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Please click on a link below for information on tile & marble maintenance. For further questions please contact us.
Grout Sealing Sealing Tile
White Grout Colored Grout
Cleaning Stone Marble Maintenance


Grout Sealing

Always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the specific sealer being used.

Some sealers breath naturally so a "still wet" installation can be allowed to dry out even after the sealer is applied. However, some sealers lock in the moisture as they lock out the stains, so make sure which type of sealer you are selecting and the proper technique of application.

Your choices in grout sealers are a topical sealer that can offer a wet look, or a penetrating sealer that has a natural look, which protects the grout but does not change the look of the grout.

When sealing the grout there are various techniques to apply the sealer.

Always follow the manufacturer's directions, but generally the best methods are to apply only to the grout joints and buff off any excess that happens to get on the tiles.

Another method is to apply all over the surface with a sponge or cloth and then buff off the excess with a terry cloth or cheesecloth rag.

Some sealers protect against everyday dirt and minor staining elements; others protect against harsh staining elements like hot grease. Look for warranties and protection information on the label from the manufacturers.

A little time spent on this can save a lot of grief later.

Grouts can also be re-colored by applying topical coatings much like painting. There are special products made just for this technique and the best news is, they work! If you have damaged grout that is discolored, you can fix it.

Sealing Tile

Note: Always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the specific sealer being used.

STONE

The first step in stone tile maintenance is the sealing of the stone. Generally, all stone must be sealed. Follow the Manufacturers recommendations for the product you choose.

Know what the surface preparation (polished, honed, or natural) coupled with the density and porosity of the stone will determine the best type (petroleum or water based) of sealer to be used. The other consideration is that you use the best product the budget will allow.

CERAMIC

The first step in maintenance is the sealing of the tile (if necessary) and the grout (if necessary). Generally, glazed tile requires no sealer. Some unglazed tile requires no sealer. Know the type of tile you are installing. Test it with a small amount of water. If the surface darkens, it absorbs water and needs to be sealed.

Generally, cementitious grouts require sealing while specialty grouts like epoxy and furans do not. If the grout darkens with water, it needs a sealer.

Glazed tiles should never be sealed. The glaze is the "sealer" and is far more permanent and resistant to wear than any sealer.

Many people seal their tile that is installed indoors to protect against everyday dirt, stains and wear. When sealing tile indoors a topical sealer is important in some types of softer tiles like saltillo (topical produces a surface coat). When using a topical sealer, a "wear layer" or "sacrificial coating" of acrylic floor finish should be applied in addition to the sealer. This "wear layer" of acrylic floor finish will keep you from wearing through the sealer and having to strip and reseal the entire floor.

Some Manufacturers have sealers that incorporate a sacrificial coating together with a penetrating sealer. This can be the best of both worlds.

However, it is critical that you maintain this wear layer.

On indoor installations of hard, dense tiles or stones, many people select a penetrating sealer only. This type of sealer leaves no topical finish and therefore does not require a "wear layer" coating, but will give lasting protection from everyday dirt and stains.

The use of sealers on tile is an area that books could be written about, with all the options available and their relations to each other. We speak only in very general terms and keep in mind; there are exceptions to every rule. Manufacturer’s instructions must be followed closely after a sealer is selected. Please do not mix brands. Once you have started with one brand, do not apply another on top of the first, hoping for the proper results.

When in doubt always call the manufacturer for specific details. Retain the information on who you spoke with and it is a good idea to have them fax you or email you the instructions to fall back on if there ever are any questions.

White Grout

Note: Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of injury to the public and a principal cause of litigation against businesses today. Good maintenance procedures can reduce this obvious risk!

RULE #1 - If in Doubt, Don't Apply Any Cleaner or Cleaning Technique

Some mistakes can be irreversible, always check labels on the product you are thinking of using and test an inconspicuous area first to see what effects, if any, your cleaning process will have.

Best methods for cleaning of glazed tile and grout:

Note: The first step in maintenance is the sealing of the tile (if necessary) and the grout (if necessary). Generally, glazed tile requires no sealer. Some unglazed tile requires no sealer. Know the type of tile you are installing. Test it with a small amount of water. If the surface darkens, it absorbs water and needs to be sealed.

Generally, cementitious grouts require sealing while specialty grouts like epoxy and furans do not. If the grout darkens with water, it needs a sealer.

Everyday cleaning:

Immediately wipe up spills and messes. Use pH balanced cleaners and soap less detergents for daily cleaning. Agitate grout joints with a soft bristled brush to loosen debris. Thoroughly rinse, dry, and polish cleaned areas.

