Welcome back to Russ’s Corner and this week’s maintenance tip.
One of the things I get asked a lot by friends and customers is whether or not they should seal their ceramic or porcelain floor tile grout (or how to keep the floor clean in general). While I might not like to seal grout, my preferences might be different from yours. If I had small children I might re-think that choice…
The best way to maintain/clean your floor, whether you seal or not, is to first sweep or vacuum (no beater bar on vacuum), then use a string mop or cloth-type mop. Clean water should be used for cleaning and rinsing the floor, and the water should be changed often. If you choose to use a cleaner, pick one a neutral pH. You can pick this up at any Home Depot or Lowe’s. Never use cleaners with acid, ammonia, or harsh abrasives, as they will break down and/or stain the grout. And never, ever use vinegar – it will leave a cloudy film on the surface.
The question of whether to seal grout depends on the area in your home and its use. Sealers are meant to seal the grout and protect it from stains and discoloration. However, if spills are not removed within a reasonable amount of time or cleaning is not done, discoloring or staining may occur (even on a sealed grout). Also, sealers are applied only to the grout, not to the tile. Given the precision required for this type of application, I would recommend a professional sealing company be used.
There are two types of sealers – water-based and silicone-based. I find that water-based sealers do not work as well as silicone-based. Since grout is porous, water-based sealers will be absorbed into the grout and offer little protection against stains and discoloration; silicone-based sealers stay on top of the grout and offer a better resistance to stains and are recommended for high-traffic areas.
Now, once you seal grout it will need to be reapplied depending upon how much wear and tear the areas receive. High-traffic areas will need to be resealed more often.
Always remember to look at your choices and contact a professional company to help with making the best choice for your home.
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