July 16, 2009

When a Regrout Just Doesn’t Cut The Mustard

Sometimes showers are just WAY to far gone to be able to repair or regrout them to an acceptable level.

This shower was in really rough shape.

Notice how in the first picture the floor looks very very rough. It actually felt very rough/sand papery to the touch and it held dirt like crazy.

I’ve seen this in a few shower where the customer had used extremely strong cleaners, over and over again and they wore down the glaze.

Possibly it could have been defective tile but given the right type of chemical over time it is possible to wear away at the glaze.

This particular shower, even if I could get it reasonably clean, the dirt just sticks to it so fast it’s not worth it.

bad shower

Also, notice how thick and uneven the grout lines are in this second picture?

This shower had been regrouted before and would have made the process even more difficult.

bad shower 2

The customer did not even ask me to look at this shower (thank god) but I DID ask if I could take a picture of it =)

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Grout Cleaning & Sealing, Regrouting & Repair, Showers & Bathtubs, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 15, 2009

Cool Trick To Finding The Age Of The Home You’re Working In

Here is a cool little trick a student of mine (who used to be a home inspector) taught me.

Many times you can pull up the toilet tank cover – flip it upside down and you will see the manufacture date of the toilet itself (you’ll see the year).

In many cases at least one toilet in the house may be original (doesn’t work on all houses of course) but it’s interesting little bit of info that is most likely nearly useless to you but perhaps it will make you seem really smart to someone in the future!

Toilet tank cover:

toilet pic far

Date of toilet manufacture:

toilet pic close

Posted in Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 14, 2009

How To Repair Cracked Grout

Here is a little guide I made on repairing SMALL areas of cracked grout…

Sanded Caulking: a type of caulking (caulking is a rubbery sealant used to seal all the corners and joints in a shower) which has sand added to match the appearance of sanded grout (the grout usually used on tile floors).

This is especially useful when the grout cracked as a result of slight movement or a settling crack when the grout is likely to crack again.

This is not a good solution for large areas but it is a helpful trick around door thresholds and also if you have a very small hole to fill after you do a cleaning job.

The area in question:

grout missing

Close up:

close grout missing

Sanded caulking and sponge being used:

far sanded caulking

Available at Lowes and Home Depot:

sanded caulking

After sanded caulking:

sanded caulking after

After floor has been color sealed to match:

color seal after

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Color Sealing & Staining, Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 13, 2009

Professional Logo Design Options

Here are the design options I had when I originally was starting my company… I dug them up and thought they might be of interest to ya…

Option 1:

logo options1

Option 2:

logo options2

And here is what I finally choose:

final logo

Posted in Business & Marketing, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 13, 2009

My First Equipment Purchase – Olympus 1200 Portable

Here is a picture I dug up of my very first equipment purchase…

I ended up purchasing an Hydroforce Olmypus 1200 “portable” (movable cleaning units that create water pressure and suction used in cleaning tile or carpet are known as “portables” – the big green machine in the picture)

A Turbo Force – Turbo Hybrid high pressure tile cleaning tool (the stainless steel and blue tool) and assorted variety of accessories.

I should take a comparison picture of what this stuff looks like NOW because it doesn’t look so shiny… =)

olympus 1200 portable extractor

Also – here are some close ups of the turbo hybrid (or “turbo” as we call them).

turbo force turbo hybrid

turbo force turbo hybrid

Notice how the nozzles are angled so the water pressure causes them to spin… also the white border surrounding the edge (the part with the holes/slots in them) is the vacuum port area where all the water gets sucked up at.

turbo hybrid vacuum ports

Hopefully that gives some visual aid to those people out there who are not yet familiar with exactly what the “turbo” type tools do and how they work.

I also added a steam cleaner to the mix later on. I don’t use it very much but it does have it’s uses.

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Grout Cleaning & Sealing, Tile & Grout | 1 Comment »

July 12, 2009

Tile Removal | Replacement Made Easy (sort of…)

Here are pictures I took from a few different tile replacement jobs.

