Tile and Grout Maintenance

Maintaining the tile throughout your home can help it last throughout many years, as with any surface in your home. Your contractor will initially inform you about the type of tile and grout used and will be able to give you proper maintenance tips. If you are tiling your home yourself, know what type of tile you are using. If it is unsealed, you will have to seal the tile to ensure it lasts a long time. Cement grouts also will require sealing, while specialty grouts will not; refer to the manufacturer for the best recommendations.

Wiping down tile and grout daily with a wet cloth will ensure it remains clean. Using a pH-balanced cleanser and soap-less detergents will make it easy to remove daily dirt. Cleaned areas should be completely rinsed and dried to ensure the longest lasting finish. Occasionally, tile and grout will require a more heavy-duty cleaning. There are many products on the market to clean tile & grout in different areas of your home; they should be easily visible in the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket. The use of these products combined with scrubbing the area with a soft bristle brush or pad regularly will make the cleaning easier on an ongoing basis. Remember to thoroughly rinse and dry any area that has been cleaned.

In addition to PH-balanced cleansers, there are also acidic cleansers on the market to clean tile & grout. These cleansers can be used for deep-cleaning if regular cleaning isn’t sufficient. Sulfuric and phosphoric acids are the safest and most common acids used in cleaning tile and grout. The directions for using these acids should be followed specifically from the package. As always, the area should be rinsed and dried after cleaning.

Over time and immediately after installation, grout particles can rest on the tile causing grout haze. The same steps taken to clean tile should be taken to remove the grout. Initially, a scouring pad and water may be effective. If this isn’t successful, using a PH-balanced cleanser or acidic cleanser, as stated above, should remove the grout.

In order to keep grout clean, a sealer should initially be used. This will help prevent dirt and particles from settling in the porous grout, keeping your tiled area looking cleaner for many years with regular cleaning. Securing a grout sealer from your local hardware store is perfect, making sure to follow the directions as they are given on the product. After cleaning and sealing grout, buffing of the area can be done with a soft terry cloth or cheesecloth to ensure all particles are removed.

Sealing the tile is also imperative to keeping a clean surface continuously. If you are unsure whether your tile has been pre-sealed or not, simply run water over it; if the surface darkens, the tile should be sealed. When sealing tile indoors, a topical sealer can be used for softer tiles while hard, dense tile or stones should use a penetrating sealer. Manufacturer directions should always be followed.

Stone tile generally must be sealed, however following the manufacturer’s recommendations is always first and foremost. The type of sealant to us, whether petroleum or water-based) depends on the surface of the stone (polished, honed or natural) plus the density and porosity. Your contractor or the distributor of the stone will be able to help you decide what the best steps to take are.

Ceramic tile and the grout surrounding it should always be sealed. Again, your contractor or tile distributor can help determine the best practice and steps to take. Glazed tile requires no sealer and should never be sealed as the glaze acts as a sealant while unglazed tile usually requires a sealer. It is recommended that if the tile is being installed indoors, glazed or sealed tile is necessary to ensure proper protection against everyday dirt, stains and wear.