July 09, 2009

Wax Build Up On Tile and Grout – Beware Wax

Any sort of wax build up on tile and grout is your WORST enemy!

It gets filled in the grout lines and generally becomes a huge pain in the butt to fully remove.

Wax could come in the form of “mop ‘n glow” or any type of product that claims it will add gloss to the surface – BEWARE!
In this video – keep an eye out for the “smiley face” I drew on the tile and grou and look how long it takes to remove using both the “turbo” (high pressure cleaning tool) as well as the floor scrubber:

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

July 09, 2009

An Old School Way To Remove Grout

Here is a really old way to remove grout… apparently this little document recommends “kitchen utensils” hey… whatever works for ya but I have a few better ways up my sleeve.

Old School Way To Remove Grout

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July 09, 2009

Full Shower Restoration

Here is a pretty nasty shower we did a while back – we actually had a LOT of caulking to remove and even took the whole door off in this case.

Here is a pretty bad shower

Here is a pretty bad shower



Imagine what the home owner had to say to this!
You can expect to make anywhere from $500-$700 for a full size shower like this… all done in a single day!
Even though showers aren’t my favorite they definitely pay some bills.

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

November 02, 2008

Grout Cleaning Business – Free Online Training Class

I’m in the process of putting together an extensive training class for people out there starting their own tile and grout cleaning business.

I’ve had a lot of fun training people down here in Tampa:

But it can be cost prohibitive for some of my students to fly across the country + hotel + airfare and time away from work, to attend my training class. But alas, there is an answer!

An extensive, soup to nuts training course that will give someone everything they need to know to be up and running (avoiding all the fun mistakes like I made). Including video and audio training so they can actually see it being done.

I’m putting together the materials now. The first thing that I’m doing is conducting a seminar for the first segment titled: “10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT STARTING A TILE AND GROUT CLEANING BUSINESS”. The material covered in that webinar will be the top 10 frequently asked questions. Fill out the survey and I’ll notify you as soon a date is scheduled for the webinar.


Please leave a comment if you have any other questions!


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March 30, 2008

The Master’s Touch – Grout Cleaning Business Opportunity

Hey Guys,

I’ve noticed quite a few people are coming to this site after checking out information on The Master’s Touch (www.themasterstouch.net) – which is offering their business opportunity package for about 50k dollars. I’m considering offering an all inclusive business package to get people up and running cleaning/sealing grout, regrouting and color sealing – profitably and for considerably less than anything else out there. If this is something you might be interested in – give me a call at 813 322 0404.

Chris Blackerby
The Grout Experts

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February 17, 2008

Cleaning and Color Sealing Step by Step

Here some pictures of the progression of the dirty – clean – color seal.


grout cleaning and color sealing


half way through colro sealing

Color Sealed:

cleaning and color sealing

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February 17, 2008

Grout Color Sealing Job From This Week

Here is a quick 250 sq foot clean and color seal we did this week.


before picture of a grout color sealing


grout job cleaning iaf this old grout color sealing feing regrouting tool


after picture of color ealing restoraiton job in high pressure olyupmus 1200

Job was complete in a few hours.

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February 16, 2008

Travertine Stone Polishing

Here is a stone restoration jobs that I did back in the day. It was 18″ travertine – about 7 years old. The floor was pretty flat and I was able to hit it with just a powder polish and get pretty decent results.

marble, stone, granite tavertine grinding polishing pictures

It was a bit of a trick getting used to the powder polish, i.e. finding the right working time and moisture that the product worked well with but I figured it out.

18? grout and tile powder polishing

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February 15, 2008

Wax | Topical Coatings + Tile & Grout = Big Mistake

I had a job today where the customer had applied a topical coating to the floor. Initially when they applied the wax to the floor it looked “great” but as time went on the topical coating begin to wear, scuff and accumulate dirt. The more it was cleaned the more inconsistent the floor looked (partial wax removal).
Here is the product that was applied:

topical coating wax applied to tile and grout ceramic

When it was being cleaned you could definitely tell the floor had a coating- the cleaning “slurry” had a thickness to it.

cleaning slurry mix of chemicals phosphoric acids and other floor strippers

You can actually pick it up off the floor.

wax acrylic type of product

The floor required a lot of extra scrubbing and dwell time but it was able to be removed so that we could color seal over it.

Luckily this was a residential type of product that was fairly easy to remove.

It’s good to check the floor thoroughly to check for coatings and wax type of products that may have been applied. Look for an inconsistent gloss that continues from tile to grout. Also you can acid test the grout lines, if they don’t fizz up (like they should normally) it’s a another hint to look for a topical coating.