Acidic cleaners will eventually erode the grout in the joint making cleaning and maintenance more and more problematic. This is especially true if using acidic cleaners on sanded grout installations.

This is due to the tendency of the acids to eat away the smaller aggregates first leaving the larger stain attracting aggregates in their place.

Heavy duty cleaning:

Again an attempt should be made to solve the cleaning problem with high quality pH balanced cleaners. These can include non-staining household scouring powders or poultices manufactured for this purpose. Be sure to agitate the cleaners again with a soft bristled brush to loosen stubborn grime.

A good practice is to allow the cleaner to rest on the surface for a while to take advantage of the cleaners maximum potential. 

If the results are not acceptable, high alkaline cleaners are the next step. These cleaners are recognized by their names like: "heavy duty"or "deep clean."

On large areas, it is perfectly acceptable to use commercial buffing machines to clean tile and grout. The important consideration is the type of cleaner and the thorough rinse following the deep cleaning.

If the result are not satisfactory using the PH balanced cleaners, it may be necessary to use a acidic solution to solve a particular problem. Sulfamic and phosphoric acids are the safest and most used acids used in solving tile and grout cleaning problems. These two acids have very specific mixing and application recommendations that must be followed to the letter.

Regardless, thoroughly rinse the cleaned area, dry, and polish.

Grout haze:

Grout haze is grout residue left on the tile face. Many times this haze can be cleaned off by simply using a scouring pad and water. The next progression would be a scouring cleanser or poultice and pad. The next progressive step would be grout haze removal solution available from fine Manufacturers. As final step, an acid solution may be required.

Colored Grout

Note: Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of injury to the public and a principal cause of litigation against businesses today. Good maintenance procedures can reduce this obvious risk!

RULE #1 - If In Doubt, Don't Apply Any Cleaner Or Cleaning Technique

Some mistakes can be irreversible, always check labels on the product you are thinking of using and test an inconspicuous area first to see what effects, if any, your cleaning process will have.

Best method for cleaning tiles with colored grouts (floor or wall tile):

Note: The first step in maintenance is the sealing of the tile (if necessary) and the grout (if necessary). Generally, glazed tile requires no sealer. Some unglazed tile requires no sealer. Know the type of tile you are installing. Test it with a small amount of water. If the surface darkens, it absorbs water and needs to be sealed.

Generally, cementitious grouts require sealing while specialty grouts like epoxy and furans do not. If the grout darkens with water, it needs a sealer.

Everyday cleaning:

Immediately wipe up spills and messes. Use pH balanced cleaners and soap less detergents for daily cleaning. Agitate grout joints with a soft bristled brush to loosen debris. Thoroughly rinse, dry, and polish cleaned areas.

Acidic cleaners will eventually erode the grout in the joints making cleaning and maintenance more and more problematic. This is especially true if using acid cleaners on sanded grout installations.

This is due to the tendency of acid cleaners to eat away at the smaller aggregates first leaving the larger stain attracting aggregates behind.

Colored grout pigment can be permanently damaged by using acidic cleaners. This is especially true if used on a daily basis.

Heavy duty cleaning:

Again try to solve the heavy duty cleaning needs with pH balanced cleaners. These can include scouring cleaners and poultices manufactured for this purpose. Be sure to take advantage of a soft bristled brush to agitate the cleaners in the grout joints. 

A good practice is to allow the cleaner to rest upon the surface to gain the full potential of the cleaner.

If these results are not acceptable, then proceed to the more aggressive high alkaline "heavy duty" or "deep clean" type cleaners available from good Manufacturers.

Commercial floor buffers or cleaning machines are perfectly suited to large areas of tile and grout. The biggest question here is the selection of the cleaning solution.

Again, it is very important to rinse the tile and grout thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner. 

If the result are not satisfactory using the PH balanced cleaners, it may be necessary to use a acidic solution to solve a particular problem.

Sulfamic and phosphoric acids are the safest and most used acids used in solving tile and grout cleaning problems. These two acids have very specific mixing and application recommendations that must be followed to the letter.

Regardless, thoroughly rinse the cleaned area, dry, and polish.

Grout haze:

Grout haze is grout residue left on the tile face. Many times this haze can be cleaned off by simply using a scouring pad and water. The next progression would be a scouring cleanser or poultice and pad. The next progressive step would be grout haze removal solution available from fine Manufacturers. As final step, an acid solution may be required.

See the Sealing Tile and Grout Sealing sections for further details.

