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Grout Haze? Grey Tile, Black Grout... HELP



The wife and I are having a home built.  We purchased a grey porcelain 12x24 tile to be installed throughout the house along with a black grout.  It's wonderful... but....


You can see in the images below, most of the tiles are covered with this haze throughout the entire house.


Is there a way to remove this without destroying the existing grout?  I purchased this grout haze removal chemical from Home Depot as well as this acid... but after doing 2 tiles, an hour later, and 1340 square feet left to go, I'm really at a loss feeling super overwhelmed with a project that is just ridiculous in scale and not of my own doing.


What else can I do to help on a large scale?





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Posted 2013-05-08T04:07:41+0000  by the1sen the1sen

Hey the1sen,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


I would first say that whoever did the grouting for your floor forgot some very basic steps when it comes to grouting. 


I'll spare the lecture on cleaning up grout as soon as it is applied, since it wasn't done by your hand. 


You have great products to help you fix what has occurred, but there are other options available that can get the job done on a large scale.


For example, if your Home Depot store has a Tool Rental Center, you can use a floor maintainer machine with a buffing pad to scour the grout off the floor.

Floor Maintainer and Polisher from The Home Depot's Tool Rental Center

While this machine is used for doing buffing and cleaning, it comes it a variety of scour/buffing  pads. Since you have porcelain tiles, a lighter grade of the pads won't scuff and scratch the floor. In fact, you may have to experiment with different pads (we usually carry 4 grits) and see how they will work. I would personally avoid the rougher grit tiles, as they could scratch the tile surface.


Therefore, for your large area, this machine/pad may do the trick for taking up a majority of the grout haze. The trick is to start with a small inconspicuous area first.  Work by using the machine in a workable 3 ft. x 3 ft. area. If the grout haze is coming up, then the machine and scour pad is doing its job.


I'm still glad you purchased the grout haze remover and sulfamic acid cleaner. You'll still need them for stubborn or caked-up areas that the machine may not take off. Once the haze is taken off, you will need to seal your tiles to ensure they are protected from everyday foot traffic.


Renting this machine would be the only option I can possibly think of now, given the size and scope of your floor.


Keep us updated on your progress, these tiles look nice, but they'll look better once the haze is removed.




Posted 2013-05-08T11:52:17+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Thank you for the machine rental suggestion. 


Question - I'm familiar with using a buffer from my time in the Service.  We used to use a chemical on the floor as well when using the buffer.  Should I be using any chemicals while buffing the floor?


Thank you again for your reply.

Posted 2013-05-08T11:58:20+0000  by the1sen

You are quite welcome.


I'm glad you used this buffer before, so you know how it works. You can use a cleaner rated for the machine. Unfortunately at this time, we only carry floor stripper, which only is effective for taking off acrylic layers, not grout. 


You can use water on it to activate it, but it would be preferable to use either your sulfamic acid cleaner mixed with water or use a Phosphoric Acid cleaner diluted with water, as shown below:

Miracle Sealants 128 oz. Fast-Acting Phosphoric Acid Cleaner


I will stress again that experimenting in a hidden out of the area is key first. The machine will do the grunt work for you, but using a diluted cleaning solution as the ones I mentioned above won't hurt either.


And while we don't carry a specific powder or liquid cleaner for our buffing machines to take off grout, you can check other nearby rental centers in your area to see if any are available.


Again, I hope to hear your progress from how you are doing on this project once you get everything. 




Posted 2013-05-08T12:14:41+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Just wanted to give a brief update -


Apparently the building supervisor is aware of the issue and has already taken measures to hire someone to remove the haze and apply a sealer as well.  


They'll be using an acid wash, a Turbo-Force tool, and afterward, a sealant.  The only thing left to do is wait. 


Hoping to have a happy ending to this story.  I'm not confident the grout haze will come up, but I'm grateful that theoretically, I won't have to do anymore of this acid washing.


We shall see what happens.

Posted 2013-05-08T17:48:32+0000  by the1sen
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