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Old 07-30-2011, 11:35 AM   #5161
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Bud! Just the man I need to talk to!
When grouting the Saltillo tiles, and you are at the sponging off stage, what nifty little hints can you pass along?
The first batch I did, the grout was mixed too thin, and I...
I wish I had a secret or two to pass along but the honest truth is; there are no secrets I'm aware of.

Saltillo is of course one of the rougher surfaces available in tile. Because it is highly porous it easily grabs onto the grout particles (molecules) and holds them. It has a high coefficient of friction and that's a good thing when it comes to preventing hazardous slips and falls but that is where the good ends I think. Except for its inherent beauty of course.

As you know and have done, sealing is a must. Had you not sealed the tile it would be undergoing a color change due to staining from the grout color pigments and the streaking would be uncontrollable and impossible to clean up.

I use what the industry calls a "hydraulic sponge". I buy about four hundred of them at one time to keep the cost down. My understanding is a hydraulic sponge has a structure by design that collects water and aggregate residue more efficiently. This isn't to say saltillo still isn't more difficult to clean even with a hydraulic sponge.

I also use the small version of the sponge so that I can easily rinse the sponge with one hand. My initial pass over the tiles is to scrub the surface in a circular motion creating a slurry and at the same time blending (tooling) the grout joints. This requires a little extra moisture without the sponge dripping or getting sloppy.

My next pass is with a slightly dryer sponge making only one stroke per sponge side. This time I generally cross the grout lines in a diagonal fashion and using straight strokes. I never (almost never) drag the sponge along the length of a grout line. This tends to remove too much grout and causes the joint to be deeper than I like.

Typically another pass is required and this time also using diagonal strokes but opposing the previous diagonal strokes direction.

Of course the rougher the surface the more effort (passes) required.

So during the final stages of cleanup I use one hand, slightly tilting the sponge so that about a third of the sponge's surface drags along the tile surface. Not a lot of pressure. It is also wise to wear some surgical-type gloves to avoid the aggregate wearing on your skin and hence producing the ole "raspberries" we occasionally hear about. (Raspberries = Raw Skin) Ouch.

In addition it is also important to change the water a time or two.

Once the final-clean is complete a person can allow the job to sit for thirty minutes or so and then using fresh water...do it one more time for a final final clean.

I have always believed that atmospheric conditions have an effect when installing and cleaning grout. Under high humidity days or rainy days the grout can be harder to clean in my opinion.

So there you go...I'm probably too late anyway.

I know I know...You ask a guy for the time and he builds you a clock.

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Old 07-30-2011, 12:06 PM   #5162
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OK now for a really stupid question, can you use muriatic acid without hurting the tiles or would it hurt the grout and thinset also?
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Old 07-30-2011, 12:41 PM   #5163
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can you use muriatic acid without hurting the tiles or would it hurt the grout and thinset also?
Not a great idea in my opinion.

Muriatic Acid (Hydrochloric Acid) is a very potent acid and can be dangerous to use. It must be neutralized after use and indoor use would be strictly discourage by me.

Will it work? Yow probably would but can't say for sure. I have used it on commercial jobs and jobs that were out-of-doors. It is used to clean brick jobs all the time but it will kill any surrounding vegetation. Muriatic Acid attacks the properties of Portland cement and some tile glazes, not sure what effect it would have on Saltillo tiles but I would be afraid it would sink into the pores and not be able to be neutralized.

Hydrochloric Acid fumes are a serious health hazard and lingering fumes can also destroy metal finishes and electronic components.

So in this case I would say Absolutely not!

Now, Sulfamix Acid on the other hand may be worth looking into.
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:11 PM   #5164
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Not a great idea in my opinion.

Muriatic Acid (Hydrochloric Acid) is a very potent acid and can be dangerous to use. It must be neutralized after use and indoor use would be strictly discourage by me.

