Need to Remove Sealer/Enhancer [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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10-14-2009, 06:55 AM
Hello my friends in the tile world, I come to you today with a bit of a quandary

I finished a 12’x12’ kitchen floor and sealed with an enhancer/sealer. Unfortunately despite my testing in an inconspicuous area, the results came out VERY blotchy. We are not happy with the results and would like to remove the sealer/enhancer in favor of Polyblend grout renew to give things an even color and reseal.

I know the sealer was absorbed into the porous grout. What would be the best cleaner to use to remove as much of the new sealer as possible? Will the polyblend stick to the newly sealed grout once the sealer is removed? Will it stick to sealed grout (I don’t think so)

Right now the toss up is between a sulfamic cleaner and the heavy duty acidic cleaner sold at the Home Depot.

Also, we have a big dog, will she scrape the grout renew from the grout or will this stuff stand up to the punishment?

Thanks in advance as a proper solution is needed to boost the ol ego and keep things flowing well.


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10-14-2009, 06:15 PM
Need a little more info, did you just seal the grout, or the tile, or is this stone?Do you have the sealer container so you can call their hotline and find out what they recommend as a stripper?I can't give you more info cause i don't know what you've got.but enhancers are very difficult if not impossible to strip,so a regrout may be necessary,and if you want tough use epoxy grout.

10-14-2009, 09:27 PM
Hi Joe. Answers to Dave's questions would be helpful. For now i am going to assume that you are talking only about the grout and it is a ceramic or porcelain floor.

The Renew will not stick well to the sealed grout. You will need to remove at least the top layer of sealer to get the renew to stick properly. This can be done with the appropriate stripper as perscribed by the manufacturer of the sealer. If it is aquamix sealer, use the aquamix sealing and coating remover to remove the enrich and seal. This may also work for most sealers as well.

Once the sealer is removed enough that the grout changes color when wet, you can proceed with the grout colorant process. You will need to clean all the grout lines with an acidic cleaner just prior to applying the colorant. This will prep the grout by opening the pores to accept the color sealer. After the acid wash, rinse the floor with clean water and start coloring. Have fun! If this is your first time to color grout, be prepared to take your time. Our colorseal team, using professional quality sealer, only gets about 250sf per man per hour done after becoming proficient. You can expect to do a lot less than that, so set aside a good bit of time if you decide to do it yourself.

Be sure to get the excess off the tile as soon as you can. If you don't have a floor buffer, it will be important to keep it clean as you go. :tup2: Oh yeah, don't forget the knee roller or at least knee pads!!!!!!

10-15-2009, 07:42 AM
Hi Steve. How silly of me to leave out the most important facts….

This is a ceramic floor. The sealer/enhancer was bought at Home Depot, I believe the brand was TileLab, it came in a spray bottle and cost $31ea (!?)

From what I gathered by reading online and calling tilelab (although the rep was QUITE rude) I came up with this:

The plan is to use TileLab Heavy-duty cleaner and stripper. Full strength. Apply liberally and let it sit for 5-10min (is that OK time). Scrub with a nylon brush, towel up and sponge down. If I see that the grout is taking water, I can then apply sulfamic acid, brush, towel up and sponge down. Let sit for 48hrs then apply Polyblend Grout Renew.

That sounds good to me, do you agree? So as far as applying the colorant, application time is not an issue. The bottle mentions wipe as I go. Am I wiping the excess off the tile only or am I wiping the joint also like a stain? My plan was to get a paint brush the width of the joint and apply the material thin and even. This will minimize the junk on the tile although I am figuring wiping only the tile will be hard as its difficult to be precise. My only issue is that I will be applying it Sunday early afternoon and the cabinets are being in installed Monday morning. I will be covering the tiles with masonite for the most part but is this enough dry time or should I loose more sleep over this?

Thank you for your reply


10-15-2009, 09:39 AM
Sounds like a good plan. I don't think you need to wait 48 hours after the acid cleaning. You would be ok to apply the sealer after the standing water has dried. Give it maybe 2-3 hours to dry out then go ahead with the colorant.

