regrout hex flooring

Discussion in 'Flooring' started by Staci_25, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Oct 24, 2009 #1

    Staci_25

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    Currently the hex tile floor in our bathroom has white grout (thats been there since 1950).... is there a way to regrout the floor with black grout without digging out every single bit of grout around those itty bitty tiles?
     
  2. Oct 24, 2009 #2

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Staci:

    It's just not feasible to regrout a mosaic tile floor because of the tremendous amount of grout that you'd need to remove. It is however, possible to retile over your existing ceramic tile.

    But, before you do anything, is it possible for you to open an account at www.photobucket.com or any of the other free internet image hosting web sites, borrow a digital camera and get a friend or computer geek to upload photos of your floor so that you can provide links to those pictures so that we can see it.

    You see, I bought an apartment block about 22 years ago, and at the time I bought it, it was cheap because it was in very poor condition. Most of the bathrooms had deteriorated plastic tiles on them, and those that had ceramic tiles were poorly done and were covered in mildew. But, I found that I was able to clean up that mildew quite well so that those bathrooms looked quite nice again. And, I have since torn down all that old plastic and ceramic tiling and redone all of the bathrooms in new ceramic tile.

    What I'm thinking is that if I could see the progress being made by your posting pictures of the floor after each step, it may very well be possible to restore the appearance of the floor to an acceptable level so that it wouldn't be necessary to regrout it. Or, failing that, to restore the appearance as much as possible, and then seal the grout so that it doesn't deteriorate from that level any further.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2009
  3. Oct 24, 2009 #3

    Staci_25

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    its not so much a necessity as a desire.... the white will continually need to be cleaned and the black makes the tiles "pop" so much more.... one of those things I want to do but I'm still weighing the desire against the work! :)
     
  4. Oct 25, 2009 #4

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    No, the white grout won't continually need to be cleaned. Once you clean it well, then you "seal" it with an acrylic grout sealer. That acrylic grout sealer forms a clear plastic film over tiles and grout alike. That clear plastic film prevents mildew from growing on the grout from then on.

    If I were you, I'd clean a small area (say 1 square foot) of your floor with a phosphoric acid based toilet bowl cleaner using a nylon bristle scrub brush to open up the surface porosity. Clean up the acid with water and allow several days to dry. Then, scrub the cleaned area with bleach straight out of the jug. Allow ample time for the bleach to penetrate into the grout, and repeat if it appears to be whitening the grout. See what you think of the way the floor looks then.
     
  5. Oct 25, 2009 #5

    travelover

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    As always, good advice from Nestor. Make sure that you wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when working with bleach or acid bowl cleaner.
     
  6. Oct 25, 2009 #6

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Also, never mix the bleach and the acid; use the two separately.

    If you mix bleach (NaOCl) with an acid, the gas that comes bubbling off is chlorine gas. In tiny quantities it's not gonna hurt you, but in larger quantities it can do serious damage to your lungs. As long as you rinse the acid off with water before applying the bleach, the amount of chlorine gas produced is gonna be miniscule. Even if you don't rinse the acid off with clean water, the amount of chlorine gas is gonna be small, but don't play with this because you might start having lung problems later on in life if you mess with it too much.
     
  7. Oct 26, 2009 #7

    handyguys

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    Staci - Its been suggested to tile over the old with new tile and grout with your desired look. This can be a good approach and not too difficult. it does create a step up into the bathroom and will nesecesitate a special extender under the toilet. You may also have issues with vanities and other aspects of the bathroom. My preference is to remove the old tile. This too can create challenges. If its set into a mortar bed it can be be quite a job. I have been there.

    I wonder if the grout could be dyed? Sure enough a google search turned up this Home Page I know nothing about dying grout but it seems it may do what you want. Good luck.
     
  8. Oct 26, 2009 #8

    Staci_25

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    pics to follow tonight of the entire apt
     
  9. Oct 27, 2009 #9

    Staci_25

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    Pics are up now... all the "pre" pics of the apt... as the previous tennants left it... we've got a mess on our hands Apt remodel -
     
  10. Oct 27, 2009 #10

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Staci:

    I still see some "white" (?) grout on the left side at the closest end of the tub.

