all 74 comments

[–]Haunting_Ad_6021 6 points7 points  (3 children)

What type of grout did you use? Epoxy is very different than cement based etc. Did you use the correct remover?

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 2 points3 points  (2 children)

We used Prism rapid setting cement grout and Aqua Mix Cement Haze Grout Remover.

Scrubbing doesn’t work. Haze remover doesn’t work. Is there anything we can do?

[–]Haunting_Ad_6021 6 points7 points  (1 child)

That should work but like any acid it is not instant. Try some more in a small area but let it sit and work for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust the time for the thickness of the grout haze

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh! I thought the box said to wipe it off immediately. I’m so exhausted I probably read it wrong. I’m just afraid it’ll hurt the tile because I don’t know what type of tile we have. It’s a large, tan, uneven square with gray smudges in it. I guessed it was ceramic. I was trying not to hurt it if I’m wrong about what they are, y’know?

Thanks for trying to help us. I’ll try to leave it on longer to see if it works because our tiles are coated in grout everywhere.

[–]Bluebelton 4 points5 points  (5 children)

This recently happened to us when we used a matte-finish tile on our bathroom floor. We had to scrub it hard with scouring pads and were able to clean it all off, but it took a couple of hours and a lot of elbow grease. Good luck!

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 1 point2 points  (4 children)

We sure understand your pain. We’ve been scrubbing all weekend. This is a tiny dining room in a little 1950s house, but we’ve been scrubbing until our hands bleed for days. These flat 80s tiles apparently never should have been floated over with grout. We’re stuck in a grout nightmare over 100% of the floor.

[–]IGotTheAnswer65 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Can you chalk it up to lesson learned and head to Home Depot and buy a vinyl floating floor to put over it (much easier to cut and install then wood/pergo in my opinion, also warmer and softer)? They aren't very expensive, especially for a small room.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 2 points3 points  (2 children)

You know, we’ve decided whatever we can’t fix we’re gonna just leave it because the floor is sound now - no loose popping tiles since we’ve grouted, and we have big issues we still have to face on this list. We have to insulate our crawl, repair our cracked crown, replace our gutters and install a new floor in the laundry room that just flooded from a pipe that disconnected in the wall. Our tiles might be ugly, but they’re functional, and we’re just trying to fix this neglected house so it’s safe and fully functional. Pretty will just hafta wait.

It’s been a tough first house, but we’re doing our best.

[–]IGotTheAnswer65 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Nothing a throw rug won't fix ;-)

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Right?! :)

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (17 children)

I've done a few tile and grout jobs. Never had the issue you folks are having. Spread grout let set a few minutes wipe off with warm water and sponge

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (16 children)

This is our first time grouting. We watched videos carefully. Mixed the grout then spread it on. Waited 15. Tried to damp sponge it off, but our wide joints came out with it. The article that said you could leave grout on 15-30 before sponging it off was wrong in our case. Maybe it’s the Prism product.

Our experience turned out nothing like the easy videos we watched. A coworker told my husband he can’t believe we tried to grout because grouting is such a miserable project. Guess he had a bad time of it, too. At this point our tiles appear ruined. It’s been the toughest project we’ve done ourselves on our house.

[–]bigwarmsoap 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Some of my tips for grouting is to make sure you push the grout deep in the lines so less comes up when sponging and also to do small circles with the sponge to have less come out.

It’s a bit late for that and once it’s hardened on the tile it’s tricky to get off. Use damp warm water and some kind of hard plastic scraper.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

We’re scraping with plastic scrapers right now

We used a float and floated the grout over these big ‘ol 1 foot floor tiles. Tiles are uneven. Made floating tricky. I appreciate the suggestions. I wish we had a squeezy bottle we could have just squeezed grout into these deep, empty joints. Would have been a lot easier.

[–]SirIsaacGnuton 1 point2 points  (13 children)

An article gives you the general idea of the process, but the directions on the grout bag are what you need to follow. That's because there are different grout formulations.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (12 children)

The instructions on Prism’s box were what every video we watched told us. My response to figsslave below describes the problem we were having with the fast drying cement grout. Our attempt to cut the bag into thirds to apply smaller amounts at a time to remedy the problem made it worse. Our attempt to fix the wash out problem left us with this.

I think level, glossy tiles with smaller joints would have helped us tremendously. Oh, and I don’t think we’ll use fast drying grout ever again.

