Removing old grout tile surface

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Mike50, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    My new Toto Aquia toilet is in-Now I have a rectangular line of old grout to remove. The Aquia footprint is oval
    It's mexican paver saltillo floor--so some damage will occur-that's a given.
    Thankfully the look is rustic and all tiles are each unique so blemishes blend in well.

    But what tool etc might avoid gouging and reduce scratching to a minimum?
    I thought Id ask before I start scraping with my putty knife.

    Mike50
  2. sulconst2

    sulconst2 New Member

    Messages:
    205
    Location:
    old bridge nj
    anything wooden. use a wooden paint mixer like a chisel. when the end gets beat up cut some off. should get the big chunks off. then you need to scrape.

    hey, how come your not working? or me for that matter!
  3. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Hey...I knew I could rely on you. Wood sounds perfect.
    Work. I'm one of the lucky ones that can get most of it done at home with phone and email and jpegs. I'm an art broker/graphics guy.
    Internet changed the business for the better and occasionally worse.

    You OTOH are in business....monkey business! LOL (kidding of course)

    Mike50 :D
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2006
  4. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    OK. I just tried a flat wooden spoon. This is tough concrete grout
    that wont come up with gentle chipping away
    I may need to think about Plan B or leave it and call it the "industrial look" heh.

    Or I may just have to 1.Live with it 2. Gouge it out and live with that.

    removing toilet/replacing tile is not an option.

    But this is a prominent focal point when you walk in the room (front of toilet. The good news is that the large 1/2 inch grout line runs thru and
    parallel into the Aquia base.

    John Bridge did a job that looks like mine with all the color irregularities on a much smaller scale-so you get the idea. (his isnt grouted though)
    http://www.johnbridge.com/Saltillo_Tile_Photos.htm
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2006
  5. sulconst2

    sulconst2 New Member

    Messages:
    205
    Location:
    old bridge nj
    mike, time for a mason chisel (wide and dull ) and a hammer. put something against the toilet so not to damage. maybe start on the far side of the toilet, in case it doesn't work then plan "c".
    whatever that is!

    got a quote to put a vinyl privacy fence and chain link up around my house for 5800!!! took the week off plus using my steady helper did it for 3600. you could almost say thats working!
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    A grinder and a steady hand so most of it is off, then maybe some full strength vinegar to soak a rag (avoid the grout lines) to disolve the concrete that is left...let sit for awhile, scrub off what you can and repeat?

    Vinegar will disolve the concrete, leaving the sand. I've never tried this on saltillo. I cleaned up a grout bucket that had set for a month this way, though, and it disolved all of the stuff, leaving just the sand. Should work. If you've got a really good bond to the tile, if it doesn't knock off easily, you might take a chunk out of the tile by trying to force it off with a chisel. My unprofessional opinion.
  7. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Oh man you guys are amazing. great advice. Is it time for me to invest in
    that Dremel I've always wanted......you think? ;)
  8. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    Get a rotozip. Stronger and won't burn out on you.
  9. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Rotozip looks like a winner.
    Any comparable products available that arent 100 dollars + 20 for cutting wheel?? Too expensive for disposable technology. imo.

    I need to remove a little grout not start a new career. ;)
  10. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    IMHO, the Rotozip is worth having. It's actually a great substitute for many tools an infrequent DIYer may need. Trust me, you'll find ways to use this thing. Of course, you have to buy a specialty bit for pretty much anything you want to do, but I still think it's worth it.

    If you really don't want to own one, then you should just rent a hammer drill or rotary tool from HD. But even that'll be in the neighborhood of $30-$50.

    Also, Bosch owns Rotozip and I'm a fan of their tools.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2006
  11. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I would use a plastic tool and acid to remove the grout. Get some muriatic acid and a brush to apply it carefully. Then scrape off the grout. The acid shouldn't affect fired clay or ceramic tile.

    If someone used non-cement grout, you might have to use solvent or a cutting device. If it is non-cement grout, you might try to peel it off with a razor blade paint scraper or a sharp wood chisel with hand force; not a hammer.

    The Roto-Zip (or the Sears equivalent) is a great tool but I wouldn't use it for this, except with a wire brush. I use a 5/16" double flute carbide router bit of appropriate length to cut into areas where I can't get a saw. It will hog out a lot of wood in a short time.

    There is a safety issue with a Roto-Zip that you should be aware of. The slide switch doesn't turn off if you lose your grip on the tool. I had one ripped out of my hands when the bit caught and it ruined a pair of pants in an area that came dangerously close to damaging some important equipment.
  12. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    Important Equipment

    Man, that must've smarted! I still think the Rotozip is a nifty tool to own. I think they sell them with jockstraps and cups now to prevent the aforementioned mishaps. ;)

    If you've never worked with Muriatic acid, be careful with it. You gotta dilute it down with water. It's wicked noxious so use a mask and acid-proof gloves. You should remember the rule 'AAA' (Always Add Acid to water). never add water to acid. It could pop up in your face if you add water to acid.
    Cover your counter well, and apply it with a q-tip or toothbrush (one no longer in use ;) and be careful of runoff. You only need a little of it to dissolve cement. It'll fiz when it's dissolving. When it stops, scrape away.
    Be careful to contain it to the face of the tiles - not the grout lines, else you'll dissolve it there too.

    After you've done it, you should reseal the grout, bkz it'll make porous anything it comes in contact with (except the glazing on tile).

    Personally, I'd be more scared of the acid than using a Dremel or R-Zip
  13. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    I looked at the whole Rotozip product line yesterday while buying my chisel at my local big box and I'm going to buy one in the near future. After seeing it-no way would I get a dremel. I'll start chiseling this grout and see if that does the job and if not I'm trying the other suggestions here-which are all good.

    The Saltillo is porous (like a clay pot) and the acid is not an option. I don't know what it would do the color/texture of this soft hand made tile.
    Especially in my amateur hands..
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2006
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