Aesthetics aside, the durability of tile has long made it a popular option for flooring. A well cared for tile floor can last a lifetime. How long? According to a 2007 National Association of Home Builders study on the Life Expectancy of Home Components, the average life expectancy of a ceramic tile floor is 75 to 100 years while natural stone such as marble and granite can last more than 100 years.
Here are some tips on taking care of your tile:
> Do sweep or vacuum floor areas prior to cleaning to remove any dust or debris.
> Do test scouring powders and sealants on a small area prior to full application.
> Do use a sealer on grout joints shortly after installation and use products compatible with cleaning grout joints.
> Do rinse entire area with clear water after cleaning to remove any cleaning solution residue.
> Do have a damaged or broken tile removed and replaced only by a qualified tile contractor.
> Do not use cleaners containing acid or bleach for routine maintenance.
> Do not use wax based cleaners, oil-based detergents or sealants to maintain your tile (sealants may be used on grout joints).
> Do not harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads or any scouring pads containing metal.
> Do not use a cleaning agent that contains color (unglazed tile only)
Glazed, unglazed, stone, glass and soft clay tiles may require different cleaning agents. Clean glazed tile products regularly with an all-purpose, non-oil-based household or commercial cleaner which is also grout-joint-cleaning-compatible. Multipurpose spray cleaners for everyday use will remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew and can be used on wall tile areas in residential baths and showers. You should clean unglazed tile with concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for safe regular use. These are better able to removing grease, oils and normal spills from unglazed products (these products may also vary depending on application, use and amount of traffic). For routine cleaning of glass tile, use any non-abrasive cleaning compound recommended for either glass or tile.
Damp-mop your ceramic floor a minimum of once each week, more frequently for heavy traffic areas. (Wait at least 72 hours after initial installation before mopping or cleaning to so new tile and grout can dry adequately.) This will decrease wear and abrasion from grit and soil. Do not use detergents, soaps, or any of the chemicals listed above.
PROTECT WITH FLOOR MATS
High-quality floor mats at entrances and exits are key to reducing tile wear. They collect and trap all the corrosive substances that can be tracked in from outdoors, including dirt, sand, grit, oil, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Also use mats in areas of constant pressure, such as in front of vanities, kitchen sinks and stoves.
PROTECTIVE PADS ON FURNITURE
Attach felt or similar protective pads to all furniture legs, including outdoor metal furniture that rests on tile floors or patios, as it may rust and cause staining.