Saturday, March 10, 2007

Zen and the Art of Tile Cleaning

I was in the zone today. With my new and improved tile cleaning method, officially known as “The Two Thumb Method”, I was able to clean a refill two tubs worth of The Oberon Saloon salvaged hex tile in a little over an hour.

I also noticed something interesting today. After emptying one of the tubs of tile I noticed that the bleach that was left behind was very murky. It was so murky that I couldn’t see the bottom of the tub through the 4 or 5 inches of bleach. I had to rake the bottom of the tub with my fingers to make sure I got everything.

The other tub was not so murky. Also, when I was doing this second, less murky tub I had a half dozen more Un-Cleanable Tiles. With the first tub there were none. This could be just a coincidence, or it could not be. I remembered when I bought the initial bleach some of it was a discount brand and some of it was a name brand. Also, in one tub I had to add water because the bleach didn’t cover the tiles and I was too lazy to go back to the store for more bleach.

I think you can see where I’m going with this. Perhaps there is a problem with the one tub. Less murky bleach could mean that I was cleaning less dirty tile in the tub, or it could mean that it’s not getting all the dirt off because the tub is filled with an inferior and more diluted bleach solution. This could be the cause of The Un-Cleanables.

Today after I emptied the tub of tile I also got rid of the bleach and refilled it with a fresh 3 gallons of bleach and I added no water. I put in a new box worth of tile and I also added those 30 or 40 tiles that didn’t come clean from the past two weeks. I’ll know next week how well this works.

I also measured again the two rooms that are getting tile. If I figure in a 5% waste for installation I need 88.5 sq ft. I’ve cleaned 39.1 sq ft of tile so far. If I’m able to get the same amount of clean, neatly stacked tile that I’ve been able to get from each box of haphazardly stacked, jumbled tile I’ve cleaned so far, I should end up with about 95 sq ft. It would seem I’m in very good shape.

The unknown part of the equation is, how much loss will there be when I start to take the grout off. That is the $64,000 question. Unfortunately, I m still several weeks away from answering that question.

Stay tuned.


Kathy said...

What happened with your co-worker who was cleaning the tiles with a belt sander?

Greg said...

He brought them back clean, but a few had some minor chips. What is not known is whether I gave him tiles with a few minor chips or if it happened when he was cleaning them on the sander. Neither of us could remember the condition of the tiles when I gave them to him. I should have paid more attention. Oh well.

derek said...

I've bought bleach that says Industrial Bleach, I don't know if it would work better or not. I used it diluted, when I pressure washed the fence, before staining it.