Published on December 17th, 2012 | by Henri


Grout stains new tile floor

Q.    Two months ago my wife and I decided to replace our old vinyl kitchen, hall, and foyer floor with porcelain tile. After much searching, we found the perfect tile. It is Pamesa brand Aran style flooring that does not have a smooth texture. It is intended to look like old-style stone/ earth tone tiles.

Our installer used TEC brand grout and TEC  Acrylic Grout Additive. Although our installer and TEC support both say that the grouting was done properly, our beautiful earth-tone floor now looks like mud was smeared over the entire 300 square feet. It has been three weeks since the installation and we have tried every product known to man to clean the floor.

On the advice of the TEC people, we have used their products Banish and Like New as well as phosphoric acid full strength. Some of the grout is coming off of the tile surface but only because we are using steel-tooth brushes and we spend about 15 minutes per tile. Many of the tiles are only 6-inch by 6-inch. At this rate, it would take a year to clean the entire surface. We are exhausted and disappointed.

I read your column regularly and notice that you often suggest TSP as a heavy-duty cleaning agent.  Would this work any better than full strength phosphoric acid? The only other product we can think of that might work is muriatic acid and that would be a very last resort. It appears that it is so dangerous that we probably could not use it indoors anyway.

A.    I am sorry that your floor is so badly affected by the grouting job but it is very difficult to keep grout out of the fissures in a rough finish tile or slate. I assume that, since the grout is so noticeable, it is not of the same color as the tiles. It would have been best to use a grout of the same color as the tiles since it is practically impossible to prevent smearing on rough finishes.

Do not use muriatic acid; it would damage the grout over time because it will be impossible to rinse it off completely. The best product to use is MasonrySaver Safer Brick and Masonry Cleaner, from SaverSystems. The page on their Web site describing the product is at
http://tinyurl.com/bsoaogz. From there you can check a link to find a local store in your area to purchase it.

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