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Mrs. B 08-31-2008 07:37 AM

Missing Luster
Help! My husband and I installed a new Italian porcelain tile floor in our kitchen. Then I broke my back on a fall and we hired a contractor to complete the grouting. We had "superior" sanded grout to use for the project (1/4" joints). The installer said it was very sandy and kept leaving a haze behind. He told us that he had to rinse the grout 5 times. When he was done the color was wrong, not the "neutral grey" - more two toned and had white patches. The greater problem is that it affected the pocelain finish on our tile. He had told us to buff the remaing haze after 4 hours with a towel, which we did. The problem is that the surface is dull in places and scrathed where he floated the grout. It is almost as if he wore the finish off the tile. A new piece from th box has a semi satin "glaze" on it. The existing floor is dull and patchy. The contractor told use to wash it with vinegar and water 50/50 solution. I'm affraid of doing more harm, it is not that there is still a haze on it but rather the suface was acid (?)washed away. I there any thing or product we can use to restore the luster to the tile or seal it? Is there a way to improve the two toned appearance of the grout. Should have healed my back and done the job myself:( Mrs. B

ccarlisle 08-31-2008 08:01 AM

Hmmm...I'd be surprised if the grout 'washed', or acid-etched the finish off porcelain tiles because these tiles are baked and the finish fired at such a high temperature that it makes it unaffected by chemicals. So I doubt if the grout affected it.

It may be a question of 'grout haze' which is just a question of removing the excess grout from the tiles, and that is done either with repeated washings or with an acid treatment, to literally break down the unwanted grout so that it comes off.

If you have a spare tile, treat it the way the installer says but use pure vinegar, let it sit for a while, then flush it off and see if the 'finish' on your porcelain tiles is affected. It shouldn't be...if it is then you have some sort of applied finish to it suggesting a wax. Odd...

Now if the grouting that the installer did was two-tone and splotchy, first let it dry completely, like 3 days, then review. If it is still splotchy, then it is probably a fault of the installer's because it shouldn't do that. Fixable, yes, but shouldn't really happen.

26yrsinflooring 08-31-2008 10:36 AM

Solving the grout issue.
Pure vinegar will discolor the grout and leave a smell that will not disapate anytime soon. This is why it must be diluted. It will also pit most natural stones with the acidity it contains.

The white patches are consistant with grout that has not been mixed properly IE: Too much water in the grout. A good aqua mix grout sealer will help the color blend.

I am of the opinion this is a subgrade grout job, most tile pros will not touch a job that is laid and ungrouted.The reason is;if the grout cracks the customer will blame the guy that grouted it not the person that installed the tile and when grout cracks it is the tile setters problem, not the grout guy unless they are one in the same.

I would follow CC's suggestion of testing a tile prior to working on the floor and see why the surface is loosing its luster.
See if you can repeat the same circumstances that lead to the loss.

If the tile responds negativly then you may have been sold a cheap tile with a porous wearlayer that should have been sealed prior to grouting.

Bud Cline 08-31-2008 11:24 AM


The installer said it was very sandy and kept leaving a haze behind. He told us that he had to rinse the grout 5 times.
That right there is likely the cause of the grout color variances.


The problem is that the surface is dull in places and scratched where he floated the grout.
Can't likely happen.


It is almost as if he wore the finish off the tile.
Can't happen, that's just plain digging up issues to fault someone for. Not scientifically possible at this stage of the process.


...the surface was acid (?)washed away.
OH NONSENSE!!! Not with vinegar it wasn't.

Go get YOURSELF some Murphy's Oil Soap and a white 3M scrubby (I doubt that either is necessary) and scrub that floor then rinse it a few times with clean water. New water each time you rinse. You'll be fine.

There is no way what you have described could happen to that tile floor.:no:

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