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How to clean grout haze weeks after installation



"How to clean grout haze weeks after installation," in the Ceramic and Stone Q&A forum, begins: "Our new porcelain tile floor was not cleaned properly at the time of installation. The installer has been back to ..."

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Old July 12, 2011, 06:05 AM   #1
CaryC
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How to clean grout haze weeks after installation


Our new porcelain tile floor was not cleaned properly at the time of installation.

The installer has been back to fix some other issues, and has washed the floor with vinegar & water, but the haze is still apparent.

My question is this: Is it safe to use something stronger like phosphoratic or sulfanic acid (not sure of spellings) on tile that was installed several weeks ago? The grout has a "boost" to make it resist stains. There was no sealer applied to tile or grout at the time of installation. When I say "safe" I mean:
a. If used by the installer, not the homeowner.
b. Will it compromise tile or grout integrity down the road?

[Yes, I know you want photos, but I cannot separate the visible haze from the background variation on the tiles in a photograph.]

Thanks!

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Old July 12, 2011, 09:10 AM   #2
Carpetkid
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Try Monk's cloth or cheese cloth (I'm not positive which one it is). I used it after my tile was installed and it worked really well.


Last edited by Carpetkid; July 12, 2011 at 09:17 AM.
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Old July 12, 2011, 10:30 AM   #3
stullis
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You may as well go to the sulfamic or phosphoric acids. Try a small area at first to see if that will even get it. These are still relatively safe for use by diyers.

If you need to go to muratic get a REAL professional to do it. That is nasty stuff and can do damage both to your health and home if not done correctly.

Done correctly neither is going to drastically wreck the grout but there is always some degradation.

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Old July 12, 2011, 04:44 PM   #4
kylenelson
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I would stay away from muratic acid, imo. That stuff is gnarly. I acid etched a pool once with that stuff and watched it eat away my paint roller handle. I had a resperator on and it was still a bit too much to handle.


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Old July 12, 2011, 06:56 PM   #5
CaryC
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Not to worry, guys. No muratic acid will enter our house.
Thanx!

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Old July 12, 2011, 07:56 PM   #6
Bearman
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Try an old burlap sack and dry sand it off.

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Old July 12, 2011, 09:06 PM   #7
Kman
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I used that grout boost for the first time a few weeks ago. It left a haze no matter how many times I cleaned it, and no matter how many times I cleaned the water bucket. I think there's something in it that just won't come up with plain water.

What I finally used was about a quart of vinegar to three gallons of water. One part of the floor had been grouted about three days before, the other part the day before. I had no problem cleaning either side.

Since yours is now several weeks old, I would do as Stullis suggests. Start with the sulfamic acid. I think after this long your results are going to be marginal, though. I don't think you'll ever get the tile to look like it did when it was new.

Another suggestion I could offer would be to contact the manufacturer of the grout boost, explain your situation, and see if they have any suggestions.

If none of those work, my final suggestion would be to sit down with the installer (Lowe's, was it?) and ask for some amount of monetary adjustment, since you obviously got a second-rate job.

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Old July 13, 2011, 04:24 PM   #8
CaryC
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Kman: Good and timely info, thanks! I did try the vinegar and water wash the day after the tile was installed, to no avail, so I think you might be onto something blaming the grout boost. More folks need to be aware of this pitfall.

Lowe's was going to make me (terms of our contract) give the original installer another chance, but I have convinced them (just got the phone call confirming) that it is time for a new professional to take over and make things right. The original tile guy had two chances after the installation to make it right, and each time he made the decision to use his assistants to do the work - without checking behind them - and each time new problems were created. I am not holding my breath, but at least I won't ever again have to encounter this guy who was such a disappointment to us. He has 34 years of experience...but he needs to stop phoning it in.

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Old July 19, 2011, 07:43 AM   #9
ortiz34
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Lowes installs tile?

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Old July 19, 2011, 07:53 AM   #10
Jeff Auld
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ortiz34 said View Post
Lowes installs tile?
Yes lowes installs about anything only problem is getting quality installers.

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Old July 21, 2011, 07:51 PM   #11
Jaz
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Lowes installs tile?
They sure do. The floor "guys" do vinyl tile, sheet vinyl, wood, laminate and tiles too. So you're not as likely to get a good a job, plus you'll pay a lot more. Have you seen the quality of some of their floor tiles?

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Old July 24, 2011, 06:32 PM   #12
CaryC
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Hey, quit depressing me!
I'll report back in a few days...Lowe's is sending someone from another company to inspect and repair (and clean) our floor. Gotta hand it to Lowe's for standing behind their sales, but it would be so much better to find folks who do it right in one.

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Old August 23, 2011, 02:45 PM   #13
CaryC
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Ok, I said I would report back. It's now August 23rd. It took a while for approval to go up the food chain at Lowe's, but they did approve the high (I'm told) price tag for fixing the problem.

Today a real floor pro came out to clean the grout haze - not with an acid, but with a product called TEXSPAR PLUS http://www.leggesystems.com/p-229-te...t-cleaner.aspx,
"an environmentally friendly mixture of mineral polishing compounds, citrus extracts, and biodegradable surfactants." It worked. The pro also replaced the loose tile. But what of the mismatched grout from the earlier repair?

That's another story. The special colorant they ordered was a Keracolor product to match the existing grout, but due to the grout Boost added to the original grout, the colorant didn't penetrate. At my suggestion, they called the grout Boost manufacturer, who has recommended a different product which is supposed to penetrate and give the grout lines the consistency they now lack around the previous replaced tiles. They are going to test it before scheduling the final visit. Who knows how well the color will match, as it is from a different source, but it should be close. If it works.

Well, that's what grout Boost is supposed to do, right? Prevent other substances from penetrating and changing the color. I had told everyone that a Boost was used, and it's a pity no one thought to do the research on what would work. But I guess this product is relatively new to the market, and no one has had a lot of experience working with it.

I'm happy with the cleaning and repair so far. I am 50/50 on whether to believe there is a product which will improve the color of the grout lines, but I do have confidence in the floor pro who was hired by Lowe's this time. No word whether the first guy who caused all of the cascading problems is still a Lowe's contractor.

I am posting this as a WARNING to all who use the grout Boost that if a re-do is needed on the grout, be sure to contact the Boost manufacturer for the right product.


Last edited by Elmer Fudd; August 23, 2011 at 05:06 PM. Reason: added link
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Old August 23, 2011, 03:39 PM   #14
Kman
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Good info. Thanks.

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Old August 30, 2011, 11:06 AM   #15
CaryC
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Post Script/final word/whatever:

The Texspar Plus did such an awesome job, I don't even notice the grout color differentiation any more - so I told Lowe's they were off the hook for doing a
grout colorant treatment.

This stuff is FANTASTIC!
...and so are all you guys who chimed in to assist this (finally!) happy remodeler.

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