[–]SirIsaacGnuton 1 point2 points  (11 children)

For small amounts it's tricky to get the measurements right. I use the plastic measuring containers in the paint store to measure the water down to the ounce and a postal scale to measure the dry ingredients to the ounce. And then you have to give the bag of ingredients a good toss and turn to get it to mix up evenly before adding to the water. It's very fussy.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (10 children)

It sure is tricky. We weren’t nearly as precise as you. We used measuring buckets from Home Depot and some measuring cups from dollar tree and tried to get it just right, but man did it not go right. I wonder if he shook the bag…

We failed mighty hard at this project.

[–]SirIsaacGnuton 1 point2 points  (9 children)

I've seen a few videos by tile guys saying that some of the grouts are too hard for DIY specifically because they set so quickly. I also noticed that the tile guys used different rubber floats depending on the grout and the tile surface. I think a lot of experience goes into making the right choices.

Failing isn't the end of the world if you learned something along the way.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (8 children)

I was struggling most with the quick drying problem as I was laying it. How uneven these peculiarly-shaped tiles are made this process so much harder than those neat tiles they always use in the videos. I would never use quick drying grout again. At this point I’m too scared to tackle our bathroom grout, which also needs to be done. After the number of back breaking hours we’ve spent on this little dining room, I lost all my confidence with grouting, and am too pooped to try the bathroom. We are learning a lot about home maintenance and repairs. We’ve been working on something(s) on this house every day since Christmas Eve. Hoping this will get better soon.

[–]SirIsaacGnuton 1 point2 points  (7 children)

It will get better! To get back into the tile game you could get a 2x2 sheet of plywood and some cheap tiles and practice on it. Or find an old table at Goodwill that you can paint and tile the top of. There are lots YouTube videos on how to do that.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (6 children)

That’s a great idea. I really thought this grout project looked doable for us. I thought we’d do a good job. I was wrong.

With my confidence shook, I’m now scared of our next project: crack repairing and sealing our old asphalt that’s never been sealed. Fingers crossed we do better at this task, which I dread far more than I did the tile. Videos make this stuff look so easy.

[–]Captain-chunk67 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Are you talking about the film after grouting? I wiped it down a few times when i did mine to get rid of it

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Ours is more than a haze because we started with the damp sponge to remove the grout, but the grout was coming out of the wide joints when we did it, so we let it wait the 30 minutes we read we could wait (15-30). When we came back, the grout would not come off the tile. None of it. This is the step before the haze removal you’re talking about. We have more than a haze.

[–]ronhowie375 1 point2 points  (1 child)

what is the tile size and how wide are the joints?

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The tiles are 12” squares, we think they’re from the early 80s, they’re matte, unlevel, have all these indentations, waves and pores and the joints are almost 1/2”. They’re not flat, shiny, level, typical tiles. They’re pretty awful, but we can’t afford to replace them in year one. Too many other must-fixes.

[–]funlovefun37 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Try spraying a mixture of half water and half vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then wipe.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Thank you! I read this suggestion online, but was afraid to put vinegar on the tiles because we don’t know what they are, and some places said you can’t put vinegar or acids on certain types of stones. Not knowing what stone this is makes it difficult, but at this point they’re ruined anyway, so I’ll try anything.

[–]funlovefun37 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Reseal them when you’re done.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Will make sure to look up how to do that.

[–]Revolutionary-Bus893 1 point2 points  (1 child)

When doing something like this, ALWAYS pick an inconspicuous spot, like under the fridge or stove to practice.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Practice first surely would have helped. Husband thinks our problem has to do with these flat, matte tiles. Floating over them and then having to leave them in fast setting grout because our joints are so wide. This looked so much easier on shiny, slick bathroom or kitchen tile in the videos. Just won’t come off these flat tiles.

[–]No-Plan-2711 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Before using vinegar, drop a small drop in an inconspicuous place, wait a few minutes and wipe up. If you have a sensitive stone like marble or limestone etc., you will see the droplet etched in. Not sure about prism grout, but I've had great success with a product called Blaze, specifically for urethane grouts, but I've used it for other fast setting grouts as well. I've been in the trade for 25 years and own my business, so I've seen my fair share of uh ohs. Contact the grout manufacturer, they should be able to help. I'm fairly certain you're not the first to have this problem, fast setting grouts are notoriously difficult to work with.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Thanks so much for the information. I’ll do what you wrote about the vinegar, bc that tiny bit of haze remover I put on and washed right back off changed the color of our tile to a shade lighter than the others, so that acid hurt the tile, it appears.

