Tips to Care for Valuable Ceramic Tile and Stone Surfaces and Protect Beautiful Home Assets

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Home cleaning expert Phil Dreessen of A Personal Touch has years of experience in the finest homes, and offers both homeowner care tips and professional cleaning schedules for tile and stone

Floors, walls and countertops in the most upscale modern homes are constructed with ceramic tile and stone products that offer not only durable beauty and custom options, but also natural resistance to such hazards as fire, frost, moisture and stains. Like anything of great value, however, tile and stone, and the grout that holds them together, require regular maintenance to maintain the gloss, sheen and detail that defines the quality, says Phil Dreessen, owner of A Personal Touch, for 30 years experts in cleaning and repairing such valuable home assets as carpets, upholstery, tiles and stone, and air ducts.

“The investment in such amenities as ceramic tile and stone is well worth it, as they are value-added assets in high demand in the finest homes,” says Dreessen. “There are a number of maintenance issues that homeowners must do regularly to maintain the value of these assets, and professional cleaning every two years or so will maintain the value of tile and stone surfaces for years to come.”

Ceramic tile is basically baked earthenware, and it ranges from relatively inexpensive ceramic found in many bathrooms, showers and floors, to custom artisan-created tiles used to decorate elite kitchens and bathrooms. In use from the times of the ancient Egyptians, ceramic tiles with a glazed finish were originally used as roofing materials. Indeed, the word “tile” is derived from the French “tuile,” itself from the Latin “tegula,” which means a roof tile made of baked clay. Because tiles are generally found in high-use environments with lots of steam, water and food preparation detritus, regular cleaning is called for, says Dreessen.

Popular stone treatments these days include uses for countertops in kitchen and bathroom, as well as flooring options in these room and other high-traffic areas such as entryways and hallways. These beautiful stone surfaces are usually made of granite, marble, slate, travertine, terrazzo, and Saltillo, and while durable regular care is required to have them maintain their luster.

“Everyone washes their tiles and stone and mops the floors, of course, as they clean their bathrooms and kitchens, but tile and stone need special care, regularly,” says Dreessen. “We recommend that homeowners understand the special cleaning needs for their tile and stone and have prepared a checklist of cleaning ideas.”

The A Personal Touch tile and stone homeowner cleaning tips are:

  • Purchase a good quality dust mop and sweep your ceramic tile floors daily. This is especially important in new installations where the grout has not fully cured. Dirt, mud and sand tend to ground into the grout mortar from heavy foot traffic.
  • Dirt collecting carpet mats should be placed in frequently used entrances and shaken out weekly.
  • We do not recommend the use of floor waxes as they can be difficult to remove from ceramic floor tiles. As long as your floor is properly sealed and maintained, you should find no need for these products.
  • Shower stall and tub enclosures should have proper ventilations. Stagnant water breeds stain-causing mildew as well as other fungi.
  • Many tile cleaners are acid based and their use should be limited. Always read the manufacturer’s label to find out. All acids, no matter how weak, will etch marble surfaces. Natural marble is commonly installed as thresholds in doorways and is also installed in window sills and shower curbs. In addition, avoid any cleaner that contains harsh abrasives.
  • Mop your tile down and clean walls and countertops by hand 2 to 3 times weekly with a mild cleaner made of dishwasher liquid (the kind used in a dishwasher). Mix 1 capful of dishwasher liquid per gallon of hot water. Mop up or wipe up excess water and allow to dry. Buffing with a dry towel will help to reduce spotting.

Beyond the surface of ceramic tile and stone is the grout used to separate the pieces and tie the work together. Grout has its own cleaning challenges, says Dreessen, especially if it is colored grout designed to match the room’s décor.

Once again, for regular, homeowner maintenance of grout in tile and stone surfaces, Dreessen recommends the use of the mild cleaning solution made of dishwasher liquid and water, coupled with a soft-bristle brush used to agitate the grout and loosen and debris. He adds that it is important to make sure all of the cleaning solution is rinsed away and removed after cleaning, as even this mild cleaner contains harsh chemicals that can, over time, eat away at the grout.

Inevitably, however, even with regular care the grout in tile and stone surfaces will begin to discolor and fade, and the tile and stone surfaces themselves will become duller then when new. Dreessen says this is when professional intervention is necessary.

“A Personal Touch can get stained grout surfaces looking beautifully clean beginning with the application of a commercial tile and grout cleaner,” he says. “Grout lines are scrubbed clean and the soiled dirt extracted using a vacuum system. A seal is then applied to the grout lines, retaining the original color and preventing future spills from penetrating the grout. We also restore the original luster to all tile and stone surfaces on countertops or floors.”

Dreessen founded A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaners 30 years ago, one of the original carpet cleaning services in the Denver metro area. He’s cleaned the carpets, upholstery, tile and ducts of thousands of homes and businesses since then—building a solid business on the referrals of satisfied customers throughout the Front Range of Colorado.

For more information on the care of ceramic tile and stone surfaces, and for the complete range of professional home cleaning services offered by A Personal Touch, visit http://www.apersonaltouchcarpetcleaning.com/ and call 720-344-2870.

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Danielle Yuthas

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