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Unread 03-21-2019, 06:16 AM   #61
ss3964spd
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I'll simply echo all that Jim said regarding applying and cleaning Spectralock, his instructions are really spot on. The most important aspect is using minimum water (actually, water with their cleaning powder mixed in). You'll really want to squeeze as much water out of the sponge and scrubby pad as you can, and rinse them often.

What I found is after completing the first two cleanings with the sponge I when back over it, within 24 hours, with a vinegar and water mix and the scrubby sponge, and a clean towel. This completely removed the remaining film from the tile.

As to cleaning the grout lines I mostly used a razor blade utility knife. It doe a good job of cleaning grout off the edges of the tile and makes pretty quick work of the rest of the build up, with little change of chipping as tile. I also used a 1/8" grout saw specifically designed to remove grout. Just be sure to keep it parallel to the tile edges.
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Unread 03-21-2019, 11:55 AM   #62
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Is it okay to use a grout release before working with Spectralock? I still have some thinset haze on the floor which is not coming off with soap and water, so as long as that isn't a problem right now, maybe I can get more of it off during the first and final wash of the Spectralock? The fellow at the supplier suggested grout release as a way to prevent a "whoops" if I leave the epoxy on too long.
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Unread 03-21-2019, 02:40 PM   #63
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If it's only thinset haze, wipe it with a clean rag. If it's still on the tiles, I'd scrub it off and let it dry out before grouting.
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Unread 03-21-2019, 05:11 PM   #64
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A cheaper cleaner for the tile before you grout is plain white vinegar diluted with water. Rinse well when done. Once cement has cured, it is no longer water soluble. The acid dissolves the calcium in the cement and what's left is the aggregate (sand, etc.). If it's not a strong bond, a microfiber cloth tends to buff the tile. That works a lot of the time, but the longer you wait, the stronger the bond, and you may need some help. The first day or so, the bond to the tile is really weak, so buffing usually works.
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Unread 03-21-2019, 09:03 PM   #65
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With such small joints, it's okay to leave out a little bit of part C (the powder) if you think it needs to be a thinner mix. If you cool part A and B like Jim mentioned, it will make it thicker which makes it harder to mix.

The haze is a problem on some textures more than others. A couple weeks ago we used black Specktralock on black polished granite and it was a breeze. Included with the Specktralock is small packets of powder that you add to the wash water. This helps with the cleanup.
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Unread 03-21-2019, 09:27 PM   #66
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Cooling it can help if you want to take a break. They said you could adjust the color a bit but I don't remember the amount allowed. You might just want to call them.

As you get the hang of it, you'll be faster, but initially, use some of the tricks to give yourself a little more time.
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Unread 03-21-2019, 10:39 PM   #67
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Unfortunately this thinset is 5 or 6 days old. I offered to clean it up on day 1 but the tiler asked me not to worry about it. So, now I have really tough mortar. One of the last things he told me was that he would have been able to complete all the grouting in one hour, even with epoxy, and so I know now his intention was to simply grout over the mess he made rather than clean it up properly.

Today I spent around 6 hours using a grout saw and grout chisel taking out the highest spots of thinset buildup in the grout lines. I now have a minimum of 50% depth available for grout, with 75%+ in most areas. That means between 5mm and 8mm depth for grout, which I think is within reason. My arm is aching from all the work. About 50% of the plastic spacers are just pressed too deep into the mortar to retrieve them without risk of breaking wall tile or simply failing to get them out at all. I have removed all the spacers that come above the 50% depth mark of the tile.

After all that was done, I took a break and then came back with a warm water and soap mixture to try to clean up some more of the thinset haze which seems tough to defeat. This was my second full wash in two days, and this time I attacked it with a scubby too. I scrubbed so much that I destroyed the scrubby and probably my rotator cuff as well.

Unfortunately now that it is drying I see pretty much all the same thinset haze still present, so I think I need to go with stronger stuff. This results in a couple of questions:

1) Do I go after the thinset haze with vinegar now or do I proceed to grouting and hope that the washing power included with the kit will be strong enough to kill the thinset haze too?

2) I have seen some folks describe using pure vinegar for the job rather than mixing it down with water. Given the mortar is nearly a week old at this point, do I go pure vinegar?
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Unread 03-22-2019, 05:36 AM   #68
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He must have really left a mess on the tiles. I would get the tiles clean first. I wouldn't want to be washing chunks of thinset with my grout water and possibly getting it in my fresh grout.

I wouldn't flood the joints with straight vinegar but you can wipe the surface with it, then rinse with clean water.

So he's going to grout it all in one hour. I once ran into a guy at a tile shop that was looking for a job. He said he had experience and that he could grout a tub surround in 7 minutes. I told him I wasn't looking for someone that fast. I learned a long time ago to take a reasonable amount of time to do the best job you can. When someone comes in and looks at your work, they won't care how fast you did the job, only about how good it looks and how good the quality is.
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Unread 03-22-2019, 09:42 AM   #69
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Late last night I applied pure vinegar to the thinset marks. Unfortunately it seems only to have had minimal effect. This thinset is somewhere between 4 and 7 days old at this point.

I've attached a photo of one of the worst spots left. It is not possible to feel any mortar - this is just haze, so scraping is no longer an option. And this is after pure vinegar set for 5 minutes before rinsing with water, so that's about the limit of that particular solution, I think.

