Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ceramic/Porcelain Care

Ceramic tile is beautiful, durable, practical and an elegant addition to any home. Are you picturing it in your home?

It also offers a seemingly endless variety of style options – hundreds of textures, patterns and glazings in numerous sizes.

But if you are about to make this flooring a solution for the way you live, take care. Take care of your investment and it will reward you and your home for many, many years to come.

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

That’s why we put this section together for you. It’s about the care, considerations and cautions of maintaining a ceramic tile floor. Maybe your floor.

So check over the following advice and be a little smarter about smart and stylish ceramic tile.

Sweep but don’t “beat” ceramic tile.

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. So keep on sweeping.

Don’t forget those labor saving devices. 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.

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

Keep dirt in its place.

Be sure to use walk-off mats to minimize and contain dirt being tracked in at entryways. And shake them often, homeowner.

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

Cleaning tips that really shine.

Ceramic tile floors should be damp-mopped regularly using the manufacturer’s recommended grout and tile cleaners.

For heavier soil, you can spot clean the floor with a sponge or clean cloth using the recommended cleaners.

Rinse well and wipe dry for more shine.

Textured tiles may require mild scrubbing with a soft brush or electric polisher/scrubber.

After cleaning with a mild detergent rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water to help remove any leftover residue.

If needed wipe dry with a clean towel to remove any film.

For soft water situations you may need to use an all-purpose cleaner.

Apply to the floor, let stand for 3 - 5 minutes, lightly scrub with a sponge, rinse well and you’re home free – dirt free too.

For heavier cleaning tasks there are cleaning products available from your local grocery store that can be used to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew stains.

You’ll want to consult the cleaning product’s instructions to make sure the product is compatible with your type of tile.

After cleaning, rinse well and wipe dry for optimum shine. And maximum pride.

No-Nos for those in the know.

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.

Be fast on your feet. Try to clean up spills as quickly as possible so that the grout or tile doesn’t become stained.

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.

Keep in mind that if a repair is necessary in the future, the replacement product may be a slightly different dye lot and/or texture than the initial installation.

However, the good news is that, with time and usage, the repair will blend in with the original product.

ceramic tile grout

Final advice: do caulk and consider sealing.

Once the tile has been laid and grouted, it’s your responsibility to maintain areas exposed to water by caulking.

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

Depending on your lifestyle, sealing new tile and grout may be an option.

After the installation process is complete and the grout has had ample time to cure, sealing the grout and tile can provide protection from dirt and spills by slowing down the staining process.

Today there are also innovative grout colorants you should be aware of.

These products can transform the original color of grout and in some cases can act as a form of sealant. Please be aware that non-epoxy grout joints should be treated with a silicone sealer.

Regular care and maintenance will keep your ceramic tile looking new for years to come, and will keep your home a showcase for family and friends.

For more maintenance information specific to your ceramic tile flooring, remember to consult the ceramic tile’s manufacturer recommendations.

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