Tile Maintenance

Grout Sealing:

Always follow the manufacturer instructions and always seal! Look for warranties and protection information on the product label.

Application Techniques for Sealing Grout Joints:

Generally the best method is to apply only to the grout joints and wipe off any excess that gets on the tiles. Another method is to cover the entire surface with a sponge or cloth and then wipe off the excess with a terry cloth or cheesecloth rag.

Tile Sealing:

Always follow the manufacturer instructions!

Natural Stone Tile:

Generally, all stone must be sealed. Sealing is an essential step in protecting the beauty and longevity of any natural stone product. We recommend sealing all natural stone products with a penetrating sealer such as Miraseal 511 Porous Plus (www.miraclesealants.com) or Mira Matte (a color enhancing sealer). Please consult with us to determine which product is appropriate for your material. We also recommend sealing all porous, non-polished stones (limestones, tumbled marble, travertines, etc.) prior to grouting. This prevents grout from staining or affecting the stone’s color. As part of normal maintenance, all natural stone products require a regular re-sealing. Please consult the sealer’s manufacturer to find out the timeframe for re-sealing based on traffic patterns and use.

Ceramic Tile:

Generally, most ceramic tile does not require sealing. However, ceramic tile with crackle glazes should be sealed prior to grouting to keep the grout from staining the clay body.

Terra Cotta:

Terra Cotta tile should always be sealed with a penetrating sealer prior to grouting. As a normal maintenance procedure, terra cotta used as flooring requires re-sealing on a regular basis.

Glass & Metal Tile:

Most glass tile does not require sealing. Matte or frosted glass tile can be sealed with a topical sealer to reduce staining, but it’s not required to protect the tile. Metal tiles do not require sealing.

Maintenance & Cleaning for Natural Stone, Ceramic, Glass, Metal and Terra Cotta Tile

Natural Stone:

Stone is a natural product and care should be taken to protect it from harsh abrasive cleaners and abrasive cleaning tools. Many think because it’s stone, it is impossible to damage. Nothing could be further from the truth! Some mistakes are irreversible. Always check the product labels you are thinking of using and test an inconspicuous area first to see what effects, if any, your cleaning process will have. Stone has many potential weaknesses, but once it has been properly protected and maintained, the beauty is unparalleled. We generally recommend Miraseal products such as Mira Clean for polished stones and honed marbles and Mira Soap for limestones, tumbled stones and slates. Avoid over-the- counter stone care sprays that contain phosphoric and glycolic acids, they could etch some polished stone surfaces.

Everyday Cleaning:

Immediately wipe up spills and messes. Always use pH balanced cleaners and soapless detergents for daily cleaning. Mild dishwashing liquid sometimes works quite well on stone surfaces. Again, it is very important to rinse the tile and grout thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner. Agitate grout joints with a soft bristled brush to loosen debris. Thoroughly rinse, dry, and polish cleaned areas. Acidic cleaners will etch and remove the polished surfaces from alkaline stones like marble, travertine, and sandstone. Acidic cleaners will eventually erode the grout in the joints making cleaning and maintenance more and more problematic. This is especially true if using acid cleaners on sanded grout installations. This is due to the tendency of acid cleaners to eat away at the smaller aggregates first leaving the larger stain attracting aggregates behind. Acidic cleaners can permanently damage colored grout pigment. This is especially true if used on a daily basis.

Heavy Duty Cleaning:

Again try to solve the heavy duty cleaning needs with pH balanced cleaners. These can include scouring cleaners and poultices manufactured for this purpose. Be sure to take advantage of a soft bristled brush to agitate the cleaners in the grout joints. Always test an inconspicuous area with any abrasive powder to see if it will adversely affect the stone’s finish.

A good practice is to allow the cleaner to rest upon the surface to gain the full potential of the cleaner. If these results are not acceptable, then proceed to the more aggressive high alkaline “heavy duty” or “deep clean” type cleaners available from good manufacturers. Commercial floor buffers or cleaning machines are perfectly suited to large tile-grout areas. The biggest question here is the selection of the cleaning solution. Again, it is very important to rinse the tile and grout thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner. If the results are not satisfactory using the PH balanced cleaners, it may be necessary to use an acidic solution to solve a particular problem. Acidic cleaners will etch and remove the polished surfaces from alkaline stones like marble, travertine, and sandstone!

Sulfamic and phosphoric acids are the safest and most used acids used in solving tile and grout cleaning problems. These two acids have very specific mixing and application recommendations that must be followed to the letter.

Regardless, thoroughly rinse the cleaned area, dry, and polish.

Other Stone Cleaning Information:

Most stones, once protected, require occasional scrubbing to remove surface build-up of dirt and grime. Using a neutral cleaner, mop or scrub on cleaner as directed, rinse if necessary. Towel drying after rinsing removes streaks. 

On honed (smooth but not polished) or slate (rough) finish stone, a good scrubbing is required more often, due to the product’s texture product holding the dirt to the surface. A good penetrating sealer cuts down on the frequency of this task. The beauty of these finishes are in their texture or matte appearance. Most stones will be easy enough to maintain with a high-quality sealer and regular maintenance.

With all stones, establish what sealer to use or has been used previously, and then work within the manufacturer’s guidelines to set up a regular maintenance schedule.

For stains on marble or stone, a product commonly referred to as “poultice” should be used. Poultice is used in a paste form and is applied to the surface, covering the entire area where the stain is. Then apply a piece of plastic, larger than the stain area, over the poultice and seal off with tape. Allow it to set the prescribed amount of time by the manufacturer and remove plastic and poultice. The stain is normally drawn out of the stone. Some poultice type products push the stain down into the stone away from the surface of the stone and allow you to seal the stone, thus keeping the stain away from the surface. Each product has the ability to save your floor from an unsightly stain. Follow directions as always and you should be pleased with the results. Some stains may require multiple applications or can only be partially removed.

To fix damage done by chemicals can be done in small areas by most anyone. Kits are available which have all the products to do this in one box. If you have a large area that is damaged or if you want to establish a once-a-year regular maintenance procedure to keep your marble glowing with it’s original mirror finish, contact a company that specializes in this type of work.

When in doubt, never hesitate to contact a manufacturer.

Ceramic Tile:

Ceramic tile is a relatively maintenance-free product that requires little continuing care beyond regular cleaning. Most cleaning can be done with a damp cloth and a gentle non-acidic soap. More resistant staining such as calcium spotting a soap scum can be handled using specially designed cleaning products such as Miracle Sealants Mira Clean 1 product. Take care to avoid “over the counter” ceramic tile cleaners that contain phosphoric and glycolic acids that could etch some ceramic tile surfaces.

Terra Cotta:

Stone Soap is an excellent cleaning product that, over time, will enhance the color of terra cotta to a beautiful patina. We also recommend Miracle Sealants Terra Cotta Liquid Wax as a maintenance and color enhancement product. Mira Clean 1 can also be used as a general maintenance cleaner.