CARE & MAINTENANCE TIPS FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF TILE
Glazed ceramic tile is impervious & does not need to be sealed. However, the grout around it should be. To maintain tile, simply sweep or vacuum & wash as needed using a diluted solution of a popular household cleaner. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue & wipe dry when you’re finished. Floors in high-traffic areas may require heavy-duty cleaning, which can be done with a commercial tile cleaner or a more concentrated solution. Apply vigorously with a scrub brush, then rinse & wipe dry with a clean, soft cloth or sponge.
Non-polished porcelain pavers are also durable & fairly impervious but can be difficult to keep clean because of the pore structure on their surface. Use a marble cleaner to maintain it.
Marble is primarily composed of calcium carbonates, making it susceptible to stains & abrasions due to its softness. Most marble purchased today has a high reflective polish which can be damaged if the stone is exposed to acids from food, alcohol or cleaners. If this damage (called etching) does occur, your marble may need to be resurfaced by a professional. Because etching cannot be prevented, we do not recommend polished marble for use in food preparation areas. You can minimize staining & etching by applying a stone sealer, which is necessary for honed or unpolished marble due to its high absorbency. A honed surface will generally require less maintenance than a polished one.
Sweep marble floors daily to keep abrasive particles to a minimum and use a marble cleaner regularly to remove soils & contaminates.
Granite consists mainly of quartz & is available in several finishes such as polished, flamed, sandblasted & honed. It is relatively hard, but can stain easily due to small fissures between quartz crystals. Use a stone sealer to protect it from absorbing water & oil. Keep granite surfaces clean with a marble cleaner.
Limestone has the same characteristics as marble, typically with a honed or textured finish. The surface is very absorbent & susceptible to staining, and we recommend a stone sealer to dramatically lower its ability to absorb liquids that cause deep stains. We also recommend a marble cleaner for routine maintenance.
Slate is a semi-hard rock with a tendency to split into thin plates. Some slates absorb stains or show foot traffic over time. If you wish to keep your slate’s natural appearance, protect it with a stone sealer. If you desire gloss, use a sealer with additives that provide lasting protection from abrasion & a marble polish. Other types of cleaning agents may strip or damage the finish.
GROUT & SEALER
It is common to see slight discoloration in cementitious grout. Shading variations may occur after installation, and grout may appear darker around sinks where water is present or stove cook tops where oil & grease occur.
Cement-based grout joints absorb water, oil & food stains that can’t be prevented with latex additives.
Use a grout sealer to minimize damage to sanded grout joints. Your grout must cure for 30 days before applying sealer, meaning it is your responsibility after installation is complete. Topical sealers for a barrier on the surface & may give a light gloss to the surface, while sub-surface sealers penetrate the grout, leaving the surface natural in appearance.
Some newer grout technologies do not require sealing. These products require unique maintenance & care, so please refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations on these products.
For showers & other wet areas, we recommend a stone sealer. It will be your responsibility to check & properly caulk to prevent water damage.
There are several types of sealers available. Determine the type of product you may need from the list below:
- Solvent based impregnator sealers are a wipe on, wipe off product that offer stain protection for all natural interior & exterior stone, granite & marble. They can be used on grout.
- Water based porous stone protectors are a wipe on, wipe off product that offer stain protection for more porous natural stones such as limestone, travertine, slate or concrete. They can be used on grout.
- Grout sealer is usually applied with a small brush & offers stain protection for grout and are generally used for glazed tile that doesn’t require sealing.
SPECIAL TIPS FOR BATHROOMS
Bathrooms can endure more use than other areas and are subjected to a wide variety of residues from soap & shampoo. The best tip is not to let these surface oils build up – regular care can go a long way! After each use, simply wipe down your shower walls with a soft rubber squeegee or towel. This simple procedure will eliminate the build-up of soap scum or hard water film, making mildew much less likely to develop as well. Note that liquid body wash does not adhere to shower tile the way that bar soap does, making it much easier to clean off. Routine wiping with a damp sponge or cloth will generally help to maintain the brightness of vanity tops, walls & floors.