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Grout Gets No Respect!



When we look at our floor it is generally the Tile that we focus on, yet when we are looking at a dirty floor, it’s the grout that is generally the culprit. That said, dirt isn’t the only time our grout can be a problem. What looked so nice in the tile store any those florescent lights, or during the 1970’s or 1980’s, all of a sudden isn’t quite as attractive today. Tastes change, but its expensive to replace a floor. The good news, is that grout color CAN be restored or changed. For most people that comes as a surprise. How is that possible when the color was originally blended into the grout before it was manufactured?



The very technology that allows us to restore grout color appearance to a like new appearance, enables us to also change the color without replacing the entire floor or even the grout. A floor replacement might run $20/sqft, but to restore and change the color may run you $1.85 to $4.00/sqft. The process today has been refined such that a typical bathroom can be transformed in less than a day, and returned to service, with an appearance that look like you remodeled.



Over the past decade, the grout staining root causes were identified, corrective solutions were developed, and then most importantly the process of applying and insuring acceptance were worked out. Today, this is a well refined consistent well accepted process. It may still take a trained specialist knowledgeable in the chemistry and application to insure the grout accepts the treatment and it can be applied without getting colorants everywhere. Obstacles such as dirt and oil removal, removing sealers that are designed to repell treatments, and rapid clean application have advanced tremendously.



Leading companies can now boast having applications that have been down 5 to 10 years. The life of the treatment is exceptional, and while we would love to take credit for the chemistry and workmanship, the chief reason is the fact that grout by its very nature is recessed from the tile surface which takes the bulk of the wear. In fact when people step on a grout line, they rarely come in contact with the grout, being supported by the neighboring tiles. The net result is this treatment exists excellent wear durability. This assumes the surface has been properly prepared to eliminate existing seals and removing dirt and oil that can prevent proper surface interactions.



Now the application time and quality become very important. Nothing worse than an over-treated floor. That said, a qualified experienced company can deliver an appearance which offers the new appearance of a newly installed floor, while still seeing and feeling the sanded grout texture of your original floor. Want to test whether you have the right company? Make sure they understand the differences in processes required to treat a sanded grout, a non-sanded grout or an epoxy grout floor. Each represents different challenges and application requirements.



Today, hospitals are employing this technology to achieve superior HCAP scores, used to rate hospitals. In fact, they face similar problems as patients are literally asked whether the floor grout was clean, and why not if a medical facility cannot maintain a hygienic appearance how confident are you that they can treat you without worries of a secondary infection (the number 4 killers of Americans). Commercial building owners are adopting this technology in order to address their tenants number one complaint, “dirty bathroom floors (grout).” Potential home buyer are making assessments as to how well a home was maintained based on the appearance of the foyer floor (grout). And why not, each of us has had the experience of visiting a restaurant, having an exceptional meal, seeing our significant other visit the bathroom, and return to inform us we are never coming back. We know what happened behind the door without even seeing the floor. If a color change, is going to relieve you of the anxiety you experience each time you visit the room, that alone is a health improvement.



What used to be a major remodeling job, today is a 1 day restoration treatment that can lift your mood, and improve the hygienic appearance of your home, not to mention making it easier to sell and clean.



Of course, with all that said, if you just bought the house, you might to surprised to learn that the floor was not originally installed with black grout. In fact we estimate that 50% of the black grout floors in the US, are actually a light color covered by years of dirt build-up. This can be good news, as the correction can be even less expensive. The easiest way to assess this is to assess the grout color in a seldom used closest or the least trafficked area of the room. If lighter, you may have a different grout color underneath the dirt, that can be liberated with an appropriate cleaner. Scrape the grout with a grout saw, or just a fork, lightly. If it is lighter consider cleaning a section with MARBLELIFE MAXOUT grout cleaner (see video demo), or arrange for a pressure washing (done with a turbo dome that prevents spraying water everywhere as high pressure water is vacuumed away immediately after impacting the surface). That said, as noted above, if its truly a color change we need, we can do that.

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