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Unread 04-29-2022, 01:39 PM   #1
Axxel
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Will alkaline cleaner strip solvent based grout sealer?

Applied 511 to new polyblend sanded grout 1yr ago and am having floors deep cleaned with an alkaline steam clean. Anyone know if this should strip the old sealer? I would like to reapply waterbased since it's in the kitchen and living room rather than shower. My understanding is waterbased surface protection is better for grime that the dog tracks in. Not sure it will adhere properly though.

Thank you
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Unread 04-29-2022, 11:27 PM   #2
jadnashua
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Most of the sealers get absorbed...try just putting some water on the grout in an area and see if it's absorbed. If it beads up, probably won't work.
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Unread 04-29-2022, 11:56 PM   #3
Tool Guy - Kg
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Interesting.

Alkaline products degrade sealers unquestionably. Will it completely strip away the old sealer? No, not likely. Your current sealer works by soaking into the surface and below the surface. So, it’s difficult to remove.

But let’s pause there for a second. Many times when folks ask about stripping sealers, they are interested in going from an impregnating sealer (this is the type of sealer that soaks in and, after it dries, does not alter the original look of the tile or grout) to an enhancing sealer (this is the type of sealer that tries to permanently enhance/enrich/darken the tile and/or grout as though it’s wet).…or they want to go from an enhancing sealer to an impregnating sealer. In both of these cases, it would be critical to remove 100% of the old sealer or the results would look splotchy, rather than homogeneous. This is extremely difficult to do.

Your 511 sealer is an impregnating sealer. If your new water-based sealer is also an impregnating sealer, you may not really need to remove all the old sealer. In fact, there are some chemists that will say that you can put one on top of the other, provided that the old sealer is completely cured. But I wouldn’t be overly quick to jump on that before studying what products you’re working with because they might be incompatible. Yes, this is confusing. This exact topic of sealers on top of other sealers is likely to produce different answers depending on who you talk to. It’s also one of the big reasons that most folks and most technical service folks will say that you ought to pick one type of sealer and stick with that from now on.

But let’s get back to your notion that water-based sealers will help protect from what the dogs are dragging in. I’ve never heard that. Can I ask what you read or heard that made you think that?

In general, oil based sealers are thought to protect tile and grout better because the oil molecules are physically smaller than those of water molecules and can thereby act as a carrier to take the solids (the part doing the pore clogging) deeper into the tile and/or grout and provide better protection. But these days, chemists can alter the surface tension of water and get them to penetrate as deep as oil.

Your Miracle 511 sealer is a rather high-quality sealer compared to most others. Unless you’re considering DryTreat (top product I’ve ever known), I don’t think you’ll be happy switching to this other water-based sealer.

Can I ask how often you clean the floors and what your methods are? I ask because sealers are one of the more misunderstood products in the tile industry. Based off my experiences and interactions of the last 30 years, I’d estimate that a majority of the folks that sell sealers in their store think that sealers prevent stains…or that they somehow keep the surfaces cleaner. I’d much rather the bottle be labeled “if you use this product, you’ve got 10 minutes to clean a spill before it becomes a stain”. But the marketing folks would object due to the drop in sales they’d experience, eh? But that’s the function of most sealers…to buy you a few minutes before the potential liquid stain has a chance to sink into the pores below the surface. If the wet liquid dries before penetrating into the surface, it’s just surface dirt that isn’t difficult to clean.

If you really need to upgrade, I’d look into DryTreat.

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Unread 04-30-2022, 08:08 AM   #4
Axxel
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Quote:
Most of the sealers get absorbed...try just putting some water on the grout in an area and see if it's absorbed. If it beads up, probably won't work.
So pooling means surface isn't sealed, but small beading does? Fwiw, RE the waterbase I wanted to use was either stonetech buttletproof or aqua sealer gold.
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Unread 04-30-2022, 08:13 AM   #5
Axxel
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Quote:
But let’s get back to your notion that water-based sealers will help protect from what the dogs are dragging in. I’ve never heard that. Can I ask what you read or heard that made you think that?
Um, online somewhere haha. Read that removing surface dirt is easier when a waterbased sealer was used and that solv based are better for wet areas??? Idk.

Quote:
Can I ask how often you clean the floors and what your methods are?
Not enough, maybe monthly with just an old school cut end mop. Now that we are having them professionally deep cleaned, I want to stay on top of it better.

