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Unread 10-08-2004, 08:22 PM   #1
Murray
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Looking For Ideas On A Faster Way On Restoring A Bad Job

I'm hoping to get some good ideas from you veteran tile setters. ;-)

Okay . . . I took on a job to refurbish a floor (1800 sf). The tile was installed correctly, but the grouters must have smeared the entire floor before washing???? Either out of inexperience or to hide the obvious grout joint difference??

Right now I am using a razor knife to cut the grout joint to separate the joint from the tile . . . where it needs to be. After doing that, I'm washing it with a dilute solution of muriatic acid to further remove the haze and leftover grout buildup.

Just wondering if there is a faster or better way to go about this?

Last edited by Murray; 10-09-2004 at 03:53 PM.
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Unread 10-08-2004, 09:05 PM   #2
Bill Vincent
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Murray, If for no other reason, just because of the shear size of this job, I don't think there's any easy way to do it, without harming the glaze on the tile. From the sound of it, I'm assuming you're saying the grout joints are overfull?
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Unread 10-08-2004, 09:26 PM   #3
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First off, thanks for replying Bill.

Four edges per tile x 1800 sf is a lot of edges. I've been in the business for 10 years and have never seen a grout job this bad before. The grout is actually overflowing the joints and spilling out onto the surface of the tile. I've used muriatic acid before for haze, but calling this "haze" would be an understatement. I guess it's just wishful thinking.

I should buy some stock in the razor blade industry . . .
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Unread 10-08-2004, 10:00 PM   #4
Bill Vincent
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Murray-- I've told a story in here a few times about finding out about the dangers of muriatic acid fumes the hard way, and the situation that caused that was exactly the situation you find yourself in now. It's no fun, and even now, some 20 years later, I don't see any easy fix other than ripping it all up and doing it again, and I KNOW you don't want to do that. I think the first thing that should be done is to fire that whole grouting crew, no questions asked.
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Unread 10-09-2004, 03:16 AM   #5
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Murray,

Put away the muratic acid.

How old is the grout installation?

What type of tile?

I'll check back this PM, all you may need to do is flood the floor and use a white pad on a buffer with another person behind you sucking up the slurry with a shop vac.

Then wash teh floor with a neutral ph cleaner.

but.... 1st some details.
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Unread 10-09-2004, 05:55 AM   #6
tileguytodd
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Add some silica sand to the floor.keep sprinking it on ahead of the buffer.

The other option is a Power Washer.These can only be used rarely though like pool area's and some commercial buildings with block walls etc.
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Unread 10-09-2004, 03:46 PM   #7
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This is a residential job on a custom home built about a year ago. The builder cut corners just about everywhere possible and then some.

This current project includes the installation of a backsplash and to "repair" the entire floor to an aesthetically pleasing product as possible . . . without demo.

The customer is in the process of suing the builder and has yet to obtain specs on anything in the house. The only information that I have on the tile is that it is an "Italian glazed ceramic tile". The original tilesetter installed the tile in what appears to be the three tile, broken-joint pattern.

I removed all the grout necessary to attain an even joint. This was done by cutting the joint where I wanted it and scratching the majority of the overflow off the tile's surface. I then tested a small area to ensure the muriatic acid solution would not destroy the glaze (not trusting that the builder purchased a quality tile). The muriatic acid solution worked as expected. As such, I applied the muriatic acid solution with a scrub brush in 4'x4' sections. After scrubbing, the solution was removed with a sponge, and then with a final wash to ensure all was removed from the floor. This method is working . . . but it has taken two days (20 hours) to do two rooms, totalling 600 sf. A little slowgoing in my opinion.

I am turning to y'all for advise I have not otherwise found. Please let me know if there is any other information you think I could obtain, noting the situation with the builder.

Thanks, Murray.

Last edited by Murray; 10-09-2004 at 04:00 PM.
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Unread 10-09-2004, 04:22 PM   #8
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Murray-- make sure you have any bright metal in any of the adjacent areas covered. You need to think about more than just the liquid acid getting on things. You know that story I referred to earlier? Well, here it is.

