What is this? (picture) Plus a few other T&G cleaning q's

NYCraig

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Hey so I'm just getting into tile and grout cleaning and have using my parents house as practice. I took the IICRC class which was somewhat helpful along with having done a couple small jobs with varying results. I've now cleaned 3 different rooms/areas of my parents house.

They've been there for about 25 years (first owners) and the tile (ceramic) has never been professionally cleaned. I was given 1 free gallon each of More's alkaline and acidic cleaning products so that's what I've been using.


FOYER/BATHROOM
This area came out okay. I applied the alkaline cleaner, agitated, rinsed, then followed same process with the acidic product. Much improved but still some areas are a bit darker (its a grey colored grout). Should I color seal / impregnate seal or would rinsing again with acid + a booster be better? (then seal)

Additional info: Didn't use products at full strength.


2ND FLOOR BATH (PIC#1)
The second area came out amazing. The picture doesn't do it justice as it was a brownish color which turned bright white after fully drying. Used both cleaners at full strength this time (3:1).

IMG_20171005_111405-COLLAGE.jpg


Also after reading through a bunch of posts on TMF I added about a 1/2-1 oz. of Chemspec Bio-solv to the 24oz spray bottle I was using to apply the acidic cleaner. I don't fully understand the chemistry behind it but I'm assuming it worked so well due to this products effectiveness on body oils?

Either way the results were great so I'm guessing I should hurry up and seal this one as well? And which do you guys recommend? Bullet proof is the one recommendation I've received.

MASTER BATH (PIC #2,3,4)

IMG_20171006_172010-COLLAGE.jpg


Pic #2 is a before/after of an area that came out pretty good. The overall results using the same process as I did for the 2nd floor bath were not as good overall though, so far.
This one was super dirty to begin with so I'm thinking I may need to repeat the process?

For now I'm just curious about what I'm looking at in the spots that are still there, is that just general dirt/grime/grease/oil? Or is it possible there was a seal applied way back when?

IMG_20171006_212955.jpg


IMG_20171006_212959.jpg


Also there is one small spot that has this small amount of white, curious if anyone knows what that could be? (pic #4)

IMG_20171006_225309.jpg


My final question is on dwell time for acid cleaners since I feel like I read a lot of different opinions. 5 mins? 10? 15+?

Thanks very much everyone!
 

Todd the Cleaner

Todd Cottino
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Acid usually works quickly, just a couple minutes dwell time is usually enough.

Those last 3 pictures look like the grout was color sealed in the past and the color seal is coming off in places. If you scrape it can you remove more of the white colored sealer?
 

PistolPete

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I have also seen where the grout is so thin because the tile adhesive oozed up between the tiles during the install. After years of wear and cleaning the grout is gone and the white adhesive shows through.
This is where color seal is sometimes used but it doesn't adhere to the adhesive as well as grout.
I'm working on getting a re-grout process down so it becomes a more viable option as in many cases it's the only 'real' solution Vs. bandaid fixes.
 

NYCraig

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If you all think that the black areas in the pics are the color seal coming up I believe you but it seems odd to me I didn't run into this in the other parts of the house.

As for the last 3 pictures, only that one area in the picture has a little bit of white almost rubber looking material. When I hit it with a grout brush it broke up a little bit, but when I hit it with a stainless steel brush it mostly came off except for a very small amount.

The black colored areas are my main concern and I'm wondering how I should proceed here? Treat only those areas again with acid? Or hit with some type of seal?
 

rob allen

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danbrown20

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If you all think that the black areas in the pics are the color seal coming up I believe you but it seems odd to me I didn't run into this in the other parts of the house.

As for the last 3 pictures, only that one area in the picture has a little bit of white almost rubber looking material. When I hit it with a grout brush it broke up a little bit, but when I hit it with a stainless steel brush it mostly came off except for a very small amount.

The black colored areas are my main concern and I'm wondering how I should proceed here? Treat only those areas again with acid? Or hit with some type of seal?

That is absolutely not color sealer. It looks like an old clear sealer that is still adhered to the grout. A water based stripper would help you to emulsify that product. Zep makes a stripper that can easily be found at Home Depot or Lowes as something you can easily find (tho not my first pick for strippers).

If looking to clear seal afterwards, I would look into impregnating sealers only....I use Dynachem Ultraseal (Cobb's Carpet Supply). Its very easy to apply, and its not a "film former" that would cause issues such as this down the road.
 

SAA

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If you are going to be doing this type of work, a Vapor Steamer would be a great addition. Usually a Vapor Steamer with SS Brushes will take off the top surface of grout and smooth it out very well. It simply does a lot more than what most equipment will do for these little detail portions.


longer version

SAA
 

NYCraig

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Thank you for the suggestions. Will definitely look into those products and have had my eye on a vapor steamer for awhile, will likely have one by the end of the year.

As for the white substance in the last picture, I was looking through the manual I got in the IICRC class and I read that it is most likely 'latex migration,' meaning portland cement based grout was used. Doesn't say what causes it.

But after reading the description of efflorescence a few times over there's a chance it could be that instead. According to the book "it reacts to the air to form a white-fuzzy powdery substance (sometime crusty)."
 

SAA

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NYCraig,

Great that you are taking classes and doing research, that is a very positive thing to do in this industry.

The photo looks like some sort of elastic type material (a coating of some sort)with a little substance to it, efflorescence is very thin and not rubbery at all, it is simply migration of the alkalinity (salts; minerals) from the cemetitious material underneath and will usually wipe away with acid, although it can come back easily do to the vapor emission of concrete. Looks a lot like salt when it has water with it and the water evaporates, leaving a very thin residue. Once you see it and understand what it is, you will remember it every time you see it, very distinct.

As for Latex Migration, there are a lot of questions about this and it is generally a lot less likely than efflorescence, and it too is usually a very thin residue, unlike what is seen in the photo.

Items like this that migrate, are not going to be seen as a heavy coating that is seen in your photo.

Vapor emission and or capillary action are involved with these events as they dissolve solids, carry them to the surface and then leave a very thin residue. One has no idea how much vapor or moisture is being emitted unless very specific emission tests are done.

Hope this helps. If you are going to be working with tile a lot, it would be good to gain a lot of information on the subject, accurate information. The Tile Counsel of America has a book on Tile and it is the Bible of the subject, very, very informative and a great resource if you are working with tile, cement and so on.

SAA