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Finishing a tiling job - cleaning the grout off the porcelain tiles

I've just had a wet room tiled and noticed that the tiler hasn't cleaned the grout off the porcelain tiles. The grout residue appears stuck all over the walls etc. The wet-room hasn't been used. Nick the tiler says that he doesn't normally come back to a job to clean up. I'm not sure if I'm been had, as I see that tile after installation cleaner is something like £40 for 5 litres. I have the walls and floor tiled for a 2m by 4m wet-room. I'm not sure if it is industry practise for a tiler to finish up and clean the tiles ready for use or wether end user should clean the grout off.

Nick the tiler has also been heard quoting "I don't like grouting".
And someone has also notice that the tile lines of the tiles for the floor former for the shower area are misaligned to the rest of the bathroom floor.

There is also a misalignment from the wall tile to the floor tile - the reason given for this was that the grout spacing for the wall requirement is 2mm and the grout for the floor is 3mm. I can't figure out why this has to be the case because the tiles are 300mm by 600mm (largish) - and 2 tiles on the floor would have absorbed that tolerance of 1mm each on each of the 2 tiles by the end of that run to the wall.

Main question what is the industry standard for a tiler leaving a site?

10 Answers from MyBuilder Tilers

Best Answer

Standard practice is that the tiles should be cleaned!!! Its not unheard of to have a very fine film after the tiler has gone but this should be VERY EASY to wipe off.Any more than this then he should come back.You shouldn't pay him for this! As for the quality,cant really comment without seeing the work but what I can say is that if your critical enough,you will rarely find a tiling job that is 100% perfect.It isn't just slapping them on the floor/walls,there are a lot of things to take into account and the tiniest mistake can often be seen.You could say its often a thankless task.This is a very under rated trade!


Answered 7th Mar 2013

Hi.... every tiling job walls or floor should be washed off properly after grouting then again if there is a lot of dust. Then left to dry and finally the tiles should be polished with a cloth to smooth out the joints and buff up the tiles leaving a very neat finish. If not polished off the grout, dust will dry on the surface of the tile and be very difficult to clean.

My advice, you can buy grout cleaning products from a tile supplier but the best thing I find is a soft sand paper especially with porcelain but only if the tiles are a matt finish. If your porcelain is a highly polished porcelain be careful not to scratch the surface.


Answered 2nd Oct 2013

Oh dear oh dear oh dear, poor job, grout is always cleaned off as you go along, leaving it is just bad practice. It sounds like you may have had the cowboys in. Depending how much grout has been left you can try using an emulsifying pad (nylon) to clean the grout off, this will require some elbow grease but should do the job. As for industry practice, the tiler should finish the job to leave a great looking surface for the customer...period.


Answered 16th Aug 2013

Looks like I arrived a bit late to this one but I think there's possibly a lesson for prospective customers here about price.
I am very often undercut on price only to hear that the job wasn't done properly in the end (or at least to the customer's expectations) but whose fault is it really? We don't charge the earth for our work but we never compete on the basis of price alone - it's a race to the bottom and consumers have to realize that unlike many things of identical quality that we all compare the price of online - labor quality and workmanship are hugely variable. Caveat emptor!


Answered 11th Mar 2015

This is bad practice to leave a job unfinished the grouting can make or break a job the tiler should have polished all the tiles it should take just as long or even longer to polish as it does to grout the polishing goes hand in hand with the grouting and also check the tiles as they might need sealing as some porcelain do,if they do need sealing this must be done as the tiles will stain,as for tile joint size the tiler has just quoted minimal size you can keep them the same size joints, the floor should be done first then follow up with the walls,sorry to say there are a small amount of tilers out there giving the rest a bad name,in my opinion if hes been paid and refuses to return to finished the job to your standards you expect then I think you should take the matter further.


Answered 9th Mar 2013

all the grout should have been cleaned and the wet room ready for use,the tiles should all be aligned and the same spacers should have been used for wall+floor tiles, sounds like a poor job,sorry, regards Terry.


Answered 7th Mar 2013

Sounds like work from a handyman claiming to be a 'tiler'! Grout should be completed wiped off the tiles and not left to set. After washing the tiles they could appear slightly dusty. I just use an clean cloth to buff up each tile leaving a showroom finish! Your only solution now is to get your self some grout removing solution and some elbow grease! Although the tiler himself should be coming back to do that! When grouting is done correctly it brings tiling to life, done wrong and everything catches the eye! Good luck!


Answered 5th Apr 2016

No job should be left in this state, All it takes is a quick pop back and 20 minutes of the tilers time to clear up mess that he created. He is getting paid for the service and should take pride in his finish and the customers (Not just grab the money and leave) This is why I like to leave a small amount of the moneys due to me from the customer so that they have piece of mind that I will come back and finish the job to their standards so that they can release the full amount to me.


Answered 23rd Jun 2017

Grout should be cleaned off as you go otherwise if you leave it dry it is a nightmare to clean off. If he doesn't like grouting then he should not be tiling as the grout makes the job. Mis-alignments are just sloppy and shows a lake of pride in your work. As a professional I always polish the tiles before handing over to the customer, they pay you to do the job properly, so do it. As A G Fright says, check that they don't need sealing as this must be done before the grout otherwise you will always see stains in your tiles and will look bad. There is no industry standard it's really down to the individual and his/her professionalism. 2mm is commonly used on floors and walls. The guy is a p**s taker.


Answered 16th Mar 2013

Your tiler is totally wrong. The grouting should be washed off at the appropriate time when grouting - not too early so that you wash the grout out - not too late so you struggle to get the grout off the surface of the tiles. Any professional tiler knows this. In some cases where the temperature is cold and when using a grout which is not fast setting it has been known for me to ask the customer to give the tiles a final buff over or a light wash next day. They always seem to say yes and seem to enjoy mucking in and it helps that they are giving the final touches to tiles they have chosen. It hasn't happened to me yet but if they were not happy I would go back after work next day and do it myself. A Tiler should never leave grout too difficult for customer to clear. As for the alignment you discuss with the customer the spacing and use 2mm or 3mm spacers on both walls and floor so then there is not a problem if same sized spacers are used all over.Hope you get this resolved. Bob


Answered 17th May 2017

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