    Here's how to clean the grout:

    Get a rubber squeegee, a nylon bristle scrub brush (a brush for cleaning dentures works well and is available at any pharmacy) and some phosphoric acid based toilet bowl cleaner with a phosphoric acid content between 15 and 20 percent (approx.).

    In an inconspicuous area (like behind/under the door) squirt some toilet bowl cleaner down on the floor and spread it with the squeegee so that the toilet bowl cleaner is removed to the grout lines. Scrub the grout lines and re-squeegee to put the toilet bowl cleaner back in the grout lines. Keep doing that until you see the tile coming clean. Then, when clean, wipe up the toilet bowl cleaner with a sponge, rinse with clean water, and wipe up the rinse water with a sponge.

    To clean the tile surfaces, use a Magic Eraser dipped in a solution of Mr. Clean in water:

    [​IMG]

    Before you do anything drastic, like start regrouting that tile floor, or tiling over that tile floor, I'd give that tile floor a good cleaning as described above, and see what it looks like then.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  11. Oct 27, 2009 #11

    Staci_25

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    will try that.... perhaps tomorrow- i'm in town for one more day and should have enough time!
     
  12. Nov 1, 2009 #12

    Staci_25

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    the grout does (miraculously) appear to be a dark grey or black color! Now the question comes: will it hurt the color or the grout to bleach the tile?
     
  13. Nov 2, 2009 #13

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    That depends on whether the black colour of the grout is due to a black dye added to the grout when they were mixing it, or if it was black pigments (like carbon dust) that was added to the grout to make it black.

    There are three chemicals that all work by breaking down into more stable forms;
    1. Bleach (which is NaOCl) which breaks down to form salt water, and in so doing, releases a lone oxygen atom.
    2. Ozone (which is O3) which breaks down to form O2 and a lone oxygen atom.
    2. Hydrogen peroxide (HOOH) which breaks down to form H2O and a lone oxygen atom.

    It's that lone oxygen atom that's released when all of these chemicals spontaneously break down that does all the work. That lone oxygen atom is the horny drunken sailor of the chemical world. It'll react with anything that's unstable enough to react. It's those lone oxygen atoms that get released from bleach, Ozone and hydrogen peroxide that react with organic molecules (including dyes) and break them into small pieces. Those small pieces don't absorb certain frequencies of light the way the original molecule did, and so bleached dyes become colourless, or the same colour as the underlying fabric, usually white.

    Ditto for odors. An ozone machine is the biggest gun in the arsenal when it comes to eliminating odors. When people die in a house (or car) and the body isn't discovered until neighbors start complaining about the awful smell coming from the house, it's an ozone machine they use to kill the smell before the forensics team goes in to see if there was any foul play involved. The ozone produced by those machines spontaneously breaks down to O2, and the released lone Oxygen atom reacts with the organic molecules causing the smell, and thereby breaks them down into small bits, none of which affects the olefactory glands in your nose the same way as the original molecule did. So, even though pieces of those original organic molecules are still floating around in the air, you no longer smell a stench like you did before.

    It's those same lone oxygen atoms that disinfect when you clean something with bleach. The lone oxygen atoms react with organic molecules and break them to bits, and that's lethal to anything living, like germs and bacteria. A germ can't have it's organic molecules broken to pieces and still survive.

    So, if the black colour in the grout comes from a dye, then I'd be concerned the bleach would affect the colour of the grout. However, the black pigments most commonly used in paints, inks, leather and paper processing is actually carbon soot. Yep, the same stuff as you find on the inside of your car's tail pipe is also what makes some of the most expensive paints and inks in the world black in colour. If your grout is black because carbon dust was added to it when it was being made, then the bleach won't affect it. So far as I know, carbon soot is the most colourfast pigment known. No matter how much UV light, or heat or anything you expose it to, it remains jet black.



    But, try the bleach in an inconspicuous area just to be on the safe side.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  14. Nov 2, 2009 #14

    Staci_25

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    you're just full of information! Is there a pocket version of you that I can download to my palm for instant access? hahaha :)
     

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