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Maintaining your Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

 

Sooner or later, time and traffic, life and living, will take its toll on any floor covering. Ceramic tile is no exception. But take heart, keeping your tile as clean and beautiful as its first days in your home just takes know-how.

In fact, understanding the best methods to care for your ceramic& porcelain flooring will help maintain its beauty and keep it close to its original condition.

Plus, knowing what’s expected of you regarding upkeep can be a determining factor in which type of ceramic tile to purchase.

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Ceramic tile should be swept and not beaten.

It’s important to sweep a tile floor regularly. Dirt can adhere to the surface of tile, particularly styles with a textured surface. Regular sweeping loosens and removes most of this dirt.

Don’t forget those labor saving devices, either. Feel free to use a vacuum cleaner to sweep, but be sure to use one without a beater bar to avoid dulling and scratching the tiles. Keep in mind some vacuums send dust into the air, only to settle somewhere else.

However, the attachments that accompany vacuum cleaners are useful to collect dirt along edges or in between tiles.

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Don’t let dirt have its way.

With all of the abrasive dust we have to contend with here in the desert, be sure to use walk-off mats to minimize and contain dirt being tracked in at entryways. Shake them often.

This reduces the amount of dirt being tracked across the tile floor, and reduces the wear to the finished surface.

Cleaning your tile

Ceramic tile floors should be damp-mopped regularly using a neutral pH balanced grout and tile cleaners. We recommend Modern Stone Technologies “Balance”- a super-concentrated phosphate free cleaner formulated for everyday use.  It may be used on natural stone, ceramic, porcelain tile and grout.  The pleasant scent leaves the room smelling fresh and clean.  Always wipe dry with a clean towel to remove any film, and excess water.  Our hard Arizona water will leave spots if not dried completely.

For heavier cleaning tasks come into Monterrey and confer with one of our professionals regarding your special needs.  We carry several lines of cleaning products that can be used to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, mildew stains, greasy dirt, rust and grout stains.

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Cautions and considerations.

Avoid using steel wool, scouring powders, or other abrasives that can scratch the finish of the tile.

Don’t use bleach or ammonia based cleaners, as these products can discolor your grout if used too often.

Also, do not clean glazed tile with oil-based cleaners.

While ceramic tile is considered very durable, it’s not indestructible and may crack or chip under extreme force.

Take the proper precautions when moving heavy objects across your tile floor. Get a small army to help you move that grand piano.

Cover furniture and table legs with protectors to guard your floor against damage.

Make sure and order at least 10% overage in case of future accidents, as, the replacement product may be a slightly different dye lot and/or texture than the initial installation.

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Caulking  

Once the tile has been laid and grouted, it’s your responsibility to maintain areas exposed to water by caulking the areas where two planes intersect: wall to floor and around cabinet kick plate and floor.

Caulking will prevent expensive subsurface damage, as well as keep the tiled areas looking their best.

Sealing

A few words of caution regarding sealers: There is no such thing as “bullet proof”, and all we can expect the sealers to do is slow down the staining process.  If you spill hot coffee or hot oil on your grout and leave it; it will discolor.  The purpose of sealers is to buy you some time to clean up the issue.

Most ceramic and porcelain do not need to be sealed.  The glaze is an impervious surface that cannot be stained.  Most unglazed tile does need to be sealed.  Confer with your sales professional to determine if this applies to your purchase.  Most grout does need to be sealed.  After the installation process is complete and the grout has had ample time to cure, sealing the grout can provide protection from dirt and spills by slowing down the staining process. We suggest Modern Stone Technologies “Grout Sealer Pro”.  This is a low odor, water based sealer, formulated to provide stain and oil repellency to grout with little or no change in appearance.  It greatly reduces cleaning maintenance. Make sure and ask for our “Grout Wand” to make grout joint sealing a snap!

Your project is complete, but you don’t like the way the grout turned out?  Do you have an old project and the grout looking a little tired?  No problem, we carry grout “Color Sealer” that can transform old grout to new; and change your black grout to white. They come in every color of grout and are very easy to apply.

Knowing how to care for and maintain your ceramic floor will help keep your investment beautiful, durable and a source of pride for years to come.

For more maintenance information specific to your ceramic tile flooring, call Monterrey Tile at 480-507-7966.

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