Can penetrating sealer fix a bad new grout installation?

debbe_in_nevOctober 6, 2008

Hi, we're at wits end trying to deal with a bad ceramic floor tile grout installation. In the past, we've done our own tiling, but decided to hire out this job due to the size.

A few days after paying off the contractor, I started to wash the floor for the first time (making sure it had time to cure) and the grout (Polyblend sanded) started washing out too--in fact, it could be dug out with a fingernail, even though it had been 2 weeks since the work was done.

Everyone we talked to and everything we read suggested the tiler either mixed up the grout wrong or used too damp a sponge to clean the joints. Everyone but the tiler, that is--who insisted it was bad grout we had purchased (and maybe it could be fixed just with a sealant). Finally, he agreed to come back, scrape all the old grout out, vacuum the joints and re grout using the same Polyblend--with my husband doing the mixing this time and helping with the actual grouting.

Well, a week later, the new grout still wasn't right (it was better than before, but not as hard as it should be), so we decided to test a penetrating sealer to see if that would help with water resistance. It did, but before we seal the rest of the grout and hope that my next floor washing won't end up like the first, could someone tell me if this has any chance of working?

The grout looked fine to our eyes (no lumps, etc). and it was mixed up in the correct proportions per the manufacturer. The only thing that's unusual is we live in a high desert, very dry climate.

Thanks for any input!

debbe

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floorguy

Way too much water in the mix!!!!!!!

Have it properly regrouted!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 4:42PM
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debbe_in_nev

Hi Floorguy,
Thanks for your response, but...my husband measured the grout/water mixture himself and made it exactly what the tech support guy at Custom Building Products said was correct ratio for their product (1 part water to 3 parts grout). Also, it was mixed to the proper (peanut butter) consistency the company rep specified so there was definitely not too much water in the mix the second time.

In fact, the tile guy complained it had too little water--obviously, it made it harder for him to work with instead of the slop he had used before.

Any other ideas?
Thanks,
debbe

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 12:18AM
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floorguy

"but...my husband measured the grout/water mixture himself"

"the tile guy complained it had too little water--obviously, it made it harder for him to work with instead of the slop he had used before."

I'm not getting it???

Try another brand of grout.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 12:37AM
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homebound

Sounds like you either did not let the grout "slake" after you mixed it, or you did not force it in with the float. Also, you might have "cleaned" with a damp sponge too much right after you grouted, which could have added too much water.

Try John Bridge tile forums and do a search through the threads.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 8:18AM
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homebound

Oops, I missed your "high desert, very dry" climate clue.

Did you spray-mist the floor a couple times afterward? If it dried out too quickly, that might have been a problem.

Also, if the bare joints were completely dry, might have helped to wet them a couple hours before you grouted. That might have minimized the amount of water that would get pulled out of the setting grout.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 10:11AM
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sb21

Actually, whether you're supposed to do it or not, a penetrating sealer called "Pourous Plus 511 by Miracle Sealants" could help in a situation like that. I have seen that actually seal it and stop the grout from coming up in the same type high desert situation where before that, every time the grout was wet, it was dissolving in the water and coming up. Another good water based sealer was tried before and it didn't do anything to help that particular situation but perhaps because the Porous Plus contains petroleum products, it was able to go in and really set and seal everything well with no problems and without having to regrout. This is well past the original post date but I hope this helps someone else out there.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 3:55PM
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sb21

Also a product that helps to seal the grout a lot easier is a product called the "Grout Wand". You can actually apply the sealer while standing and it holds a lot more sealer than a small application bottle. The sealer only comes out when you apply pressure and it has a wheel applicator that you roll as you walk as well, so it makes it easier.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 4:01PM
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