Back when I was an apprentice, we did the corporate headquarters for Echlin Industries in Branford, Connecticut. The lobby consisted of about 3000 sq. ft. of AO primative series 8x8's, and when this job was done, it was at a time when ALL tile floors got acid baths. Period. So cleaning the floor well after grouting wasn't a big concern. Unfortunately, the grouting crew my father had on this particular job took that to a whole new level. The whole job had been buffed in by hand with burlap and dry grout, and then they never touched it with a sponge or sawdust, afterward. The result was that the grout joints were all overfilled, and there was an inordinate amount of grout left on the face of the tile. In some instances, you couldn't even SEE the face of the tile. So my father sent me in there on a saturday morning, with a buffing machine, a brush pad for it, and a 15 gallon carbouy of acid, and told me he didn't care if I had to mix it 1:1-- get the tile clean. Before I started, I went all around where I was going to be cleaning. Covered all the window frames with petroleum jelly, as well as the brass drains in the floor, door handles, and any other finishes that could get ruined, and set to work. I ended up only having to go to a 2:1 solution (2 water to 1 acid), and I got it clean, but boy did it stink, even with all the doors open. Well, I left there pretty proud of myself that I'd just saved an abortion...... till the following monday morning. I was up in Hartford (about an hour's drive away) on a job when my father called the super's office and left a message for me to get my butt down to Branford. Well, when I got there, about 50 yards away from where I'd been working, was what STARTED out as a nice new shiny stainless drinking fountain. It was now a pretty orange. The fumes had traveled that distance and permanently ruined it. That was over 1600.00 that came out of my pay check over the next couple of months.

I still don't see any other way than what you're doing, but I URGE you to take EVERY precaution you can, especially being that the home is occupied.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 06:50 AM   #9
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I heard a car dealership up north had a handyman come in and clean thier small showroom tile floor.
He used muriatic.
The dealership owner Had asked if they needed to move the 2 cars in the showroom seeing as there were always there and the tile and grout wasnt dirty underneath them.The handyman said no he could go around them.
The story goes he used a 50 /50 mix of muriatic and Water and hand scrubbed the small showroom overnight.
Guess what happened to the 2 Caddys on the showroom floor
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Unread 10-10-2004, 01:49 PM   #10
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Oh, MAN!! I'm sure glad I ain't him!!
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Unread 10-10-2004, 04:25 PM   #11
doitright
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Hi Murray

STOP using the muriatic acid.!

With difficult projects like this I call the Prosoco technical assistance department at 800-255-4255, and get advice for the proper products.

Sometimes as Steven suggested a buffer and pad may work. Sometimes a detergent (acid based) with a pad or brush may do the trick. Quit taking chances and do it right! Obviously, other peoples hides are on the line, don't let your's be added.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:04 PM   #12
Murray
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Those are some bad horror stories. However, the muriatic acid/water ratio the men in all the stories use are a lot higher than the ratio required for the floor I am working on now. I am using close to a 50:1 ratio. When I learned to use muriatic acid, I also learned the dangers of it. It is undoubtedly a very powerful substance that should always be heavily diluted . . . not 50/50 or 2:1. That's asinine. I am awstruck that anyone would use muriatic acid in such a concentrated manner such as the case in these stories. Hey, I have an idea . . . why not just pour it straight underneath the car and swish it around a bit? LOL

I appreciate your replies and hope you don't think I am being derrogatory towards y'all. I just don't want y'all thinking I would even think about using any type of acid without the proper training beforehand. I'll just keep going along the floor as I have been doing. It's working, it's just a lot of tedious work.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:09 PM   #13
Bill Vincent
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Murray, granted, my story was extreme, but the point I'm trying to make is not. It's very real and commonplace. Even in highly diluted concentrations, muriatic fumes can cause some real damage.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:49 PM   #14
Murray
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I just want to make sure you all know that my main concern is the uniformity of the grout joint. The amount of grout/haze left on the tile is minute.

Below is a before and an after picture of the floor.
Attached Images
  

Last edited by Murray; 10-10-2004 at 10:58 PM.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 11:00 PM   #15
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OK, so which is which, Murray?


Difficult to believe a professional tile mechanic would leave something like that. Gotta be more to that story.
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