Proper maintenance is the key to a trouble-free ceramic-tile floor. You should damp-mop your floor at least once a week (more often in heavy-traffic areas), with a mixture of 1/4 cup white vinegar to two gallons of clean tap water. Never use a detergent cleaner or soap, because it can dull the surface or promote the growth of mildew. Caution: Allow new ceramic tile and grout to dry for for 72 hours (three days) after your installation is completed before damp mopping. A slight film may appear on top of your new tile from the grout. This can be removed by rubbing with a dry towel or damp-mopping after the three-day drying period.
Good-quality entry- and exit mats will help protect your ceramic from premature wear. Mats are also suggested at heavy pivot locations, such as in front of the kitchen sink or stove.
Chair and Table Protection
Any metal, wood, or plastic that will be resting, sliding, or rolling on top of your new tile should have an appropriate protective pad such as felt affixed to it. Pay specific attention to the chairs that are used most often, check all casters to ensure they are in good shape, and that no metal will be toughing the tile. Exterior metal that touches or rests on the tile may rust or corrode and cause staining to your new floor.
REGULAR CARE OF STONE FLOORING
When it comes to stone flooring cleaning, there are some basic things to remember.
- The first course of action is the dust mop. A dry mop that removes debris gently is needed. This is necessary because dirt, for example, left on the stone flooring can be abrasive to the flooring material and therefore damage it. To help in this type of prevention, use a carpet near the entrance to help trap these particles before they even get into the room.
- When cleaning stone flooring, excess water should not be used. Take a mop and wring it out, then wipe the floor. You should not use any chemicals on stone floors, especially those with acid in them. Once the floor is cleaned, those who have a marble surface should take a dry towel to immediately dry the flooring. Most other types of flooring do not require this attention.
- Removing stains from grout will be necessary sometimes.
- Regular polishing may be necessary for high traffic areas. Have a professional come in to do the work to ensure that the stone flooring is not damaged.
- Lastly, stone flooring care will require that you reapply sealers to the flooring annually. Marble should be more frequent, like every nine months.
Taking care of your stone flooring will keep it looking beautiful. Your home is your castle. And as with European castles that often have stone floors, taking care of them will let them last a long time.
CERAMIC TILE – Routine Care
Contaminants and spills on a glazed ceramic tile are, generally, easier to clean than most other unglazed ceramic and porcelain surfaces. Glazed tile products should be cleaned routinely with an all-purpose, low VOC household or commercial cleaner. The product chosen should also be grout joint cleaning compatible. The type of product may vary depending on the tile application and use. A multipurpose spray cleaner, which removes soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew designed for every day use, can be used on wall tile areas in residential baths and showers.
The entire area should be cleaned and scrubbed with cleaner solution through the use of a cotton mop, cloth, sponge, or non-metallic brush. The entire area should be rinsed with clean water to remove any cleaning solution residue. Remember that you should sweep or vacuum floor areas prior to cleaning to remove any dust or debris. Routine cleaners should never contain hazardous or polluting products including, but not limited to acids or ammonia. Acids can damage the grout and the glazed surface of the tile, and ammonia can discolor the grout.
Unglazed tile should be cleaned routinely with concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for safe regular use. These cleaners are better suited at removing grease, oils and normal spills from unglazed products. Again these products will vary depending on the application, amount of traffic and the use. The product chosen should also be compatible with cleaning the grout joints at the same time.
Removal of Sealers/Waxes/Floor Finishes:
If you need to remove a topical sealer or floor wax from a ceramic tile you should use a Tile Sealer & Adhesive remover. Always test a small area first. Apply a liberal amount of undiluted sealer & adhesive remover to a manageable area. Allow setting without drying until coating or residue softens. Reapply if necessary until sealer softens and can be removed. If necessary, agitate with white nylon scrub pad. Wipe up the residue with a cotton towel or sponge. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Do not use on natural stone products.
For routine cleaning, use any non-abrasive cleaning compound recommended for either glass or tile.
NATURAL STONE – Routine Care
Natural Stone Care & Maintenance
To insure your natural stone products will provide you with a lifetime of aesthetics and utility, a proper maintenance program is crucial. Natural Stone products are porous by nature and require a different maintenance program than traditional ceramic tile.
Natural stone requires a different maintenance routine than traditional, man-made ceramic tile. Many of the cleaners acceptable for use on ceramic tile can stain, damage or dull stone. Dirt and dust will scratch the surface of stone. Therefore, stone floors should be vacuumed or dust mopped frequently to remove abrasive agents from the stone surface. Natural stone should be cleaned with neutral cleaners. Stone cleaners should never contain acid or bleach. Acids, even a light solution of vinegar and water, will etch and eventually damage natural stone.
Only use cleaners specifically designed for cleaning stone. These cleaners contain no acids and are concentrated neutral pH cleaners that will not affect existing sealers or wax-type coatings. The surface of the stone should be dampened with clear water. This will keep the cleaning solution on the surface so it can be effective. A solution of the cleaner and water missed to manufacturer instructions should be applied to the stone surface with a sponge or mop. On walls, kitchen counters or vanity tops, a spray bottle can be used to apply the cleaning solution. Allow sitting for manufacturers specified amount of time (usually 3 to 5 minutes). Agitate with a sponge, synthetic mop, soft bristle brush or through the use of a floor-scrubbing machine. Mop up dirty solution and buff dry.
Once the stone has been cleaned, you can periodically apply a Spray-Buff wax-type floor finish to enhance the beauty and luster of polished stone (including countertops). Apply the finish with a spray applicator and buff immediately with a white nylon pad. Reapply as often as needed, depending on volume of surface traffic and consistency of routine maintenance program. This product is not designed to restore the original shine, but is intended to maintain and protect the original shine. This can be purchased from most Home Centers or through your local Professional Floor Covering Dealer.
Heavy-Duty Stone Cleaning:
When some areas have been neglected, you will need to use a heavy-duty non-hazardous and non-polluting stone cleaner and degreaser to effectively remove dirt, grease, grime, waxes and floor finishes. An optimal heavy-duty cleaner should contain low percentages of volatile organic compounds. These cleaning products are concentrated and designed to deep clean the stone without damaging it. Apply the solution of the cleaner and water mixed to manufacturer instructions to the stone surface with a sponge or mop. Allow setting for manufacturer-specified amount of time. Agitate with a sponge, synthetic mop, and soft bristle brush or through the use of a floor-scrubbing machine. Mop up dirty solution and buff dry. Be sure to change out the cleaning solution every 100 square feet to avoid reintroducing dirty water during the cleaning process. Rinse thoroughly with clean water when finished. After cleaning you may apply the Spray-Buff wax-type floor finish to enhance the natural shine.
Stone poultice will remove stains and grout haze from stone. Poultice is a fine, nonacidic, absorptive clay cleaning powder that removes deep-set oil stains, grease and light cementitious grout haze from polished and unpolished natural stone.
CAUTION: Poultice may dull the shine of the polished stone. If this occurs you will need to use a marble polish to restore the natural shine.
If a marble finish has become dull, scratched or etched, you can restore the natural shine through the use of a marble polish. Some marble polishes are available in kits. The process can be enhanced with the use of floor buffing machines. The process is generally a re-crystallization process to remove fine scratches and restore the original shine and polish to the stone. This is not an application of a topical sealer or wax to cover-up damaged or worn surfaces.