The best tile installation can be ruined over time by using the wrong cleaner.
We got high praise from the owner, the contractor, and the architect when we completed a local medical facility several years ago. However, when the owner contacted us recently, they weren’t so pleased with the look of their installation,
It seems the epoxy grout we had installed (as per the specifications) was deteriorating, leaving gaps and very unsightly grout joints throughout the project. The grout we used at that time was a new brand to the market, but was approved by all authorities for a commercial installation.
When we went to evaluate the current situation for the customer, we observed that the areas closest to the walls and out of the normal traffic pattern were in-tact, and the grout still looked good. However, the area where routine cleaning had taken place were the areas of greatest deterioration.
We suggested the building owner find out what kind of cleaner the maintenance crew has been using. You see, a newer type of “no rinse” cleaner is often used in commercial applications. These enzymatic cleaners accelerate the breakdown of products such as sugars, fats, proteins, and body fluids. And, because they are left on the floors overnight, the byproduct of the breakdown is acidic and cumulative. After days, and weeks of using this type of cleaner, a highly acidic solution develops that rapidly deteriorates grouts.
There are some newer grouts that have been developed to withstand these harsh cleaners, but these must be specified prior to tile installation and most manufacturers still will not warranty their products against ‘no rinse’ cleaners.
Keep your new tile installation looking good by cleaning it with the proper product. We give our customers maintenance instructions, and always recommend a pH-neutral cleaner be used on tile and grout. Vinegar, bleach, “no rinse”, and acidic cleaners used over time are damaging to grout – of any kind.
It matters who installs your tile – and it matters how you maintain it!