Here is the basic process:

1. Remove the grout surrounding the tiles to be replaced (this helps reduce/eliminate the transfer of impact vibrations when breaking the tile up)

Dremel tool beind used here:

Dremel Tool Being Used

2. Using an angle grinder and a diamond blade cut and “X” into the tile.


cut tile x

3. Use a hammer and chisel to break out the remaining pieces of tile.


After the tile is removed and pieces have been cleaned up you need to remove the thinset (the cement like adhesive that was used to stick the tile down in the first place) and make the surface flat so the new tile lays flat on the surface.

I’ll make a video about the installing the new tile but I figure this will point you in the right direction.

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 12, 2009

Bathtubs: Be Sure To Clean Under The Soap Dish!

When doing a shower cleaning/restoration be sure to get all the “funk” underneath the soap dish that always tends to accumulate there.

Bathtub before

bath tub after

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Regrouting & Repair, Showers & Bathtubs, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 12, 2009

I Hate Color Sealing WHITE Grout – But It Sure Looks GOOD

For those still new to the grout cleaning game:

Grout Color Sealing: Using an epoxy based or similar type of product to fill the pores and surface of a grout line to change the color and seal grout lines – a “semi-permanent” process

Here is a job I did where the customer wanted white grout. Actually it was pure white originally… the truth of the matter is that you can never get it 100% pure-pure white unless you use a color sealer.

Even then it’s best to add just a slight touch of “off whiteness” to the batch.

Pure white is a BAD because even the slightest non-whiteness from below shows through and gives you hard to cover-up inconsistencies.

Whether you can see or not… I did add a tint (a tiny bit) to the “Bright White” colorant to make it a bit off white.

The customer didn’t notice and it turned out great!





Here is a during photo for comparison:



Posted in Before & After Pictures, Color Sealing & Staining, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 11, 2009

Marketing = Never Give Up – Never Surrender!

Here is an article my local Money Mailer sales rep sent me.

(Money Mailer is a company that sends out postcard like “card decks” in the mail. They sell advertising spots in their card deck that go out to “high end homes” – so they say)

Money Mailer Card Deck Mailing

Money Mailer Card Deck Mailing

The article in question is a very accurate concept but what it lacks is exactly what TYPE of marketing and the MESSAGE within the marketing piece.

It’s all well and good to say marketing, marketing, marketing… but no focus on it’s effectiveness is folly.

The message, whether it resonates with it’s recipient and causes them to take action is the real question…

More ineffective marketing is not the answer – especially in these lean economic times…

More on that later but here she is:


Posted in Business & Marketing, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 11, 2009

Ancient Grout Removal Technique

I found this on the web as a “secret” way to remove grout…

Hhhmmm…. doesn’t look to secretive to me… it’s a piece of wood with a nail through it!

Actually, this is how my ancestors in the old days use to remove grout:

old school tool

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 10, 2009

Turbo Hybrid – Be Sure To Clean Her Out Occasionally

I never thought to look for some reason but I guess it’s probably a good idea to clean out your turbo hybrid tile cleaning tool (the vacuum port area) more than once every one or two years.


I actually never cleaned it out… (never occurred to me for some reason) until a while ago because I saw “she” was having trouble sucking things up.

And this is what I found: it looks like I tried to “turbo” up some road kill!

Turbo Hybrid + Road Kill

Turbo Hybrid + Road Kill

I’ll do a video on how to do the maintenance on her later.

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Regrouting Before and After

Here is a job a did a while back. They had some stuff in their water that was really causing the grout to turn this orangish-brown color over time.

They didn’t even realize how bad it had gotten until I showed them the end result.

A job like this you could do in 6-8 hours and make between $400 – $600 with about $10 in materials (grout is pretty cheap). Just the right tools and the right know how (along with some sweat =)

Regrout Before

Regrout Before

Regrout After

Regrout After

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Regrouting & Repair, Showers & Bathtubs, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

How Not to Use Your Turbo Hybrid!

In case this whole tile and grout cleaning business doesn’t work out for me I can always try auto detailing!

