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Old 03-20-2005, 12:12 PM   #1
pamstroud
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My sealing, enhancing, grout dying plans

I had a tumbled travertine backsplash installed. Although the installers did not mention sealing it, I have read here that I need to.

Is this right: Use a solvent based impregnating enhancing sealer after a few days? They left a lot of grout haze so I am trying vinegar and water and that seems to be working okay, but I like the deeper color.

They were supposed to put a darkish brown unsanded grout on my granite countertop, but it dried very light. When wet, it's brown.

Is this right: Get a grout dye & sealer in the original color? (I read something about using vinegar and water on them, and it seems to have darkened them, but not much.

The installer said I did not need to seal the grout, since it was brown (?).

Also, some of the bullnoses he made are not polished enough, and are dull; some bullnosed edges are not quite flush with the adjacent ones. Can I have someone come out and polish these without removing them? Or is there something I can do/use to polish them? (I don't want to call the original installers because they botched things so many times I never want to see them again.)

One last thing -- the granite (called "Giallo Santo" but I can't find it online) does not absorb water or lemon juice, but this may be because it has some seal already on it. Does this mean I might need to seal the bullnoses?

Thanks so much!

Pam
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Old 03-20-2005, 02:44 PM   #2
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Hi Pam

You can use a water or solvent based impregnator.

If you want the deeper color, a enhancer will be needed.

If you want to color the grout joints on the countertop, do this first. Do they darken when wet? If so, you'll be okay to utilize the grout colorant.

The bullnose tiles can be corrected on site. I would contact a local fabricator (of granite countertops). Even with a vacuum, there's going to be some dust.

Try to find out if a sealer was used. Do you have any extra granite tiles in a box?
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Old 03-20-2005, 04:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doitright

Try to find out if a sealer was used. Do you have any extra granite tiles in a box?
Thank you! The installer did not use any sealer, and laughed at the idea that it could need any, as it was GRANITE, which he presumably thinks never does. I have some extra tiles. I did the water test, and it does not absorb water from the top side, but I'll try the bottom side, and seal them if necessary.

Thanks again,
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:25 PM   #4
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Hi Pam

No need to test from the bottom (as it's not polished, and the pores aren't closed).
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Old 03-20-2005, 06:18 PM   #5
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Smile

I tried straight vinegar & a brush on a piece of the grout, and it did turn darker, but it lowered the level of the grout, so you can see the bevel.

Would a lower grout level make it harder to wipe the counter?

If it is lower, can I add a layer of the same grout on top?

Or should I just get the stain & sealer and forget about trying to get to the darker layer?

I am anxious to get this thing looking right, trying to hold off until I get some expert opinions!

Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2005, 07:16 PM   #6
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Hi Pam

Quote:
Originally Posted by pamstroud
I am anxious to get this thing looking right, trying to hold off until I get some expert opinions!
What am I, minced meat?

We normally don't use straight vinegar for a test. We start off 50/50 with water. Personally, I like to see the beveled edge (if there is one).

How does the grout look, now that it is dry from your test?

It's your call, if you're happy with the color, then it just needs to be sealed.
If not, colorant or stain is in order. You can't add that thin of a layer of grout on the top (even though some people attempt it).

Hopefully, some experts will chime in!
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Old 03-20-2005, 07:46 PM   #7
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John, you're the expert.

I'm not stone expert. I generally seal everything (or recommend that it be sealed). If it's a waste of time, so be it. If it needs it, it'll get it.
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doitright
Hi Pam



What am I, minced meat?
I was referring to you in the third person. :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by doitright

We normally don't use straight vinegar for a test. We start off 50/50 with water. Personally, I like to see the beveled edge (if there is one).

How does the grout look, now that it is dry from your test?

It's your call, if you're happy with the color, then it just needs to be sealed.
If not, colorant or stain is in order. You can't add that thin of a layer of grout on the top (even though some people attempt it).


Too late, I already did the 100% vinegar (patience is not one of my virtues). It looks a little darker, but I liked the color it was when wet -- quite dark. After reading some more I am wondering if when I enhance/seal the travertine, I can enhance/seal the unsanded grout on the granite, instead of dying it the original color??? I know sanded grout will not be enhanced, but will the unsanded?

Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bridge
John, you're the expert.

I'm not stone expert. I generally seal everything (or recommend that it be sealed). If it's a waste of time, so be it. If it needs it, it'll get it.
So do you think the stone enhancer will enhance the unsanded granite grout and make it look the color it was when wet?

thanks!
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:09 PM   #10
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Hi Pam

I have yet to find an enhancer that effectively darkens grout. If someone knows of one, please speak up!
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:11 PM   #11
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No Pam, unsanded grout doesn't really absorb anything. Back to John.
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:31 PM   #12
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Pam

Careful with the vinegar!

Travertine is a calcite based stone, and will, in essence dissolve in any strong acid (like vinegar)

As for the stone you have on your counter tops - Giallo Santo could be anything. It might not absorb much of anything because it might have been resined at the factory where the tiles were made and polished. Be careful with using the vinegar on that too. Even if it were sealed, it could still react to strong acids, causing the stone to etch.

Your installer was part way correct when he told you stone did not need sealing. Some do and some don't. And not all commercially available "granites" are true geological granites either.

Also careful when using scrubby sponges on the stone - the blue on blue "all surface" sponges, good for use on non-stick cookware, is preferable to the green on yellow scrubbies. The green & yellow ones may contain silicon carbide that could damage the surface polish on your stone if used aggresively enough.

Adriana

Edit: As for polishing the edges, it is not something a typical diy person would be able to do. The equipment alone will cost a couple hunderd dollars. You are right in assuming that the edges should be shiny. It is a fairly easy job to do it. The protruding edges could be ground back and repolished.

Last edited by GraniteGirl; 03-20-2005 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 03-20-2005, 09:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraniteGirl
Pam

Careful with the vinegar!

Travertine is a calcite based stone, and will, in essence dissolve in any strong acid (like vinegar)
Granite Girl, you were one of the experts I hoped would weigh in.( I am a fan.)

The installers left quite a bit of grout haze on the stone, so I washed it with 50/50 vinegar, but I used full strength on a few tiles. It seems okay.

On the granite, I wiped the vinegar off pretty quick, and it's still shiney. I was asking about sealing the bullnosed part because I had read what you'd said about the factory resin.

I looked at stonefinder.com for quite a while trying to figure out what stone this actually is, but I couldn't find anything that looked definitively like mine. It looks a little like Giallo Veneziano, which was my choice until I saw this stone.

Thanks for the tip about scrubby sponges. I was going to try to use just a plain sponge & water to clean it.

Thanks for your help!

Pam
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Old 03-21-2005, 06:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamstroud
I am a fan.


Why, thank you! I have never had a fan before

Anyway - the reason why you did not notice the vinegar reacting with the travertine, is because the stone is tumbled and not shiny. If the tiles were polished and shiny they would have ended up being dull and rough because of the acid.

If you like the way the tiles looked when they were wet, try to find a good stone enhancer. This would be an impregnating application that would do 2 things for you - seal the tumbled stone and preserve that great "wet" look. The products typically found at the big boxes are not quite what you are looking for. The link to the tywstore will take you to some good, stone-specific products

Now once you have sorted out all your grouting worries, be sure to take good care of your counters by using a stone specific cleaner for them. They will give you many years of great service if you look after them properly.

Good luck

Adriana
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