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idlewatcher 12-20-2011 02:21 AM

Rookie ceramic tiling mistake!
 
3 Attachment(s)
Hi guys - sometimes I'm curious as to how much money the pro's and knowledgeable weekend warriors save the rest of us with your help. I've been a lurker here for about a year and have been fortunate to pick up some tips from you guys along the way - so I'm thankful! :thumbup:

Now to the fun part: I have a 300sqft dining room which had several broken tiles due to my brother's actions and poor initial installation. So one day a few months ago, I opted to pick up all the floors (previous owner's installation) and they came out entirely too easily.

I went ahead and purchased the tiles, drew my lines and laid my tiles. Seeing as Xmas is right around the corner, I'm about to have 25 people in my tiny house and have yet to finish grouting one end of the dining room due to (as the topic title states): Rookie mistake!.

Short of selling my kidney for yet another tool, here are the tools I've used thus far in trying to get the thinset between the grout and on the corners of the tiles up.Attachment 42827

I've tried the grout saw, bought a grout grabber (which can easily damage your tile if you aren't careful), soap and water, one of those nylong Adobie pads (well several b/c the thinset and tile tear them up quite fast) and used a Dremel with a carbide tip pretty much to no avail.

Here is the photo of one half of the room which looks pretty good for a first crack at it:Attachment 42828

Finally, the "other" end of the room where I felt that if I messed with the tile, it would shift and I'd be out of luck so I left it (stupidly :)):
Attachment 42829

It won't be the end of the world if I don't have the second half of my floor grouted, but it would be nice. I have two days to tinker with it and unfortunately, my elbow grease only stretches so far so two days more than likely won't cut it. I've adhered to the 40% rule in terms of how far one must get the grout down. If anyone has any old wives tales or tricks of the trade to help me remove the dried thinset from the tile corners, I'd appreciate it immensely.

Thanks in advance! :)

oh'mike 12-20-2011 06:45 AM

That's a mess---

Multitool with a grout blade is relatively quick--then final clean up with a utility knife.

A 4 1/2" angle grinder with a diamond blade would be a good choice ,also--However one slip and you will have a damaged tile. It would be very fast,although quite dusty.

mikegp 12-20-2011 08:22 AM

So what was your actual mistake? You didn't push the grout deep enough and now have a void below the surface grout?

Do you think a router would help? I've heard that vinegar softens grout. People use it to remove haze when it's on too long. Soak it and cover with saran wrap and tape for hours-days and it supposedly softens it.

oh'mike 12-20-2011 08:30 AM

What you are seeing is thinset squeeze up that he failed to remove while setting --
And he didn't knife it out the next morning when it was soft.

Newbie mistake---but correctable with lots of elbow grease and a faster cutting tool.

DrHicks 12-20-2011 08:42 AM

What O'Mike said...

I'd definitely go the Multi-Tool route. Won't cover the house in dust, and far less chance of an inexperienced user making a big mistake.

I don't know if you have a Menards nearby, but I picked up a couple off-brand multi-tools for my sons for Christmas. They're an off-brand, but after rebate they were only $9.99. Same thing I bought a couple years ago, and I've beat the heck out of mine & it still works fine.

Good luck!


http://menards.com/main/store/200905...0MultiTool.jpg

Snav 12-20-2011 08:55 AM

I've used classic chissels (Erwin brand - 1/8" and 1/4") - to remove all remaining thinset/mortar post curing if it's left behind or overlooked. I've had to sharpen them a few times during removal - but using them at an angle really shaves it off quite easily.

idlewatcher 12-20-2011 10:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikegp (Post 798294)
So what was your actual mistake? You didn't push the grout deep enough and now have a void below the surface grout?

Do you think a router would help? I've heard that vinegar softens grout. People use it to remove haze when it's on too long. Soak it and cover with saran wrap and tape for hours-days and it supposedly softens it.

Hi guys, sorry for the late follow up - a bit late to the office at the moment. My mistake unfortunately wasn't of my doing. The floor is an older 50's home and the floor was very much out of level to begin with. I laid 15 bags of SLC (Quikset was the brand I believe). When I got to the *other* end of the room, I had to build the tile up with more thinset than usual. They are solid as can be, but with that much thinset and the rapid weather changes here in houston, I didn't want to even TOUCH the tile after I laid it.

So all in all, my issue is getting the thinset up off the corners and a bit from the sides of the tiles in the joints. If I don't, then not only will it look like garbage, but the thinset will in fact peek through. And by the way, I do have a multitool with the carbide or diamond tip. It's a Craftsman that I picked up at Sear's not too long ago. That is designated for getting big chunks of thinset (or whatever else) up, not so much for getting smaller amounts off the corners.

Thanks again guys and any ideas would be appreciated.
Joshua

Snav 12-20-2011 03:21 PM

Some chissels and elbow grease - get to work - work steady - get it over with. :thumbsup:

DrHicks 12-20-2011 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snav (Post 798591)
Some chissels and elbow grease - get to work - work steady - get it over with. :thumbsup:

Hey hey hey now... Some of us are GUYS here. There HAS to be a way of doing the job with a power tool. If not, we're outta here! :)

Snav 12-20-2011 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrHicks (Post 798599)
Hey hey hey now... Some of us are GUYS here. There HAS to be a way of doing the job with a power tool. If not, we're outta here! :)


Jackhammer!

Elbow grease must be a chick thing - our husband's like to watch. :devil:

DrHicks 12-20-2011 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snav (Post 798606)

Elbow grease must be a chick thing - our husband's like to watch. :devil:

Well, I cannot honestly disagree with that statement. :)

Snav 12-20-2011 03:46 PM

But don't let that detour your efforts!

idlewatcher 12-20-2011 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrHicks (Post 798599)
Hey hey hey now... Some of us are GUYS here. There HAS to be a way of doing the job with a power tool. If not, we're outta here! :)

HA! no no, please don't misunderstand me. I was just asking IF there were a quicker way than manual scrubbing :laughing:. I did manage to remove quite a bit with some elbow grease and soap suds - but it has taken FOREVER with little to show for it.

Amazing how that Grout Grabber hasn't damaged many people's tiles. Unless you have the hand of a surgeon, I wouldn't recommend it.

hyunelan2 12-20-2011 03:51 PM

The Oscillating Multitool is the way to go for cutting out grout. I just bought a spare/backup from Menards for $19.99 - $10 rebate. That and a masonry/grout blade and it should be short work. The only thing you will need to chisel by hand is the area where you get to a corner and the rounded blade cannot reach.

idlewatcher 12-20-2011 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikegp (Post 798294)
So what was your actual mistake? You didn't push the grout deep enough and now have a void below the surface grout?

Do you think a router would help? I've heard that vinegar softens grout. People use it to remove haze when it's on too long. Soak it and cover with saran wrap and tape for hours-days and it supposedly softens it.

Mike, you are spot on. Using warm water and dishwashing soap has worked pretty well to at least soften the dried thinset up - which makes for easier Adobie pad scrubbing.

The triangular shaped "grout tool" doesn't appear to be of much help for what I need it for and using the multitool on the sides of the tile can ding up the sides of the tile. Ughh this frustrates me that I didn't take care of it when I should have.


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