We’re so new at every bit of this. Didn’t know that fast setting was difficult. I’ll call Prism and see what they say. All the videos laying grout on shiny tiles looked so dang simple. Our tiles? Nope. This grout failure has been our hardest task and biggest failure so far. I hope Prism can tell us how to save these tiles because we sure can’t afford to lay a new floor on top of all else.

Thanks for your time and tips. They help.

[–]No-Plan-2711 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Feel free to PM me with any tile related questions, hope I can help.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I missed your message! Thank you for being so kind as to offer advice. You can’t imagine how hard we’ve been working on this house. I haven’t had one day off since Christmas Eve. Solve six problems, find eight more - that’s how it’s been. Grateful to have a house, but man has it been hard.

Oh! I took your advice and called prism yesterday. The guy told me to use Aqua Mix. Told him we already tried it. His response? Well, it’s cement, so if you have it on your tiles it’s staying there. Ouch.

Appreciate your kindness. You might regret the offer if I come peppering you with questions if we get brave and decide to try to fix our bath grout. It’s in real bad shape. Original 1955 baby blue and pink ceramic tiles floor, walls and shower. Never been regrouted, by the looks of it.

[–]SkepticlosFailed 1 point2 points  (1 child)

carbide scrapers can remove grout, but if you are not delicate with them, you could dig into tile

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’ll look it up and see what you’re describing, but yes…we’re new to all of this, and are making plenty of mistakes, so if it’s not beginner friendly we’ll probably hurt something. :)

[–]TheThirdW 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I used Mr Clean magic erasers to remove the grout film. Worked really well

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’ve got those. I’m trying this next. Thanks for the suggestion.

[–]figsslave 1 point2 points  (9 children)

I’ve done far more tile and grout work than I ever wanted too lol (I’m a carpenter) I put the grout on with a rubber float and immediately remove as much excess as I can with the float running diagonally to the joints,wait a few minutes and do it again with a wrung out sponge until it looks clean and the joints are all the same,then I let it cure. You should only have a light haze after it cures. I would try plastic (don’t use metal it will leave marks) putty knives and scrubbing pads to get the grout off

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (8 children)

That’s what we saw on every video we watched, and that’s the process we tried, but our grout kept washing out of the joints with the sponge. We had the sponge rung out the best we could. Still washed the joints out. That’s why we had to wait longer to sponge off. Waiting longer left us with grout that won’t come off our type of tiles. We’re killing ourselves trying to get it off all weekend.

[–]figsslave 1 point2 points  (7 children)

If it washes out with the sponge the mix is too wet and leaving it to set up ends badly as you found out.I used to just eyeball my grout mixes but it’s better to measure it. Basically a 1/16”- 1/8” joint needs grout about like pancake batter and larger joints need it to be more like a paste and the bigger the joint the dryer it needs to be,but you have to be sure to push it down in so there aren’t any voids. It’s one of those things you just learn by doing. There’s a feel to it that takes practice to learn.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (6 children)

Since you know this process you probably understand where we went wrong.

We started out following our favorite video where he used a premix. We bought his brand of premix, but we struggled so hard with getting it to stay in the joint. Using a float just pulled that thick pasty premix right out of our wide open, big joints when the float passed over it. I think part of the problem is our tiles aren’t slick, aren’t even, some are higher than others, and the tiles themselves are wavy and dimpled and just not straight, squared, flat tiles. We lost $40 on that first premix.

We then went to prism sanded cement grout and we mixed one of the two bags in the box exactly like it said to. The problem was that the fast setting stuff dried faster than I could lay the floor as a newbie. I was learning the float, and I lost half that first bag to drying out so fast before I could get to it. Then, the area that first bag covered was so big that I couldn’t get to all the tiles to wet wipe them down in less than 15 minutes.

Then we tried to fix this problem by cutting our bag into thirds and putting on 1/3 at a time so I could try to wet wipe it down in time and use all the grout before it dried. But the grout washed out of the joints when the sponge passed over them.

