Like it or not, winter is bearing down on southern Wisconsin so now’s the time to make sure you’re ready for the demands of floor tile care. Tile floors are popular in Madison WI homes of all ages and keeping them looking their best is never more challenging than when there’s snow and ice on streets and walks.
Grit is the arch enemy of tile floors. It scratches, mars and dulls tile of every sort. Tracked in sand, road salt and grime not only takes the luster off your floor tiles, it opens them up to permanent damage. Salt in particular etches the surface. The goal is to keep floors clean.
What’s your first line of defense? Asking family and friends to take off their shoes when they come into the house this time of year is a great start. That way ice melting chemicals, road salt and slush doesn’t get much past the door.
As you prepare for harsh weather and tracked-in debris take a close look at individual tiles and grout lines. Now’s the time to replace cracked or damaged tiles and re-grout where there are gaps. Dirty water seeps into those gaps and makes everything much worse in a hurry.
Accept The Challenge Of Floor Tile Care
When the family – including pets – is tracking in more wet debris keeping up with cleaning is a must. Whenever you spot melting snow or slush puddle, dry them ASAP. Using a mop is often the first choice, isn’t it? Sadly, that may not be the best choice. Pressure from mopping forces grains of sand and other grit into the tile crack and grout crevices. Sopping up the moisture with towels is a better choice.
Salt and related chemicals brought in from the streets are the No. 1 challenge to floor tile in winter. Even when slush dries it leaves a damaging residue behind. Forget about long-lasting damage potential, salt on the floors makes tile look dull and dingy. You don’t want that, right? If your tile looks dingy even after scrubbing, you’re probably using the wrong kind of cleaner. Chemically, salt is an alkaline or “base” element. To remove it you need a cleaner that’s slightly on the acid side of pH to neutralize it. If you’re not sure which is best, check with the professionals at Molony Tile.
Here’s a quick do-it-yourself tile cleaning routine for most floor tile installations, especially in mud rooms and entry ways:
- Sweep or vacuum – remove as much salt, sand and dirt as you can from the surface as soon as possible.
- Wet mop – use a damp mop to get up as much salt slush as you can. Rinse the mop in clean water, water from the mop bucket puts salt back on the floor.
- Use an acidic cleaner – break down the salt with a good floor tile cleaning solution.
- Dry the floor – use a microfiber pad or a dry vacuum to prevent salt residue in moisture from forming on the tile.
Don’t Let Damaged Tile Linger – Fit It Quick
If your preseason checkup of your home’s tile floors didn’t reveal any damage to tiles or grout, don’t stop looking. Subjected to cold temperatures and increased traffic, tile and grout can change as the season progresses. Boots and outdoor recreational gear – sleds, skis or skates – can leave lasting impressions. If tile gets cracked or chipped, or grout is displaced, moisture seeps beneath the surface. Extensive tile care runs beneath the surface and is key to protecting subflooring from damage.
If you spot a broken or damaged tile repair it and the grout around it as soon as you can. The longer you wait the more chances of subfloor damage down the road. Fixing a couple broken tiles isn’t always cheap, but it’s less hassle and less expense than new subfloor because of rot, mold or mildew.
Call Upon Floor Tile Care Experts
Unfortunately, no matter how diligent you are at sweeping, mopping and taking off you shoes, winter’s ice, snow and slush will take its toll on your tile floors. Especially in the main entry points – most notable where you come in from the garage. Anywhere you and the family track in all the outside “gunk.” High-traffic areas will, eventually lose their luster. Heavy traffic grinds dirt and debris into the pores of the tile and grout. You just can’t stop it. Your best cleaning efforts deal with surface grime. Professional-quality cleaning includes:
- Deep cleaning with an eco-friendly solution that pulls dirt from the pores of tile and grout seams.
- Steam cleaning using steam vapor to heat and remove residue from heavy foot traffic.
- A sealant or topcoat – often a floor wax or penetrating sealant to help prevent discoloration and stains.
Professional-quality care for tile floors not only makes the floor look better, it provides long-term protection.
Whether you need help deciding on a new tile floor or the best maintenance solutions, Molony Tile is the area’s leading tile resource. To help make the decision process easier, make an appointment and visit Madison’s most complete tile showroom.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, our staff is ready to assist any way it can. For more than 70 years Molony’s experienced and skilled craftsmen have provided tile for high-end jobs throughout the Madison area.
No matter if your home’s tile needs replacing or just a facelift, explore your options with us. Call 608-268-8453 or email us to make an appointment. We’ll match your needs and create the right product and floor tile care solution for your Madison WI home.