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Unread 10-10-2020, 11:47 AM   #1
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Can't get grout to be even with sides of tile on edges

Hey all, grouting my first tile job and I'm having an issue. I'm using Mapei Flexcolor CQ and I just cannot get the grout to fully fill the joints and hide the sides of the tile. I can get it filled but then when using a sponge, it lightly takes out the edges of the joint next to the tile. The side of the tile is darker than the grout (warm grey color) and it shows and looks bad. I've tried just washing in circular motions and/or very lightly going across at a diagonal with a sponge and just can't get it right.

I tried a test spot with letting the grout sit for longer than recommended but it didn't help and just made the grout around the joint super hard to clean up.

Basically I'm using a float to press it in and compact it well in the joint, running the float at a higher angle to move the grout along, then cleaning it with a sponge going diagonally. I tried circular motions too but no difference.

Does anyone have any advice? Thank you.
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Unread 10-10-2020, 02:00 PM   #2
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Hi Jadis,

I appears to me that the edges of the tiles have minute chips in the glaze. The grout will always wash down a tiny bit. Maybe others have ideas.
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Unread 10-10-2020, 02:07 PM   #3
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Thanks John. You're right some of them do but I was more talking about the top edges of each tile all showing and seeing the dark line of them against the grout. Spent a lot of time today trying things out and just washing the grout as lightly as possible with no luck. Oh well, probably user error haha. I may try a second grouting tomorrow to see if it helps but I'm guessing it won't.
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Unread 10-10-2020, 03:52 PM   #4
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A technique from way back was to use burlap. Wet the sheet, slap it down flat on the surface, then keeping most of it flat on the floor, pull it across the floor from the edge at a small angle, rinsing and repeating as required.

A stiffer sponge might help.
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
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Unread 10-10-2020, 05:29 PM   #5
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Funny. I am having the same issue. I’ve used flexcolor before but didn’t seem to have this issue. It seems like no matter how dry the sponge is it pulls it out and hoenstly, it also makes a mess on the tile. I dunno. I wonder if my batch is old? For me I just chalk it up to not having enough experience, but it’s odd since I’ve used it before snd and don’t recall this issue.

I still think it is good stuff though. For me, it might be installer error

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Unread 10-10-2020, 05:39 PM   #6
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Two things helped me with this grout. The later sponges that come with it are better, but I always liked these for the field. I saved the square edged ones for corners.


They're denser and stiffer and don't dig in at edges as much. Wring them really dry for CQ.

I'd get the bulk of material off using circular motion just before it starts drying on the tile surface. Wait a bit, maybe 10 minutes and drag a well wrung microfiber cloth flat over surface, like a chamois on a car. Flip and drag other side then into rinse bucket. Half a dozen or more wrung rags in the queue. Rinse, wring, repeat.

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Unread 10-10-2020, 07:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions, maybe a stiffer sponge would help after all. Regardless, I asked my wife what she thought and she said it looked fine. Just gonna go with it at this point. Maybe one day it will bother me and I'll be motivated to add some more.
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Unread 10-10-2020, 09:23 PM   #8
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Peter’s (Carbidetooth) has got ya squared away with the how to. Those single-component grouts take a different approach compared to cementitious and epoxy grouts. They can turn out well, once you get your process down. I believe with some of the single-component grouts, the manufacturer’s allow you do to a second pass for low joints or touch-ups. Good luck!
Christopher Machado
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Unread 10-11-2020, 06:15 AM   #9
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My ardex rep gave me one of these about 5 years ago. I haven't used a round sponge since.
They last longer, like way longer than the rounds ones, making the fact they are more expensive easier to justify and the square shape is pretty handy since, well we deal in corners

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