Finally, we laid the grout then walked away from it for the 30 minutes some site said we could wait to wipe it down, but we came back to hard cement absolutely everywhere. Even after I’d scraped it diagonally with the float after I’d laid it. Now this stuff just will not come off our tiles at all. We’ve spent an entire weekend on our knees scrubbing until our hands, knees and backs ache. Wet sponges, wet then dry cheesecloth, wet kitchen scratching pads and plastic putty knives have all failed to remove it. And the haze remover chemical I tested on one tile discolored the tile, so we can’t even use that. $17 lost on that stuff.

That’s how our first attempt at grout has gone. And our only bathroom in this 50s house (with its original 50s tile) has to be regrouted, too. We’ve done about 60 repairs on this house both big and small in five months and I swear this grout has been the toughest, most discouraging project of them all.

We wanted to quit so badly but there’s no money left to pay professionals, and our tiles had no grout at all in many places, with one tile being just a hole to the crawl space. Our tiles would clink when you stepped on them because they were loose. We felt like we couldn’t wait.

[–]ronhowie375 1 point2 points  (5 children)

what figsslave said.
I've used Prism grout on floor tile and it worked out just fine. I actually had my daughter do the cleanup on the tile afterwards. The grout lines looked super clean.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (4 children)

We tried so hard on this. Followed every step, but it just set too fast for us to use the whole bag or to hit the cleanup in 15 minutes. Our floor isn’t a normal floor, though. It’s not all smooth, neat and level, with small joints. And the tops of our tiles apparently had all these indentations and pores we didn’t see. Soaked up the concrete. Called Prism this morning. They suggested the Aqua mix cleaner that hurt our tile. They said there’s nothing we can do once the concrete sets. I’ll try the methods others suggested, but it looks like we’ll have a damaged floor until we can afford to replace it. I’m frustrated because of how hard we worked on this seemingly simple task, just to fail so miserably.

Glad it worked so well for you.

[–]ronhowie375 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I'm sorry it's not worked out for you. What I do is trowel the grout into the tile spaces then use a rubber float to force the grout down and to clean the residual grout. that typically leaves a film that I wipe with a damp sponge several minutes later.

the goal is to minimise the clean up afterwards so I take my time putting the grout into the joints only and not covering the entire tile.

If there are two people, one person can be applying the grout and the other can be coming behind and cleaning up.

One final tip, when you mix the grout don't make it too wet.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (2 children)

You know what, my husband tried doing it as you do, but we were drying out so, so fast we just stopped and started doing like they did in the videos, and swiped it all the way across our tiles, then tried to scrape it off diagonally. This was…unsuccessful. We never, ever should have swiped this stuff across all our tiles. He suggested we try squeezing it in with squeezy bottles, but we couldn’t find any.

We had one person wiping with the damp tile sponge while the other ran buckets of grout water out and brought new buckets in. It was a constant race of swapping out and filling water buckets. Pretty high on my House Projects That Are No Fun list.

[–]ronhowie375 1 point2 points  (1 child)

mix up small batches of grout. do a small area at a time. that should help.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Apparently, a redditor pointed out that we made a mistake by making it too wet once we reduced our 1 whole bag into 1/3 bag at a time to try to tackle the fast drying problem. We started out with premix. Too pastey. Then went to prism and mixed it. Whole bag went dry too fast. Then did 1/3 bag but it washed out the joints when I wiped the tiles down. Then we just left it on longer to firm up before wiping down, and that’s how we landed where we are now. I’d laugh about this if I wasn’t so discouraged.

[–]AcademicLibrary5328 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Use a painters 5n1 to chip up surface grout, unless the tiles are are super porous and the grout is inside the surface of the tile, it should flake off fairly easily.

I have never once seen grout ‘run out’? Or wear off like what you have described, and have never seen grout lock up on the surface of the tile like you also described. Hope you didn’t use mortar on accident. Good luck!

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

We’ll add your suggestion to our list of things we’ll be trying after work today. Appreciate the tips to try.

I know this seems nutty, but Prism’s fast setting cement grout is what we used, not mortar. We struggled pretty hard with this grout because it dried too quickly. Trying to fix that only made it worse. Leaving it on 30 minutes was a huge mistake because we’re about to go crazy trying to get this stuff off our cream-colored old tiles.

[–]TheIntervet 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Try steel wool. I regrouted my shower yesterday and this was successful for me! Chisels can be helpful for larger pieces.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (4 children)

Think we’re gonna have to use a chisel on a couple spots. Steel wool didn’t hurt your tile?

