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Old 03-14-2011, 01:11 AM   #1
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Pictured below is tile I just laid yesterday, and 24+ hours after laying we came back and grouted tonight. The pics are about 4 hours after applying the grout, still trying to get all the haze off. Notice the light areas in the grout (supposed to be a dark gray, but looks black when wet). When I wipe the sponge across the tile, the light areas in the grout go dark almost the same as the rest of the grout.

Should I be worried about this? I used black grout on my bathroom floor and didn't have this problem at all.




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Old 03-14-2011, 09:23 AM   #2
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


I don't know what to do with this. The grout looks even worse this morning than it did last night. I must have wiped every tile at least 4 times and still there is a haze on it, and even more light color areas in the grout, which is supposed to be Mapei's Charcoal color.





I'm about ready to just scrape out all the grout and start over. My wife actually likes the lighter areas better than the darker areas. At this point I just want it to be even. I need to figure something out because I HAVE to get our range and refrigerator back in place ASAP. I also really need to get the laundry area grouted so I can get the washer and dryer back in place. Should I try vinegar/water, or anything else before I go through with pulling it all out? If I do pull it all out we may pick up a bag of lighter gray grout instead of this darker charcoal.

Pertinent info:
- 12" porcelain tile, laid in this area Saturday afternoon and grouted Sunday evening.
- Thinset is gray Mapei Ultraflex 2
- Grout is Mapei Keracolor S - Charcoal
- We're kind of in the "limbo" period with HVAC, too warm for heat and too cool for A/C. As such it was around 71-72 in the house with no ventilation running at all.
- I measured out exactly 10 lbs. of grout out of the 25 lb. bag and mixed with exactly 26 oz. of water according to Mapei's directions, and mixed by hand with margin trowel. The grout seemed rather crumbly and was quite difficult to work with.

I've read some negative opinions of Mapei Keracolor grout - lots of people having the same issues. Is this grout just junk? Maybe too much water used during cleaning? My wife did the initial cleaning, and had never done it before... I have used Laticrete Sanded Grout 1500 in black before, with their Grout Enhancer liquid instead of water, with great results. Had zero problems with that one. Unfortunately it seems like Lowe's is phasing out the Laticrete products and has switched over to Mapei.

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Old 03-14-2011, 02:33 PM   #3
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Read this from the TCNA

What is "latex leaching" and "dirt deposition"?

Less common than efflorescence is the white residue that can form on polymer-modified grout if the grout is subjected to excessive moisture before the polymers coalesce. Polymer additives are often added to grout to provide superior properties, commonly improved chemical resistance, reduced porosity, improved flexibility and freeze/thaw stability. These additives are either already in the grout as redispersible powders or are added in liquid form. In both cases, grout mixed with too much water or cleaned too soon, or cleaned with excess water can cause the polymer to migrate to the surface. In many cases (but not all), these polymers are white in color. When the excess water evaporates, the white polymer is exposed.

In areas with light-colored soils or near light-colored carpeting, occasionally light-colored residue is seen on the grout when detergents used on the tile and grout have not been fully removed. Although the detergent residue is often virtually invisible, it can combine with the soil to form a sticky film that builds up over time. Because the grout joint is commonly lower and more porous than the tile, the dirt tends to be observed in the grout joint. In severe cases, the dirt will also discolor the tile.

Very often, a tile floor can be cleaned with hot water or extremely small amounts of cleaner. Preferably, the dirty water should be vacuumed off the floor. If not possible, sufficient rinse water should be used to remove all traces of the dirt and cleaner.

How do I clean off the "white stuff" on my grout?

For removing a whitish residue from polymer migration, solvents or strong cleaners are needed. As there are many different polymers that could have been used in the grout, any one cleaner may have more or less efficacy. Possibly, an acid could work by removing the surface layer of grout molecules to which the polymers are attached.

Jaz
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:49 PM   #4
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Well my wife tried a little vinegar and sent me some pics today. It does look better, but I'll have to take a look when I get home this afternoon. Still undecided as to whether I'm going to tear out this grout or not.

What I do know is that I will definitely be mixing much smaller batches of grout next time, working in smaller areas, and cleaning each area before moving on to the next area. With this installation I grouted an entire 70 s.f. area at once with 10 lbs. of grout (out of the 25 lb. bag) while my wife came along behind and cleaned. IMHO that was one of several mistakes on our part.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:33 PM   #5
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Too much water was used - plain and simple.

I assume a lot of grout remained on the surface of the tile when the cleaning began. This would contaminate the cleaning water prematurely.

