Today Dave asks:
How to remove grout from slate tile floors after it has been sealed?
You’ve got your work cut out for you on this one, Dave. I’m assuming that since the grout wasn’t removed prior to sealing, that the slate tile wasn’t pre-sealed before it was installed. On a side note, that won’t help Dave out now. If you pre-seal slate tile, (just the top, making sure not to get any sealer on the side edges where grout will touch) you can avoid this problem altogether. Pre-sealing will protect the slate tile from grout adhering to it and drying like concrete to the natural stone.
Since this wasn’t done, you will have to call the manufacturer of the sealer and ask them about a stripper to use to remove the old sealer. It is important to call the manufacturer because different brands react differently to strippers and solvents and you don’t want to cause an adverse reaction. Also make sure to call the manufacturer of the recommended solvent or stripper and ask if their product is safe to use on slate, because this could also cause an adverse reaction.
Once you find the right stripper and you’ve got the sealer off, you will need to scrap or use a wire brush to remove the grout. You can also use an acid wash or Muriatic acid but be careful because acid burns and blinds. It also can do damage to your tile. You will want to test this on a small unnoticeable area before treating the whole floor.
Once the whole area has been stripped and scrapped remember to re-seal the tiles, you will need to wait a few days before re-sealing. I would recommend calling the manufacturer of the sealer and asking them how long the suggested wait time is before re-sealing. Make sure you explain the process you just went through as the chemicals can affect the performance of the sealer. This is definitely not an easy job it is multi-stepped and labor/time intensive but once it is done correctly you will not have to worry about it for years to come. Good luck, Dave!
Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!