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Unread 07-06-2006, 06:00 AM   #1
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Arrow Mortar in my grout joints

Greetings all;

I recently layed down tile in our kitchen. I am about to grout it but have a question before I proceed. When tiling, some of the mortar would squeeze up through the joints between tiles. I would wipe this out with my finger. On some of the tiles though the mortar in the joints is not very far below the surface plane of the tile, maybe only a 1/16th of an inch in the worst places. The mortar is white and I am planning on grouting with a sort of beige color (Mapei's Harvest is the color's name). What I am worried about is that in places where the mortar isnt very far from the surface that the grout will not sufficiently cover it and white mortar will show through or that not having enough grout in the joints will cause problems with the durability of the tile job.

Am I right to worry? Can anything be done about it now that the mortar has set?

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Unread 07-06-2006, 06:11 AM   #2
Dave Taylor
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Howdy Dan...

Your right to worry.

Gotta clean that thinset outta them joints b4 grouting..... or the grout won't stay put...... at least about 2/3 to 3/4 down from the tops of the tiles.

If the thinset you used was modified.... and it has not set for more than a week or so..... a sharp utility knife and a bunch of blades should cut the thinset out without too much trouble.

Don't chip yer tiles or cut yourself while doing this. Control that blade.

Hope this helps.
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Unread 07-06-2006, 06:12 AM   #3
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Hi Dan. You need to dig most of that mortar out, taking it down to about 2/3rds the tile depth seems to be a good rule of thumb. And pay particular attention to the very top edge of the tiles as well. Generally this cleanup rather easy to do the day after the tiles are laid. Get's harder of course with each passing day.

A variety of tools can be used. Tell us a little more about this project. What tile type are you using, spacing, thin set mortar type, and how many days ago were they laid?

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Unread 07-06-2006, 07:41 AM   #4
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white under light-colored? Not a big deal.

1/16th of an inch ! That is not much volume to allow to the new layer of grout to enable it to stck together to itself. Could be very weak there.

White thinset, white mortar? That is not a problem, but an advantage, seems to me. Light-colored grout? Fantastic combination! Don't overworry it. My opinion.

Still, let the grout have some room to fall down into and be grout. My opinion.
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Unread 07-06-2006, 07:48 AM   #5
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Hi Dan,

I agree with all the other gents, cut it out.

BTW, If you have electric heating under the tiles, cut very gingerly.

hope this helps,
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Unread 07-06-2006, 09:30 AM   #6
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Good tool to have...

In the future, get a tuck pointer (ie: joint filler) with a narrow blade - it is just the thing to have when you find squished-up thinset between tiles. It can get right in there and clean it out before it sets which is a lot less work than digging it out when dry.

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Unread 07-06-2006, 09:36 AM   #7
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If you have a cut-off tool and air compressor, or roto-zip, you could grind it out if your spacing is wide enought, I've done that before. I've also used a flat head screwdrvier which ended up turning into an ice-pick when I finished. Just don't rub your tiles too much or the metal will rub into them. And use a cut-off tool or roto-zip carefully so you don't hit your tile!!!

Use this method only is the thinset is so hard nothing else is conveinent.
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Unread 07-06-2006, 08:04 PM   #8
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Pete, right there with ya buddy. I love my tuck pointers, and they say they're for masons.

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Unread 07-06-2006, 08:29 PM   #9
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I use a cbu scoring tool when i have that problem. You have to be real careful of the tile edges though. Utility knife works too. With either tool don't slip and go across the tile. You'll leave a nice mark you won't be able to get out.
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Unread 07-06-2006, 09:01 PM   #10
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Thanks for the help. I am glad I thought to ask here before going ahead and grouting. I guess I will be cutting out mortar tomorrow. I used TEC's Superflex and the tile is porcelain - some closeout thing at Lowes. I did the tile over the past four days so I hope the first ones I laid arent too hard. I will be sure to let you all know if I have any problems I may need advice on
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