Ceramic Tile and Grout:
Grout is the material used to fill the spaces between the individual tiles. Just sealing the grout will not guarantee against surface build-up or discoloration. Tile and grout need to be cleaned on a periodic basis to remove any surface build-up. Routine cleaning, as needed or once a week, can be done with a concentrated household or commercial cleaner depending on the application. When heavy duty grout cleaning is required, you will need to use a professional strength Tile & Grout Cleaner that is capable of removing grease, soap scum, body oil, mildew stains, algae, and synthetic or acrylic waxes from the tile and grout joints. Tile and grout cleaning products can be purchased from most Home Centers, or through your local professional Floor Covering Dealer.
Stone is stone, whether it’s a slab or tile. To insure your natural stone products will provide you with a lifetime of aesthetics and utility, a proper maintenance program is crucial. Natural Stone products are porous by nature and require a different maintenance routine than traditional, man-made ceramic tile. Many of the cleaners acceptable for use on ceramic tile can stain, damage or dull stone. Dirt and dust will scratch the surface of stone. Therefore, stone floors should be vacuumed or dust mopped frequently to remove abrasive agents from the stone surface.
Only use cleaners specifically designed for cleaning stone. These cleaners contain no acids or bleach and are concentrated neutral pH cleaners that will not affect existing sealers or wax-type coatings, even a light mixture of vinegar and water can etch and eventually damage the stone. The surface of the stone should be dampened with clear water. This will keep the cleaning solution on the surface so it can be effective. A solution of the cleaner and water, keeping to manufacturer instructions, should be applied to the stone surface with a sponge or mop. On walls, kitchen counters or vanity tops, a spray bottle can be used to apply the cleaning solution.
There are different grades of penetrating/impregnating sealers, therefore the useful life and price will differ between a low quality and high quality sealer. You may need to reapply the sealer on an annual basis depending on the sealer quality, traffic patterns, and maintenance routine. If the grout and stone absorb liquid, reapplication of a sealer is needed. Tile and grout sealers can be purchased from most Home Centers or through your local Professional Floor Covering Dealer.