Cleaning up after construction [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

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DebMel
05-07-2005, 05:56 PM
Hello! Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me.

We just had a bathroom tiled. After the contractors installed the shower door and other fixtures, there is a layer of white "dust" on the tile border that is very difficult to get off. I don't think it is grout haze because the contractor didn't grout the whole border - he only grouted where the six inch pieces meet each other. I wish that my contractor had covered the tile border with plastic during all his installation related drilling because I think that it would have kept the "dust" from getting into this border. The border has a raised stone-like surface full of nooks and cranies and is very difficult to clean.

I tried cleaning the border with water and then a terry cloth dry towel but it still has this whitish powdery cast to it. I don't know what product to use. The problem is that I'm not really sure if the border is stone or porcelain. I even get mixed opinions from the tile store from which I bought it. It has a rough surface but I don't know if its porcelain or stone. They told me it had to be sealed with a sealer-impregnator before the tile was installed. I did that.

What can I use to clean it? And do I need to seal it again?

I wanted to post a picture of it but I have a MAC computer and the photo editing software suggested on this forum that I would need is for Windows not MAC.

Thanks for helping me!

Debbie

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claycarson
05-07-2005, 06:14 PM
Debbie -
Assuming you are right and that it's not grout haze, dust and grit are indeed a pain in the neck to get out of crevices.

Try doing this - dampen the surface with water, use a nylon bristle brush to suspend the soil in the water (a mild alkaline meant for general purpose cleaning will help a bit) and as soon as it is loosened, use a wetvac to vacuum up the water/slurry paste you create. Then dry it and check it and do it again if needed.

DebMel
05-07-2005, 09:08 PM
Clay, thank you for answering. I will try that.

I'm assuming it is not grout haze because the contractor told me he only grouted the border seams . . . but I can't be sure. If it is grout haze what might be good to use on a stone border? I heard that vinegar or acid might dissolve the stone itself.

Debbie

jgleason
05-08-2005, 05:16 AM
Hi Debbie,

I'm not a Mac user so I can't provide much direct help for you in working with your computer. There is a great open-source (free) graphics package called "GIMP", there is a version available for the Macintosh. Here's a link - GIMP for the Mac (http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/)

DebMel
05-09-2005, 03:39 AM
Try doing this - dampen the surface with water, use a nylon bristle brush to suspend the soil in the water (a mild alkaline meant for general purpose cleaning will help a bit) and as soon as it is loosened, use a wetvac to vacuum up the water/slurry paste you create. Then dry it and check it and do it again if needed.

I tried this and it helped - and some of the white powder came off. The tile still has a bit of that white powdery look, though. I will try again. Thanks for the help.

Debbie

DebMel
05-09-2005, 03:47 AM
There is a great open-source (free) graphics package called "GIMP", there is a version available for the Macintosh. Here's a link - GIMP for the Mac (http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/)

Joe, thanks for the info. I checked out the link to this site. I am not that savvy with the computer and the installation looks a little mind boggling to me. I will try to get a friend who is more technical to help me with installing this. Then maybe I can post pictures. Thanks.

Debbie

JerryL
05-09-2005, 04:27 AM
The tile store doesn't know what they sold you but they know it has to be sealed? :crazy: I'm wondering if, your tile is impervious stone or porcelain, the haze could be dried sealer that was not absorbed by the tile. Maybe some of the others here would know for sure.

Jerry

LouS
05-09-2005, 07:01 AM
Debbie,

As long as the photo editing software that you're using allows you to save a photo as a *.jpg file you should be able to upload it to the forum without a problem. I don't know if I could walk you through it, because I'm not familiar with the current Mac-in-Toy programs. [Now I'm gonna hear it from all of the graphic artists out there!!]

I'm leaning towards Jerry's idea on the mysterious haze on your tile. Dried sealer is a PITA to get off. I've been cleaning my etched stone listellos with straight vinegar as I grout. Then, I use clean water to wipe it down. The stone has not dissolved, nor has it been affected any other way by the vinegar. I'm not the expert on this topic, but maybe someone will be able to give you a better answer if you post a photo. [How could the tile store not know if it's porcelain or stone? Sounds fishy.]

1floor@smithsys.net
05-09-2005, 12:29 PM
could this be one of those resin molded decos?

the fact that the store that sold it to you does not know what it is scares me. you should show them this thread. that is unprofessional.

jdm
05-09-2005, 07:45 PM
For the record, vinegar might not noticibly affect honed, tumbled or etched stones. But vinegar will damage the finish of some highly polished stones like marble or travertine pretty quickly. The acid leaves an etched finish behind.

DebMel
05-09-2005, 09:28 PM
The tile store doesn't know what they sold you but they know it has to be sealed? :crazy: I'm wondering if, your tile is impervious stone or porcelain, the haze could be dried sealer that was not absorbed by the tile. Maybe some of the others here would know for sure.

Jerry

Jerry, I know this sounds crazy but the tile store told me that they thought it was a mixture of porcelain and something else, probably a man made material. It does look porous so they said it should be sealed. Even though I didn't get a very straight answer - I really liked the tile so I went with it.

As far as the haze being dried sealer . . . I could be wrong but I don't think it is. My installer sealed the borders before he put them on the wall. They looked fine (a drop darker but looked good) after they were sealed. And they looked good when my tiler put them on the wall. After he grouted is when I noticed the whitish cast. He said he only grouted between the joints and I believe him but I think with all the construction going on including a lot of tile cutting, that a white dusty powder settled in the crevices of the tile. Anyway, I got rid of a lot of it but there is still some of that whiteness and I'd like the border tiles to look as clean as it did when it went in.

Debbie

DebMel
05-09-2005, 09:42 PM
maybe someone will be able to give you a better answer if you post a photo. [How could the tile store not know if it's porcelain or stone? Sounds fishy.]

I agree with you it sounds fishy - maybe a picture will make it easier to identify

Lou, a colleague of mine is going to help me install photo software tomorrow so I can post a picture. I tried to go to different websites to find and install software for photo editing for MAC but I am clueless with this stuff. It should be soon that I will have a picture for you guys. Thank you all for your responses.

Debbie

Ron
05-09-2005, 10:39 PM
Sounds to me that those decorative borders are cast (stone dust and polyester resins...they do look much like travertine)not carved or chiselled from real stone.And the residue is probably from the tilesetter's sponge when grouting.I would try straight white vinegar and scrubbing and rinsing.If that doesn't work,then maybe a sulfamic acid in crystal form(HD has sulfamic acid crystals).Just keep the acid solution away from the grout and marble sills,if any.Apply it only to the affected areas and rinse it soon.It shouldn't affect the cast borders...just don't overdo it. :)

Oh,and once they are dry,good idea to seal them with an impregnator/sealer.Wipe on,wipe off.

DebMel
05-13-2005, 09:43 PM
Ron,

Now that you mention it, the tile store salesman did say that the border was a "cast". I was getting ready to post you pictures - got software loaded, got the pictures loaded, got them resized - and then, guess what? - my monitor on my laptop died! I am using another computer that doesn't belong to me now. Besides that, today the sheriff of my town served me with papers that I am going to be on grand jury for 5 months (Once a week) and the court house is 2 hours driving distance from my home. It hasn't been a good day - Friday the 13th - but who's superstitious? Well, anyway, I am going to try the vinegar and get you some pictures soon. And thanks again for all your help!

Deb