[–]TheIntervet 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I had a glossy, smooth tile. It did not leave scratches or any marks, it worked very well for me

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Shows what I know. I would have thought that’d destroy tile. I’m trying to learn. Glad it worked for ya.

[–]TheIntervet 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Hey me too! My first grout job still haunts me.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I don’t care how long I live, I’ll never forget how HARD we worked on this grout, or how bad it turned out. :)

[–]plumber_pete 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Plumber here. And that’s why I always recommended calling a professional if you’re not confident in the project. I’ve charged clients thousands of dollars extra because I had to fix their diy job.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

We would have loved to hire someone, but we spent every dime of our savings on repairs for this house. $36k in five months on roofers, plumbers, electricians, chimney repair, and all the supplies we’ve needed to work. We’re just out of money, with so many things left that have to be done. Not cosmetic items, but functional stuff. Our floor was in bad shape. People told us this is absolutely a DIY-doable project, and that they’ve done it. Sure, we got the tiles grouted, but at the expense of our tiles’ appearance. We wrecked ‘em. Watching TikToks and YouTubes and hearing others tell us this is so doable just makes me feel worse, y’know?

[–]mcluse657 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I tried using both a battery-powered grout remover (powered by my drill) and a hand tool from Lowe's. I liked the hand tool best. With the power tool, I ended up hitting and chipping the tiles. It is a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

We’re you removing grout from the top of your tiles or the joints? We used a couple hand tools from HD to remove grout from the joints. They worked real well. Our problem is the top of our tiles now. Our hand tools won’t work for the top.

[–]No-Plan-2711 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Oh, you can message me any time. I will reach out to my tile groups and see what others have done in your situation. Did you determine what kind of tile you have?

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (4 children)

You know, we can’t figure it out. We’ve looked at pictures online. Nothing. It looks closest to tile in pics from 80s kitchens, except it’s not white and smooth flat.

It’s a strange tile. 1 foot squares that are tan, with these light gray smudges in it. It’s not glossy. Looks flat, but it doesn’t change color when you mop it. Has these kinda wavy edges, and the top is sort of wavy. Not a flat tile. It’s some kind of stone, but not the typical stone you see. And now it’s stone with a white layer of cement grout on it. The grout just absorbed into these tiny holes the stone had, and settled into these dented areas. Nothing removes the grout. It’s like it absorbed it. They’re heavy-looking tiles, but they’re definitely not what I think of as pretty. Figure now that we have the floor stable, this tile will just have to wait to be removed. It’s way down low on our fix list compared to our other problems. Heck, the bathroom is in dire need of regrouting, but it’s going to have to wait enough time for me to recover from this huge dining room failure. I feel sorta like I was swinging on a trapeze, when suddenly I fell…right on my face…on the concrete.

[–]No-Plan-2711 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Ok, I've looked into this, and everyone pretty much agrees, this stuff is very hard to remove. 2 people said they had success with the Blaze product, 1 said ammonia, and 1 claimed Dawn dish soap (I find this one somewhat laughable). All said to let it dwell for 15-30 minutes and use a white scrub pad and shop vac to clean up. I've always used very hot water for the scrubber using Blaze. Hope this helps. If you are by chance near Kansas City, I could look at it.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Dawn? Hard to imagine, given we tried that harsh Aqua Mix chemical remover full strength, and we’ve been scrubbing with scratchy pads as hard as we can and it doesn’t budge a bit. We’ll be working on it throughout the week after work to try vinegar. Already tried magic erasers. Feels hopeless.

No, Missouri, we’re over in Virginia. Thanks for asking others for ideas. Feels like we’re the only people on earth this has happened to, which surely can’t be true, but it feels it.

[–]No-Plan-2711 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I would try the Blaze product, I've had success with it letting it dwell and using very hot water, albeit not specifically on Prism. Best of luck on your project, I certainly understand. My list of honey do's seems endless lol.

[–]Blue_Bee_Magic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’m going to look Blaze up today. Hope it works. Yeah, that list grows like weeds. We have an entire notebook broken up into two categories: house and outside. That book’s lists are disturbingly long. We’ve crossed off 78 items in the first five months. We have about that many left to go, though. Big things. Small things. Functional things. Cosmetic things. I look forward to just getting to sit down and have a fire outside. We’re both exhausted.

Thanks again for spending your time trying to help me. Some people, especially men, seem to love fixing things around the house. Me? I’d love for this phase to end. :)