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Caring for your Ceramic Tile




ROUTINE


Glazed Tiles:

It is recommended that glazed tile products be cleaned routinely with an all-purpose, low VOC, household or commercial cleaner. Additionally, the product chosen should be compatible with cleaning the grout joint. The type of product will vary depending on tile application and use.

A multipurpose spray cleaner will remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew --designed for everyday use and can be used on wall tile areas in residential baths or showers. A cotton mop, cloth, sponge, or non-metallic brush can be used to apply and agitate the cleaner.

Rinse the surface with clean water and dry thoroughly. Routine cleaners should NOT contain harsh chemicals as this will cause damage to the tile. Acids can also damage the grout and the glazed surface of the tile. Ammonia can discolor grout.


Unglazed Tiles:

It is recommended that unglazed tile be cleaned routinely with concentrated tile cleaners (with a pH for safe regular use). These cleaners are better equipped for removing grease, oils, and normal spills from unglazed products. These products will vary depending on the application, amount of traffic, and the use.


TIPS:

  • Allow the cleaning solution to sit on the surface for a minimum of 5-minutes. Doing so, increases the suspension of dirt particles, thus producing a cleaner surface.

  • The cleaning solution should be compatible with grout cleaning.


REMOVAL OF SEALERS, WAXES, FLOOR FINISHES


DISCLAIMER: Glazed ceramic tile should not be sealed. It is recommended that only the grout is sealed.


If a topical sealer or floor wax needs to be removed from the ceramic tile, a tile sealer and adhesive remover must be used. Always test a small area first; apply a liberal amount of undiluted sealer and adhesive remover to a manageable area. Allow it to set without drying until coating or residue softens. Reapply, if necessary --until sealer softens and can be removed. If necessary, agitate with a white nylon scrub pad. Wipe up the residue with a cotton towel or sponge. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Do not use ceramic sealer removers on natural stone products.



GROUT CARE


Grout is the material used to fill the spaces between each individual tile. Grout is available in many colors; and while color is important to the final finished look, it has little effect on the functionality of the grout. Grout's purpose is simply, to fill the joint between the tiles and becomes a permanent, integral component of the finished installation. Grout darkens over time so it is highly recommended that it is sealed regularly to preserve and protect it. Grout can also be stained to normalize the color of older grout.


GROUT INSTALLATION


Immediately after tile has been installed and grouted, the new installation should be covered with brown paper in order to protect it from debris during the remainder of the construction process. The grout joints should be dampened daily with water using a clean sponge or mop during the first seven days. Doing so facilitates the grout cure and color lock.


The paper is vital and allows for two important things:

(1) to protect the newly installed tile grout.

(2) to allow moisture to escape from the grout as it cures, further protecting the look of the floor.


This is an important step to achieving color consistency. NEVER use plastic or non-absorbent materials to protect freshly installed tile. These types of non-absorbent products will trap moisture, causing the grout to discolor during the curing period. The protective brown paper should remain until construction is complete and the floor is opened for intended (post-construction) use.


Following a curing period of at least 24 hours, grout haze can be removed with plain water or a grout haze remover (which usually contains sulfamic acid). Sulfamic acid can also be purchased in powder form and mixed with water to different strengths by qualified professionals. Similarly, epoxy grout haze can be removed with an epoxy haze remover. These removers are formulated to safely and quickly remove cured epoxy haze from new tile installations. Their unique formulation will soften most epoxy hazes for easy removal without damaging the grout or tile, usually in one application. Sulfamic acid or grout removers should never be used on natural stone products.


PENETRATING/IMPREGNATING SEALER


Most tile installations use cementitious grouts. This type of grout should be sealed after installation to prevent it from staining. The grout should be sealed with a penetrating/impregnating sealer (often called grout sealers), which does not contain silicone, as silicone can shorten the useful life of the sealer. Epoxy grouts, conversely, are chemically cured and acid resistant, and as a result, do not require a sealer. The application of a good quality penetrating/impregnating sealer into the grout joints of a cementitious grout will not change the natural color of the grout, but will prevent the penetration of moisture, simplify maintenance, and help prevent staining or discoloration. Only the grout needs to be sealed, it is not required for glazed tiles to be sealed. Grout can be sealed 72 hours after installation.


There are different grades of penetrating/impregnating sealers. Be sure you are aware of the life-span of your sealer. You may need to reapply the sealer on an annual basis depending on the sealer quality, traffic patterns, and maintenance routine. Some sealers have multiple year warranties. Refer to the manufacturer warranty, technical & product information for specific details on product installation, useful life, and product applications (including any warnings) before use.


GROUT MAINTENACE


Neither sealing the grout nor using an epoxy grout will guarantee against surface buildup or discoloration of the grout. Grout needs to be cleaned on a periodic basis to remove any surface buildup. Routine grout cleaning can be done with a daily concentrated household or commercial cleaner depending on the application. When heavy duty grout cleaning is required, you will need to use a professional strength tile and grout cleaner that is capable of removing grease, soap scum, body oil, mildew stains, algae, and synthetic or acrylic waxes from the grout joints. However, such a product should contain non-pollution chemicals and low VOC levels. This type of product can be purchased from most home centers, or through your local professional floor covering dealer.


GROUT COLOR RESTORATION


When grout has been stained to the point that it cannot be maintained or returned to its natural color, you can return the grout back to its original color or any other color through the use of grout stain. grout stains are epoxy-based products that are specifically designed to penetrate into the grout and seal the surface with a permanent color. Once the grout has been stained there is no need to seal it any further with a penetrating/impregnanting sealer. Prior to staining, the grout joint should be cleaned thoroughly to remove any dirt, oils, grease, or sealers with a professional strength tile and grout cleaner.




DISCLAIMER: Mulia Tile & Glass provides the information on this page to its customers as an information source only. Please contact an installation product manufacturer directly, prior to usage, to obtain proper handling instructions, application instruction and warnings concerning potential health hazards for any product contemplated for use.

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