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Discussion Starter #1
I do maintenance at a school where a large tile company installed porcelain tile in the main office hallway. This job was a $20k job. The tile company demolished and removed the original vinyl tile and nailed backer board over the subfloor and poured leveler in one area. The tile that they recommended and installed is porcelain and has a relatively "raw" texture. The tile installer said that we'd be wasting our money in sealing the grout. That was surprising to me, but I'm not a professional tile installer and assumed he knew what he was talking about. The dust containment was also abysmal and dust carried through the entire building. Just icing on the cake I suppose.

After the job was complete, the floor had a noticeable haze and water rings that my coworker and myself had to scrub from the entire floor. We noticed slight cracks in a few of the tiles and when reinstalling the toe strip found that in a couple of places they hadn't reached close enough to the wall for the toe strip to hide the gap. We had measured and told them the maximum distance they had to play with.

The tiles are also not perfectly flush. I understand that this might just be the nature of tiling, but it's a big nuisance if you want to run a dust mop over a floor and sharp ridges and grout joints are snagging and collecting the debris.

My current issue is that I can't find a convenient cleaning solution. The texture of this floor makes it so that an ordinary mop will leave fibers and other debris. The floor is an abrasive that pulls material from the mop. The floor shows dirt and never really looks clean. It seems that some sort of auto scrubber, electric mop, or microfiber flat mop will be the only solution. Do you guys have any recommendations?

This a small quaint school and church where people don't want to complain or go after contractors, but I feel like these sort of imperfections and the practical utility of the floor are unacceptable.

I appreciate any advice on cleaning and whether or not they should be held accountable.

Thanks
 

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What's a toe strip? Talking about vinyl wall base?

Maintaining the tile is more on the facilities end, so not my forte. But I know they make non-wax products that can "fill" some of the texture but still keep the slip resistance intact, usually installed right after installation. If the grout was epoxy, then no sealer necessary. I imagine for maintenance you need an Oreck commercial scrubber, and you will probably have to try each stiffness of bristles (orange, green, etc) to find the match with your texture and non-acidic cleaner.

As far as the levelness, some tiles are meant to be that way (e.g. wood look) so don't know what you have. Not using the proper cleaner after install, cracked tiles, and gaps at the base, that's another issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Toe strip is a 1/4"x 1" oak strip where the oak baseboard meets the floor. They are 12x12 beige tan tiles. I don't think it was an epoxy grout.

Thanks for the info.
 

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Well first of all, cracked tiles are never, ever acceptable. Not even 2 years down the road, let alone now.

What you are talking about on the edges is called shoe molding. Although it could also be the similar trim, slightly wider called quarter round -very similar.

First question: find out if they used thinset underneath the cement board and report back, and if they taped all the joints with mesh tape and thinset. They might not be honest about the answer so you might have to do some detective work.
 

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Sounds to me like a $20,000 mistake. The surface issues sound like they never removed the grout film. Normally we would have to use a diluted acid, but that can change the color, do a test area. Or try some of Bob's ideas-
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Cracked, uneven surface, grout residue, misfit edges, they should be held accountable. Also, materials should all have been suitable for high traffic.
 
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