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Unread 08-25-2007, 09:48 AM   #1
Mike Clark
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Contractor spills oil on tile and grout...

So I have an air conditioner contractor putting in a new unit, and when they replaced a copper pipe, they spilled the oil/coolant fluid all over my tile floor in my basement. The grout is not sealed, and is cheap Mapai grout I believe. It's "bone" color. The tile is ceramic, so it came right of of it. Problem lies with the grout.

I think the oil spill was there for a few minutes, and soaked in for about an hour. What are my options for taking care of the problem? I wiped it all down real good with soapy water, and we triad some clorox cleaner, and even some bleach(the grout color is almost totally white anyways, so what the heck?) Right now it has all been wiped down real good and I am allowing it to dry to see if it will dry back to the original color. If it is still a little darker, what are some options?

And please don't scream to kill the contractor or whatnot, I'm just trying to fix the problem, not stir up another one. They are good guys that made a mistake and am trying to right it, so I would like some good feedback on my options.

Thanks,

Mike C
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Unread 08-25-2007, 10:19 AM   #2
Rob Z
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Hi MIke,

No screaming from me if someone made a mistake...

I would contact one of the companies such as Aqua Mix or Miracle and see if one of their cleaners or poultice products would help with an oil stain.

Good luck.
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Unread 08-25-2007, 11:44 AM   #3
Mike Clark
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Okay, from what I have found out the owner of the company told me to tell him how much it is going to cost, so I need to come up with a fair estimate. It's 1/2" grout lines with standard sanded grout, and it is about a grout line the length of 24 inches or so. I haven't paid them for their work yet, so I figure I can just deduct it from the final bill.

Probably an hour of labor, minimum. $50?
Some sanded grout, $20
If they had to pay someone to come out, $50 or so?

Is $100 off the final bill unreasonable on this mistake? I had another contractor that is a friend say it would more than likely cost $150-175, and to not cut myself short.

Thanks in advance.

Mike C
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Unread 08-25-2007, 12:24 PM   #4
cx
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More of the cleaning folks might find you here, Mike.

I wouldn't scream either.

I'd simply tell the AC contractor to find a tile cleaning professional acceptable to you and have the grout restored to its original condition or replaced.

My customer would absolutely not be expected to lift a finger to clean up my mess. Ever. Unless that customer just really wanted to clean it hisownself. In which case we'd determine a reasonable fee between us.

Without seeing the problem, I would still agree with your contractor friend that ain't nobody likely to come fix that situation for a hunnert bucks, especially if it requires removal and replacement of the grout. I could certainly be wrong about that, of course.

And if you want to do it yourself, maybe so's you get to ensure your satisfaction with the job, that's fine, of course. But you shouldn't feel obligated to do anything except let someone in to work on it at a time convenient to you.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-25-2007, 12:35 PM   #5
Shaughnn
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Mike,
In that situation, I would not have used bleach or a solvent. Instead, I would have used sand/kitty litter to pull up the oil and then used a poultice to draw the stain out of the grout. After the bulk of the stain has been lifted from the grout, then you can clean the surface. By breaking down the oils with bleach, you've probably fixed the stain in the grout.
But that's useful information for a future issue. For now, I'd get a restoration company in to do the job right and split the bill with the HVAC guys if you are feeling REALLY generous. Some lessons are a bit tougher to swallow, but everyone is richer for the experience in the end.
Best of luck,
Shaughnn
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Unread 08-26-2007, 05:47 AM   #6
c31grif
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Mike,
From a cleaning/restoration standpoint, the points made by Shaughn are completely valid. A poultice would have been the only decent option there. However, now that we're past that point, the grout is going to need to be replaced in the affected area. Just get an estimate. The HVAC guys will no doubt be happy to foot the reasonable bill. Professional courtesy requires that you at least communicate with them what the charge will be so that they know it's coming. No one likes surprises.
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Unread 08-27-2007, 10:18 AM   #7
Mike Clark
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Thanks for all the fast replies guys. For now, we have "settled", as the contractor and I came to a fair price of $100. It helps me with the bill of the furnace, and I can fix it if I want for less than that, at my own pace when I want to. Thanks for the help.
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Unread 08-27-2007, 10:50 AM   #8
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If everybody is happy, it's a good solution, Mike.
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Unread 09-08-2007, 08:58 PM   #9
noweare
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If the grout line is 1/4" you can (carefully) remove the
grout with a 4" circular masonary saw (HD $100) with diamond blade.

Use safety glasses look a blade and cut close to the side of the tile you can see. You may want to use the triangle grout tool to start a groove for
the circular saw

Then use hammer and chisel to tap the remainder out.

You can also use a tile scoring tool to under cut the grout.
And clean out the grout line.

Vacuum,
Then regrout.

This would cost you about $200 - $300 for someone to come
to your home and do this.

Good luck
Joe
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