Cleaning Stone

Best method for cleaning stone:

Note: The first step in stone tile maintenance is the sealing of the stone.  Generally, all stone must be sealed. Follow the Manufacturers recommendations for the product you choose.

Know hat the surface preparation (polished, honed, or natural) coupled with the density and porosity of the stone will determine the best type (petroleum or water based) of sealer to be used. The other consideration is that you use the best product the budget will allow.

Everyday cleaning:

Immediately wipe up spills and messes. Use pH balanced cleaners and soap less detergents for daily cleaning. Mild dishwashing liquid sometimes works quite well on stone surfaces.

Again, it is very important to rinse the tile and grout thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner. 

Agitate grout joints with a soft bristled brush to loosen debris. Thoroughly rinse, dry, and polish cleaned areas.

Acidic cleaners will etch and remove the polished surfaces from alkaline stones like marble, travertine, and sandstone.

Acidic cleaners will eventually erode the grout in the joints making cleaning and maintenance more and more problematic. This is especially true if using acid cleaners on sanded grout installations.

This is due to the tendency of acid cleaners to eat away at the smaller aggregates first leaving the larger stain attracting aggregates behind.

Colored grout pigment can be permanently damaged by using acidic cleaners. This is especially true if used on a daily basis.

Heavy duty cleaning:

Again try to solve the heavy duty cleaning needs with pH balanced cleaners. These can include scouring cleaners and poultices manufactured for this purpose. Be sure to take advantage of a soft bristled brush to agitate the cleaners in the grout joints. 

Again test an inconspicuous area with any abrasive powder to evaluate if it will adversely affect the finish of the stone.

A good practice is to allow the cleaner to rest upon the surface to gain the full potential of the cleaner.

If these results are not acceptable, then proceed to the more aggressive high alkaline "heavy duty" or "deep clean" type cleaners available from good Manufacturers.

Commercial floor buffers or cleaning machines are perfectly suited to large areas of tile and grout. The biggest question here is the selection of the cleaning solution.

Again, it is very important to rinse the tile and grout thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner. 

If the result are not satisfactory using the PH balanced cleaners, it may be necessary to use a acidic solution to solve a particular problem.

Acidic cleaners will etch and remove the polished surfaces from alkaline stones like marble, travertine, and sandstone.

Sulfamic and phosphoric acids are the safest and most used acids used in solving tile and grout cleaning problems. These two acids have very specific mixing and application recommendations that must be followed to the letter.

Regardless, thoroughly rinse the cleaned area, dry, and polish.

Other cleaning information for stone:

 

 

Most stones, once protected, require occasional scrubbing to remove surface build-up of dirt and grime. Using a neutral cleaner, mop or scrub on cleaner as directed, rinse if necessary. Towel drying after rinsing removes streaks.  
 

 

On some types of stone tiles, you can apply coatings to produce a "wear layer" or "sacrificial coating", but this may change the look of the tile and may sometimes require more maintenance to maintain the beauty of the floor.                 

  On honed (smooth but not polished) or slate (rough) finish stones, a good scrubbing is required more often, due to the texture of the product holding the dirt to the surface. A good penetrating sealer cuts down on the frequency of this task. The beauty of these finishes are in their texture or matte appearance. Most stones will be easy enough to maintain with a high quality sealer and regular maintenance.     
                       
  With all stones, establish what sealer to use or has been used previously, and then work within the Manufacturer's guidelines to set up a regular maintenance schedule. 
                           
  For stains on marble or stone, a product commonly referred to as "poultice" should be used. Poultice is used in a paste form and is applied to the surface, covering the entire area where the stain is. Then apply a piece of plastic, larger than the stain area, over the poultice and seal off with tape. Allow it to set the prescribed amount of time by the Manufacturer and remove plastic and poultice. The stain is normally drawn out of the stone. Some poultice type products push the stain down into the stone away from the surface of the stone and allow you to seal the stone, thus keeping the stain away from the surface. Each product has the ability to save your floor from an unsightly stain. Follow directions as always and you should be pleased with the results. Some stains may require multiple applications or can only be partially removed.   
                         
  Polishing stones to make attractive edges or to fix damage done by chemicals can be done in small areas by most anyone. Kits are available which have all the products to do this in one box. If you have a large area that is damaged or if you want to establish a once-a-year regular maintenance procedure to keep your marble glowing with it's original mirror finish, contact a company that specializes in this type of work.

Marble Maintenance


In cases where the marble surface is badly scratched, worn, or needs major work, professional refinishers may be the answer.

 

 

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