After laying the tiles, you apply grout at the tile joints in order to ensure that the newly laid tiles do not get shifted from their actual position. The problem with grout is that its surface is highly porous and readily absorbs plenty of dirt, moisture and germs. As a result, it gets stained and looks ugly in no time. To prevent this kind of damage, application of grout sealer is highly recommended soon after the applied grout dries up thoroughly.
Usually, it is applied with the help of a sealer applicator with a wheel at the top which is rolled along the grout line or is sprayed on. Some people prefer a small paintbrush or sponge for this purpose. Whatever be the method of application and no matter how careful you are, some amount of sealer may get spilled on the tile surface. If it dries up on the tiles, then a thin film of haze is formed on the tile surface. As a result, the tile loses its shine and beauty. Grout sealer removal is important to retain the attractive look of the tiles.
How to Remove Grout Sealer with Chemical Strippers?
Grout sealer is applied after installation of new tiles and grout and after doing some repair work on the grout. While sealing grout, if you notice the sealer falling on the tile surface, then you should remove it instantly with a clean rag. For better results, soak a sponge in warm water and clean up the sealer with it. Then scrub the surface with a vinegar solution made of equal amounts of water and white vinegar. Thus, the tile surface will be free from grout sealer.
However, many times, it happens that the sealer stays on for a longer time and dries up. There are two different categories of grout sealer available. One of them is penetrating sealer and the other one is membrane forming sealer. Both these forms are strongly resistant towards water as it is applied to protect the grout surface from harmful effects of moisture. Therefore, you cannot clean up dried sealer with simple water. You need something more effective. Chemical based sealant strippers are widely used to get rid of grout sealer from tile surface. You can purchase it from the home supply stores in your area. The step-by-step instructions of removing grout sealer residue from tiles, are as follows:
Take some warm water in a small bucket, a mild abrasive cleaner and a hard-bristle brush. Dip the brush into the water and pour a little cleaner on it. Now, rub this brush over all those surfaces, which are covered by grout sealer. This will clean up some of the loosely bound sealer from the tile surface.
Next, you have to conduct a patch test with the grout sealer remover on a small spot in a hidden area before applying it on the tile surface. Take some sealant stripper in a plastic bowl. Dip a sponge into it, apply it on the chosen spot, let it stay on it for an hour and then wipe it off. If it does not cause any harm to the tile color, then you can use it on the rest of the tiles.
You can apply the sealant strippers directly on the tile surface and there is no need to dilute it with any solvent. Rub the sealant remover on the affected tiles with the help of a sponge so that a thick layer is formed. Leave it untouched for some time which in turn will soften up the bonding between the grout sealer and the underlying tiles. However, take care that it does not dry up on the tiles. Then use a hard bristled brush to scrub the area. Thus, all the residue of grout sealer will come off.
Remove the loosened debris from the tiles with a soft and clean piece of cloth. Take another clean cloth, make it damp with some plain water and clean up all the remnants that are still left behind on the tiles. Finally, dry up the cleaned tiles with a cotton towel.
A sealant stripper should be used only after the sealer has set properly on the grout surface. While applying the stripper, be careful that it does not get into the grout area and strip off the sealer from there. Some people use sharp objects like a razor for removing grout sealer from tiles, but it can leave behind scratches on the tile surface. So, rather than using sharp objects which may damage your tiles, try following the above mentioned instructions on removing grout cleaner from tiles.