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Re: Washboy?

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Washboy? What do I need one of those for?

These are the sentiments being echoed by tilers across the nation. For many years the standard grout cleaning tools have comprised of the basic bucket and sponge combination.
However with the size of jobs ever increasing the modern day professional tiler should not be without the tiler’s best friend - a trusty washboy.
Washboys have revolutionised grouting. Using a washboy allows you to increase your speed when grouting and will allow you to achieve the perfect finish time after time. Not only that, but there will be no need to get your hands wet and dirty!
A basic washboy set will comprise of a plastic tray, two rollers, a separation / decantation grid for waste water, a plastic float with a sponge and a rubber trowel.
Too expensive?

Some may think that the price for a “glorified bucket and sponge” is a bit steep, however when you take into consideration the amount of time that you will save by using a washboy, it wont be long before the washboy has more than paid for itself.
How do I use a washboy?

A washboy is a very effective tool that is very simple to use.
1. Apply the grout as usual.
2. Fill washboy with water to 20-30mm above the separation / decantation grid and dunk the sponge in the water
3. Push the sponge horizontally across the rollers to remove excess water.
4. Even up the grouted joints with the sponge using a circular motion.
5. Rub the sponge along the separation / decantation grid in order to remove excess grout and the grout will fall and settle at the bottom below the separation / decantation grid. This will leave clean water above the grid to clean your sponge in.
6. Clean your sponge and repeat step three.
7. Pull the sponge across the tiles and then clean the sponge and repeat from step three until the surface is clean.
Which one to buy?

There are many washboys on the market; a great place to start is with the Rubi washboy.
The Rubi tilers washboy features a light and highly resistant plastic tray with 2 colander rollers and a separation-decantation system for waste water. It incorporates wheels and a handle for ease of transportation. The kit includes a plastic float with a sponge and a thermoplex rubber trowel. Dimensions: 58 x 27 x 35cm.

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Using a sponge and a bucket, instead of using a washboy and a spongefloat, is, quite frankly, stone aged. Skimping on tools is false economy. Proper tools allow you to complete a job faster, and with better result, not to mention it's more fun.

As for water staying clean... Sure, it gets a bit murky after a while, but the "muck" forms a cement cake on the bottom, which you just tap out at the end of the day (depending on how much you clean), or when you're about to make the final pass with the sponge. Not so long ago, at a site job, I grouted 12 kitchen splashbacks in the same day, and I only had to switch water for the last three splashbacks, because the last three had another color of grouting.
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Do you squeeze the ends of the sponge down "in between" the rollers? That's where the excess water goes if you just roll over. I go over the rollers once, then squeeze both the ends, which I do by rolling the sponge to one end, going from flat to 45 degrees, then repeating on the other end, and then I go over the rollers with the whole float once more. My sponge float is just a bit damp after that treatment. Never tried the wash boy you use though, so if the technique I described doesn't work, it might be the shape of the rollers. I find that regular smooth rollers, or better yet, "screwed" rollers, work the best.


My washboy looks like this, except it's got a softgrip handle.
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