So, I think I have three options left (though I welcome other thoughts);

1) Someone suggested baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

2) I could purchase grout haze remover (which apparently works on thinset too?)

3) Proceed with the grouting and hope the wash powder takes up the thinset haze as well. I note for this option that there are no more thinset globs on the floor anywhere and the grout lines are as clean as they're going to get.

Any thoughts?
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Unread 03-22-2019, 01:37 PM   #70
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Hey, I think I'm onto something for this thinset haze.

After failing the first time with vinegar, I adjusted my technique. This time around I put a good amount of vinegar onto the porcelain tile and spread it around with some even light scubbing with a nylon scubby. Not enough to get lots down into the grout lines, though some did get down there, but enough that it leaves a nice shiny coat on top.

Then I waited 10 minutes.

Upon returning, I brought the same scrubby and a bucket of clean water with a rag inside. I poured more vinegar into the scrubby and really went to work on the tile, scrubbing hard in circular motions. Then upon completion I used the rag to wash with water and ensure that tile was as vinegar-free as possible.

Upon drying it appears that 95% of the haze is now gone! Since this test was quite successful I am now going to use it on the whole floor and see if I can duplicate those results.

Bonus feature: This also makes grout chiseling the excess mortar a bit easier too, so whenever a bit spilled into the grout lines I chiseled a bit more mortar for a deeper grout line.

Maybe I'll get a chance to put down the Spectralock on the floor as early as tonight after all?
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Unread 03-23-2019, 06:18 AM   #71
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Glad you've made some progress cleaning, Kevin, but as has been said don't start grouting until the tile is completely devoid of haze. Don't rush it, you be much happier with the results.
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Unread 03-23-2019, 10:24 AM   #72
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I just wanted to mention that the modified vinegar solution did, in fact, get the tiles 99%+ free of haze, and so I have moved along to the next steps of masking of the installed baseboard around the perimeter (installed because it was vital for the installation of the plastic beadboard, which itself was vital for establishing the opening row of wall tile).

I'm going to try to grout the floor today, and have portioned out this Full Spectralock kit into minis. For the floor, I'm just going to put down 2 minis at the same time (half a Full kit). Since it's 1/8th groutlines and a 40 sqft area, I think this is within my ability.

For the walls, given it is closer to 80 sqft and involves bevelled tile and 1/16th grout lines, I'll divide that down into 2 minis, meaning two wall surfaces each time (outside walls x 2, then back wall and ceiling).

Here goes nothing!
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Unread 03-23-2019, 03:14 PM   #73
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Grouting of the floor is complete.

Overall, it looks pretty good. I did 2 minis in one pass, noting that by the end I was glad to have the break because it felt like I was pulling the float with about 80lbs of pressure to get it to spread well. Any more and I think I would have run out of workable time.

I also noticed that a good initial wash seems to make for less work in the final wash.


Now that I am going to move onto the walls, I have a couple of questions:

i) Will this stuff work well in the ceiling? I have already portioned out 10% less of Part C as per Laticrete directions.

ii) The Schluter metal profiles that I am using as bullnose have a grout line created automatically thanks to an extra metal tab which sets the correct grout line. Though normally a "change in materials" means I should use caulk, does Schluter expect me to grout between the last tile and their profile as per normal? I think grout would probably look a lot better than the matching caulk.

iii) Any hints/tips for getting this stuff into 1/16th grout lines? Any tips for working with bevelled Subway tile?

Thanks again; will have pictures soon!
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Unread 03-23-2019, 04:12 PM   #74
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"This stuff" (as in Spectralock) is more painful on walls. I have never grouted a ceiling but I can only imagine.
You will notice more frustration on the walls than on the floor. I recommend that you cover your floor with a clean plastic sheet or something that lets you pick up the chunks of Spectralock that WILL drop down (unless you've done this many times and know how to mostly avoid it). That way, your Spectralock specks (which are, in value, the equivalent of a gold nugget) can be salvaged and put to good use without them being contaminated by dust or thinset remnants.

And yes, definitely use the Spectralock between the Schluter profile and the tile. You don't want caulk there but something long-lived. The Spectralock is much stronger in these thin joints than regular cement grout. Plus, the Schluter profiles are really designed to receive grout. Be careful about scratching the anodized surface.

Expect the wall grouting process to be a bit slower than the floor even. Mix up less until you know how this thing will go for you. Saves you wasted Spectralock.

You're doing the right thing, getting yourself a grout that is fantastic once it's cured. Long-term ease in cleanability will be assured. Welcome to the late 20th/early 21st century in construction technology (i.e. epoxy grout)!
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Unread 03-23-2019, 06:47 PM   #75
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Thanks for the excellent tips!

I actually found that correcting low spots in tight corners was easiest with my gloved hands. I was able to mush the Spectralock in quite well, especially towards the end of the job. I wonder if that will also be the case on the walls; maybe using the stuff that falls down to the dropsheet?

Yes, the ceiling is worrying for me. I am going to follow the Laticrete -10% rule for walls/ceilings, but even so I should probably not stand directly underneath. In addition, I'll only be attempting 20sqft at a time to give myself time to try to mash it all into place.
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