Will it work? Yow probably would but can't say for sure. I have used it on commercial jobs and jobs that were out-of-doors. It is used to clean brick jobs all the time but it will kill any surrounding vegetation. Muriatic Acid attacks the properties of Portland cement and some tile glazes, not sure what effect it would have on Saltillo tiles but I would be afraid it would sink into the pores and not be able to be neutralized.

Hydrochloric Acid fumes are a serious health hazard and lingering fumes can also destroy metal finishes and electronic components.

So in this case I would say Absolutely not!

Now, Sulfamix Acid on the other hand may be worth looking into.
Thanks Bud, I have used it cleaning brick also but didn't know how it might react to the tiles, thinset or grout. I had to use the acid on some brick pavers in a laundry room and had to neutralize the acid before I could put the sealer on the brick. You are sure right about the fumes, they are rough to say the least.
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:26 PM   #5165
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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
I wish I had a secret or two to pass along but the honest truth is; there are no secrets I'm aware of.
As you know and have done, sealing is a must. Had you not sealed the tile it would be undergoing a color change due to staining from the grout color pigments and the streaking would be uncontrollable and impossible to clean up.

I also use the small version of the sponge so that I can easily rinse the sponge with one hand. My initial pass over the tiles is to scrub the surface in a circular motion creating a slurry and at the same time blending (tooling) the grout joints. This requires a little extra moisture without the sponge dripping or getting sloppy.

My next pass is with a slightly dryer sponge making only one stroke per sponge side. This time I generally cross the grout lines in a diagonal fashion and using straight strokes. I never (almost never) drag the sponge along the length of a grout line. This tends to remove too much grout and causes the joint to be deeper than I like.

Typically another pass is required and this time also using diagonal strokes but opposing the previous diagonal strokes direction.

Of course the rougher the surface the more effort (passes) required.

So during the final stages of cleanup I use one hand, slightly tilting the sponge so that about a third of the sponge's surface drags along the tile surface. Not a lot of pressure. It is also wise to wear some surgical-type gloves to avoid the aggregate wearing on your skin and hence producing the ole "raspberries" we occasionally hear about. (Raspberries = Raw Skin) Ouch.

In addition it is also important to change the water a time or two.

Once the final-clean is complete a person can allow the job to sit for thirty minutes or so and then using fresh water...do it one more time for a final final clean.

I have always believed that atmospheric conditions have an effect when installing and cleaning grout. Under high humidity days or rainy days the grout can be harder to clean in my opinion.

So there you go...I'm probably too late anyway.

I know I know...You ask a guy for the time and he builds you a clock.
Bud, once again many thanks.

Well, I didn't know about the initial circular motion...I'll try that on the next batch I do.

When I had two seal coats on the tiles, I noticed that I would still get lines on the tiles apparently just from moisture. Once the tile dried the lines disappeared. Now I'm using three coats of sealer before I grout, and the tiles are staying clean.

Once past your circular motion stage I'm pretty much doing the same as you do - one pass per side of the sponge, always on the diagonal.

I only do small batches of grout at a time, around 20 square feet or less. So I clean everything and change the rinse water with every batch. It's easier on the old bones to keep the batches small, plus the grout is still nice and moist so no chance of it setting up before I get it cleaned.

I just finished the first bag of grout, and I think it covered around 70 square feet. I have four more bags on hand so I don't have any excuse not to carry on.
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:31 PM   #5166
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The thing with most of those tile and stone sealers (and it baffles the hell out of me) is they are vapor transmissive. Meaning they will allow moisture vapor to escape from under the sealer. In a shower enclosure that's a good thing. But they aren't supposed to allow moisture to gravitate downward through them. I realize there is a huge difference between water droplets and water vapor but c'mon guys, how's that work.

Anyway your moisture streaking supports my theory that the moisture can and does in fact go both ways. If it didn't you would not have had moisture streaking.

Then the next question that arises in my little brain is how many coats of sealer would it take to totally seal an object, if possible. It stands to reason that heaping on more and more sealer would finally close all the transmissive pores, but I don't know that. Would that be a bad thing? Beats me man!

I would take care when scrubbing the abrasive grout around on the sealer. Make sure the sealer is totally dry before abusing it with the sandy grout.

