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Unread 08-09-2019, 09:38 AM   #1
Margaret Murray
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 3
Restoring terracotta mosaic tiles

Hi there,
I feel like I'm close to finishing this renovation of a former patio-turned-kitchen floor, but have a few questions. The pics attached Name:  IMG_0806.jpg
Views: 110
Size:  52.3 KBshow the type of tile, the amount of grout in between, and the variations in the cement throughout the floor.

I've never had a problem with efflorescence on this tile before, but it may be that it's now showing because I've cleaned it so deeply and am now down to bare cement. Name:  Tile Pic 2.jpg
Views: 89
Size:  52.3 KB
The house was built in the 50s and I think this tile was installed then, as well. It's a cement block house with a crawl space underneath and I live in humid Florida.
I've done the water drop test and it just sits there, so I'm assuming this tile is somehow sealed.
Here's the cleaning process so far:
1. Used Grout Sensation first, which cleaned the majority of the grout.
2. Used Greased Lightning next on high traffic areas and near the stove and oven
3. Used 50/50 vinegar and water to clean the tile and grout, hoping that would remove the whitish areas.

My questions are:
1. Are these white areas efflorescence or simply discolored cement?
2. Should I keep cleaning with vinegar or is there a non-acidic commercial solution available? How long should I wait or how many applications should I expect to do before it's resolved?
3. To get the grout to a somewhat even color, is there an option beyond hand painting the grout? I've got some grout renew, but am nervous about leaving it on long enough to penetrate the grout because I'm so nervous that it's going to stain the tile. Any sort of wipe-on/quick acting grout refresher that won't stain the tile?
4. I'm usually all for the natural, old-fashioned way of doing things, but I'm worried about the upkeep involved if I go the linseed oil/beeswax route. But I'm thinking that might be an easy way to even out the cement color by tinting the linseed oil blend a tiny bit. Between the different porosity of the two surfaces (grout and tile), I think it might look good. Am I thinking rationally in that regard or no?

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Unread 08-09-2019, 01:37 PM   #2
John Bridge
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Location: Rosanky, Texas
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Hi Margaret,

So I guess the black areas are the original color of the grout?

I would curtail the vinegar treatment. Scratch the surface of the grout with an old screwdriver or something else sharp in order to see what's under the surface. See if you find black grout. We'll go from there.
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Unread 08-09-2019, 03:11 PM   #3
Margaret Murray
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 3

Hi there, John!
Thanks for giving me permission to stop the vinegar, although I have become used to the smell after three days of cleaning with it

The areas where it looks like black grout are really dirt and grime that has mostly been cleaned away. The lighter gray areas are what the original grout, for lack of a better word, is. It looks like cement to me, and it's pretty flush with the tile.
Thank you!
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Unread 08-09-2019, 03:37 PM   #4
Margaret Murray
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Join Date: Aug 2019
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Before and after pics

Here are some images that give a broader view of the tile and what it currently looks like.

Name:  Tile before.jpg
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Size:  122.2 KB

Name:  tile after.jpg
Views: 78
Size:  140.9 KB
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