On some jobs the coating can be removed with a little extra elbow grease, dwell time or pressure but on others it can be nearly impossible to remove 100%. On bad situations sometimes it’s better to just leave a floor alone than to spend all day working on it only to have the floor become 70-80% better – which would only create a blotchy, inconsistent floor.

 Word of Warning – Beware the WaxÂ

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February 14, 2008

Racatac – Next Generation Knee Pads

This was actually one of the very first tools I decided to get for the biz. Takes a lot of stress off your knees. Not the best for small areas but always a good tool to have around.

racatac review in the box

I ended up ordering mine from Contractors Direct.

It was the cheapest price I could find at about $159.99. It comes with 2″ and 3″ casters. Best to go with 2″ for tile and grout work where you actually are working or color sealing grout lines.
racatac review grout cleaning

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February 13, 2008

How to Keep From Banging Your Head on the Customer’s Chandelier

Self explanatory. If you’re continually staring at the floor I guarantee you or one of your guys will eventually bang your head on the chandelier.

My crude but effective solution –

grout cleaning preventive maintenance color sealing steps

Just makes it a bit more conspicuous and in plain view when you’re looking down.

Some of the more delicate chandeliers require a bit more “protections” –

being in a customes home and protecting their chandelier

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February 12, 2008

Cleaning Pictures From Today

Here are some pictures from today’s job.

cleaning picture before the cleaning process took place

One stage cleaning process using a phosphoric acid based cleaning product diluted at about 8 to 1. Ran the blue scrub brush over the grout lines and then hit it with the turbo hybrid for rinsing and extracting at about 1500 psi.
after cleaning but before sealing

Floor hadn’t totally dried out yet but you get the point.

Customer was a referral from a past client and also a real estate agent. Also got a decent tip 🙂

Just another day.

Posted in Before & After Pictures, Grout Cleaning & Sealing | No Comments »

February 11, 2008

Shower Restoration – Grout Removal – Replacement – Recualking

Here is a real garden variety type of job that we do in showers. Typical shower is a few years old (about 4 years old to be exact). The water does not drain properly causing build up of hard water near the drain. Caulking is beginning to mildew and the shower door starts getting a little hard to see through.


before regrout shower stall mildew door

The shower is cleaned using an acid and a special cleaning process to remove all the hard water, soap scum and mineral deposits that have built up on the shower.

Next the caulking is removed. You can clean the mildew out of the caulking to a certain degree but I find that I can get perfect results by removing the caulking and replacing it. Next we remove the grout on the floor and minimally the first rows of grout on the bottom and do our best to blend it in to the existing tile and grout.

This applies mainly to newer showers where the problem is isolated mainly to the caulking and the lower part of the shower. From about half way on up – the shower looked nearly perfect.

It should also be noted that many people call us to “clean” their showers but in my experience it’s very difficult to clean shower grout perfectly. So in most cases the grout is completely removed and replaced in a shower like this.
shower regrout ryobi before

Takes a few hours but you can’t beat the results of that “oh so clean” shower look.

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February 10, 2008

Storage Solutions – I robbed a Home Depot!

I’ve been trying to deal with the ever increasing amount of equipment that we all end up accumulating. I made a nice little find on some heavy duty shelving sourced from a Home Depot:

grout cleaning home depot shelving

I ended up getting 3 nine foot tall upright sections (3 uprights make up two continuous shelving units). They are also about 4 feet deep.

Home depot shelving

They have tons of space with room to “grow” into.

grout cleaning supplies olympus

These two racks only set me back $150 – found off of craigslist.

And of course, they didn’t think it would fit in my truck – HA!

full truck shelving

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February 09, 2008

Question is: Do you feel lucky?

Today I had a close call with my truck. I parked in the customers driveway – went in to the house, about 10 minutes later I hear a huge BANG! Me and the custy go outside to see what happened and this is what we see:

grout cleaning business broken hoop right before

Apparently the “wind” or some other strange force of nature toppled the basketball hoop. And fortuitously I had some strange inclination not to pull out all the way into the driveway like I usually do.

car in relation to hoop at cleaning job

After the customer saw this she started looking for her kids. Apparently there was a mysterious dent in the top of the husbands car which they couldn’t explain. It turns out while the kids were in the driveway at an earlier time, the basketball hoop fell over onto the husbands car. They didn’t know what to do so they just put it back up and pretended like it never happened.


