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Unread 10-17-2009, 12:43 PM   #1
firstmoon
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Big Dark Mess!

Hello, thank you in advance for offering help with our tile situation!

We bought beautiful honed grey limestone tiles, they were installed very nicely. The trouble came after the charcoal grey (unsanded) grout was put in and the natural stone sealer was applied. We now have blotchy grey-ish black swirls, clouds and even dark shoe marks everywhere! We called our tile guys back, they took some materials back with them to work on a solution.
As anyone undergone such a scenario? If so, what is the best solution?
I assume the underlying cause is that the tiles were not cleaned up properly of the dark grout wash before the sealant was applied?
Please help!
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Unread 10-17-2009, 01:45 PM   #2
cx
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Welcome, firstmoon. Please put a first name in your permanent signature line for us to use.

Those most likely to help will need some specifics.

What grout was used?

What sealer was used?

How long between grouting and sealing?

How long ago was the sealer applied?
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Unread 10-17-2009, 01:57 PM   #3
Davestone
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Yes, all the questions above.But in general for fixing this you are looking at stripping the sealer, washing the stone to get the grout haze off then reapplying the sealer.Check the sealer manuf for stripping instructions.
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Unread 10-17-2009, 02:11 PM   #4
firstmoon
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Yes, as I mentioned in my initial posting, they used non-sanded grout, then a "Dupont" brand natural stone sealer.
They grouted and then sealed all the tiles within a couple of hours, so I don't think there was too long of a wait before they applied the final seal.
The sealant was applied about 26 hours ago.
When I try to wipe the tiles, the rag comes out all black!
Thanks so much - any guidance would be greatly appreciated!
Ayca.
aka. Firstmoon.
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Unread 10-17-2009, 02:27 PM   #5
Davestone
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No way they shoulda grouted and sealed the same day.You need to find out from the bottle or manuf what is needed to strip it,it needs to be stripped, cleaned,wait a couple days then sealed.
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Unread 10-17-2009, 02:46 PM   #6
doitright
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Hi Ayca, Welcome!

I think honing the floor is going to be the best option.
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Unread 10-17-2009, 02:55 PM   #7
firstmoon
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Thank you for pointing me in the right direction(s) ! I will check both options; although honing sounds a lot easier - hopefully the crew that messed it up has the right equipment and/or some serious elbow grease!

Hard to believe such beautiful stone can be made to look so horrible...
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Unread 10-17-2009, 04:48 PM   #8
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fixing your limestone tile install

Limestone is a very soft stone. If your tile guys used a solvent based sealer right after grouting the chances are high that that colour has been delivered right through the stone.

If your guys used a water based sealer you might strip it off with sealer stripper and then you may be able to use a grout haze remover to clean of the haze and restart.

I would do a few test before anyone touches your finished floor.

Get a couple of tiles cut them into 4 and set and grout. Wipe grout and seal right away to mimmick your instal and start the experiments.

Good Luck.
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Unread 10-18-2009, 07:51 AM   #9
firstmoon
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Wink

Thank you all for your recommendations...i have some hope since the sealant was water based. I will report back...fingers (and toes) crossed!
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Unread 10-20-2009, 09:19 AM   #10
firstmoon
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Fixed one problem; which led to another

Our tile contractors came back to try and fix the haze problem; now it appears in some areas that they may have damaged our tiles in an effort to get some of the hazing out. There are areas where the tiles are now white (from using an abrasive) I am running out of patience!
Would this be repairable or do you all think that I need to have them switch out the tiles?

I tried to attach the pics... is there any hope?
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Unread 10-20-2009, 03:23 PM   #11
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That's kinda what i was afraid of with honing.Does the stone feel rough to the touch? Ask them what they used.Did they have any machines,hand polishers, or a buffer?Looks etched to me.Did they say they were finished?My guess is they will try to put an enhancing sealer over that,don't let them if it feels rough it needs to be honed before sealing.
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Unread 10-20-2009, 06:21 PM   #12
firstmoon
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It appears to have been buffed out - I am guessing that they took off layers with more abrasion at first, then used finer (wet?) sand paper to even it out.
I felt it and it isn't rough at all & that a layer of sealant will help the rest.
What can I say; it looks much better than before, so for that we are thankful.
Hats off to anyone that does this for a living; it is tedious work and I am guessing a lot of trial and error to master the skill.

One last question... what is the best sealant out there that will work on honed limestone? We will wait a little while before sealing it!

Thank you all for your guidance!
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Unread 10-20-2009, 06:38 PM   #13
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It really should be evened out.What i would do is use 800 euro hone and a tampico brush on a buffer and get the hone to look even, then use an enhancing sealer.I never say one sealer is best myself everyone has their own opinions, but i like most major brands,Miracle,Dupont, Aquamix,but i prefer solvent base enhancers over water based.But since you probably have residual sealer on their i would use the same sealer you used beforejust don't use so much, use a it on a rag sparingly, and dry the surface off after a few minutes.
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Unread 10-20-2009, 06:55 PM   #14
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first of all, get rid of the tile guys and ask them not to come back.

they couldnt figure out a solution so they went ahead and experimented with your floor anyway?



if you notice the large amount of dark areas where they sanded or whatever, thats called "picture framing". the installation is sub-par, and now you have uneven tiles.

the FASTEST way to get this done? grind the floor in place, even it out and bring it to a hone.

this is the fastest way because it is a sure thing, no more experimenting. it is the most expensive way, but at this point I feel it is necessary because the tile guys already started sanding, exposing low areas. if it is not ground flat, those low areas will have to be done indiviually by hand. a honing powder alone is very unlikely to have a sufficient cutting ability.

the stone should have been sealed first, THEN grouted, of course any seasoned tile guy would have recognized this.

the charcoal grout bleeds into everything severely including your skin. the black water soaked into the stone carrying the pigment into the pores. THEN they sealed it. guess what? it needs mechanical refinishing and quite a bit at that.

you see the swirls because that is whats left from the factory finishing process. they dont show up unless you highlight them with something like dirty water from black grout.
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Unread 10-20-2009, 11:40 PM   #15
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From the last pictures there, I seriously doubt your crew had any of the skills required for a natural stone install and I am hoping that at least your floor is built to support your choice of limestone.

Besides them not having any idea on how to work with the material, how and with what did they set the tile? What was on the subfloor?

Your pictures might be misleading, but it seems like you have some serious lippage (and missing grout?!) going on too.

I second Cam's suggestion - don't let them back through your door
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