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Old 12-07-2009, 02:51 PM   #1
Russland80
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cleaning grout with sawdust

I recently saw an episode of This Old House and the tilesetter used sawdust to clean the tile after grouting. I have never heard of this and wondered if anyone has any advice, good or bad, about this method. It certainly seemed to go quicker than the sponge and water method I have been using.
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:26 PM   #2
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back when i was doing other stuff than just tile. i was also the finish carpenter. and did all the cutting of baseboards inside. the saw dust was just swept around and cleaned up all the haze on the tiles really nice.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:13 PM   #3
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Not recommended

Cleaning wet grout is different than pushing dust around a tile floor that has been grouted and washed. For one, you will have saw dust in your joints, which might flake out, and definitely does not bind to sand well. I suggest do it the normal way, rough wash, and final wash, and after you get the majority up, wait for it to dry and then wash the tile with vinegar.

This Old House is not a good reference point. Maybe watch Holme's on Homes, atleast he does it right.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:18 PM   #4
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Jeff, that's not what he's talking about. It's an old grouting method where once the grout is floated, instead of using sponges, the grout is rubbed with dry grout and burlap. Once the excess dry grout is swept away, you take medium-fine pine saw dust, dampen it down with water, and then rub it across the face of the tile. It'll clean the tile just about as good as any grout sponge.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:28 PM   #5
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I had forgotten about the old sawdust method. That is how I learned to lay tile a few decades back. When were sponges invented?
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:30 PM   #6
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really i never heard of that. my bad.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:32 PM   #7
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Although my father used to get boxes of sponges, they really weren't all that good. The first actual "grout sponges" I saw came from Groutmaster (the same guys that used to make the green wood handled grout floats for AO), and that was back around 83-84
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:34 PM   #8
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I loved the Groutmaster Floats.
I didn't like using sawdust and burlap.
I also didn't like throwing sand while using a blanket.
I would stick with a good sponge.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:40 PM   #9
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I'll tell ya-- I wouldn't want to do wire cut brick pavers with dry and sawdust, but I did thousands of feet of quarry tile with it, and alot of it didn't even have to be acid washed. One project in particular-- Aetna's home office in Hartford, Ct.-- 81, 82, and 83 we did 3 cafeterias, changing them over from marble floors to quarry tile (??????). Each cafeteria was 2 tractor trailer loads ( 11 ft per box x 27 boxes per pallet x 18 pallets per truck x 2= 10,692 square feet.....each), all grouted using dry and sawdust. That was one of the first major projects I worked on as an apprentice.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:55 PM   #10
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Years back always kept some burlap and sawdust in the truck and did it just like Bill said. Countless square feet of quarry tile.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
and that was back around 83-84
Quote:
One project in particular-- Aetna's home office in Hartford, Ct.-- 81, 82, and 83

Feeling young over here, Bill.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:27 PM   #12
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I've seen the guy I work with do it back when I was a helper for him and he did all the work but I haven't done it. It won't work with all tile types.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:34 PM   #13
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I wouldn't want to use this method with textured tiles, but I've yet to see anything else I couldn't grout with dry, burlap, and sawdust. Atleast, any horizontal surface.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:11 PM   #14
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Here's one of the old hands at using the sawdust method.

Even more rare than seeing someone use that grout cleaning method is seeing ol' Gobis with a smile on his face.

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