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Unread 08-13-2004, 10:19 AM   #1
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Unhappy Saltillo Tile cleaning and sealing after intallation.

I left this posting in the install section of your forum and put a note to the fact in the cleaning section ..but went ahead and pasted this from install to get the proper response..thanks for your help..hope..hope...!

Hi! I recently had a friend of mine who is a mason, lay saltillo tile in my front entry outside. He had never had the opportunity to do it before , so he was using his learned common sense..but when it comes to cleaning and sealing he just didn't know where to take it..so now that's up to me. He wanted to use an acid wash to get rid of the effl?? (what ever the white stuff is that comes out on top of the tile). We did use a penetrating sealer that is made for saltillo tile for a couple coats before he grouted it(sealer was the natural finish) Now it's been close to two weeks, it's been raining everyday(only the outer couple of rows get wet), but I live in Central Florida it's august and the humidity is tough and a hurricane is on it's way this weekend. The tiles get a dark soaked look on a portion of the tile..like the middle of one or a half..where the moisture seems to be concentrated and not dry..you can see part of my problem is when can I seal this tile and grout, can I do it when they still have moisture embedded..and can I clean it first after all this weather and white stuff still there(and with what..acid wash) and when I do seal it can I just use a polyurethane or what..how much DRY time does it need as not to ruin it(no rain days)..help me!! By the way my mason friend has gone to seattle for a few months of good paying work ..so I am on my own on this one.Also I got my saltillo from Lowes and the advice on what to do very's from person to person with sometimes more than one opinion per person...so they are essentially no help to me.
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Unread 08-13-2004, 12:23 PM   #2
Steven Hauser
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Hi Kathy,

Well the first thing that needs to happen is letting the material dry out. The application of the grout release Charlie and any other storm system may hmper that.

Then the removal of the efflorescence which are salts should not be done with muraqtic acid.

Let's start with a wash of 50/50 white vinegar and water. Use a brush to agitate it into the holes but don't bear down on the brush.

From there let it dry. Sometimes it is necessary to use a 30% amonia solution to 70% water to neutralize it. You'll know to do this if the tile has a white haze but no salts.

From there you will decide on what finish you may want.

Now, my concerns.

Typically we used a denser paver for exteriors, you may need to let this material just be what it is and not worry about discolorations.

Good luck

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Unread 08-13-2004, 01:40 PM   #3
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Cool saltillo sealing exterior....

Steven.... thank you for the simplified advise to my cleaning dilema of the saltillo. I understand this is not an incredibly durable surface for exterior use. It's about 270 sq ft ..it was definitely a decorative choice. As far as letting it be what it is..you're right I'm not going to worry too much about color variances..I actually like the rustic charm and differences in not being like my interior tile that is orderly and repetively the same. But I do still want it to look nice for what it is. So..after the cleaning and drying what do I put on it as a sealer. I realize it's my preference..but I don't know a thing about any of it to make an informed decision. So, what do you recommend for my situation. I want some sealant that is long lasting and the most trouble free I can get. And lets say after I clean it and it actually doesnt rain for a while what would an average drying time be on this saltillo after cleaning with the vinegar solution. and do I rinse it off with the hose after cleaning.? Sorry to sound so ignorant but truly a babe in the woods on this project. And what was the grout release?are you referring to the sealer we used before grouting? Thanks.. kathy
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Unread 08-14-2004, 10:58 AM   #4
Steven Hauser
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Kathy,

Well let's see.

Yes rinsing with the hose after the vinegar and water solution is good. You can also use a shop vac and suck it up and then rinse and suck that up as well.

Finishes are going to depend on what is available to you and what finished look you want.

Shiny or flat like it is now, or color enhanced.

Drying time outside is really dependent on humidity and how the substrate holds water so, I dunno.

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Unread 08-14-2004, 01:48 PM   #5
John Bridge
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Hi Kathy,

Down here in the swamp we don't finish Saltillo when it's installed outdoors. We just treat it with a penetrating sealer and leave it alone. If you don't mind doing it once a year you can use really cheap stuff like Thompson's water seal. Just roll it on and walk away. That's after you get it cleaned up and dry. Takes a couple weeks for Saltillo to dry out. Gets rained on, gonna take a couple more weeks.
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Unread 08-17-2004, 08:48 AM   #6
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Smile saltillo and rain

Hi John..My first chance back to your reply..Charley has left us all pretty devastated and wet. When you say "swamp" I take it ,that it gets pretty humid where you are and you don't seal your saltillo any further than the penetrating sealer used before grouting? With its delicate structure , it doesn't break down the saltillo too quickley without a protective urethane type sealer? I'm am more than glad to here this. Will it still give me years of use.??Are you saying the couple coats of penetrating sealer we did before the grouting should suffice? what about protecting the grout.(other than thompsons)? This tile is never going to dry with all this rain everyday. It would be a relief to know ..it's okay!!
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Unread 08-17-2004, 04:12 PM   #7
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Well, in the first place, we don't pre-seal the tiles. We install them wet and grout them wet. Then we give them two to three weeks to dry out, then seal. So the grout get's sealed along with the tiles. I venture to say you didn't completely slake the thirst of your Saltillo tiles. I would hit the whole thing again with the penetrator, and then walk away as I said. Top sealers will not hold up outdoors in any climate.

Didn't know you were in Florida. Glad you made it okay. We've got a thread going about Charley in the Mud Box or Pro Hang out -- one or the other.
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