Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile Tile Monthly Magazine

Welcome to John Bridge / Tile Your World, the friendliest DIY Forum on the Internet


Advertiser Directory
JohnBridge.com Home
Buy John Bridge's Books   Buy a TYW Shirt

Go Back   Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile > Tile & Stone Forums > Tile Forum/Advice Board

Sponsors


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-23-2011, 05:30 PM   #1
Teresa112757
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Garden City, NY
Posts: 5
My Grout in 5 bathrooms is too soft after 4 months!

Desperately seeking your advice. My tile installer used unsanded grout on the walls of 5 bathrooms in our new house. He used Super-Tek Poly Grout Plus about 4 months ago. He wasn't great about cleaning up and left spots here and there on the tile, along with a powdery residue that I've been slowly cleaning up during the construction process. In one bathroom recently I started digging grout out of the chair rail that has these small arched depressions that are not supposed to have grout in them. I've noticed that the grout is very soft. I use a little dental tool to clean the grout out of the arches. It comes out easily and powdery. It's been troubling me for some time but it wasn't till I started thinking what's this mean long term, for taking a shower??? I know he left plenty of time for the thin-set to dry before grouting.

I'm scared to death it will all have to be taken out and at this point we can't afford it! Is there anything I can try before resorting to that?
__________________
Teresa
Teresa112757 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 06-23-2011, 05:35 PM   #2
Rd Tile
Tile Man
 
Rd Tile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Long Island N.Y.
Posts: 6,891
How is the grout in the joints?
__________________
Richie.
Rd Tile is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2011, 06:07 PM   #3
Teresa112757
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Garden City, NY
Posts: 5
It's soft too. Scratches with my finger nail. A couple of times my dental tool slipped and it poked right through.
__________________
Teresa
Teresa112757 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2011, 06:46 PM   #4
Rd Tile
Tile Man
 
Rd Tile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Long Island N.Y.
Posts: 6,891
It's not soft, just wasn't packed in the joints well when applied, it's more a powdery consistency.

A dental tool will take out good grout from a small joint with unsanded.

What size ARE the joints?

Unless the grout in the joints starts flaking out on it's own, leave it alone.
__________________
Richie.
Rd Tile is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2011, 07:01 PM   #5
Teresa112757
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Garden City, NY
Posts: 5
Can't really say about the size. In the master bathroom we used crema marfil polished and the lines are very thin. In the porcelain bathrooms they're about 3/8" There is only one shower area that is rock hard and won't scrape off with my finger nail. It looks more like the sanded grout on my floors. A little rough in appearance. The other bathrooms - walls and showers - appear smooth and easily scrape.
__________________
Teresa
Teresa112757 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2011, 07:06 PM   #6
Houston Remodeler
Registered User
 
Houston Remodeler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Houston Texas
Posts: 22,522
Teresa,

It sounds like the tile guy made the grout waaaaaayy too thin (added far too much water) thus taking all the strength out of the grout. The remedy is to remove the grout at least 1/2 the depth of the tile and re-grout as described in the grouting tutorial. Have the tile guy pay special attention to Tip #4 in the first section about grout hardness.
__________________
Paul1

For when DIY isn't such a good idea...
Houston TX area Kitchen & Bath Remodeling


http://CabotAndRowe.com
Houston Remodeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2011, 07:24 AM   #7
Teresa112757
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Garden City, NY
Posts: 5
what would be the consequences of leaving it alone and sealing it?
__________________
Teresa
Teresa112757 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2011, 11:11 AM   #8
Tool Guy - Kg
Moderator -- Wisconsin Kitchen & Bath Remodeler
 
Tool Guy - Kg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oak Creek, WI
Posts: 17,448
Welcome to the forum, Teresa.

We've got some contradictory advice going on here and should back up a bit.

We must know how wide the grout lines are in each of the areas and if the grout is unsanded (smooth texture) or if the grout is sanded (rougher, sand-paper texture). Unsanded grout is meant for grout lines up to and including 1/8". Sanded grout is meant for grout lines from 1/8" up to 1/2" (depends on particular grout brand and I've not heard or used your brand before). If unsanded grout was used in gaps larger than 1/8", that's a problem.

Measure your gaps and report back. Realize that polished marble tiles have a small bevel on them. Examine some of your scrap polished marble tiles to see what I mean. Ignore the bevel when measuring so that you get the true distance from the edge of one tile to the next.

Rich is right about using a dental tool on unsanded grout. If you use the kind of metal dental pick used by dentists to clean teeth, it's pointy enough to scratch away unsanded grout without much problem. But scratching off grout with your fingernail is another story.

I see three possible things going wrong to create soft grout:
1) The first is what Paul said...the grout was mixed so soupy that it weakened the grout,
2) The grout is defective (possible, but not likely), or
3) Due to hot temperatures, direct sunlight, or a fan blowing in the room, the grout way too fast and made for weak grout. (Cement needs time to dry or you will effectively "kill" the grout's microscopic structure.)
Now, before we go too far, I'll tell you about an obscure problem/fix that we've experienced for soft grout. This isn't a cure-all and may or may not apply to you. Some folks have had success firming up their soft grout by getting the walls/grout wet, allowing to dry, then repeating this sequence 4, 5, or 6 times. This isn't some crazy scheme, but rather a suggestion from SOME of the grout manufacturers. This has been somewhat successful by some folks. But before you jump in with both feet, YOU NEED TO CALL YOUR MANUFACTURER AT THIS POINT. Find out what they say.

And realize that you have to have at least a one year warranty by either the general contractor or subcontractor (whoever you've wrote the check out to for the work). Leaving the customer with soft grout (if that's what you indeed have) isn't acceptable and would fall under an issue that needs to be addressed by the responsible party. If there indeed is a problem, it falls on their shoulders to correct the situation. This shouldn't cost you a penny to resolve this. Is there any problem contacting them?

Oh, and finally:
Because you mentioned sealing the grout within the context of this problem, I'll offer up some bit of fact that is rather widely misunderstood about sealers. Sealers are only meant to buy you time if the grout is stained with something. It's meant to help you clean off a stain that would otherwise penetrate too deep that would prevent you from cleaning it off. Sealer isn't a waterproofing or thought of to aide in keeping water away.

__________________
Tonto Goldstein….. but my friends call me Bubba


Click here to learn how you can help fight the craptacular disease of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Tool Guy - Kg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2011, 11:40 PM   #9
Tool Guy - Kg
Moderator -- Wisconsin Kitchen & Bath Remodeler
 
Tool Guy - Kg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oak Creek, WI
Posts: 17,448
Teresa, you still there?
__________________
Tonto Goldstein….. but my friends call me Bubba


Click here to learn how you can help fight the craptacular disease of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Tool Guy - Kg is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Buy John's New Book!   Tile Your World Online Store   Contractors Direct Tile Tool Store   Stonetooling.com   Tile-Assn.com


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Grout falling off after 6 months hgiljr Tile Forum/Advice Board 29 04-19-2008 07:35 AM
sanded grout...soft? teaforthetileman Tile Forum/Advice Board 4 01-27-2008 04:31 PM
Soft Grout cwyoungb Tile Forum/Advice Board 9 12-29-2006 03:35 PM
Grout too soft? aluchkovsky Tile Forum/Advice Board 12 05-07-2005 09:57 AM
grout is still soft Waxer Tile Forum/Advice Board 7 11-02-2002 04:40 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:25 AM.


Sponsors

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2009 John Bridge & Associates, LLC