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Unread 08-18-2014, 08:11 PM   #1
andy_m
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Cleaning Epoxy Grout

Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I finally got VERY tired of scrubbing my spectralock and searched the forum to see if there were any good techniques.

I have almost an entire house done in a medium tan porcelain and grouted with a light Spectralock (sand beige). The designer talked me into a light grout color that would almost disappear into the tile.

Well, in the first place, the color uniformity wasn't too good, so even when freshly installed, the disappearing thing was more disappointing than disappearing. there was splotchy color that was off just enough to make the grout look dirty, even right after it was installed. And, in case you're wondering.... the tiles were cleaned meticulously before grouting.

But now a few years later it is really disappointing. The material may be stain resistant but it sure likes to hold onto dirt and grime. After a few years, its gotten darker and darker. I've tried everything.... tile and grout cleaners, general purpose cleaners, Bar Keeper's, OxiClean, 35% hydrogen peroxide (dangerous - don't try it, didn't work anyway), straight Clorox, toothpaste, simple green heavy duty, cascade dish washer detergent, lemon juice... and probably a dozen I've forgotten. The best seems to be Comet and a toothbrush. But it doesn't come back to looking new... not even really close. I have about 1600 sq ft of tile with this grout, and basically I have to rotate through all of it continuously. I'm scrubbing grout every weekend. Frankly, it sucks. And never really comes clean as it should. I spend 20 times as much effort trying (in vain) to clean the grout as I would spend putting sealer on every 6 months. And... I've never been unable to clean regular cement-based grout. But this stuff.... Oye!

I did use it in the laundry room, in black, to grout absolute black granite tiles. It went on super easy (the glossy granite was SO much easier to clean the epoxy residue off of compared to the textured tiles in the rest of the house), and, being black, no problems. Looks sharp! I would use the black again, no question.

BUT.....I can't tell you how much I HATE the light colored Spectralock. So much work, so much money, and despite the work, it doesn't look clean. Is it possible to get it out? Any tips on epoxy grout removal that I can make use of? If it's possible, I will gladly tear this stuff out and replace it with "reglar ol' grout".
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Unread 08-18-2014, 08:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy_m
HATE the light colored Spectralock. So much work, so much money, and despite the work, it doesn't look clean....... I will gladly tear this stuff out and replace it with "reglar ol' grout".
Have the same problem with reglar ole grout in straw sand color. I think the common source of frustration is the darn light colored grout. Just say "no thanks, do you have any nice Virginia clay colored grout? "
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Unread 08-19-2014, 02:13 AM   #3
Higher Standard Tile
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Andy can you post some pictures?

I've installed plenty of the Sand Beige color in both normal grout and Spectralock. I would not call it light colored. Out here we have reddish brown dirt and Sand Beige matches it perfectly. It is the color I would recommend if you don't like cleaning
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Unread 08-20-2014, 01:38 PM   #4
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Let me try to get decent photos...
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Unread 09-16-2014, 10:06 AM   #5
matthewstephanie
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I have some grout issues with Specralock (had grout from the walls get onto the floor grout). Lacticrete when I called, said the best thing to remove the grout is with heat (versus "grinding"). They said a heat gun will soften the grout and you can use a utility knife to cut it away (remove by half the depth) if you plan to grout over the top. Would be curious if anyone has actually tried this. They also mentioned a product by Dupont called Kenzall Alkalie based stone cleaner.
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Unread 09-16-2014, 01:37 PM   #6
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Spectra lock on floors,: smear on floor only what you can clean. I have been on jobs where they are still smearing at 3:00 in the afternoon. I usually stop the grout install at noon depending on how much I have to do. You have to use a good float and make sure the floor is pretty clean with full grout joints. You have to let the grout set up some before you start washing I go by touch. I do not start with a doodle pad only a sponge to work the joints smooth and uniform and to do a first wash on the tile with clean water. ( use the citric acid that comes with the product for initial wash ) then you need to wait until the joint is hard enough to clean the little bit of residue you will see on the tile with the doodle pad (white only)without tearing the joint out. If you time it correctly ( and you will get good at it with practice) you will be able to put some pressure on the tile to really get the residue off plus final work the joint if needed. You have to use clean water to do the final clean ( again with the final wash packet ).
If the tile is a glazed tile (wall or floor) you have to dry the water off with a terry cloth towel because the water will dry and spot.

