The Secrets of How to Restore Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is one of the most versatile building materials used in the home, and also the most popular.

It’s easy to see why, too. It’s easy to clean, it comes in many colors, it’s durable and attractive, as well as affordable — it basically ticks many boxes for construction purposes. One issue that it has, however, is that it can fade and look a bit dreary over time.

Lucky for you, the secrets of how to restore tile are within reach, and we share them in today’s blog. Read on to learn more.

Background: Why Learn How to Restore Tile?

The first reason to get your tiles restored to their former glory is purely aesthetic. The natural result of mopping floor tiles, for example, is that you get a buildup of dirt in the grout lines, which diminishes the overall color and effect of the tile as a material. The dirty water can also get into the substrate of the tile material itself.

On top of that, the grout also starts to break down too which makes it look dingy. The floor you’ve just mopped may look clean and smell great, but if you’re mopping a lot of floors with the same water, and using the same mophead multiple times, then a steady buildup on the grouting and tile does occur. That slowly takes away the attractiveness of the tile over time.

How to Restore Tile - Cleaning Techniques

As we touched on in the background, the common cleaning technique of scrubbing or mopping the floor is obviously one that we feel is good for cleaning out tiles day today, but this action also creates the need to restore your tiles over time as the dirty water gets into the grout lines and substrate. The only way around that would be to change the water every 10 square feet or so, as well as the mop head, which obviously isn’t practical.

What are the best cleaning techniques for restoring tile?

1. High-Powered Extraction
The commercial solution is to use a high-power extraction system that uses pressurized hot water and chemicals to pull out dirty and other contaminants from the grout lines and the tile substrates. These machines are extremely effective and will deliver superlative results, but are priced a little out of range of the common consumer. This is the type of method that would be used when calling high-level cleaning professionals to come to do the job.

2. Acid or Alkaline Cleaners
When you’re going to give tiles a deep clean, both acid and alkaline cleaning solutions are going to be the most effective method, but you do need to know which one is right for your floor type. Neutral cleaners are only useful as a stop-gap; day-to-day cleaning. When your clean is restorative, then you need something stronger, but which?

Acid cleaners are good for living room/entranceway tiles where the most common buildup is of dry soils and dirt from the outside. Acid cleaners break these down where alkaline cleaners will not. Alkaline solutions are best used in kitchens, where floors face problems from grease buildup, oil, and food waste on the floor. Alkaline is good for degreasing, and that’s why it works better here. Get the right cleaner type for your floor to get the best results.

3. Use of Sealers
Sealers are a powerful tool in protecting the tile after cleaning and are akin to waxing your car or applying a ceramic coating to form a protective coating that prevents or at least slows future dirt and contaminants from having the same effect. With tiling, sealers come in three main visual effects: satin, gloss, or natural. The other big considerations are whether to use penetrating or topical sealers, as well as organic or inorganic sealers.

Penetrating sealers, as the name suggests, work their way into the substrate and provide their protection from the inside out. This is an effective protection against any dirt or contaminants being able to get deeply embedded within the substrate, thus making the tiles much easier to clean. Topical sealers form a protective layer across the surface of the tile, which remains effective protection, but is more susceptible to wear and tear since it’s sitting on the surface. It can add more shine and visual impact, too.

The best combination for tile floors for protecting their look is to use an inorganic penetrating sealer. This helps to maintain the natural look of the tile, while also providing deep and lasting protection. On top of that, it doesn’t make the surface as slippery as topical sealers can do, which is important in a space like a kitchen.

Review: RexShield Tile Solution

RexShield is a neat solution because it offers the best of both worlds when it comes to the sealer. Once applied, it creates a visually appealing glass-like coating on the surface but also sinks down to offer penetrating protection to the tiles as well by closing the pores. It prevents the growth of mildew, prevents staining, and makes cleaning very easy because dirt and contaminants really have nowhere to stick to or embed themselves.

Another great advantage is that it makes cleaning and maintenance of these tiles both easier and cheaper. When there is little to nothing embedded in the substrate, then cleaning is a very simple matter because the contaminants are already expelled to the surface and suspended therein solution. All that needs to be done is for them to be swept or wiped away.

It also avoids your tiles getting the “dirt stained” look, which refers to that kind of dirt where it’s so deeply embedded that even when you clean it with conventional means, it still looks dirty. That essentially means you keep that kind of crisp clarity that you get from freshly laid tiles but it’ll be with you for a very long time, and perhaps the whole time you use the tiles if you also apply a regular coating of the RexShield solution.

Conclusion: How to Restore Tile? Start Early

And so you see the best solution of all to restoring tile is to essentially protect it from as early a stage as possible. When you apply sealers, you prevent that kind of embedded dirt from getting into the substrate, and that means conventional cleaning of the surface will be sufficient to keep dirt away altogether.


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