porcelain bathroom floor tiles

I'm tiling the bathroom-from-hell this week while Wife and DD are out of town. The walls are 4" cheap ceramic wall tiles. No problem. The floors are fancy porcelain things from Italy that look like stone. They have a lot of texture to them. I laid them several months ago and just didn't get around to grouting until now.
The grout is a latex-modified sanded grout, with portland cement in it. I'm applying it with a rubber-soled trowel, just like a did the wall tiles (unsanded grout). Here's the problem; it dries and sticks tight to the texture on top of the tiles before the grout lines are hardened enough to work. How do I clean the tops of the tiles? The damp sponged was almost worthless. I've been scrubbing them one at a time with a damp sacrificial dish towel, but it's taking forever.
I only mixed enough grout for a little over a quarter of the bathroom, and I started under the commode. I've got it all scrubbed now, and in a little while I'll need to clean the tops again.
When I grout the next section (then wait ~45 minutes so the grout lines are ready to work) is there a better way to get stubborn grout off the top of textured glazed tiles? How about that little stainless steel toothbrush I bought from Harbor Freight? Or am I already doing it the "easy" way. (I would mix a little phosphoric acid with the rinse water, but I don't trust myself to keep every drop off of the grout lines.
I've got enough done that I can reset the toilet. I don't think I'm gonna do another section of floor tonight. I still have other things I can work on.
Thanks, Bob
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wrote:

Not a expert, but I have used _Sulfamic Acid Cleaner_ by TileLab. Safe for tile, GROUT and concrete. Read the label for possible etching.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfamic_acid#Applications
-- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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zxcvbob wrote:

What do you mean about "working" grout lines? The normal procedure is to apply the grout with your rubber bottomed gizmo, forcing it into the joints by going diagonally. After you have done an area, clean up by using using your gizmo to scrape off as much as possible then use large, puffy damp sponges to clean. Only one pass with each side of the sponge else you'll just make the tiles dirty again. Rinse sponge and repeat as necessary. You won't get ALL the grout off the tiles but there should be very little left - and you shouldn't really be able to see it - and once it dries so you see a haze, wipe the haze off with a terry cloth towel.
Yes, wiping with damp sponge will drag a bit of grout out of the joint put not much...next pass with the sponge should get that. If you are dragging out LOTS of grout, either your sponge is too wet, you are pressing too hard or your grout was too soupy to begin with...it doesn't take much time after applying grout before it is set up enough to clean.
--

dadiOH
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wrote:

Reading the OP post again, I believe he might be talking about a *scalloped edge tile* . His *texture* term threw me. There is a little bit of a bevel on the edge of the tile. More attention to detail is needed, imo... when grouting.
-- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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apply tile sealant, then grout
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beecrofter wrote:

These don't need sealant, they are glazed. But they have a lot of texture to the surface, like hand-cut stone, and almost a sanded surface under the glaze. It really grabs the grout. I'm finishing up all the wall grout, towel racks, shower curtain rods, etc. I'll finish grouting the floors this weekend.
The grout I have starts out very thin when you mix it (it's tempting to add more powder) and then thickens as it slakes. The bag says to wait 10 to 15 minutes before applying it (probably because it's too thin to apply to a wall) I think I'm gonna try pouring the just-mixed grout into a pastry bag and *pipe* it into the grooves while it's still thin. Then I won't have to drag it diagonally across the faces of the tiles nearly so much with the rubber trowel.
Bob
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zxcvbob writes:

You can get a "grout bag". Like a pastry bag, but bigger.
Didn't seem to really help me. Still a mess no matter what you do.
Really, you've got a huge entropic information problem here, putting grout where you want it, and not where you don't, with no sweeping method to distinguish one from the other like with smooth tile.
I would try mashing in the grout sloppy style, wipe up what you can, waiting an hour or two for it to just set up, then start flooding it with water and scrubbing with a toothbrush, while a helper follows with a wet vac picking up the wash water. The desired grout areas won't be bothered by immersion.
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zxcvbob wrote:

Your tile sounds exactly like ours, done in 2001. Contractor put it in, so all was done but final cleaning and sealing. Contractor used a flat sponge...that is necessary to keep the sponge out of the grout line. Our tile has a slight round off of the edge, and grout doesn't go higher than the flat side of the tile edge - I watched the entire installation but can't recall the details of what they did. You might want to shape the grout line with a finger, after troweling. The next step is keeping a bucket of clean water on hand and wringing out the sponge and changing the water however often you need to keep it real clean. When it looks clean, wipe once more. We did a vinegar/water wipe-off, per contractor's instructions, after ? 24 hrs? Don't even think about muriatic acid of you have a touch of haze - we used grout same color as the tile, so if there is any haze, we can't see it. Our contractor was wonderful, solved some tricky issues and am glad we did not do DIY...told us not to walk bare-footed so's our little toes didn't mar the grout before it set :o)
I regrouted a shower stall a while back, no problem but those are small grout lines.
Good luck.
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