Help, how to remove grout from porcelain tiles

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Old 08-09-07, 10:23 PM
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Help, how to remove grout from porcelain tiles

I recently laid porcelian tile in a room, I learned a huge lesson, to apply in 3x3 areas, clean then move on. Well I didn't do that, and now I have a mess. The tiles I picked out have groves and swirls all in it and the grout is stuck in all the crevices. How do I remove it. I really perfer not to use a chemical due to kids, fumes and dogs. Any advice on how to get the grout out of the groves would be appreciated.

I have done MANY home remodeling projects and I have to say this one has been a nightmare. I also have already laid same tile in 3 other rooms, but have not grouted yet, I will do it right when I do, but want to clean this mess up first to be able to move furntiure around. My hands are blown out and I need advice. Thank you!!
 
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Old 08-09-07, 10:38 PM
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How old is the grout? If it isn't too old, try a stiff scrub brush and water. You might be surprised at how easily it comes out.
 
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Old 08-09-07, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Smokey49 View Post
How old is the grout? If it isn't too old, try a stiff scrub brush and water. You might be surprised at how easily it comes out.
I just grouted 2 weeks ago, but not even water and a stiff brush is working. Lowes said I needed to use Miracle product, but it is very toxic (acid) and I am not comfortable using that. I is like concrete down in the groves, I need something to disolve it to make it easy to get out. Thanks!
 
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Old 08-10-07, 06:41 AM
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After two weeks your gonna have to use some kind of acid to remove this. I know you said you didnt want to use chemicals. Lots of porcelain tiles have these little crevices and some people like the look of the grout in them. Im guessing your not one of those people though. Try mixing a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Vinegar is an acid so you should wet the area before you use the solution and rinse it thouroughly with clean water several times after. Apply the mix and scrub it with a stiff bristle nylon brush. Hopefully that will do it. You can also use the vinegar straight if the 50/50 doesnt work. Let us know how this works. There are other things you can try if this doesnt work but this is where you should start.
 
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Old 08-10-07, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by HeresJohnny View Post
After two weeks your gonna have to use some kind of acid to remove this. I know you said you didnt want to use chemicals. Lots of porcelain tiles have these little crevices and some people like the look of the grout in them. Im guessing your not one of those people though. Try mixing a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Vinegar is an acid so you should wet the area before you use the solution and rinse it thouroughly with clean water several times after. Apply the mix and scrub it with a stiff bristle nylon brush. Hopefully that will do it. You can also use the vinegar straight if the 50/50 doesnt work. Let us know how this works. There are other things you can try if this doesnt work but this is where you should start.
Johnny,

Thank you, believe it or not, last night 1am I was trying something, cleaning with baking soda, water and vinegar, I only did 2 squares in a hidden place and they actually seem a bit lighter this morning than the other tiles, is this because of the baking soda?

I will try the straight vinegar and water solution, but please do share other ideas, I am serious when I say my hands are blown out and I am so tired I am ready to give the house away!!! (not really). I have been doing remodeling to the house all by myself, I started in late April early May, and I am ready to be done. My son in law has helped too, but the majority I have done alone.

Thank you for you advice and keep em' coming. )
 
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Old 08-10-07, 08:57 AM
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Could be the baking soda. Make sure you flush the cleaned area out with clean water several times. If your talking about your hands being chewed up from the grout, do what I do - wear rubber gloves.

Give the vinegar and water a try. If that doesnt work go to HD or Lowes and in the tile dept get sulfamic acid. Its a little stronger than the vinegar. Same method though - rinse with water before - sulfamic acid and stiff brush - rinse well with water several times. And dont forget the rubber gloves. Hang in there with the house. Im sure your doing a good job. When this is all over you'll sit back have a cold beverage of your choice and be proud of all the good work youve done.
 
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Old 08-10-07, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by HeresJohnny View Post
Could be the baking soda. Make sure you flush the cleaned area out with clean water several times. If your talking about your hands being chewed up from the grout, do what I do - wear rubber gloves.

Give the vinegar and water a try. If that doesnt work go to HD or Lowes and in the tile dept get sulfamic acid. Its a little stronger than the vinegar. Same method though - rinse with water before - sulfamic acid and stiff brush - rinse well with water several times. And dont forget the rubber gloves. Hang in there with the house. Im sure your doing a good job. When this is all over you'll sit back have a cold beverage of your choice and be proud of all the good work youve done.


