How do I get grout off porcelain tile? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-08-2004, 02:10 PM
Hi all - had a new bathroom added on about 2 1/2 months ago. Covered most of the sufaces (floor, shower, walls, tub deck) with italian porcelain tile. HOWEVER, the contractor did a very poor job cleaning the grout (a dark silver/grey color) off the tile, so my walls, tub deck, floor and shower have a haze, as well as grout imbedded in all of the crevices and nooks of the tile surface. The contractor left me a bottle of some sort of sealant and told me to wait 2 weeks for the grout to dry, then seal everything by liberally applying the sealant over the entire surface of the floor, walls, tub deck, shower, etc. I keep trying to scrub the grout out of the nooks and crannies, to no avail. The contractor told me to try some sort of acid (muriatic?) but I'm afraid to put that on the tile. So, I have yet to seal the tile in the bathroom, and every day I take a shower and worry!

My question(s): First, how can I get all the grout off my tiles? Scrubbing really, really hard with a scrub brush has worked on a few small places, but I'm really afraid that I'm going to scrub away some of the grout lines that are supposed to be there (or permanently scratch or damage my tile). And, second, when should I seal the grout, and what should I be using?

Thanks - any help would be much appreciated.


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03-09-2004, 08:29 PM
Hi Cheryl, Welcome :)

I apologize for the slow response. Please don't use muriatic acid. There are safer acid / detergent blends to use. Unfortunetly the grout has been on the surface a long time. This is going to make the project much more difficult. Hopefully Tim will pitch in here. TYW has some products that may due the trick.

I am most experienced with using Prosoco's Grout & Tile Cleaner, and 600 Detergent with great success.

You also are probably dealing with a grout that had a latex polymer additive. With the length of time that has passed, this is going to be hard to break down. A commercial floor buffer with a stiff brush, and a wet vac will greatly aid in this procedure.

Hang tight, and more will come to your aid.

Dog paws
03-09-2004, 08:37 PM
One home remedy you might try is 50/50 white vinegar and water. Pour some on your tile, let the solution dwell for a minute or two, then scrub. This may or may not work but it's worth a try.
Can you get the installer back out to finish his job? He should have left it clean.
I don't think you need to worry about scrubbing your porcelane, it's tough stuff.

03-10-2004, 09:06 AM
Thanks, guys - I'm planning to try the vinegar solution tonight, and will let you know. And the contractor fired the tile guy who left the mess, but pretty much doesn't have a clue what to do. He told me tough luck, this is the problem with porcelain tile! AARGH.

That's ok - he came from Service Magic, wait till he gets my scathing review.

In the mean time, assuming I get enough of the grout out of the surface nooks & crannies to be ok with it, do I need to do anything special before sealing, or can I just "paint" the stuff over the whole bathroom?

Thanks again!

03-10-2004, 06:56 PM
Hi Cheryl :)

1st order some TYW Nuetral Cleaner & Stone Armor.

Providing you get the tiles cleaned to your satisfaction, do a final cleaning with the nuetral cleaner. Let dry. Apply Stone Armor to the grout joints using a sponge. Do a section at a time. Wipe the excess sealer off the tile (Do not allow to dry on the surface of the tile). I usually wipe the entire tile with sealer, but with the porcelain, total saturation isn't necessary (as the tiles are so dense). Make sure the tiles are buffed dry with a towel as you go. ;)