Gouging the grout

#1
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Yesterday, two elves cleaned tile floors for an old customer. About a year ago we were unable to do it due to the timing, so she hired a well known national franchise.

My foreman told me that he had a tough time getting the grout to even out in color, until he realised that it has been coated and the anomolies were scraps of coating. He also described how the grout was deeply gouged and in places, missing.

We use low pressure, high temp steam to clean and haven't ever blown grout out (unless it was already visibly crumbled.

How often does this happen to you pressure washing tile guys? Is is something you disclaim ahead of time? Is there anything I should know as customers ask "how did this happen?"

I have a few guesses, but no experience on indoor pressure cleaning.
 
#3
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I do a pre inspection with the customer. I always tell them I am looking for week or deteriorated grout or cracked tile. If I see some, I offer grout repair, and 90% of the time they ask for the service. If I do not see any, I warn them that cleaning may uncover pre-existing issues, and I have a disclaimer on my invoice.
 
#5
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No pics. Gouged is grout that hasn't fractured, but is eaten out of the joint to a noticable degree. I used to install tile and would guess this is happening due to poor mixing and trowling practices. It can be dry and cheesy.

I have heard that pressure washers have a disclaimer. For slab on grade, I'd have no quarrel with spinners, but for tile on framed floors, I am unwilling to take risks. Thin subfloors or even glued to plywood installations are too common. The predictable results are gapping, cracking, dried out grout and thinset mixtures (from water absorption by plywood).
Other associated risks are water injection and lifting of tiles.

This poor woman had hit on most of these and no, big yella did not offer to repair or replace.
 
#6
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I know this is an old thread but unfortunately is an ongoing issue for me. Last year (2017) we completed a little over 5100 tile jobs. We get theses calls probably 5-8 times a year. We clean tike usually around 1250 PSI with a spinner. With this issue arising only once every 700ish jobs, it is clearly a faulty instillation. Unfortunately most customers accusing us of ruining their homes are unwilling to hear this. Usually I’ll ask them to get a repair quote and play it by ear (just pay to fix it as long as it’s reasonably priced).

It’s a tough balancing act. Too low of pressure people are pissed it didn’t clean up better. But still ensuring we aren’t causing unnecessary damage. 1250 has seemed to be pretty safe in the past.
 
#7
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We never have to go over 1000 because we use scrub like the dickens and are not afraid to use acids..


And carry these VERY effective stain removal Nano Aggitators..

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But no cleaning will allow Color Seal to adhere properly if the grout has pre exisying conditions such as urine and oil saturation, old topicals, even if stripped, certain grout bonding or strengthening additives and most likly that nasty ass sludge you Floridians call tap water...
 
#8
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Well this most recent “grout gouging” fiasco has come to a conclusion. Come to find out a few months before hiring us to clean the tile & grout the customer had a competitor apply s “skim coat” of grout over the existing grout. Quite literally did not attempt to remove any grout prior to regrouting. Simply filled the recessed grout line with new grout probably 1/32” thick making it completely flush with the tile. Then is pissed at me when it blows out. He littered said he is “selling the house” and wants me to “re skim coat it so he can sell the house”. He “doesn’t care how long it lasts”. Just wants to be able to sell it. I told him I refuse to redo an already improper installation and pass the buck to the next homeowner. Now he is “taking me to small claims court”, and telling everyone how we ruined his home and don’t stand behind our work. SMH
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#10
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Wow, that blows goats.

CJ, what would you suggest to avoid getting snagged by something like this?

A magnifying glass inspection? Anything?
Unfortunately the 3rd or 4th I’ve run into in the past year. While inspecting it can be tough to spot since you’re really just looking at grout. Not like checking for a film former where you can do an acid test or something. This seems to be a bandaid fix for people selling or flipping houses. Not really sure what the answer is. They’re so delicate the slightest amount of agitation or psi can start chipping them. Maybe a scratch test on the grout before cleaning?
 
#14
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Well small claims I’m sure is a ruse

You will be offered mediation

Or for your size I’m sure you just hand to insurance...

Basically, the customer hired a company that did not follow STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES for such a service. They are the ones accountable.


Some you will not notice.. it’s up to tech to notice as cleaning and hit the brakes.... with at much it’s pretty obvious, and chunks will make a bunch of noise in the turbo....
 
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#16
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I have had 2 commercial tile and grout jobs they did a skim coat on the grout during remodel and even with constitution. (updated but kept original for Sam... Should be Construction... Lol)

Ugly... Hard to discover until get into it.... And difficult to explain sometimes to those that don't really want to know what the problem is
 
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#17
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I have had 2 commercial tile and grout jobs they did a skim coat on the grout during remodel and even with constitution.

Mam this is what’s known as .........….....................................................................FUgly... Hard to discover until get into it.... And difficult to explain sometimes to those that don't really want to know what the problem is
 
#20
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Well this most recent “grout gouging” fiasco has come to a conclusion. Come to find out a few months before hiring us to clean the tile & grout the customer had a competitor apply s “skim coat” of grout over the existing grout. Quite literally did not attempt to remove any grout prior to regrouting. Simply filled the recessed grout line with new grout probably 1/32” thick making it completely flush with the tile. Then is pissed at me when it blows out. He littered said he is “selling the house” and wants me to “re skim coat it so he can sell the house”. He “doesn’t care how long it lasts”. Just wants to be able to sell it. I told him I refuse to redo an already improper installation and pass the buck to the next homeowner. Now he is “taking me to small claims court”, and telling everyone how we ruined his home and don’t stand behind our work. SMH
Carl makes a good point ....tech should of noticed and stopped rather than continuing blowing out more


donno how many sf needs re-skimmed .
but wouldn't it of been easier and less hassle to simply eat it and send someone with a couple tubes of this?


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doesn't matter if it "wasn't your fault" due to existing conditions

you know what they say right?

"inform the custy of a potential problem, it's education
Inform after the damage, it's an excuse"


just thinking out loud now, Chester
If it's a LOT of sf to cover, your techs need some guidance on how not to CONTINUE to blow grout out from room to room
If only a few hundred sf, think it would simply be less hassle, (and no internet review hate) to simply send a guy there with Polyblend to re-skim .

what will you have, a couple/three hundred in cost for one of your employees to skim??

Yea it sucks ...but maybe sucks less than court and i'net trashing damage ???

..L.T.A.
 

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