Cleaning Tile and Grout
When professionally cleaning tile and grout, we use heat, pressure and suction. We put down hot pressurized water and extract the dirt. If you use a mop you are really just pushing the dirt around and into the grout. A vacuum is necessary to get the best clean.
The method begins with a pre-spray to loosen up the dirt. We then use a brush pro alkaline cleaner with counter rotating brushes to scrub the tile and grout. Do not use acids because they just take a layer off the top of the grout and the acid can damage surrounding surfaces like wood and stainless steel. Then we use the high pressure, hot water vacuum to really suck up all the grime.
In order to keep your tile floor clean use a damp mop or micro-fiber mop, not too wet, so it will pick up the dirt and won’t move it into the grout.
A porcelain or ceramic tile is not porous itself. The grout lines are what is porous, so that’s what you would seal. If you were working with a Travertine, Limestone, or Marble you would seal the whole area, not just the grout lines.
Although tile is very strong and durable, it is not indestructible and can crack, chip or break. If tile is cured improperly by the manufacturer or installed on an uneven surface it is more likely to break. Some other reasons that tile may crack is from the result of a sharp blow or under the weight of a heavy load, such as a stove or refrigerator, being dropped. Tile can also crack if it was installed on concrete, and the concrete had not dried sufficiently before the tile was laid. As the concrete dries it contracts and can break the tile that is attached to it.
Sometimes a shower tile needs to be repaired because of a gap in the grout joint and water is leaking in. In the shower water commonly leaks in through an area near a grab bar, soap dish, tub handle, faucet, or possibly in a corner that has not been well caulked.
When repairing a tile, we must first find the matching piece, and a matching grout as well. First we remove all of the grout that surrounds the tile. We use a manual grout saw, or better, an oscillating multi tool with a grout removal attachment. We wear safety glasses, gloves and a long sleeve shirt to protect from broken shards of tile. It's also a good idea to use a respirator to protect your lungs and noise cancelling earmuffs because the oscillating tool is very loud. Next we use a quarter-inch carbide tipped ceramic drill bit to make pilot holes. Begin to pry the tile up from the inside of the tile to the outer edges by using a chisel. Getting the old mortar out can be troubling but it’s necessary. Then we scrape the sub-floor, sand and vacuum the area so it is flat and free of debris.
Now it's time to spread mortar onto the sub-floor with a notched trowel, and back-butter the tile with a thin layer of mortar as well. At this time we make sure the new tile is laid flat, level, and aligned with its neighboring tiles. Lastly we can apply grout in the gaps between floor tiles and wipe away excess grout using a wet sponge. We then use a microfiber cloth to buff the surface after it has dried. The final step is to apply a layer of grout sealer over the grout.