I have seen people get on the floor immediately after they grout and use the doodle pad and over water the epoxy. The less water you can use on that first wash IMHO is most important. They also dig the joint out to much. Pretty hard to get a full grout joint but you can get pretty close. Lots of sponges, doodle pads and towels.
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Unread 12-14-2014, 11:40 PM   #7
andy_m
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Update on cleaning

Hi Gents - sorry, I've been away for a long time due to some other issues but wanted to follow up. The grout is still miserable to keep clean, and I will never, never, never use light colored SpectraLock again. Did I mention "never"? Since I started the thread, I have tried a cleaner called "Nano Scrub" by AquaMix. It doesn't make cleaning exactly easy, but it's much better than anything else I've tried, and less effort. My next idea is to take a small stainless steel brush (available at the welding supply for a couple bucks) and trim the stainless bristles so that they are the size of the grout line - so I don't scratch the tiles - and then use that with the Nano Scrub. For now, the prospect of tearing out a whole house worth of this stuff is pretty scary. I can see that being a massive project, maybe bigger than tiling the house was in the first place. I haven't tried the heat gun approach, but will give it a try.... I dropped a heavy pan and get a small chip in a tile, so I have to replace it. Even if the grout comes out with the heat gun, the color uniformity in the light colors is less than impressive so I am not anticipating a great result. The black floor in the laundry room (raven black or midnight black - I used the "blacker" one, but have forgotten which that is) looks beautiful and held up fantastically. It looks brand new, and it's been 4 or 5 years for that floor. Good grout, but... not in light colors!
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Unread 12-14-2014, 11:45 PM   #8
andy_m
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By the way, I did try to get some pictures but couldn't get any that were true to the color or even close. Photography is not my thing. At any rate, I guess "light" and "dark" are somewhat subjective, but I definitely would say that the #30 Sand Beige is on the lighter side.
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Unread 12-15-2014, 09:17 AM   #9
doitright
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Hi Andy

Thanks for the update!

It seems odd that you need Nano Scrub to clean epoxy grout. For cement and epoxy grouts, I have always had success with tile & stone specific high alkaline cleaners.

What are the names of of some of the products you tried that didn't work?
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Unread 12-29-2014, 10:15 PM   #10
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Do you think baking/soda vinegar would work?
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Unread 12-30-2014, 11:55 AM   #11
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Hi Alex

That might work on cementitious grouts. Vinegar is an acid base. Typically an alkaline cleaner with surfactants will break down and lift soil and oil stains.
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Unread 11-15-2015, 06:57 PM   #12
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I feel your pain

I know this is an old thread, but I haven't been active on this forum for several years. Back then (and under a different username, which I can't seem to recover), I tiled 2 bathrooms, one of them with a shower. I used pebble tile on the floors and all the way up 2 of the walls (both bathrooms) and spectralock grout (lots, and lots of spectralock...).

The bathroom with the shower used dark stone and "smoke" colored grout. That's the first picture, which was taken when I first installed it. It still looks the same today.

The other bath, I used light brownish stone, and the wife insisted on very light colored grout. That's the second picture (as it looked when first installed). Today, the grout on the walls in this second bath looks like new, but on the floor, it looks horrible---sort of a dirty brown sandy color, and it's impossible to clean.

I'll probably rip out the floor with the light spectralock at some point. You'll be seeing a lot more of my posts once I get ready to start on that.

Anyways, I always thought it was just me not being able to clean the spectralock, so it's good to know that that's not the case. And I too vow to never again use a light colored grout...

P.S. The pictures are not very good. I swear, the first one is "smoke" grayish, while the second one is white, even though it might not look that way.
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Unread 11-15-2015, 07:40 PM   #13
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Welcome, NowhereMan. Please change your permanent signature line to a first name for use to use.

If your intent is only to comment on this previous visitor's project, we can leave the post here, but if you have questions of your own about your project we can separate it and give it a different title. Your choice.
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Unread 11-15-2015, 10:00 PM   #14
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your tiles are giving me a headake
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Unread 11-16-2015, 06:45 AM   #15
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Before you rip it out you should try to color seal it. If the grout is a little recessed and the pebbles are not porous it will be easy. ColorClad was literally formulated from day one to stick to Spectralock so bond is not as issue as long as you clean with an alkaline cleaner and rinse thoroughly.

If you are good at color matching you can even tweak the ColorClad to get an exact match to the color on the wall.
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