Also, was thinking of using the stonetech bulletproof or aqua sealers choice gold. Perhaps best to stick with 511? How many coats should I use and how can we avoid getting it on the carpet? Last time I used it, we had it on our shoes.

Thank you so much for the thorough reply
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Unread 04-30-2022, 05:49 PM   #6
Tool Guy - Kg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axxel
So pooling means surface isn't sealed, but small beading does? Fwiw, RE the waterbase I wanted to use was either stonetech buttletproof or aqua sealer gold.
It's doubtful that water will actually bead up on your sealer that is a year old. Even on properly sealed surfaces, that only occurs for a relatively short time after first sealing. If it's still sealed, you can test by putting a few drops of water on the grout for 10 minutes, then wipe it dry. If the grout has darkened, it's not effectively sealed. If the grout stays the same color, it's still doing its job.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Axxel
Um, online somewhere haha. Read that removing surface dirt is easier when a waterbased sealer was used and that solv based are better for wet areas??? Idk...

...Also, was thinking of using the stonetech bulletproof or aqua sealers choice gold. Perhaps best to stick with 511?
I think that what you read was well meaning by someone, but it wasn't based on real facts. Your 511 is in the exact same category as the Bulletproof and Sealers Choice Gold. Only DryTreat would be a step above. Actually, a few steps above.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Axxel
How many coats should I use and how can we avoid getting it on the carpet? Last time I used it, we had it on our shoes.
1-3 coats. Apply the sealer with a 3' wide foam brush in-line with the grouts so that very little gets on the tile (unless you have a tile that benefits from sealing). Dip the brush only 1/2" into the sealer, then mush the brush on the side of the bucket you have the sealer in to remove the excess from the brush. You can use a wide drywall taping knife shoved between the tile and the carpet so it doesn't get wet. You should only spread an area that you can reach without stepping on it. So, like an area 3' from your knees outward....and perhaps 6' wide. You want to let the sealer dwell for about 5-7 minutes, and it's extremely important that you use a clean, white rag to completely polish 100% of the excess dry before it dries on it's own. If it dries on its own, it will leave a visible residue that you'll need to re-wet with the sealer to scrub it off. Adjust the area you spread when you get a feel for how much you can get to without the stuff drying on you. And continuously work backwards. Even though you are polishing the stuff dry, I never step over my work....I keep working sideways and backwards out of a room (as though I'm painting a floor) and take extreme care to avoid stepping on the groutlines if I must walk over the floor. After an hour, feel free to walk on anything you like because it'll be bone dry by then. You'll know you have enough sealer coats applied on when you can put a few drops of water on the grout for 10 minutes and wipe if off without it turning darker.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Axxel
Not enough, maybe monthly with just an old school cut end mop. Now that we are having them professionally deep cleaned, I want to stay on top of it better.
To be frank, mopping is the the least effective method of cleaning because it carries the dirt from the surface of the tile to the grout lines where it dries. It makes the grout dirtier each time you clean. What you'd ideally do is hit it with a neutral-based cleaner on a regular basis (depends on how fast the floor is being soiled) and allow it to dwell for 5 minutes, then agitate it with a brush (where the dirt will be suspended in the cleaner), then wet-vac the dirty mess away before the dirt is re-deposited. This type of routine cleaning is too much work for most folks, so some people will use a Swiffer or Swiffer-like brand of flat floor wipes to clean the floor....these pads are super flat and are only damp...they grab light-duty dirt into the pad and they don't reach down into the slightly recessed grout lines where they could potentially transfer dirt to them. Your mileage may vary on this method depending on the amount of dirt and how much the grout lines are being soiled. I'd suggest doing something to track off the dirt from the dog paws on the path into the house to help, but I know dogs can be rambunctious and might not be exactly effective. Once in a while, you can do a more intensive clean using the same process of wetting, brushing, wet-vac, then rinse with water, and vac again, but using a high-alkaline cleaner that'll more effectively get the tougher dirt out. But the high-alkaline cleaner (most high-alkaline tile cleaning products have something like 'heavy duty tile and grout cleaner' printed on them) has a habit of degrading the sealer where it would need re-application. I personally only use sealer in the areas really exposed to potential stains that I intend to clean up after spilling....like on a kitchen floor near the food prep area....or a kitchen backsplash by the stove. I don't use sealer all over the place because I know it's limitations.


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