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I just wrapped up my last pre-Christmas Day job - actually, I started it yesterday (cleaning of carpets and tile & grout in a Boston private school) Today was scheduled for the sealing of the grout. I was noticing as the tile cleaning part of the job was going along that the grout lines were drying kind of white - as if there were a lot of cleaning solution film left on them. This is not something I am accustomed to seeing. I did the job with one Challenger equipped with the Challenger tile & grout brush, and the other Challenger, being operated by my helper, using terry cloth pads to absorb up the liquified cleaning solution and dirt mixture. During the cleaning process in the school's fourteen bathrooms, I didn't much of what looked like dirt in the scrubbed solution, but there did seem to be an unusual faint brown tint to it. The ceramic tiles were a matte brown, and the grout was brown. I figured I would do any necessary touch-up and detail work the next day (today) when I went in to seal the grout.
The school's Facility Manager told me that carpeting looked great, but it seemed as if there was a soap film in the grout lines. So I got out my brand new steam vapor machine that I bought last week - a KleenJet Pro Plus 200S from Daimer Industries right nearby in Woburn MA (http://www.daimer.com) After working a few grout lines with the little nozzle brush designed for grout cleaning, there seemed to be more white apprearing rather than less. When I got down on my hands and knees for a closer look, I realized what had been happening. What had appeared to be brown grout was really the standard gray grout, but it had been PAINTED OVER with some kind of brown substance. The brown added color had been partially scrubbed off yesterday by the Challenger T&G brush, and more of it was coming off with my steam vapor machine. There was no soap scum or film at all. It was simply the grout's true light gray color appearing. I reported to the Facility Mgr - who has only been on the job for a few months - that I had solved the mystery of the grout lines. He now has to decide what to do with his painted grout. The tile installers, if there were told that the school wanted brown grout to match the tile, SHOULD HAVE mixed the brown color into the grout itself, so that this situation would not have occurred. There were either inexperienced or deceitful. I suggested to the FM that he purchase his own steam vapor machine, and keep blasting away until all the brown material was gone, or perhaps try to remove it with a Dremel tool fitted with a sanding head. I volunteered to come back and do the sealing at that time, when it made more sense.
Interesting job there Mark.
I have a question about your Daimer machine. I've been looking at getting one myself, and have been puzzled by all the features (continuous fill, chem injection, vacuum). It appears by your choice of machine that you don't see the need to have any of these "extras"? I was thinking about the 300S model maybe??
Just wondering what your thoughts were on the features, as you can easily spend 2k on these things.
This has happened several times with me using my Vapor Steamer as well. Most of the time i've seen it happening on wall grout lines and shower wall grout lines. Usually older homes/buildings. The last shower wall i did, the grout was colored white and the actual grout color was a beige color, the white pieces were falling all over the ground as the vapor steamer went over.
Get "a" machine and you'll be happy man! I'm happy w/ mine, don't need any other options, wouldn't use it, just get continous fill, you won't be using the machine all that much either, just small tile jobs, uph, mattress, rarely carpet. When using a vapor steamer to do T/G cleaning, you do have to put some extra elbow grease, it's hard work, sometimes i wished i had a turbo, especially doing walls, floors are way easier.
which color sealer are you using?
The machine I bought is supposed to run for 4 hours on a single fill, although I expect there is some marketing hype in that claim. A couple of hours would be fine.
Even taking a 15 minute break every 2 or 3 hours to refill and reheat the machine is not a bad idea. Who wants to do any of these jobs for endless hours without some kind of a break? One feature I don't like about the machine I bought is that the "trigger" does not lock, so you have to squeeze it continually, which can become tiring, even painful. My previous steam vapor machines - first a Fogacci, then later a deLonghi - both had lockable on-off switches. But definitely don't buy a deLonghi; you can't get replacement parts of any kind for them. Charlie Yama****a at VaporPros in Scottsdale AZ (http://www.vaporpros.com) has a good variety of steam vapor machines, including the excellent Fogacci line. I chose to buy the Daimer, since they are just a few minutes away from me, which I felt would be easier with parts, repairs, customer support, etc.
While they call themselves Daimer INDUSTRIES, they are in reality just a small rented office in an obscure office park along Rt. 128 in north suburban Boston. They don't manufacture anything. They import their machines from Italy, just like everyone else in this business. They basically just operate from the website. When I found my way to their premises, the door was locked. I kept knocking and finally someone came to the door. He was very surprised that I wanted to buy a machine. I guess I was their first walk-in in years.
Re. the related question on my choice of grout coloring product - I don't do any grout coloring, so I am not familiar with the products. Even if they actually penetrate the grout a little bit, I would think these products would be mostly scrubbed away after a few cleanings, leaving the same uneven look that my school customer has now.
My vapor steamer does not lock either, so i wear gloves if pressing for a hour, which is also very tiring.
I learn alot about your marketing background, but your assumption to color sealing to what occured to you in your last tile job, is incorrect.
Visit www.dirtygrout.com they have an entire section on colorsealing, which if applied correctly and with the right product it will not come off with just cleaning, some of the product will warrant on floors for over 10 years.
I used to just seal, but now i'm all for color sealing 95% of the time, the outcome/results is night/day.
I am certainly no expert on the subject of coloring grout, but I find it hard to imagine that some type of painted-on material could possibly hold up against repeated scrubbings with an OP machine and a brush; 300 degree, 70 psi steam combined with rigid bristles of either firm plastic, brass, or stainless steel; or water blasted at 1200 psi thru a cleaning disc. Whereas if the color were mixed into the grout cement itself prior to setting the tiles, it would last indefinitely.
Check that site out, it converted me and i learned quite a bit.
I forgot to say "Happy Holidays" in my post so forgive me!
Thanks for the thoughts. That was my impression about continuous fill. The machines without it seem to have a much larger single tank, so if you get 2 hours without having to re-fill maybe that's plenty... then again almost everybody seems to suggest getting cont. fill.
Does anybody know, the Ladybug line with "TANCS"... is this just a marketing hype or is that some cool feature?
When you gotta re-fill the machine starts beeping pretty loud, i just carry a gallon of distilled water w/ me from the grocery store, open cap, put water in, than you're good to go. Probably takes like a minute to do all that.
My machine payed for itself within the first 1-2 jobs, and i got mine for $450 used just a few times, where's new was like a grand.