Advice on the best maintenance and tile repair methods.
For advice on the best maintenance and repair methods, we consulted the expert at Ceramic Tile Refinishers in Valley Center, California, Charlotte MacIlraith.
“Queen of Bathroom Cleaning” offers maintenance expertise.
Charlotte MacIlraith, World Renowned Tile Expert and ” E.F. Hutton” of the tile has been cleaning, sealing and repairing tiles and grout for over 23 years. Charlotte loves to clean bathrooms. Charlotte says that if after she cleans your bathroom if you don’t walk in and say “wow” you don’t have to pay her. “It’s never happened yet,” says Charlotte. “It’s easy to keep bathrooms looking as new as the day they were installed, year after year, by learning how to properly maintain them”, says Charlotte.
Maintaining the tile, grout and fixtures in our bathrooms usually requires fairly minimal effort, if you have the right products. But when was the last time you paid attention to the grout that fills the joint between tiles and caulking, the compound that seals gaps between sink and counters, tubs and tile walls? Both of these areas are need to be properly maintained.
Maintenance of these areas is important. If you get cracks in your grout or caulking they should be repaired, as water will eventually seep through old cracked materials, possibly damaging the wall behind it or the ceiling below it.
Upkeep of grout: Plan on cleaning your tile and grout thoroughly every time you clean. Seal new grout once with a good sealer that is guaranteed to last up to five years or more. (Read the label). This protects the grout from absorbing water and staining. Every time you clean your bathroom it should dry spotlessly clean. Really! Grout gets surface dirty just like a car but if sealed properly and maintained properly it can stay looking new for years to come.
Upkeep of Caulking: Caulking should be removed and replaced when needed. If it gets molded or stain or starts to crack you should take it out and reapply it. Never caulk over old caulk; always remove the old caulk first.
Hiring a Pro: If you’d rather not do it yourself, ask a local tile supplier for names of qualified tile repairpersons or check under “Tile- Cleaning, Sealing and Repair ” in the yellow pages.
CLEANING AND REPAIRING GROUT & CAULKING
When was the last time you repaired these trouble spots in your bath? Charlotte MacIlraith, a Ceramic Tile Refinisher, a licensed Contractor and a Ceramic Tile Consultant offers a hands-on demonstration of how to do it right.
For cleaning fixtures, shower glass doors, fiberglass and white grout joints, buy an acidic cleaner, like Charlotte Shower Magic.
For Cleaning Marble, Stone and Tile with Colored Grout use Charlotte Marble & Stone Cleaner. Never use any product that has any type of acid in it (such as, phosphoric acid, vinegar, lemon juice or wine) on marble; granite or stone, as it will etch it. Do not use on colored grout either as it will “acid burn” the grout making it look faded.
Wearing rubber gloves, get the tile and grout wet. Pour the solution into a small pan and apply with a nylon brush or green scrubby. Always read the label directions before beginning any project.
Use a brass tipped brush for cleaning grout to remove soap scum and hard water. This brush will not harm the grout or the tile. Remember that grout is cement.
Clean the fixtures shower glass doors and fiberglass showers with a white scrubby and a tooth brush.
Rinse the surfaces with clean water using a large yellow sponge. Repeat the cleaning process if you have not removed all of the soap-scum. For discolored grout consult our web site for a professional grout colorant applicator at ceramictilerefinishers.com
Contractor Charlotte MacIlraith uses a variety of new sharp tools for tile work. (Old worn tools loss their effect). What is grout, anyway? It’s the product that fills the spaces between your tiles. It adds beauty (or not, if it’s dirty!) and holds the tiles in place (or not, if it’s not done right!) Grout comes in two types: sanded and non-sanded. The sanded type is used for grout joints that are 1/4 inch wide or more, while the non-sanded type is used in applications that require 1/8 of an inch or less.
Grout is easy to repair. First you need to determine the color and brand of grout that was used. One of the easiest ways of doing this may be to wander out to the garage and see if you have any bags of grout leftover from the installation. If not, take a screwdriver or ice pick and remove an area that is cracking. Take this to your local tile store and see if they can match it up for you.
Once color and brand are determined, remove the broken, cracked or loose grout using a grout saw a chisel and an ice pick (good for the corners). Be careful not to scratch the tile or tub with the grout saw. Clean away debris using a small brush or vacuum cleaning the area well.
Mix the grout according to label instructions. They also sell some colored grouts in pre-mixed containers. (Of course, if you’re not the do-it-yourself type, you can always hire someone to do this for you!)
Fill the tub with about three-quarters full with water to weight it so the grout won’t crack when you fill the tub later.
Apply the grout using a float. Using your float at an angle to fill the joints with the grout. If needed use your finger to push the grout into the space around the tub.
Allow the grout to set slightly, with a well-rung out yellow sponge carefully remove excess grout from the surface of the tiles, rinsing the sponge often. Allow grout to cure at least 72 hours before sealing or getting the area wet.
If cracks develop between the tub and tile wall, you can either reapply more grout or fill it in with caulking.
We always recommend wearing rubber gloves to prevent the caustic substance in grout to penetrate your skin. If you do get grout on your hands use white vinegar to neutralize the drying effect.
Caulking is easy once you know how. The secret is in the sponge. Really! Caulking and caulking gun. (Use caulk the color of the project on which you are working. You can use a tub of caulk. They also have a new caulk that comes in a can and comes out like whipped cream. Once you try my easy to implement method and it’s just as easy to clean up method you will never be afraid to caulk again. I guarantee it.
Using “The Rock” a 5 in 1 tool and a straight edge razor blade cut the caulking. I always cut into the caulking starting a the top. Then I cut into the bottom. On cultured marble, Formic counter tops use a sharp chisel to cut away caulking, as using any type of blade may cut into the surface. Clean out the caulk as thoroughly as possible making sure to remove as much caulking as possible.
Using the proper caulking for the job, apply a even bead of high-quality tub and tile caulking. Using your finger (with a rubber glove on it) push the caulking into the space, doubling over if needed to fill the crack. Allow caulking to set for only a few minutes. Take your large yellow sponge and carefully wipe, removing the excess caulking. Do not wipe too hard as you may remove the caulking. If needed reapply caulking and remove the same way.
Allow caulk to cure for 24 hours before getting the area getting wet.