Cleaning Tile for Long-Lasting Durability
Beautiful, clean tile is an asset to any residential home or commercial business. Tile is attractive, durable, resistant to stains and can last for years. However, dirt can quickly accumulate in grout that is not well maintained. This can cause grout to become damaged and can even weaken the adhesive or damage the substrate underneath the tile. Clean tile floors are important to maintain for more reasons that you may imagine. Not only do clean tile floors look good, keeping tile clean will prevent potential damage that may be difficult or impossible to repair.
The Importance of Grout
Grout is a sanded cement product which fills gaps but has little structural integrity. Grout is porous and will absorb both liquids and dirt, which can cause stains and changes in the look and color of the grout. For this reason, all sanded grout products should be sealed with a liquid grout sealer to provide waterproofing, dirt and stain resistance. Once the grout is dirty it cannot be properly sealed, and as dirt and water continue to penetrate the grout it will weaken and break. Once the grout breaks, the edges of the tile around it are also at risk of damage, especially in a high-traffic area. Tile and grout cleaning is important to maintain to prevent these risks.
Substrates and Adhesives
Much of the durability of tile is dependent upon the original installer. If the substrate is not structurally sound, waterproof or was poorly prepared, the grout and tile could be at risk of damage. Many older homes have tile installed directly on an inappropriate substrate such as wood subfloors or drywall. If grout and tile become damaged, dirt and water can enter the adhesive bed. This can cause the tile adhesive – typically thinset or mastic – to fail, especially if old, brittle or not waterproof. Dirt and water can also penetrate into the substrate. If the substrate is not waterproof, it can warp or swell which can also cause tile adhesives to fail. The grout will continue to crumble, and the tile can break or become loose from the floor or wall.
Mold and Mildew
If water and dirt continue to accumulate on grout and tile, it can create perfect growing conditions for mold or mildew. This can be a particular problem in bathrooms or kitchens, which tend to be moist environments. It is very important to perform tile and grout cleaning and seal grout on a regular basis to avoid the growth of mold and mildew. Tile cleaning will become very difficult once grout is saturated with mildew, creating ugly dark stains.
The Importance of Tile Cleaning
Sealing grout will help your floors resist dirt, water, mold and mildew and will prevent all of the above issues from becoming a problem. Tile in showers, kitchens and inside any entrances to outdoors are particularly susceptible due to high moisture and heavy traffic. Although weekly sweeping and mopping will help keep tile clean, more detailed cleaning will be needed in most cases.
Thorough tile cleaning can be a big job, requiring scrubbing that will clean tile without damaging it. Scheduling a professional tile and grout cleaning service will be the most consistent way to make sure your tile and grout will remain beautifully maintained for years to come.
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