Johnny,

Just to clarify, it is not the grout that has my hands in a mess, it is all the work, I have been non-stop on this house since May. I have redone both bathroom, ripping the floors up to the concrete slab, taking out and replacing with new vanity and toliet (even the flange (spelling)) fixtures, placing insulation in the ceciling above garge that I enclosed for a home office, painted the entire house etc...all mostly by myself. The 4 rooms I am placing Porcelian tile on is the office, foyer hallway, kitchen and dining areas, and I worked for 3 weeks getting the floors up, it had 4 layers, that was a killer and why I say my hands have had it. Let's just say I had a wonderful father that taught me well on how to do these things and I would make Tim the tool man look slim with his tools hehehe

I did go to Lowes, they recommended a cement and grout cleaner made by Miracle, yet by reading it, it seems so dangerous; I feel like I need a full body CSI infectious control suit to wear and clear out the entire house of dogs and my grandson (young Nana here ) ) to use that stuff, hence why I wanted something non-toxic and harmful.

Also the only thing besides this mess with the grout that I have had trouble with is putting the tile on the wall behind the sink and oven, gravity is not friendly with that task which I have given up on for now until I figure it out, how to keep the tiles in place without slipping and sliding. Yes, thinset is peanut butter consistancy, 1/4 spacers, start at bottom, but makes no difference. You are right, once it is all done, I will have to sit back and and say WHEW as I sip on a cold drink.

Thank you for all your input and any other advice you have. SAYYYYYY, what are you doing for the next few days???? hehehehe
 
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Old 08-10-07, 09:55 AM
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Miracle sulfamic acid crystals. See the link below.

http://www.miraclesealants.com/c_sulfamic_acid_crystals.html

What kinda tile are you trying to install that keeps sliding down the walls?

Leaving for my shorehouse in 5 minutes - next couple of days is boating and golf - sorrrrrry.
 
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Old 08-10-07, 10:05 AM
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Dang it, well have fun. The tile is the same that is on the floor, the porcelian tiles, same pattern etc...

LL
 
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Old 08-10-07, 04:39 PM
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Screw a ledger board onto the wall where you want to start your tile. Take the time to get the ledger board perfectly level. Start your first row of tile on the ledger board. You do need to use thinset here as it sounds like you have some pretty big tile. Use spacers from there up. They make spacers called tilespikes that I like to use because they can make up for small variances in tile size and keep the tile nice and level and square. See link for tilespikes.

http://www.tile-experts.com/products.asp?id=64

They also make "non sag" thinsets. With these thinsets the tile pretty much stays on the wall where you put it. Downside to the non sags is they are expensive as compared to regular modified thinsets. I use Tec 3N1 on occasion and think it works really good. See link for 3N1

thinsets.http://www.tecspecialty.com/product_detail.asp?prodId=109

Hope this helps
 
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Old 08-10-07, 09:02 PM
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Hi Lucy,

I don't see how the tiles can slip if you are supporting them with spacers. Try again. Being such a small area I doubt the baton strip suggestion will work.

I know what you mean with your grout stuck to the textured porcelain problem. Those kinds of tiles should be outlawed. They are really only useful for exterior areas where slipping might be a concern. Most of these types of tiles are actually harder to maintain when used indoors.

By your description, I doubt if sulfamic acid crystals will work either. You need that heavy duty acid stuff, might be phosphoric acid? AquaMix makes a phosphoric acid cleaner and one they call Heavy Duty Acid Cleaner, which to me sounds like the one I would use. I think the Miracle Sealants cleaner contains hydrochloric acid? All you gotta done is follow directions, and yes get rid of the kids and pets for a while.

Jaz
 
  #12  
Old 08-11-07, 07:31 AM
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So then Jaz - How do you support your first row of tile?
 
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Old 08-11-07, 09:02 PM
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Hi Johnny,

It's a backsplash, Lucy is going to bounce the first row off of the countertop, first row will have a spacer under it. Probably not enough room to skip a row then go back and fill in later? Even so, she'd have the same problem with that row. This is for the area near the sink. If by the oven she means a slide-in, she'll have to do as you said. Or even drive a few nail partially under the tiles till they hold. Actually, being a kitchen backsplash, she'd have a much easier time with a good mastic.

Jaz
 
  #14  
Old 08-13-07, 05:58 AM
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Hi Jaz

From Lucy's comments I assumed that the spacers werent really the problem. Yeah I figured she probably had a pullout stove and couldnt get the first row of tile to stay put so the straight edge tacked to the wall was a good solution. I agree the nails will work just fine too. Also nothing wrong with using a straight edge tacked in place for the rest of the countertops if you cant work off of the countertops. You can remove the strips later and fill in below using masking tape to the tile above or spacers/shims from the countertop up. Or you can use one of the non sag thinsets. Dont know what size Lucy's tile is so maybe mastic is good and maybe not.

Hey Lucy, where'd you go anyway?
 
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Old 08-13-07, 07:10 PM
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Johnny,

You and I have straight edges of various sizes in our vans, many people don't. From her post I got the feeling she was installing the same tile on the backsplash as on the floor. Maybe not? Hey Lucy!!!

Jaz
 
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