One more thing for anyone following along.
Sealer is not a stain-proof-er. Sealers are merely there to provide one an opportunity to clean up a spill that would have already caused a stain had the sealer not been there.

Here's a tidbit more information about sealers.
http://www.diychatroom.com/blogs/gro...rstandings-95/
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:54 PM   #5167
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The thing with most of those tile and stone sealers (and it baffles the hell out of me) is they are vapor transmissive. Meaning they will allow moisture vapor to escape from under the sealer. In a shower enclosure that's a good thing. But they aren't supposed to allow moisture to gravitate downward through them. I realize there is a huge difference between water droplets and water vapor but c'mon guys, how's that work.

Anyway your moisture streaking supports my theory that the moisture can and does in fact go both ways. If it didn't you would not have had moisture streaking.

Then the next question that arises in my little brain is how many coats of sealer would it take to totally seal an object, if possible. It stands to reason that heaping on more and more sealer would finally close all the transmissive pores, but I don't know that. Would that be a bad thing? Beats me man!

I would take care when scrubbing the abrasive grout around on the sealer. Make sure the sealer is totally dry before abusing it with the sandy grout.

One more thing for anyone following along.
Sealer is not a stain-proof-er. Sealers are merely there to provide one an opportunity to clean up a spill that would have already caused a stain had the sealer not been there.

Here's a tidbit more information about sealers.
http://www.diychatroom.com/blogs/gro...rstandings-95/
That is some good information Bud, I didn't know that about sealer. I thought it sealed against stains. On porcelain how often should a person reseal the grout?
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:42 PM   #5168
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Best I can say is any re-sealing of grout would be determined by cleaning and maintenance methods and frequency. There are too many variables.

Some sealers have a fifteen year guarantee but I can't see how they could do that. Guarantee against what pray tell? How do they know what kind of use and abuse a sealer may get?
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:47 PM   #5169
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Bud, I tried your circular trick with the sponge. Now, why on earth didn't you tell me about that before?

And please don't use the old excuse that I didn't ask you, you're supposed to know what to tell me without being asked.

All I can say is it works a treat, and you can watch the grout lines improve rapidly as you do it...not to mention that it seems to save a fair bit of time. Yet again many thanks Bud.
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:56 PM   #5170
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All I can say is it works a treat, and you can watch the grout lines improve rapidly as you do it...not to mention that it seems to save a fair bit of time.
Aah shucks Keith, I thought everybody knew that.

I find it tends to marry the fresh grout to the tile edge, brings out pin holes near the surface and immediately fills them, slopes the grout an acceptable amount, and in general makes things easier. Too much water however can weaken the grout I think so the slurry should not be too soupy.
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:46 PM   #5171
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Maybe every tile guy knows that...but us wood butchers are a different breed.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:24 PM   #5172
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One of our local sail training ships came by early this morning.

This is the "Pacific Swift" out of Victoria.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:26 PM   #5173
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We had some pretty ominous looking weather came over this way late this afternoon. And even before sunset it got dark.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:37 PM   #5174
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Now that I'm getting the hang of grouting w-i-d-e spaces in the Saltillo tiles -and believe me, it's nothing like grouting 1/8" (or less) spaces in porcelain- things are proceeding apace on the main floor.

But, as you see by the foregoing photo, it was quite dark here most of the afternoon, and I prefer natural light to artificial light for grouting. Notice how I managed to concoct an excuse to get out of it.

What's worse is that when I glued up the first section of the third shelf this morning, I had one of the pieces of cedar split itself partially a couple of feet in from the end. I did consider trying to fix it, but for the amount of work involved in doing that I think it will be consigned to the fireplace.

I may have one big board left down at the mill which I can turn into strips that might be suitable. It's not the best, but I only need a few pieces to replace what is lost...I'll see in the morning.

One other thing that got done today was the rigging up of a small solar panel to power the fan in the composting toilet. Every little bit helps.
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:13 AM   #5175
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Beautiful pictures Keith! That sunset is gorgeous.

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