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Old 07-15-2005, 05:34 AM   #1
DawnMP
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Grout additive?

Hi all, first let me thank the forum for all the great advice I've gleaned from the postings here. You have already helped us plan our design and layout our pattern (and here you didn't even know it!). My husband and I are in the process of laying tile in our basement... roughly 650 sq feet. We have some experience in laying tile and it really is looking wonderful. But soon comes the painful part. The grouting! I absolutely hate grouting! More precisely I hate the cleanup of the grout. Before I get to my questions, here's a little background....

3/4" plywood subfloor over radiant hydronic heating (new construction all nice and level)

pattern: main field is diamond pattern with a 4" broken tile border and each room is bounded by one row of tiles along the wall

Tile: 12"x12" porcelain tile (made by Rondine Group) in Canyon Black
Thinset: TEC Fullflex
TEC Accucolor sanded grout polymer enhanced (3/16" spacing)

The tile has quite a rough surface and our concern is with cleanup. The last time we used a rough tile it was a nightmare to clean up! To try and minimize the scrubbing that I fear is in my future I have a few questions that I hope you can help me with.

1. We purchased TEC Acrylic Grout additive. Do you recommend using this additive in our application? (One room is a mudroom) Will the additive make the grout more difficult to clean up? Do we still need to seal the grout if we use the additive?

2. With respect to the grout "setting"... the instructions on the grout say to wait 30 min to 1 hour before you begin to wipe down the tile... I'm sure we didn't wait that long the last time we grouted... could that be why it was so difficult to clean up? We spent days scrubbing tile in our bathroom and that was a small space compared to our current project...

3. Should I just save ourselves the aggravation and hire a professional to come in and grout for us?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Maybe a step by step "How to grout- for dummies" is most appropriate...

Dawn
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Old 07-15-2005, 06:00 AM   #2
bbcamp
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Welcome, Dawn!

You probably came in just after the East Coast tilers left for work, and it's still dark on the other side, so getting a pro's response may take a while. So, stick around and be patient, help is on the way.
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Old 07-15-2005, 07:01 PM   #3
Tool Guy - Kg
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Howdy, Dawn
Keep the additive. It will help the grout stick better to the porcelain, make a stronger grout, increase its flexibility and help it make a truer color.

As far as the texture goes on that porcelain. It will be easier to clean up the grout if you apply a grout release to the tiles before grouting. It is a liquid that is spread over the surface of the tiles (keep it out of the joints!) and allowed to dry. Because it acts to sheild the tile from the grout wanting to bond to it, it cleans up easier. Most pros don't use it very often, but it has its place. And helping a nervous grouter through the project makes it worth using.

As far as how long to wait before cleaning the grout. You need to pack it in the joints and let it sit until it starts to firm up. Pay attention to the directions. A good test is to press down lightly on the grout line with the pad of your fingertip and if it mushes...its still too wet....if it holds its shape under light pressure, it is ready to clean. Tec's grouts takes longer to firm up than most other brands. You definately don't want to wait too long to clean up, because the longer you wait, the better the bond to the surface of the tile. Because of this timing difference, some experienced grouters "get on the grout" and clean Tec's grout off too soon. They are not used to the extra time they have and are afraid if they wait too long they will have a hard time cleaning up. When you get on the grout too soon, you can have problems introducing too much moisture (efflourescense problem) or washing away too much color from the grout.

And if you still have some stubborn grout to remove, there are products to help remove it. But if you follow the directions, you will be much happier than the last time you grouted!

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Last edited by Tool Guy - Kg; 07-15-2005 at 07:19 PM. Reason: fix my spelling :)
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Old 07-15-2005, 07:45 PM   #4
John Bridge
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Hi Dawn. Welcome.

I always advise to start out with very small areas until you know how the grout/tile is going to clean up. So 6 or 8 square feet, and see how it goes.
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:49 AM   #5
DawnMP
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Talking

Thanks Bob, Kurt and John... We will use the additive then, but I think using the grout release prior to grouting will be a lot of work and I'd be weary of getting it in the joints... (it's a fairly large area to cover). We plan to do a trial run of the grout on leftover tiles set on a piece of plywood to give us a handle on setting time and ease of removal before we start the real thing. Hopefully that will help.

But first we have to finish the broken tile border... it's working out quite well (although broken porcelain can be incredible sharp!!). Any suggestions on how to set the border of broken tiles on the wall? In the bathroom the border will be used on the wall behind the sink. I have considered getting some kerdi membrane stuff and mounting the bits with thinset and then putting that up... can I buy that stuff buy the foot? Is it possible to just set the broken bits in thinset on the wall and get them to stay there? (Sit, Stay!.... works for the dog...)

Thanks for the help, and I will post photos when the project is completed..

Dawn
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Old 07-20-2005, 06:03 AM   #6
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If you keep your thin set on the stiff side you should be able to apply the broken pieces to the wall. I would skim thin set on the wall ahead of time, then back-butter each little piece and smoosh it onto the wall.

You could get the Kerdi from Tile Experts, but the freight on the small amount would be more than the material.
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Old 07-20-2005, 05:05 PM   #7
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Dawn..two items...check with TEC and be sure it's ok to use admix with the grout you have..if I read you correctly, it's already modified with a dry polymer..I believe all TEC grouts are, now that I think about it..anyway, be sure to check the web site and get an ok from the tech support people..the other item..wet the tile with a sponge just before you grout...this will help spread the grout and aid in surface release when you clean up..and pay careful attention to what Kurt said..TEC takes longer then other brands to set up...too soon and you'll be sawing out the old stuff and regrouting...
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Old 07-20-2005, 05:16 PM   #8
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Dawn..I checked a few bags of TEC grout I have and it IS ok to use their admix instead of water...that may change the set up time, so watch it...sorry for the confusion before...we usually suggest people not use admix with modified thinsets, this case is different, obviously..good luck
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Old 07-20-2005, 08:42 PM   #9
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Have not used TEC grouts very often, so I'm not speaking from specific experience, but don't let the grout dry on the tile enough to harden. No reason to spend days scrubbing - git it while the gittin's good.

It is a one day experience. If you run too far ahead of yourself, it is an all week job.
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Old 07-25-2005, 04:42 AM   #10
DawnMP
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in the process...

Thanks guys, we have begun the grouting (and we are still married... so far...). The broken tile border worked out great on the wall with just thinset (thanks John) and the grouting was not as horrible as it might have been. The biggest challenge is reigning in my husband who likes to cover larger areas than I think we can clean...but so far so good. We have been using lots of clean water and most of the grout has come off the tiles. There was a little residue in some areas when I checked this morning but we'll hit that with some vinegar/water today and hopefully it'll clean up. One thing we have learned is that broken tile border uses a LOT of grout...

Invaluable resource here, can't wait to post pics of the finished product...

Cheers!
Dawn
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Old 07-25-2005, 04:49 AM   #11
Davestone
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We are currently working on a grout advice thread...but found in order for it to be complete, it is practically a novel...so we're still working on it.Even we didn't realize how in-depth grouting really is.
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