Removing Grout Haze on New Carrara Marble Tile Installation

by Estelle
(New Jersey)

QUESTION:

I just had my bathroom remodeled with white Carrara Marble with the grey veins running through. We accented it with the opposite, black tile with white veins. We put in on the shower walls, ceiling, bathroom floors and 1/2 up on some of the walls.


It looks absolutely gorgeous. The tile installer is supposed to come back this Saturday morning and seal the entire room. He told me to wash the walls down with 1 part white vinegar and 5 parts warm water before he comes by to remove all the residue of the grout. Is using vinegar correct or is there anything else that I should use?

ANSWER:

Ahhhhh.... NO! It is not correct and I'm amazed that a marble tile installer is telling you to put vinegar(a damaging acid) on your marble AND that he wants you to clean off the grout haze when it's his job to complete the install.

Vinegar would be okay to use on ceramic or porcelain for this purpose because it is acidic like most "grout remover" products.

But acidic foods/products like vinegar will etch marble and shouldn't be used for cleaning marble.

Etching is corrosion that eats at the marble destroying the shiny polished layer and exposing the more dull marble underneath so you get dull and light discolored spots.

Now if the marble tile has a rough honed or tumbled finish you wouldn't notice the etching as much as on a polished surface, but you still shouldn't use vinegar or any other acidic product on it.

I imagine that most of the marble tile you installed is polished though... correct?

You need to get a non-acidic grout remover product. I recommend using Soap Scum / Hard Water Remover, which is safe for use on marble as are all the products we recommend.

And I'd make the installer do all the work and don't make final payment until you are satisfied that the job is done correctly and without damage.

Regarding sealing...

Marble tile is not very porous or absorbent and often does not need sealing especially polished marble, which often cannot be sealed because the sealer simply won't absorb.

This is a good thing. Means the marble will not readily absorb anything else either and will be very difficult to stain.

A couple other considerations:

1. You should wait at least 2-3 weeks before you seal any stone installation on a wall or floor to allow plenty of time for all moisture to evaporate from the stone and grout.

Not an issue with countertops since their underside is exposed.

2. Typically bathrooms aren't at much risk for staining, so sealing isn't that necessary especially in the marble shower.

The common wisdom is that you shouldn't seal stone in a wet environment like a shower since moisture could get trapped in the stone leading to degradation of the stone.

Plus, do you drink a lot of coffee and wine in the shower? Probably not and not many if any personal products stain and with all that water washing everything down the drain your risk of a stain in the shower is near zero unless you leave say a leaky bottle of an oily product in there.

The only surface I'd really consider sealing is the countertop, but remember it may not need or be able to take a sealer.

All you need to do is perform the water test to determine if you should or shouldn't seal the marble vanity.

Also, I'd consider sealing the marble flooring if honed and/or if testing says it should.

But you shouldn't apply a sealer "just to be safe." If you try to apply a sealer to a stone that doesn't need it, you often end up with a streaky haze (much like the grout haze) that must be stripped off... not fun.

If you do seal anything I'd recommend using recommended marble & granite sealers. They're the best for long-term marble maintenance.

Comments for Removing Grout Haze on New Carrara Marble Tile Installation

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Removing Marble Haze
by: Anonymous

what if the marble was sealed to soon and there is a haze how do you remove that?

=== ANSWER:

The applied sealer is not an issue since it absorbs into the stone and does not form some type of coating over the surface (common misconception).

So, just like if it wasn't sealed use the Grout Residue / Hard Water / Soap Scum Remover, which is made specifically for use on marble tile (vs. typical "grout removers" that are acidic and will damage/etch marble).

Good Luck!

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removing urethane grout
by: Anonymous

Will this grout remover work on the residue left behind by urethane grout on polished marble?

Thanks.

==== Admin Comment:

Urethane grout is relatively new product and the grout remover has not been tested on it. It may work, but may not since urethane is a much different component than found in typical tile grout.

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Sealing honed Carrara marble shower before grouting
by: Anonymous

Greetings,
What if you have used honed Carrara marble for the shower and bath floors? Should you seal before grouting? Thanks in advance.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Sealing marble tile prior to grouting doesn't guarantee that you won't get grout haze stuck on the surface.

It can often help, but not always successful, so not a great reason to go through the much more troublesome process of sealing prior to grouting vs. after.

Now, if your grout is a dark color, then it can be advantageous to apply a sealer before grouting to keep the grout color from absorbing into the edges and discoloring the marble. But most likely, you are using a light or white color grout.

Sealing a shower is typically not needed or recommended. The one exception would be Carrara marble (or other white marbles) that can often have embedded iron deposits.

If these deposits are close enough to the surface, they can be oxidized by water absorbed during a shower creating a rust stains.

Water absorbing during a shower is not an issue for any other stone. This water will evaporate, so sealing against it isn't needed. But, when occurring repeatedly on white / Carrara marble water absorption will corrode any iron deposit causing a yellow-brown rust stain.

Polished marble usually is too dense to be sealed and doesn't need it, but honed marble is more absorbent and will take a sealer.

In this case, I'd suggest applying a stone sealer after grouting (unless using dark grout) and you'll be fine.

If you do get grout haze, then use the SCP: Bath & Shower Soap Scum / Hard Water Remover recommended in the article & comments above (see links above).

This will remove the grout haze and you'll want to use this product as your regular marble-safe shower cleaner as well.... so double-duty from the same product!

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Marks on tiles after sealing
by: Anonymous

We recently installed granite countertops with a subway tile backsplash. While sealing the grout, a lot of sealer has marked the tiles. What can we use to remove the sealer from the tiles without
harming our granite countertops?

=== Comment:

Well, it depends on what you mean by "marks".

What can occur when sealing is a hazy film develops if the sealer is allowed to dry on the surface (which you should not do).

I'd test a leftover subway tile first, but clean the backsplash with acetone and a soft scrub brush. This will often remove sealer residue.

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Grout Haze on Carrara Marble
by: Anonymous

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

We just had our Carrara marble backslash installed three days ago and we were told to use cheesecloth on day four to EASILY remove the grout haze film.

I tested a small area today with a regular cloth and it wasn't going anywhere!

I called the installer and he said to try the cheesecloth, but was concerned since he hadn't installed Carrara marble before, but I don't think its going to work.

I honestly thought we were going have to tear it out. Glad to know this isn't that major. I will definitely pick up your Hard Water / Soap Film / Grout Haze Remover product.

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Grout haze removal
by: Anonymous

How long do we wait to use the haze cleaner on our Carrera marble?

=== Countertop Specialty comment:

Note that you should not be using a standard "grout haze remover" on Carrara marble or any marble. Most grout haze removers are acidic and will etch the marble dulling the surface and ruining the finish.

However, you can use the Hard Water and Soap Film Remover which works very well to remove grout haze and is made for use on marble and all stone. It won't harm your Carrara marble at all.

You don't have to wait at all to use it. You can start cleaning it right after the grout lines dry.

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