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tile counters/grout questions

We are buying a house with tumbled marble tile counters/backsplash. We have never had tile or marble counter tops, and I have a lot of questions about them that are hard to look up on websites. I'm hoping that someone can help me out.

The grout is in bad shape, and appears to be more "plastic like" than traditional cement style grout. Could it be epoxy grout?

How do I clean it effectively?

I am not a germ-a-phob, but I do worry about chemicals/raw meats etc. soaking into the grout-would epoxy grout be the best choice?

Can epoxy grout be re-grouted, or does it need to be removed and replaced?

I read on HGTV's site that the tiles need to be sealed before epoxy grout is used-how do I do this?

How often does epoxy grout need attention?

How often should tumbled marble tiles need sealing?

What is the best way to clean tumbled marble tiles?

Re: tile counters/grout questions

Hard to say if you have epoxy grout or not, but a kithchen counter top would be an ideal place to use it, as it is nearly impermeable to staining/grease and the like. Assuming you do it is fairly carefree other than just cleaning the tile with mild soap and water frequently (as you would clean your kitchen regularly anyway). Regardless of whether or not you have epoxy grout , taking precautions to use cutting boards for meats etc. instead of letting them contact the counter directly is the best preventative here. As for sealing stone tile, any granite or stone sealer that can be picked up at a home supply warehouse will do the trick. Simply wipe on, wait the prescribed time to dry, (follow directions on the label) then re-apply should do the trick. It is probably necessary to reseal every six months or so.

Re: tile counters/grout questions

I have used epoxy grout in the past and it dried hard as a rock, it doesn't sound like yours is epoxy, there are several tools available to remove grout, you should try your local tile store.

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