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Old 03-22-2010, 12:48 PM   #1
emilyardore
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Grout Height "Industry Standard" and near flush height possibility?

I'm a home builder/remodeler. I have a great tile subcontractor that I have worked with for several years that does great work and I trust their judgement and industry knowledge.

I have a kitchen remodel that my tile sub installed 18"x18" porcelain floors into just this past week. It looks great...to me... My client has issues with it. There are a few tiles that have corners that are nominally higher than the adjacent tiles. She marked about 20 of these. I marked about 5 that I would say were with in reason to be replaced. I think we are ok on that issue.

The grout looks great to me as well. The tile has very little to a non-existant micro-beveled edge...it's almost completely flat and square at the edges. The grout is installed at what I would consider a normal level below the height of the tile.....about 1/16" or so, with a variation of about 1/32" one way or the other in the height of grout fill.

This is evidently too low for my client. She would love to have it flush or very very very close to it....how much closer can we get? My tile sub doesn't think they can get any closer and from another thread I read here, it sounds like the only way to get any closer to flush is with a sand or powder application that is certainly not the norm and I'm guessing more labor and material intensive. If that's what needs to be done to make my client happy and LOVE her floors, then I will, but I also don't think this is a "standard" that should have been expected. So, what is "insdustry standard" for grout height? Can it get close to flush with out some sand/powder method?

Her original floors were installed in 1985ish...they had wider grout lines and I'm pretty sure the 12x12 tiles were a soft "pillow" to the edge like many of the beautiful '80's tiles were.... She believes that the grout in the original tile was almost completely flush so 1.) We should be able to replicate that easily and 2.) We should have seen that and repeated with this new tile installation and since we didn't we should pay to have it re-done.

Any help here is greatly appreciated. I would love a great solution to get her the near flush grout she wants at a cost that is nominal to us and the tile contractor so we can all be happy, but...we'll see...

Thanks!!
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:10 PM   #2
bbcamp
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I'm moving this to the Pro's Hangout. Done.

First off, what kind of contract do you have with the client? What does it say about the grout?

Who picked the grout and tile? Was there any discussions prior to installation?

What kind of tile are they? Size, edge treatment? Grout line spacing?

What type is the grout? Sanded cement based, epoxy based, etc?

I'm sure the pro's will ask more questions, but these will get them started.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:03 PM   #3
Dave Gobis
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The standard is flush with the top of square edge or edge of the bevel.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:22 PM   #4
jondon
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grout

Dave how can it be flush with the top edge of a square tile since it always settles. When your grouting and you have to wipe away the excess are you able to have your grout flush, I just don't see how thats possible or maybe I am missing something here.

Emily,

Have you considered grouting it a second time to try and make the customer happy, I think this is a option since the grout will ahere to itself as long as it hasn't been sealed yet
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:38 PM   #5
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I can see it being flush with a bevel but flush with a rectified edge especially if you were using epoxy.

Even grouting Travertine and hitting it with a floor buffer after, I have never seen grout absolutely 100% flush by any installer (and we had a lot) that was 100% flush. Maybe after someone came in and ground the floor could it be truly 100% monolithic but not any other way.

If that's the case then 99% of every rectified tile floor out there is an aesthetic failure.

I don't doubt that this floor has some low grout spots as I see many with rectified tile though. I just guarantee that I could go around to 99% of rectified floors with a straight edge device and see the grout slightly lower than the tile.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:41 PM   #6
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I pose the question again, how can you wipe away excess grout from the tile and not take some of it away? There is the standard and then there is reality.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:46 PM   #7
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Technically you can't but I say you can and you must so fix it. I'm just here to tell you how it is supposed to be. Whether it can be done or not is not my problem.

I'll wager $100 bucks I can go on any of these jobs and find grout that is not 100% flush with the rectified tile edge. I don't care if Cisco did it.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:24 PM   #8
tilelayer
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I am attaching a little paint picture, lets say this is a zoom on a rectified tile, some of them are cut like this they have a micro bevel like marble. Which edge should the grout be flush with the blue or red arrow?
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:26 PM   #9
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I think Dave means flush with the tile edges, but grout will dip across the joint. It won't remain flat; it'll be cupped. Either that, or I'll say the "standard" is unrealistic.

Hi Emily.

I didn't know there was an industry standard.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:29 PM   #10
ceramictec
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blue !

if your using porcelain tile your grout probably isnt going to stain it or stick to it so you can leave it sit on longer and firm up in the joint. use less water in your sponge to achieve a higher flush joint.

this is acceptable to me, anything else your washing out your joint chasing the drying grout with a wet sponge.

Name:  grout joint flush.JPG
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Name:  Cushioned Edge Grout Joint.JPG
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:33 PM   #11
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I say as flush as possible with the red arrow. The grout anchors in the joint and goes flush to the top (as much as possible).

And yes, that picture Brian posted, the joints are too washed out IMO.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:35 PM   #12
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red arrow wont work on a micro bevel and the grout will flake off over time being so thin.
I have seen is so many times with the Florida hacks they run polished porcelain or marble near butt joint and run the grout up onto the micro bevel. doesn't last long.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:37 PM   #13
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It would be flush with the bevel, the blue arrow. All in the technique. I rarely have a problem grouting flush as long as the grout sets up stiff before cleaning. As John mentioned, not necessarily perfectly flat. Did it for years in the field, demonstrated it for years for years at CTEF. I can make them convex if you like, just give me some burlap. Jump on the grout too soon and they will always be concave. Epoxy is a different story. As there is no choice other than using a sponge, they will most always be concave.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:37 PM   #14
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My question would be, why would you want the grout to be flush with the tile. Grout is a filler, it is not a ware surface. Over time the grout would ware away especially in high traffic areas.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:45 PM   #15
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Blue line, but even then it will "sag" into that joint a bit as it dries and will not be perfectly flat.

Emily, It sounds that you have one of my least favorite kinds of clients, the ones with little technical knowledge of tile installation, coupled with unrealistic expectations. No you should not of been expected to grout pecfectly flush to the face of the tile, nor should slight variances in grout height over the entire floor be considered "faulty"

Even on tile lippage, small amounts are to be expected on a normal install, unless you are paying extra for a medium bed job or to have the tile setter use the Tuscan Leveling System. Especially on 18" tiles were tile warpage can cause lippage.
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