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Unread 10-03-2019, 12:35 PM   #1
hilarys
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Discoloration/moisture spots on saltillo after install

Hi, I installed Lincoln tiles a few weeks ago and after a few days "spots" began to appear. The installer set the tiles over a fresh layer of concrete so I assume these are moisture spots. However, after he cleaned them with an acid wash, they are not going away. Does anyone have any recommendations for how to remove these?

ETA: I've done a bit more research and it seems that a good scrubbing with diluted ammonia might do the trick. If there are other suggestions, I'd love to have them or any ideas on how this happened. My installer is hinting that the spots add to the rustic look (eye roll).
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Last edited by hilarys; 10-03-2019 at 01:29 PM. Reason: additional info
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Unread 10-03-2019, 06:50 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Those are porous tiles. It’s very like moisture. Totally normal and is likely to dry out over the next few weeks.

Not sure why acid was used. Acid won’t do anything to the content of moisture. But I hope the acid wasn’t too harsh and caused damage or is continuing to cause damage. Can you tell us which acid was used and how it was applied?

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Unread 10-04-2019, 10:33 AM   #3
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They've been in for a month and the spots didn't go away. There are also some dark areas, almost like some sort of mold (?) that wasn't there when the tiles first went in. Could it still be moisture?

He used 2% acid, then tried CLR and some sort of Rustoleum cleaner, none of which worked. I'll pick up some ammonia this weekend to try. Any other suggestions?
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Unread 10-04-2019, 10:47 AM   #4
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2% acid? Please elaborate.

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Unread 10-04-2019, 10:50 AM   #5
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Sorry, I think that's all he said! It was in the context of not wanting to try something too strong.
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Unread 10-04-2019, 11:06 AM   #6
Tool Guy - Kg
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Exactly. I’m fearful that at least three of the chemicals already tried are harming the tile. How are the chemicals being applied? And how are they being rinsed away? And is it to a tiny little test area? Or over multiple tiles?

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Unread 10-10-2019, 05:40 AM   #7
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Looks like a brown stain has been applied to the tiles. Are these tiles already stained and sealed before installation or was that done after it was installed?

Are the spots in any kind of pattern that might indicate that someone walked thru dripping something? Or, are the spots at random, here and there?

Years ago when we use to install tons of Saltillo, we would always warn folks about dripping milk products. I was told that the fat in the milk would leave spots. Don't know if that's the case here.
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Unread 10-10-2019, 01:05 PM   #8
hilarys
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Tiles were not stained and sealed prior to installation. Nothing was dripped. They spots are random but on almost every tile and started appearing a few days after installation. The tiles were soaked in water prior to installation and then installed on very wet, thick cement.

I've now been told that they should not have been soaked and water is the enemy. One opinion was that there is some sort of rust or residue coming off of the deposits that are naturally in the tiles and it won't go away. I'm guessing they sat around wet for too long after installation between the pre-soak and very wet cement.

They look somewhat better after the cleaning that's taken place, but not enough to apply sealer. Nobody I've talked to seems to think they can clean them so I'm stuck trying some other solutions.
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Unread 10-14-2019, 05:55 AM   #9
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Back when we installed a lot of Saltillo we would always soak them in a large tub. The reason to soak them was to get enough moisture in the tiles to grout. Dry Saltillo dries the grout so fast that it turns to powder within a few seconds. Soaking the tiles allows the grout to dry slow enough to spread and wash the grout. Efflorescence would usually appear after 7-10 days and the tile and grout was usually washed with a mild acid wash and rinsed well. It was then allowed to dry another 7-10 days before a stain and sealer was applied. I'm not saying this is the only or best way to install them, It's just how I was taught.

In later years some of the Saltillo were sold pre-sealed and would be installed without soaking.

You called them Lincoln tiles which I assume would be Lincoln Tecate tiles. What we always called Tecate tiles were clay tiles very similar to Saltillo. Of course some people had other names like Terra Cotta tiles.
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