AFTER THE CLEAN
Q: When will my tile be dry? Can I walk on it immediately?
Your tile will likely look dry upon completion, however the sealer is not cured. Avoid foot traffic for the first 4 hours on a sealed grout. For natural stone, the grout AND stone are sealed, so it is important to avoid foot traffic for 8 hours. In either case, socks or shoe covers only during the first 24 hours and don’t get the tile and grout wet for 24 hours.
Q: My tile was just cleaned and I see some darker spots.
Grout is like a sponge and your floors are rarely perfectly level. Water and sealer will migrate to low spots and take longer to dry. Wet or uncured sealer looks darker. Wait 48 hours to fully evaluate.
Restoring grout to 100% like new is rarely possible or there would be no real reason to seal grout. Some darkened areas or irregularity should be expected. Too often, water-based sealers have been used and have failed to fully protect the grout. Even brand new grout can be irregular. There are many factors that affect grout color including, age, traffic wear, spills and cleaning products. Our process typically yield a grout restored to about 80% of what it looked like new. In cases where the wear or staining is too severe, Color Sealing the grout is an option. While more expensive than clear sealing, we can offer a lifetime warranty with annual maintenance cleans and the grout can be any color you want.
*PRO TIP – All color seals are NOT CREATED EQUAL. Many are a glorified house paint. We utilize a urethane hardening color seal that becomes a part of the grout instead of a coating that peels.
As with any of our services, we are always happy to re-clean any areas of concern at no charge. BUT, in our experience, this rarely makes a difference on tile because our equipment, and process is extremely effective.
Q: How long will my sealer last?
Properly maintained, our solvent sealer has been tested as in tact at 3 years. I’ve seen water-based sealers fail as soon as 6 months. See reverse for how to maintain.
Q: Will cleaning cause any damage to my tile or grout?
The most common problems we see with tile and grout are cracked tiles, popped tiles, missing grout or caulk failure.
Popped/Hollow/Cracked Tiles – Many times, proper adhesion to the subfloor was never achieved during install OR foundation movement has weakened that bond resulting in hollow or cracked tiles. Someday, those tiles will “pop” and come loose. This can happen 10 years after install, during a clean, before a clean or months later. It may never happen at all. Many factors contribute to this including, changes in temperature and humidity, foundation movement etc. Many times a loud POP is heard and you find one or a whole row of tiles heaved upwards and often times it looks like they wouldn’t even fit back into their original spot. Tile cleaning doesn’t CAUSE this phenomenon, but we are changing temperature and humidity, so it can accelerate its occurrence. This is a preexisting condition caused by improper installation or foundation movement NOT THE CLEAN.
Failing/Missing Grout/Caulk – Foundation movement, improper mixing and wear can contribute to grout failure. The cleaning process will help remove loose or failing grout, but we clean within industry standard guidelines for pressure and heat, so a clean does not CAUSE grout failure. In order to properly repair damaged grout, a professional clean is recommended to remove any loose grout and to reveal the actual color for color matching. Caulk is a maintenance item that needs to be redone periodically. Too often, painter’s caulk is improperly used instead of siliconized caulk. It is not designed to handle cleaning and should be replaced. Cleaning does not CAUSE caulk failure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should I clean my tile and grout?
Cleaning and sealing every 2 years is a good all-purpose recommendation for floor tile. Homes with pets, in muddy environments etc. may need annual cleans. Keep in mind, clear sealer doesn’t keep grout from getting dirty, it just prevents permanent staining. You still need to maintain your floors, but it should be significantly easier than with unsealed grouts.
Shower stalls and tub surrounds will likely need attention annually due to the hair and body products, hot water etc.
Q: How should I clean my tile after it’s been sealed?
A neutral floor cleaner like Zep Neutral Floor Cleaner available at Home Depot is an affordable maintenance product and should be mixed at 1 oz per gallon for daily cleaning. The O’Cedar Promist microfiber mop available at Walmart has a refillable container for your diluted floor cleaner and washable microfiber pads.
Other products will slowly strip your sealer and leave a residue that builds up on top of the sealer. A basic window cleaner can be used in a pinch for minor touchups. NO Pine-Sol, Ammonia, Vinegar or essential oils.
*PRO TIP – Before using a product on any of your hard surface floors, try them on your mirror. If they leave a film, they will do the same on your floor. This goes for tile, wood floors, vinyl and laminate.
Q: What are the white areas on my dark grout?
A whitish mineral residue on grout is commonly caused by efflorescence. Similar to the white powder left in a drinking glass when a glass of water is left to evaporate, efflorescence is caused by minerals that are soluble in water being dissolved and transported to the surface of the grout as the water evaporates. Typically, the minerals originate in the cement slab below the tile or in the ground below the slab but can occasionally come from the thinset used to install the tile. Except in the rarest of cases, efflorescence does not occur from the small amount of minerals in water used to wash a floor.
There are generally effective ways to minimize this problem before tiling and some less effective options after the tile is in place. Vapor barriers and coatings help prevent efflorescence. After tiling, sealing the grout with a penetrating vapor permeable sealer may help retard the rate of evaporation. Note: some caution must be observed in selecting the sealer. Topical sealers (acrylic sealers) which coat the grout joint and are not vapor permeable may turn white from reactions between the acrylic and moisture. This is not efflorescence. Rather this is similar to the whitish haze seen with floor wax when it is applied to a damp surface. Efflorescence may be more noticeable after grout is cleaned, but it is not caused by cleaning.