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February 09, 2008

When to say “no” – Regrouts and Repair + Real Estate Agents and House Flippers

Here is a job I was sent to estimate from a real estate investor. He wanted me to “clean it up”.

This also reminds why I stopped chasing real estate investors and flippers. Early on I figured these guys might have a lot of work available because of all the renovations they were doing.
What I found is that there are exceptions but generally land lords and people trying to flip houses for a profit are happy if it looks good but obviously aren’t in it for the long term and really attempt to hammer you on price. Perhaps this is an obvious statement but it’s worth mentioning.
shower pan leaking through wall
This shower pan was way too far gone. The smell was terrible, the water had completely rotted away the baseboards and was leaking though the other side of the wall where the closet was. The carpet was actually totally wet in the closet.

shower leaking
I told the guy the truth – there was an obvious concern for mildew and mold growth behind the wall and it was way behind any sort of “patch job” he was looking for and that he should call a mold remediation company to take a look at.

leaking water throught he shower walls
I have found house “flippers” to be the worst and real estate agents to be just slightly better. I’ve gotten decent jobs from realtors, have solicited them in the past but they are certainly not the low hanging fruit type of customers.

Here is an interesting read over at Contractor Talk about a contractor dealing with a house “flipper”:

Title: Is this typical for dealing with “Flippers”

Posted in Business & Marketing, Regrouting & Repair | No Comments »

February 08, 2008

Concrete Polishing Demo

Here is a demo a did a while ago:

Left side is up to 1500 grit | Right Side is up to 800 grit

concrete polishing pics

I didn’t end up geting this job because I believe I got way underbid.
concrete polishing demo pictures

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February 05, 2008

When Good Regrouts Go Bad!

What’s a couple of loose tile, right?

grout removal tool

This was a job a while back where I should have know better. I had sent a crew out there to regrout this shower but I hadn’t done a thorough inspection and there were loose tiles. In some places it was just grout holding the tiles in place.

They just kept peeling off and dropping like flies. 70% of the main wall was totally wet.

We ended up charging him for removing the tile and trashing it so it wasn’t a complete waste…
best way to remove grout

This is why I love hate doing regrouts. There are alot more variables, it’s a dirty/dusty job, you make less money than floors BUT there are no shortage of homes out there with nasty, dirty, mildewed showers that love to respond to all my ads…. the saga continues.

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February 05, 2008

Which Grout Brush is Best?

I’ve tried both of the more common grout brushes out there:

grout brush 1 grout brush 2
I definitely favor the blue brush made by Flo-Pac. The bristles have a little more give to them and help them get into the line more efficiently.

This is how you know when you “might” need to replace yours 🙂

grout brush worn down

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February 05, 2008

How to Get Equipment for “Almost” Free

I got an interesting phone call today – went something like this:

“Hello, I don’t know if you’d be interested or not but I have some tile and grout equipment I need to get rid of and I’ll sell it dirt cheap.”

The first thing that came to my mind was….Define: “DIRT CHEAP”.

To my pleasant surprise, the cliché lived up to it’s name.

Turns out this gentlemen had a cleaning business about 5 years ago and had to get out due to health reasons. He had purchased a high pressure portable (one of the early models actually), a Turbo Hybrid, various wands, vacuums and accessories. He had sold all his accounts 4 years ago and had been storing all of this equipment for the last 4 years in a storage unit. He recently added up all the payments he had been making on his storage unit and realized he had better just get rid of the stuff.

Lucky for me I was at the right place at the right time – here is what I scored:

Don’t ask me why I brought my station wagon – I didn’t think there would be that much stuff:

(both the seller and my girlfriend didn’t think I could get all this stuff in the car – HA!)

Grout Mobile filled up

The score:

1 – High Pressure Portable – FX-88 (older model)

2 – Carpet Wand

3 – Turbo Force Turbo Hybrid Spinner Tool (older model)

4 – Gekko Hard Surface Wand

5 – Carpet Wand

6 – TWO Back Pack Vacuums (need some work)

7 – Janitorial Push cart

8 – Mini Blower

9 – Collapsible loading ramp (always wanted one)

10 – Tone of miscellaneous micro fiber rags, supplies, bags, hoses, etc

fx-88 high pressure portable more grout cleaning inventory

Turbo Hybrid Masters Touch

Now the million dollar question – how much did I pay for all this semi-used second hand equipment?

$100 (one hundred dollars)

No, seriously. That’s all I paid. When the seller told me how much he was letting it go for – my response was

“I’ll be right over.”

Anyone in the market for some used equipment? 😉

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