I need to figure out how to clean off this grout mess!
August 1, 2007 7:46 PM   Subscribe

I am regrouting my basement bathroom tile, and as I look down at the sandy mess at my feet, I am wondering how to clean it!

What are you supposed to with excess grout that comes off in puddles when you sponge it clean? Or the mess when you rinse out your sponge ever so often? Is it safe to just let it rinse down the drain or should I be using some kind of bucket? It seems that the grout cleanup is a little more manageable when it is not so wet, can I wait till it is mostly dry before sponging it all off?

Secondary question. The shady ass contractors whose work I am fixing also didn't finish anything off very well. How are you supposed to fix the protusion created between the tile backerboard on the shower wall and the non tiled portions of the plaster? Can you use some kind of treated wood quarter round. I need to finish the window framing as well, so the wood question is weighing on me.

(As to why I am not just riding my contractor to fix it) My contractor became very ill and his brother told us that he had been admitted to the hospital and didn't get the liver transplant he needed and died. Who knows, but this isn't the kind of thing I am going to question much.)
posted by stormygrey to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Please post pictures of the tilebacker/plaster edge. Depending on the size and shape of the space, you have different options. I'm guessing you need some trim tile in there. As to window trim, post pictures of that too.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:59 PM on August 1, 2007

And yes, use a bucket of water and sponge to wipe up most of the grout mess. After the grout has dried and been sealed, come back and do a full cleaning. Dump the buckets down the toilet if you're worried about the sand in your drains.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:00 PM on August 1, 2007

Sponge it up, let it dry, then rub it off the tile with a soft dry heavy cotton rag. Don't seal it until after it's all rubbed off. At least, that's what the product I was recently using instructed.
posted by whatisish at 8:52 PM on August 1, 2007

Oh, and my first grouting mistake was sponging it off too much. I actually took too much away from the tile seams. When you sponge it off, wipe it perpendicular to the grout line to minimize that.

I'm no expert - just lessons learned from my own recent experience.
posted by whatisish at 9:00 PM on August 1, 2007

Regarding fixing the protrusion: the majority of kitchen/bath tile patterns also offer various shaped trim pieces designed to hide the transition from tile to wall. You can also mix with other tile pattern families/colors for some detail interest.
posted by jamaro at 9:11 PM on August 1, 2007

Response by poster: Here's a link to some pics I just took. Thanks for all the advice so far!

It already look like the sponging I did was perhaps too aggressive, I need to fill in some gaps.
posted by stormygrey at 9:12 PM on August 1, 2007

I recommend looking at this page on grouting tile and watch the video to compare what you did. From the photos it looks like the grout was put on heavy and not removed when "pushing it into the joints". As you apply the grout you want to try to remove the excess for 2 reasons:
1) so that when you shape the grout with a sponge you have less grout making a mess.
2) Excess grout will make the set time longer where the grout is thicker.
When shaping with a sponge use a sponge made for the job and a 5 gal bucket. Rinse the sponge continually and wringe it til damp not wet. If the sponge is wet it will keep pulling grout out of the joints. Do circular motions with the sponge. If there is excess grout on the face of the tile it makes all of that take longer and messier.
When you are done shaping the grout ideally you just want to have to deal with a haze on the tiles that you can wipe off with some cheese cloth, again circular motion.
For the protrusion you might be able to use a radius bullnose tile to transition, but you would need to cut it to fit.
Scope the forum on the John Bridge site for what other people have dealt with in their tiling projects.
posted by sailormouth at 10:14 PM on August 1, 2007

Also try to keep the grout out of the drain, any drain, and out of the toilet.
posted by sailormouth at 10:29 PM on August 1, 2007

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