Tips for Tile Cleaning and Care for Your New Installation
Copher Tile & Stone installations are built to last for decades. With proper care and maintenance, that fresh, clean, inviting look you love can last, too. This article provides useful cleaning and care tips, as well as specific recommendations for professional services. These services can address any type of problem that may arise with traffic, use, and normal wear or accidental damage.
Stay a Step Ahead of Contaminants and Cleaning Problems
Before we launch into details about how to keep your floors and surfaces sanitized and beautiful, we should mention that you can take measures to prevent cleaning problems before they happen. For example, you can use high-quality walk off mats at entryways. These mats can capture dirt, grime, and contaminants brought in from outside on the bottoms of shoes. The materials you select for your installation can also have a major impact on the ease (or difficulty) of cleaning. Adam Copher, owner of Copher Tile & Stone explains,
As a standard practice, we use a high-performance cementitious grout that does not require sealing. These grouts perform as well as a standard cementitious grout does with a coat of sealer. They will accept a coat of sealer if you desire a higher performance, though. To maintain the higher performance, you will need to have your grout regularly resealed.
Copher Tile & Stone provides stone sealing and enhancing services, as well as grout sealing with penetrating sealers. These services can be scheduled as needed or on a recurring basis. It is important to note that there is a specific way sealers are designed to inhibit staining. When an accident happens, the substance stays on the surface a little bit longer than it would otherwise, so that you have enough time to clean up the spots before they become problematic stains.
Stone and Tile Cleaning and Care Tips
Here are some basic guidelines for cleaning and care.
- Use appropriate cleaners. To avoid accidental damage of your surface, always read cleaning product labels and use cleaners designed specifically for the type of material you are cleaning. For example, pH-neutral cleaners are best for stone. Acidic cleaners can etch stone when the acids in the cleaners react with the calcium in the stone. This chemical reaction can result in discoloration and damage to the stone’s finish.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasives. Clean using the gentlest cleaning solutions and methods first. Aggressive cleaning methods should only be used as a last resort.
- Be careful about overspray. Harsh chemical overspray or drips, such as oven cleaner or toilet bowl cleaner, can damage other surfaces.
- Avoid soap-based cleaners. Over time, soap residue can build up, causing dullness or haze. If you do choose to use soap-based cleaners, rinse the surface thoroughly with water after use.
- Use clean white cloths and soft bristle cleaning brushes. Certain sponges, cloths, brushes, and other cleaning implements can discolor or damage surface materials.
- Clean spots and spills before they become stains. Overlooked spots and spills can become problematic the longer they remain on a floor or surface.
- Use poultices to treat stains.*
- Regularly clean, sweep and spot mop. To remove abrasives and contaminants that diminish the appearance and can cause premature wear of your floors and surfaces, be diligent about cleaning often enough to keep up with the level of traffic and use each surface gets.
“One of the biggest causes of dirty grout on floors comes from mopping,” Copher explains. “Dirty mop water moves dirt into the pores of your grout.” To avoid this common cleaning mistake, Copher suggests,
First, thoroughly sweep and vacuum the floor. Then, lightly mist the floor using a mild cleaner made for stone and tile. Use a type of cleaner that does not require a rinse. The cleaner should be lightly sprayed from chest height. Then, wipe it up using a dry microfiber towel or a dry mop.
When traditional mopping is necessary, be sure to change the mop water often. It should be changed as soon as it begins to become discolored, even if you have to change it every few feet.
*Instructions for Mixing and Applying Poultices
A poultice is an absorbent medium plus a chemical or cleaning agent. The absorbent medium could be something like diatomaceous earth (found at pool supply stores) or baking flour. The chemical or cleaning agent should be appropriate for the stain type. It should also be safe to use on the surface where the poultice is applied. Contact your stone and tile restoration contractor for more information about poultices.
- Mix the poultice ingredients into a paste.
- Apply the poultice to the stained area, overlapping the edge of the stain by about a quarter of an inch.
- Allow the poultice to dry.
- Remove the poultice and clean the area with a pH-neutral cleaner.
- If you see any progress, this means your poultice is working. You may need to apply more than one poultice to completely remove the stain. Sometimes, unfortunately, a stain simply will not come out.
Professional Tile Cleaning, Protection, Repair, Restoration, and Maintenance
Each of the following service providers specializes in their own field of service, but you will find some overlap between the types of services they offer.
Cleaning and Janitorial Services
Some busy home and property owners do not have time for sweeping, mopping, and general cleaning. Cleaning and janitorial services can help resolve this problem. Most companies will encourage you to schedule recurring services to fit your needs on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If this doesn’t work for you, they may allow you to select one-time services, but the rate will probably be higher.
Tile and Grout Cleaning and Sealing Services
Cleaning and janitorial services are useful for regular cleaning, but sometimes sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing just won’t cut it. Usually, this happens because dirt, grime, and contaminants have become deeply embedded in porous surfaces. Another common problem is some sort of buildup, like soap scum or mineral deposits. Tile and grout cleaning and sealing services use specialized equipment and professional solutions. They deep clean and sanitize, making a dramatic difference. Most tile and grout cleaning companies will provide grout sealing services, as well.
Stone and Tile Repair and Restoration Contractors
Cleaning services do not have the equipment, knowledge, or experience to tackle certain problems. Some examples include scratches, chips, cracks, breaks, stubborn stains, and other damage. Stone and tile repair and restoration contractors can use a variety of methods to repair and restore floors and surfaces. After their services, floors and surfaces look new once again. They can also provide protection services. Examples include applying anti-etch treatments and high-performance coatings on many different types of surfaces. Do you need professional repair and restoration services? We trust Rock Solid Restoration and Stoneworks.
Stone and Tile Maintenance Companies
Home and property owners tend to wait until the appearance of floors and surfaces look bad before they contact a professional. Stone and tile maintenance companies, however, provide recurring services. They immediately address any signs of wear or damage. In this way, repair and restoration services can usually be avoided. They service commercial and high-end residential properties. Keeping floors and surfaces looking pristine all the time is the goal of stone and tile maintenance companies. They can come on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on the level of traffic and use.
Copher Tile & Stone proudly stays up to date on sealing and enhancing technologies with ongoing education with Mapei Technical Institute, Ardex Academy, the National Tile Contractors Association, Laticrete, and Schluter. Copher is a Certified Tile Installer (#1644). We are just a phone call away if you have questions or need more tips for tile cleaning. Feel free to reach out.
Article by Alice Dean.