For applying, i would recommend a firm toothbrush vs a paint brush. The toothbrush will press it into the grout better. Just run a very small bead of sealer in the grout line holding the bottle at an angle (really small, this is where most problems come from) then use your brush to spread the sealer. Press down and draw or push the brush in a smooth motion across the grout. Back and forth strokes are not necessary. If you are getting a lot of sealer coming out of the grout lines onto the tile, you are applying too much with the bottle. It is amazing how little colorant you need. After running the brush down the line, use a slightly damp shammy, folded and held tightly to wipe over the grout line. Keep the towel tight and press on each side of the grout line, not on the line itself. This will remove the excess from the tile. If you are wiping a lot out of the grout line, adjust your drying time. Wait a little longer to wipe the next line. If you wipe it out of the line, just go over it again with what you have on your brush. Keep your shammy clean by rinsing often and flipping it over to the clean side.

After you are finished, you will have a haze on the tile, this needs to be removed. Use a slightly damp mop, and go over the entire surface. Then using a cotton towel, buff the entire surface. Similar to what you do when cleaning grout haze from the tile. But don't use a sponge. If you have one available, you can use a floor machine with a white pad instead of mopping and towel buffing.

No worries with the guys on the floor next day. It will be ready for normal traffic in about an hour. Keep the dog from scratching the lines for at least 24 hours. If she does scratch it out, just redo that area. Keep up with your bottle for touch ups.

10-15-2009, 11:35 AM
Alright Steve, I have the concept, now I just have to go at it. No problem on the tooth brush, ill take that advice. Regarding the wiping, ill obviously start where a cabinet will be and perfect the technique there for the exposed areas.

Last question, is one coat sufficient, or should I apply 2?

Steve et al. thank you for your time and advice. I sincerely appreciate the effort you put into your response for this tiling NUBIE

Ill let you know how it comes out!


10-15-2009, 11:38 AM
One coat should be fine unless there is a dramatic difference is color from the original.

I've used the polyblend (when i had to have epoxy based colorant). It works well. I don't prefer it to my usual brand, but for the DIYer it's good enough and one coat usually covers.

don't forget to take pictures!!!

10-16-2009, 08:34 AM
Morning all, though I would give an update…

Yesterday we stripped the floor with the tilelab heavy duty floor stripper. That stuff is nasty. I used it full strength as the bottle suggested. As it sat, you could see it loosen up the sealer and allow water to penetrate the grout. It sat for a total of about 15 minutes a section and when I was done scrubbing and rinsing, the grout uniformly deepened suggesting it is now ready to accept a new top coat. We followed up with a sulfamic acid bath to etch the grout. Followed by a complete rinse and buffing with a towel.

One thing I wanted to check with you guys was that the floor still showed slight signed of being sealed, i.e. water would bead. This was after the acid bath. I am just assuming this is due to the grout being completely saturated at the time and some sealer remaining in the lower levels of the grout. Am I at a good point to reseal/dye with the renew?

Thanks again

This is a picture of how disgustingly uneven the grout was before stripping. *Sigh
(for the record, that’s mortar on the wood and not an uneven cut)

10-16-2009, 11:02 AM
Joe, as long as you only have small spots that still repel water, you are good to go. The stripping and acid wash should have left you with a good open surface for the colorant to grab on to.

10-22-2009, 04:34 AM
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11-03-2009, 03:49 PM
Figured id update you guys with the progress of my project.

I stripped and sulfamic washed the floor. It removed the stripped and left nice clean grout that absorbed water- ready for color.

The Polyblend went on nice and easy. I used a tooth brush to really work it into the grout as recommended. I let it sit maybe 10 minutes then began wiping it up. It came right off the tiles but the tricky bits were right at the grout line. The tile has a slightly rough edge, i guess from the manufacturing process. Working the dye out of the little nooks was very time consuming but completely worth it in the end as the finial result looks amazing, perfectly even- looks like it should have looked in the 1st place! BTW, with 200 sq feet, i barely used more than 1/2 a bottle.... great stuff! Seems to be pretty tough as the big dog has not left any claw marks in the grout, and spills seem to wipe right up!

I thank you guys for all your help, backsplash install next week- still do not know the material they are going to choose. Im sure i will turn to you guys for advice once again (after searching, of course)

Here is an after picture of the grout then a whole floor shot. Not bad for my 1st time laying a floor.

11-03-2009, 04:50 PM
That looks awesome.:tup2:

11-04-2009, 07:17 PM
Great job Joe. You look like an official colorsealer now!