Although tiles are known to be among the lowest-maintenance materials available for residential and commercial building structures, regular clean-up is still a must. Cleaning the tiled wall, floor, or kitchen counter on a regular basis will lengthen the life span and the premium appearance of the tiles.
If the setting of the tiles was done right, these can serve you for several decades and even for generations. In the long run, the cost will be minimal considering the amount of time serving its purpose. There are some basic things you need to consider if you wish to minimize the cost and effort of maintaining the tiles.
Tiles can be compared to winter boots in some ways. The effects on the exposure to elements greatly vary depending on the material which it is made of. Some are totally waterproof, while other are merely water resistant and may need an extra coat of waterproofing substance to protect them from external elements. Some unglazed ceramic tiles will need sealants. All natural stone tiles require sealing as protection.
Sealants come in different forms. The toughest types of sealants will leave a glossy finish but you will also notice a darkening of the surface hue. High-gloss sheen will be evident when the whole process is completed.
There are other sealers that fill the pores and cracks of the tile and grout through the process of soaking and penetrating through the pores. These are called impregnators. This type of sealant won’t alter the appearance of the tiles as much as the high gloss one, but it is also less effective as a protector as compared to the tougher variant. Adhesive sealers are the ones used for slate tiles as these prevent the porous and fragile tiles from crumbling.
This is a reality that we all have to face on a regular basis. Basic cleanup consists of sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping the floor on a daily basis. Use only mild detergent and clean water when mopping the tiled floor. Mixing lemon juice or white vinegar with the cleaning water can also remove tough dirt and stains, only on ceramic glazed tiles, but never on marble or natural stone tiles, if you do not wish to use chemicals on the tiled surfaces.
When cleaning tile grout, you can make a paste mixture of baking soda and water. Rub this on the stained area and leave overnight. Clean it off with a nylon brush the morning after.
When the grout and tiles are cracked, crumbled, or discoloured, it is time to replace them to keep the floor or wall appearance in tip top shape. Cracked tiles, when left alone, will result to more cracked tiles around the damaged area. Do not scrimp on this issue because it will be more expensive if not repaired immediately. If you have the time, the tools, and the expertise, you can DIY this regrouting and tile replacement project. Otherwise, it would be better to contact a professional tile contractor to do the job.