The water was not changed frequently.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:03 PM   #6
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Patrick,
What Bud said. But don't beat yourself up over it. Grouting tile is not as cut and dry as the bag says. Knowing how to mix it and how soon to start cleaning it comes with time and experience. It sounds like you mixed it too dry to start with. If it is slightly wetter than what you had, it won't set up quite so quick. 70 sq. feet to grout at one time is not a lot. But if you start out with too dry a mix, it sets up quicker and starts to get away from you. You end up scrubbing harder, and aren't able to take your time like you should. Also if you keep going over it, like Bud said, you use too much water and end up with trouble.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:32 PM   #7
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Float the grout in, wiping excess up off the tile faces with the float before moving on to more joints. With pressure, you're floating the grout to the depth/profile appearance you want: recessed, flush or textured, etc. Let the grout completely set, then come back & dry-burlap the haze to get the grout out of the tile dimples etc. Some folks might like the grout left in those crevices/deviations in a controlled or consistent way.

The burlap wont damage set grout but is rough enough to capture & remove the haze and any excess cured grout on tile face. I never use "water" to clean up (except that which is in a damp sponge carefully detailing malleable grout) since that smears old grout into the new seams messing up the profile of the grout. Seems the biggest problem with grouting is well meaning beginners doing de-hazing & cleaning before the grout is set. They also make a pads that eat up face grout too, like a big kitchen scouring pad. I've never used them though...yet

my .02
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:07 PM   #8
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


The good thing is: It will clean up.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:31 PM   #9
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


I think I'm going to have to use my angle grinder to get this stuff out. It's pretty hard already and the little grout saw is going to take for-EVER.

On a positive note I watched some videos by Tim Carter askthehandyman.com on YouTube and tried his grouting methods on a test board. I used the same grout I put on the floor, and it came out REALLY well this time. We still want to go a bit lighter on the color, so I still have to tear out the grout we put down, but I think I got the process down much better than before. Also buying some better quality tools seems to be helping.

Last edited by PatrickGSR94; 03-15-2011 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:29 PM   #10
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Patrick,

Remove the grout if you want. But why do you ask us what to do and then do something else? Angle grinder? Good luck with that!

Quote:
I watched some videos by Tim Carter askthehandyman.com on YouTube and tried his grouting methods on a test board.
I don't know about the video you watched, but you're gonna listen to Tim Carter? LOL! What the heck does he know about tile work? Too funny!

Jaz

PS; I just watched one of his grout video and it wasn't too bad. Nothing special, I guess a video is easier to grasp than reading about it. I seen others he did which were worse than I could take.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:46 PM   #11
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


The angle grinder really isn't the way to go, risky risky business my friend.

I wouldn't be following Carter around too much either, that guy will walk you over a cliff if you aren't careful.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:01 AM   #12
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Quote:
Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
Patrick,

Remove the grout if you want. But why do you ask us what to do and then do something else? Angle grinder? Good luck with that!
I decided to remove it because we want to go with a lighter color. We decided on this route after I made the original posts above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
I don't know about the video you watched, but you're gonna listen to Tim Carter? LOL! What the heck does he know about tile work? Too funny!

Jaz

PS; I just watched one of his grout video and it wasn't too bad. Nothing special, I guess a video is easier to grasp than reading about it. I seen others he did which were worse than I could take.
Quote:
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The angle grinder really isn't the way to go, risky risky business my friend.

I wouldn't be following Carter around too much either, that guy will walk you over a cliff if you aren't careful.
Well do y'all know of any good how-to videos out there? Like you said I do much better if I can see it done rather than just reading about it or even looking at still photos.

I used the procedures shown by Mr. Carter on my test board last night and it worked out so much better than what we put on the floor. Below is a link showing the test board sitting on the floor to show the difference. Looks a lot better. However there are still a few lighter colored spots even on the test board. I think I may go with back with the Laticrete 1500 that I've used before instead of this Mapei stuff for the re-do work.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...g/IMG_6917.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...g/IMG_6912.jpg
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:49 PM   #13
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Test board huh!???

I can remember when sales reps would come along selling their grouts and stuff and they also did a test board. Four tiles glued to a piece of plywood. Then they would proceed to grout the resulting cross on the stupid test board. Idiots.

"See how easy that is," "Doesn't that look great," they would say with a smile.

Give me a break Mr. Salesman!

A full-room-grout-job does not a test board make.

As you have seen.
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:08 AM   #14
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


So um, I don't understand your comments.. Are you saying I did something wrong here? I was just trying to practice techniques a bit (specifically the mixing and cleaning parts) so I don't screw up a whole damn room again.

I'm starting to think this Mapei grout is junk, though. Or the bag I got is defective or something. I picked up some Laticrete 1500 yesterday for the re-do.

Last edited by PatrickGSR94; 03-17-2011 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:46 PM   #15
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Please tell me this isn't efflorescence


Quote:
So um, I don't understand your comments.. Are you saying I did something wrong here?
No, not at all. I am simply amused in strange ways sometimes. You sparked my memory of salesmen over the years that rely on sample boards to no avail. Hey if you think sample boards are the thing to do by all means go for it. But, they really don't offer a real depiction of anything in the real project. They are kind of like single tile samples. Any tile sample a person drags home to look at may or may not be what the tile in the tile order looks like when it arrives at the project.

Sorry, but I chuckle still.

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