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Grout Easy - Troubleshooting:
The first step is always to test the product in another application other than your project. The purpose of doing this is to get over your natural reaction that something might be wrong with the product. This will aid in determining what is really happening and why.
If, after testing as described and reviewing the information on this page, you do not have an answer and do not know what to do - contact us for assistance as something is certainly different than you think.
Before emailing for assistance - do the following tests so you can give us the results in the your email. If you contact us before doing the testing and reviewing the information, there will be delays in assisting you because we must still ask you for these test results. We cannot be of assistance by guessing.
(It is important to do all 3 tests)
Now that you see what the product does and how it looks - let's examine the job conditions and determine what is different. The conclusion to be verified is that something has occurred during the installation, or in the time span after installation, to interfere with performance. You do not want to do anything else (reapply product, strip, etc.) that will complicate identifying the issues.
- Apply a small amount to a piece of flat, clean
per the label directions. The glass gives you a clear view of what the product looks like when dry. With sealers or coatings, this will show you the degree of toughness and adhesion. With cleaners and other products, this will show you the what it looks like when dry.
- Apply a small amount to an uninstalled piece of the same surfacing per the label directions. The uninstalled piece of the same surfacing takes away anything that occurred during and after installation.
- Apply a small amount per the label directions to a different type of surfacing with a similar absorption. This takes the surfacing itself out of the equation to show if there is something unusual about that particular batch of surfacing.
Here are the things to look for:
- Grout sticking to material face - Not applied in sufficient quantity to create a thin coating.
- Stains material face - not unless the surfacing is very delicate and able to stain from something as innocuous as water. Some imported terracotta tiles will do this. In this case, do not use. Instead use whatever sealer will be the final sealer as a "pre-seal", but review that page in the Problem Solving section to understand why we are normally opposed to the practice and what to watch for.
- Applied Grout Easy, but cannot grout within 2 hours - it is best to remove the Grout Easy coating. However, worst case is that the Grout Easy will be harder to dissolve after 8 hours, but will still do its job of keeping grout contact away from the material face. Note that the caveat on the label refers to the situation of grout left on the Grout Easy coating for many hours, not just the Grout Easy coating alone.
- Grout turns "soupy" on application - Grout Easy coating is fine, but the grout is too wet. If grout is too wet (with or without Grout Easy) the grout will be weaker and color will be uneven. See the page in Problem Solving for grout mixing and application.
- "Grout Easy" does not dry in less than one hour. - There are two possibilities:
In either case, it is not a "dry" coating and only needs to be set up enough to do the job properly. Test a small area to prove that the grout job will be fine.
- There is so much humidity in the air that drying is greatly retarded.
- The surface is non-absorbent. This could be its natural condition ( like a glazed tile ) or because there is a sealer on it. The glass test above will show you how Grout Easy dries on a non-absorbent surface. You will feel that it is not really dry, but has lost liquid volume to the point of feeling thick and tacky.
- Surface is a material with large pits, holes, crevices, etc. and "Grout Easy" is pushed from the holes when grouting and grout remains in the hole. There are multiple considerations here, but it amounts to a few common sense things:
- The "Grout Easy" in a hole is many times thicker than on a flat surface. This thickness will take longer for moisture to migrate out, therefore, it will take longer to dry.
- When spreading the grout, do not apply pressure to the surfacing face. The pressure (from the float or other spreading tool) is only needed in the grout joints for the purpose of insuring contact by the grout to the bottom of the joint and to the sides of the surfacing. Pressuring grout into the surface depressions is not needed and is causing the problem.
- You can use a grout bag to squeeze grout into the joints and not all over the surface. The minor residue flowing over the edge will be much less of a problem. The "Grout Easy" can then be used just in the potential contact areas. A grout bag is just like the smaller versions used with cake frosting.
- You can choose a grout color that matches one of the colors in the surfacing. Then, any grout left in a hole will not be noticeable.
- "Grout Easy" does not go back to liquid form and come off the surface.
Very simply, yes it does and you can prove that with the tests above.
The most likely answer to what you are really seeing is you are not looking at Grout Easy now. What you are seeing is a residue of an additive that was put into the grout (by the installer or by the grout manufacturer). You can see that issue described in Problem Solving: Cement Stains & Smears From Grouting Or Mortar .
If that is what it is, it should dissolve with lacquer thinner
. See grout labeling for words like "additive", "poly", "acrylic", "latex".
- After removing "Grout Easy" there is still a light haze.
This should not happen, however, there are a few possibilities if it does occur.
Efflorescence? (See that page on the web site.) Caused by excess water bringing soluble salts to the surface.
Mineral deposits? (See that page on the web site.) Minerals that were in the clean up water and left behind after drying.
Cement deposits? (See that page on the web site.) From insufficient rinsing out of the clean up sponge and leaving light cement paste behind.
Additive residue? (See that page on the web site.) Grout additives dragged from grout and left on surface. Should not happen with stable additives and grout not too wet.
- Applied "Grout Easy" and proceeded to grout before the coating has dried. Now, grout residue remains on the surface.
If this does not answer your situation - something is very different and unusual. You should be able to discover why by looking for the issue in "Problem Solving"
Please read the label again. The Grout Easy is supposed to set up and be dry BEFORE you grout. When dry, this temporary coating is between the surfacing and the grout. If grouting when Grout Easy is still wet, the wet Grout Easy becomes part of the grout. It should not hurt anything, but has provided no benefit to the process. You now have exactly the same residue as if you had not used Grout Easy at all.
Now you have two situations to deal with, but there is no need to panic or be rushed. Grouting residue remaining on the surface can be removed anytime. The sooner this is done the easier as the cement grout has not fully cured. However, grout residue can be removed years after it occurred.
Any Grout Easy remaining will remove with water. The grout residue remaining will remove with Aldon Grout Residue Remover. Test a small area first to confirm."