QUESTIONGrout Damaged From Cleaning Tile - Recently at our home we had a company clean our grout and tile. After the cleaning they asked us to not dry the wet and still dirty floor. We questioned that decision. 24 hours later we noticed the grout was dirtier in most spots then when we started. We had the company come out a second time. We still were not satisfied with the result. A day later we started noticing the grout was eroding and had pock marks in certain spots especially at the baseboards. We did not have the company come out again for fear the problem will get worse. I contacted another company and they said the problem is the acid used is eating away at the grout and is still doing so. He suggested we contact a tile inspector and have their insurance company foot the tab for replacing the grout. Is this the correct response and can an inspector handle this issue? What should our next step be?
ANSWERANSWER - If the installer said to stay off wet tile and the grout was dirtier later maybe they applied a sealer without buffing it dry that can lead to a tacky floor that will pick up dirt?
If the grout is eroding it is possible they used the wrong kind of acid and/or did not properly flush the floor with clean water afterwards and then use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up the contaminated water. Maybe the grout wasn't in great condition in the first place and what they did made it worse? Leaving acid residuals in grout can cause some damage, but should not cause it to break down completely. Of course you need to verify that it does have acid residuals in it. You could do a pH litmus test for verification.
The floor should be cleaned with a neutral based or alkaline cleaner to remove and neutralize any acid residuals so it doesn't get any worst. If they did use a sealer it may limit your ability to rinse out the grout. Then you can decide whether or how the grout can be remediated. It is a messy process to have to regrout and then you might get chipped tiles during the process, so you should try to avoid that. For a list of cleaner manufacturers with links to their website go to our website at www.CTaSC.com select Expert Answers where you'll find Resources and select Cleaners and Sealers.
To have a professional forensic investigator inspect your situation probably isn't practical for what it would cost compared to the value of the problem. You would have to see what insurance if any the cleaning company has and what they are willing to do. Good luck.