Cement tiles are very popular right now. They are colorful, sturdy, comfortable, and gorgeous. But their beauty comes with a high price in maintenance.
Cement tiles are a beautiful feature to have in one’s home, but their upkeep is tedious. They are easily stained and discolored, sensitive to most kinds of cleaner, and need to be resealed annually. Cement tiles require protection, attention, and dedication.
But despite the particularities of cement tile maintenance, the current popularity of cement tiles means that there are a lot more resources to make the cleaning process simple and convenient.
1. Word Of Warning
Many tile salespeople and installers will try to gently discourage you from choosing cement tiles. But cement tile merchants and those who love their tile choice will assure you that the maintenance is worth it!
One thing that is frequently cited as the biggest deterrent for buying cement tile is that it’s stained easily and is even stained by water very easily. This makes cement tiles a difficult choice for most rooms in a home. It eliminates the kitchen, the mudroom, and the bathroom.
An entryway gets a lot of traffic which can be a lot of wear and tear on the coloring, which sits at the top of the tile, rather than ceramic tiles whose color sit in the tile and underneath a glaze.
You have to be ready to accept the consequences of cement tile. Given enough time, and depending on your style, they can develop a lovely patina and wear it in ways that make your home cozier. The stains can reflect a life well-lived.
But if you are wanting your tile to stay in impeccable shape, look to porcelain or ceramic tile. Both can offer similar patterns and appeals but will are designed to remain sleek and smooth.
2. Installation Maintenance
One good idea is to apply grout release on your tiles after they have been placed but before the grout is applied. Grout release prevents the grout from sticking to the tile when you are applying it.
You want to make sure that you have a quality sealer as well. A cheap or incorrect sealant will flake off or worse, seep into and damage your tiles. Your cement tile wholesaler will have recommendations on the best sealants for their tiles.
Some tile companies recommend resealing every 2-3 years, even up to every 10 years, while others suggest resealing once a year. This is up to you and the condition of your tile. The frequency of resealing also depends on the kind of sealant you use.
There are two kinds: penetrating and topical sealants. The penetrating kind seeps into the tile and prevents most stains from adhering. Topical sealants sit at the outermost layer of the tile and keep stains from seeping into the tile.
Penetrating sealants are usually the better option, as topical sealants are easily worn out by the sun and therefore need more frequent replacement. They don’t really need to be replaced if the tile is not in the sun. It’s up to you and your needs.
3. What Not To Use
You want to make sure that any chemicals you use don’t contain acid or bleach. The harsh nature of these chemicals can wear through the sealant and seep into your tile. This causes discoloring and wears the tile down from within.
Cleaning detergents are also a no-go. They can leave a slick film on the surface of your tile which is both an undesirable feeling and a trap for dirt and debris.
Using a heavy-duty floor scrubber can remove the color from your tile and scratch the surface. Instead, opt for a fine-grit sandpaper (at a 600 level grit) if you need to remove congealed debris or want to refresh the surface of your tile.
4. What To Use
The name of the cement tile cleaning game is gentle!! Exercise caution and don’t take on too much at a time. If you are cleaning or repairing parts of your tile, do a little bit as you go and take your time!
You can use cleaners for natural stone on properly sealed concrete. Because of the rise in popularity, there are more accessible options for cement cleaners that are not only safe for your tiles but also benefit them.
Liquid poultice solutions are also popular. Granda Tile has a recipe, but there are also retail options available. The poultice is used with cotton or paper and works to absorb stains that would otherwise seep into your concrete. It is perfect for many kinds of stains, including organic (food and mildew), inorganic (rust), and ink stains.
Drug store hydrogen peroxide is an appropriate cleaning solution if your tile was sealed with a topical sealant. If you find the hydrogen peroxide to be insufficient, you can also try to scrape off some of the sealant to see if the stain will come off with it. If you are successful, you can simply reapply the sealant to that area of the tile.
Cement tile-safe cleaning solutions also exist. You can find them with a quick Google search or at the suggestion of your tile wholesaler.
5. Daily Maintenance
Sweep daily to keep dust off of your tile. Mitigating the amount of dust on your tile will keep the luster of your sealant in good condition. The lack of debris on your sealant will keep the sealant scratch-free. Life happens and you can’t keep your floors perfectly clean all the time, but making an effort to do so will help your tiles last as long as possible.
Another key part of cement tile maintenance is to not let water sit on your tiles. Despite the otherwise harmless nature of water, it is one substance that will stain your tile most easily. Especially if your tile is not adequately sealed.
If you have cement tile near a window or doorway, keep a mat nearby that will catch any potential intruding water. Mats will also prevent wear from foot traffic.
At the end of the day, you want to be able to enjoy your beautiful tile. Anything that’s worth anything in life requires a little work, and cement tile is no exception. If you have specific questions on the state and quality of your tile, wholesalers specialize in answering these questions and will be able to keep your home as lovely as it can be.