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Unread 06-07-2016, 04:50 PM   #1
jaydub_atl
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Removing white haze from charcoal grout and gray haze from white stones

Hi all, first time poster but long time fan of the forum. A tile company finished my newly built bathroom 6 weeks ago. Nice work, except for two issues:

1) When the pebble stones were grouted with charcoal grout, some of them took on a grey/dirty look that is not easily cleaning off. (All the light colored stones in the picture were originally close to white.) They apparently used a sealer/enhancer spray (attached) on the pebble tile before grouting it. Unfortunately it certainly did not repel the gray color of the grout. I actually think it may have made things worse. The gray haze on some of the white stones is unnaturally clinging to them, and it doesn't disappear when you get it wet like normal grout haze. I'm thinking it actually got soaked up by that layer of sealer, and is now stuck to the stones? Or did it get pulled into the stone itself? (The sliced pebble is unpolished, so I assume that makes it more likely to stain.)

2) The charcoal grout in the shower floor was laid before the rest of the shower was finished, so they ended up getting a white haze over of the charcoal grout (from the white grout and sanded caulk they used elsewhere). As far as I know, the floor grout was not 'sealed'.

I was told both of these discolorations would clean easily and/or wash away over time, but that's proving not to be the case. I plan on going at the floor with a scrub brush, but I'm wondering what product(s) you would recommend for this? Do I need to step up to a strong acidic cleaner for this? Or would that damage the stones?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Unread 06-07-2016, 06:19 PM   #2
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From the Tilelab fact sheet :

Drying Time
4*–*6*hours.

Did they do that ? or just wait a few minutes while the grout was mixed ?
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Unread 06-07-2016, 06:25 PM   #3
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Yes, the sealer was allowed to dry overnight. They definitely didn't grout until the next day.
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Unread 06-07-2016, 07:28 PM   #4
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That's good news.

The charcoal grout typically does to porous tile what happened to you. Personally I would have tried my best to talk you out of using a cement based grout if you wanted black grout and then tried to talk you out of black grout. Generally its a no win situation.

To get the precise advice you need, contact tech support at Custom Blend (they are in CA) They will let you know if anything can be done.
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Unread 06-07-2016, 07:37 PM   #5
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I certainly did not request a cement based grout, I leave all things tile to the professionals. I trusted they were using the right stuff for the job.
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Unread 06-08-2016, 12:30 AM   #6
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We could have a lengthy debate over the merits of grout selection.

It boils down to - 99 44/100ths of all installers would have used cement based grout unless you specified otherwise.
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Unread 06-08-2016, 10:38 AM   #7
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I'm in that barely-over-half-one-percent of installers that would have used something other than portland grout. I actually prefer epoxy grout in all showers. Black and white portland-based grouts are tough to work with, tough to get looking right, and tough to keep looking right.

If the grout hasn't been sealed at this point, I'd be looking at a grout stain.
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Unread 06-08-2016, 01:28 PM   #8
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I called Custom today. If anyone is curious, they recommended starting with their less harsh non-acid "Heavy Duty Stripper and Cleaner". If that doesn't remove it all, they said I could step up to their "Sulfamic Acid Cleaner". We shall see.
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Unread 06-09-2016, 07:31 AM   #9
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Everything loves to cling to unpolished natural stone and grout. This won't be your last problem in my opinion. It's gonna take diligent maintenance to keep up that floor. Don't use bar soap and save yourself a lot of grief in the future.
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Unread 06-09-2016, 11:39 AM   #10
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So given that, what is the best product to re-seal the stones and grout after I strip/clean and remove the haze? Surely there is something that will make it at least slightly easier to keep clean going forward?
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