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Old 04-17-2018, 12:03 PM   #1
SchluterKing
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Vacuuming Out The Grout?

Hello gang,

This is the place to go for advice, I believe it!

Here I am in my recently purchased condo in Florida, and my question is about the porcelain floor in the kitchen.

I have a German vacuum cleaner, holy cow, does it suck!!

I was vacuuming along the baseboards with my crevice tool, and followed along some of the grout lines to vacuum up some crumbs.

Wow!! I vacuumed the grout right out from between the tiles. In some cases the entire depth of the grout line. I could see China. Photo attached.

I will pick out the loose bits, as I continue vacuuming. I want to shove some new grout into the gaps; I found the bag of color matched Mapei (ugh) NON-sanded grout in the storage closet.

Please tell me I can do this without re-grouting the entire kitchen floor??

I may not like the answer, but such is the nature of tile work. Thanx.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:45 PM   #2
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Sure you can patch it.... but...

1- The new color won't match the old color because;
2- You'll rapidly figure out the grout is different colors in different sections of the floor, then
3- You'll clean the rest of the floor to no avail
4- Finish the job and not worry about it.

The question - Why is the grout coming out? What is below the tiles (layer by layer ) ?
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:58 PM   #3
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I would bet that those tiles are loose. There is a cracked tile in the upper photo

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Old 04-17-2018, 08:05 PM   #4
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Hi, Dean.

I’d use the top of a wooden broom handle to knock on a variety of tiles to assess how well (or otherwise) your tiles are bonded to the floor.

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Old 04-17-2018, 08:16 PM   #5
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Uccchhh,

I knew I wasn't going to like this.

This building is of cinderblock construction, with concrete floor underlayment.
But that doesn't mean the floor layers knew how to lay floor. Since this floor is not original, the old floor was chiseled out first; I can only imagine the surface that they pookied these tile to.

Yes. yes. there are a few tiles with a clearly hollow sound underneath.

Okay, that was the bad news, I was hoping to hear some good news, like there is a way to inject the grout into the joint so that it actually supports the tile.

Give me some good news. I beg of you.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:22 PM   #6
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Hey Shady,

Yes the cracked tile looks like someone dropped something on it a while back. There is gouge in the tile that they filled in with grout. I'll live with it for now.

Hi Tonto,

I did that this afternoon, yes, there are some tiles with hollow sounds, clearly not bonded well. If I can easily get them out, there is hope and I'll re-pookie those tiles, otherwise, I need a good idea. I'm getting too old for spending the day on my knees.

UPDATE: I tried to pry out the tile, and it ain't budging. I'm not going to pull it out. I'll mix up some grout and stuff it in there. That's the extent of it.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:31 PM   #7
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The good news is consider your labor cheap and a hammer and chisel might work. The other good news is a demo hammer and 1.5" bit is cheap if you go to the china store.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:03 PM   #8
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I wouldn’t grout so fast. That grout you found in the closet is almost certainly expired. Once a bag of grout is opened, it absorbs moisture from the air and slooooooooooowly fires off. Within a month of opening the bag, most grout is “dead”. You need a replacement bag.

But first...the tiles that are hollow sounding. If they’re bad, then the thing to do is use a grout saw to cut the grout out from the perimeter of the tile to assist in its removal. Any tile(s) that are so loose as to allow the adjacent grout to come out *has* to get replaced if you want the repair job to be permanent. Once the tile is out, the mortar remaining on the floor can be cleaned off with a lot of elbow grease with a “rub brick” and scraper and chisels. A carbide rasp outfitted on an oscillating tool (like a Fein Multimaster or one of its competitors) will make the job fairly easy. Once the substrate is clean, a new tile can be set.

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Old 04-22-2018, 01:15 PM   #9
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UPDATE:

Being unemployed for 2-1/2 years, I sometimes awaken from my stupor with a little bit of ambition, but not enough to be replacing tiles.

Today, I broke out the vacuum cleaner again, and sucked up some more loose grout. Loose in the sense that it's not cracked or crumbled, but rather just laying there inconspicuously at the top of the grout line, just enough to cover; and with the crevice tool it gets sucked right up.

Bright side: don't need a grout saw!

Thank you Tonto, again. Of course I''ll be buying fresh grout. AND... instead of water, I'll mix it with the milk.

But I am not re-placing tiles. I don't have that kind of ambition any more.
This sums it up.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:27 PM   #10
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I dont know how many times I have heard someone explain a loose or cracked tile by "oh someone was dropped on it etc" I have dropped some of the most ridiculous things on tiles (covered by painters see through tarp), 8lbs sledgehammer, 3.5 lbs diamond point chisel, even a grinder with a diamond coated blade and no cover. Yes, I did end up with indentations in the tiles, but the worst damage to the tile were chipped corners. It is incredible how resilient porcelian tiles are when the thinset underneath has sufficient coverage.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchluterKing
...But I am not re-placing tiles. I don't have that kind of ambition any more.
This sums it up.
As long as you know the repair is only temporary, you won’t be disappointed or surprised down the road when it cracks.
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Old 04-26-2018, 09:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
It is incredible how resilient porcelian tiles are when the thinset underneath has sufficient coverage.
No doubt, I agree with you.
However, this is a CBS constructed building in South Florida.
The sub-floor is concrete, and the original tile were stuck to the sub-floor in 1979. This newer floor was probably done by a DIY'er or some fly-by-night flea bag.

God Bless all of you, I only want to understand the situation that we're in here...

I'm not making excuses, but I am gonna try and make sense of this.

Three years ago, three years before I bought this place, the tiles were replaced. Someone had to chisel out the original tiles, exposing a substrate that resembled a ruffles potato chip; which needed to be leveled before new tile were glued down.

I'm thinking either the floor was not leveled, or the flea bag did a lousy job buttering and setting the tiles, OR BOTH!!

Either way, there are areas of grout that just didn't penetrate the grout line all the way down and can be vacuumed out clean, a few cracked tiles, and hollow sounds when tapping on some tiles. So, to fix this according to a standard of theoretical perfection, the entire floor needs to be ripped out and done right.

God Bless all of you, I value your insights, but I haven't reached a point of insanity just yet. But, I am slowly getting there.
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Old 04-26-2018, 09:50 AM   #13
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You wanted good news earlier, there is another good news: you own a great vacuum cleaner!
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Old 04-27-2018, 01:33 PM   #14
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Question Can I mix a small amount of grout by hand?

QUESTION:

I used to mix up my grout with an electric drill and a grout beater, in a 5 gallon bucket. But at the moment, I don't need a lot of grout, may be enough to make a pizza.

Can I mix a small amount of grout by hand? Or is that not violent enough to get the right consistency?
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:42 PM   #15
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Yes, absolutely. Will you use a margin trowel, or the grout float, or something else to mix?

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