating the guts of your TV, refrigerator, computer, smoke alarm, etc.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
NorMinn wrote:

Oh, horse hockey.
-- dadiOH _____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.0... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico ____________________________
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I agree that "eating away" is a bit of an overstatement but if you want a thrill leave a bottle of hydrochloric acid in your shop for a few months. I'd be quite surprise if many of the steel surface are not well rusted. Same goes for pool chemicals. Anything that releases chlorine will take its toll.
RB
dadiOH wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RB wrote:

OK, "eating away" is too dramatic. But, a little corrosion in the innards of electrical/electronics may have "dramatic" results, as in "this item is history". Just trying to counteract the folks who, when they don't know what else to do, say "try muriatic......"
My favorite experience with muriatic acid was watching a neighbor, barefoot, using it full strength to clean pavement. Pavement was just as badly stained afterward as it was before.
I have a great deal of respect for "innocent" compounds, like concrete, that can burn off a layer of skin before the victim knows what is happening. I learned that from someone who didn't wear boots tromping around in some wet concrete.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Genetic selection is a wonderful thing.
RB
NorMinn wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.