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Old 06-04-2009, 07:09 PM   #1
coachhunter
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restaurant grout repairs

Hi everyone,
I have a tile and grout cleaning business, fairly new at it and on occasion I'm asked to replace tiles and repair grout of course. I have a good size regional restaurant chain that has major issues in their back kitchens. They have water splashing from wash tubs, steamers etc that is causing tiles to loosen and grout erode. What I'm wondering about is what anyone could suggest to use as the best kind of grout for this. Should I try a hydrophobic, epoxy or what? I'm seeing all types but I could use some advice obviously. Do I just use a regular grout and put a good quality sealer on it? And of course I'm trying to figure out how to price this. They are wanting a total price and not an hourly type situation. Any advice would really be appreciated.
Tks. Rick
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Last edited by coachhunter; 06-04-2009 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:15 PM   #2
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Put a name in your sig for us.Water won't hurt grout, the tile has other movement problems underneath,better get educated real fast on the site here about these problems.This sounds like a redo, rather than a patch.My experience has been greasy restaurants can be a reeeeal pain if you don't know how to prep them for a tile install.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:28 PM   #3
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yeah a regrout with a greasy quarry tile is a doomed failure.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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added pictures now.

Dave, tks, that's prob good advice about a redo. But of course I only have 6-7 hours a night and they, at this point, sure don't want to redo the whole floor...(the floor is 4 years old)
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:39 PM   #5
RevBubba
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I currently work for a small chain of restaurants who are doing so well that they headhunted me from my own contracting business - now I work directly for them.

We have dealt with a lot of kitchen floor failures. Usually quarry tile. Most likely, the culprit is the daily cleaning crew's method of floor cleaning, combined with a lack of grout maintenance. See, most nightly cleaning crews just dump buckets of hot water on the kitchen floor and mop it around. This kind of saturation is fine if the grout is in great shape and well-sealed - but once the grout maintenance (i.e. regular cleaning & sealing) goes undone for too long, the grout actually erodes and the daily mop water (and the grease it's carrying) seeps around and under the tiles and never fully dries out. This causes loose tiles, or even subfloor damage in some cases. In my experience, once the floor is allowed to get this bad, you're looking at a total rip-up and redo. Usually, patch repairs are a band-aid at best, and a waste of time & money at worst.

Personally, I believe epoxy grout would beef up the new installation enough to hold up for a long time - but since I am not a pro tile mechanic, I'd suggest listening closely to the pro's advice.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:45 PM   #6
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True,tile takes a beating in restaurants,from the grease, water and carts,deliveries and such, once a crack forms it's done,and you don't get called until it's a mess.I meant a redo in whatever area you are in, i am all too familiar with tight restaurant types.I typically remove said tiles, and use my pressure extractor and a commercial degreaser to clean the area, then i reinstall with latex thinset and rapidset to make it harden in two hours, i then use a rapidset in the sanded grout, and bam you're out in under six hours.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:46 PM   #7
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Tks Bubba

Bubba,

That's a big help in me telling the GM that there's bigger issues here and your explanation fits this to a T. I appreciate the view about epoxy too.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:48 PM   #8
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Tks Dave

Ah Dave, tks! I understand and that's great guidance. Do you have particular brands you recommend? I hate to ask but again, this much work with a wet base is new to me.
tks
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:50 PM   #9
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I'm not very particular myself, whatever they have at the tile stores, i use Shoreline,here in Fl.Don't be afraid to clean the slab a couple times, i like to use an electric leaf blower or fan to dry it and check for grease before i start settin,or even do a little scarifying if i need to.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:02 PM   #10
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Tks Dave. I have used fans and even my floor dryer to make sure the surface area is dry. I'm looking at Hydroment Sanded Tile Grout. Have you ever used that brand by chance?
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:14 PM   #11
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man that floor is a mess.
I see old AO Sure-Step with some Dal Sure-Tread mixed in and a bullnose too...lol

water gets under the quarry and it all slowly start coming up.

Hydroment is a good grout
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:14 AM   #12
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Restaurant repairs give me nightmares. It's one of the nastiest places to do work in. Besides a poultry plant.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:12 AM   #13
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I do a lot of tile repairs in restaurants.

I would carefully check the connecting tiles to make sure that they are solid, I usually remove all tile connecting to the damaged ones to make sure that the new work is protected. To often the managers just want to replace whats missing or damaged, when 6 months later they calling saying my tile failed.

I would stay with an epoxy, after the restaurant reopens you will never get a chance to seal there will be a greasy film in the grout. The biggest threat to your work will be the staff, there is no way to get them not to use the drains.

feel free to call me if you have any questions
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:48 AM   #14
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tks John

Thanks John. I am planning on having to take out surrounding tiles just to make sure that I have tried to cover the whole problem area. I appreciate your offer to call. I may take you up on that today.
tks again
Rick
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:21 PM   #15
SABoyt
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WOW Rick, the description you game me on the phone the other day of that floor didn't make me think it was that bad. That tile is a wreck! At least you have gotten some great advice from these guys. I knew you would.

Good luck with it.

You guys talk about sealing the grout in kitchens like this but i have not seen any sealers that will stand up to daily cleaning with degreasers (hi alkalines). The degreaser is basically a stripper so sealing the grout with most sealers is a waste of time, isn't it?
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