Tile floors are crisp, clean and always classic. Replacing carpet with a new tile floor is one of the quickest and simplest ways to give any room a face lift, and replacing worn-out old grout on an existing tile floor is an even quicker way to give your living space a fresh new feel. The key to keeping your floor looking brand-new is to make sure the grout and the sealer both cure completely before you go back to regular mopping once the tile has been laid and grouted or the old grout replaced.
Facts About Tile Grout
There are two basic types of tile grout: One is sanded and the other is non-sanded. The purpose of tile grout is to fill in the spaces between tiles and to protect the structural integrity of the counter, wall, floor or whatever you are tiling. Very fine mosaic work or tile meant to line up edge to edge with less than 1/8-inch between them works best with non-sanded grout. Floors require sanded grout because it is much stronger. Once the grout has been applied, you will need to remove any that has slopped over onto the tiles. The best way to do this is with the edge of your grout float. If you don't remove the grout while it is fresh, no amount of mopping will clean it up.
Best Grout Haze Remover
After you have scraped away all of the excess grout with your grout float, sponge the floor down with a barely damp sponge, rinsing it frequently. Use one bucket of water to clean and a second one for rinsing the sponge. Always wring the sponge until it is almost dry to avoid soaking the new grout. Once the grout has set, which takes about three hours, you will probably see a thin white film on your tiles. This is called grout haze and it will need to be removed. As long as you have not waited longer than three hours, you should be able to clean any remaining haze with a clean sponge barely dampened with water. If this does not work, you can purchase tile haze remover, which is available at hardware and home improvement stores, as well as online. Simply follow the directions on the container to dilute the cleanser. Cleaning tile haze is best done on your hands and knees with a sponge so that you have total control over corners, at baseboards, below cabinets and in other places that are hard to reach with a mop.
About Commercial Grout Sealant
The best way to keep your grout fresh and free of mold and bacteria through repeated mopping is to seal it after it has completely cured. Grout can take from one to five days to cure. Commercial grout sealant is easy to find online or in home improvement, hardware and flooring stores. Read the label carefully to make sure that you are not purchasing tile sealant because they are two different things. Apply the grout sealer using an applicator with a very thin tip or pour a thin line from the container and wipe away any excess immediately with a sponge or soft cloth. Let the sealant dry for the amount of time recommended on the label. This is usually about 24 hours, but read the label to be sure.
Best Way to Clean Newly Laid Tiles
Once your grout has cured and the sealant has been applied and has set, you can go back to your regular way of mopping your tile floor. Mop your floors at least once per week using a solution of white vinegar and water, a squirt or two of dish detergent in water or a cleaner formulated for your type of tile floor specifically.
Brynne Chandler built her first bookcase at eight years old, which is also right around the time she started writing. An avid crafter, decorator and do-it-yourselfer, Brynne has remodeled several homes including one cantilevered on a cliff and one that belonged to Olympic swimmer and actor Buster Crabbe. Best known for her EMMY-nominated TV animation writing, she has been writing non-fiction content for almost a decade and has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle online, among other places.