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Grout Cleaning & Sealing, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Tile Replacement & Repair is Easy????

This video has numerous flaws but it does has a couple good points.

The little trick on using a straight edge and a glass cutter + pencil is handy.

The lady with the hammer and chisel is a bit crazy…they didn’t even take the grout out!

I like how they just skip all the actual tough work and fast forward to a perfectly flat square ready for re-installation – ha!

Ahh well… here she is:

Posted in Business & Marketing | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Regrouting a Shower With Shower Floor Issues

Shower Pan: A waterproof “pan” placed beneath the floor tiles or concrete base of a shower that prevents leaking.

Water is meant to drain "through" the tile/grout

(Thanks to Mike Skala for the 3-D picture above)

The water in your shower floor is meant to drain both while on top of your tile and as the water seeps through the tile and grout… through the floor.

The “shower pan” is what keeps it from leaking outside, through the floor or anywhere else.

When regrouting showers many times you’ll find a big issue because the shower was not built with a correct slop or the water does not drain correctly.

When the shower floor/pan is not built so that the water drains away after it has seeped through the tile – this causes the shower sub floor/shower pan area to stay constantly wet.

This does not mean the shower will leak but it does mean that floor is never properly drying out causing mildew and other maintenance issues.

The video below is me using a tool to remove grout and as I’m using the tool, water is literally SPRAYING up out at me. The shower floor/pan area is soaked with water!

This is the true source of the customers continual mildew issue.

If they do not correct the pan issue they will ALWAYS have a shower floor that requires more work and effort to maintain.

You need to make sure your customers know this as (at least in Florida) it is a fairly common problem for the quick-build home builders to do less than perfect jobs on shower floors.

There are no “tile police” out there. There are no “inspections” for shower floors (although there should be) and the home owner ends up mysteriously having to battle mildew for the rest of their days….


Posted in Showers & Bathtubs | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Grout Color Sealing Video – Color Sealing a Shower

Hey Guys,

This video shows a guy from GroutShields.com showing how his color sealer product works.

Basic a grout “color sealer” is a type of epoxy-ish product (their chemical make-up can vary but you get the point) which fills in the pores of the grout and covers it.

Grout Color Stains/Color Sealers (called by different names) are pretty much the best type of sealer you can get for grout because they are considered “semi-permanent” and difficult to remove.

They are more time consuming to apply than regular “clear sealers” but are worth the effort in my opinion.

I don’t particularly endorse Grout Shields as I’ve never used their product but the video is helpful…

Posted in Color Sealing & Staining, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

A New Way To Remove Grout…

And when I say “new” I mean being done by a hot girl =)

Brought to you by “Hotfortools” on youtube.com

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Another Way to Remove Grout – Grout Grabber!

This little shows the “Grout Grabber” in action.

It looks deceptively simple…doesn’t it?

That’s EXACTLY what they want you to think!

What they don’t tell you is you have to hold it very very still to avoid scratching the lines and the blades don’t last very long.

I would prefer to use the “Fein Multimaster” over this thing… but to each his own…

Fein Multi Master:
Using 10k "oscillations" to sand the grout out

Grout Grabber:

Attaches to a sawzall type of tool

Attaches to a sawzall type of tool

Posted in Regrouting & Repair, Tile & Grout | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Some Feedback From One of my Students

Here is a nice little video from Jeff.

Jeff traveled all the way down from North Carolina to come and train with me for three days to learn the ins and outs of the tile and grout cleaning business…

Here is what he had to say:

Posted in Tile & Grout, Training & Education | No Comments »

July 09, 2009

Turbo Hybrid – High Presure Tile Cleaning Tool in Action

Here is a little visual on how the turbo hybrid high pressure cleaning tool works.

It has two angled jets that spray high pressure water to “pressure wash” the grout lines. There is also an area for vacuum on the very edge.

Pretty much the most effective way to clean grout quickly and for good $$$!

Posted in Equipment & Tools, Grout Cleaning & Sealing, Tile & Grout | No Comments »