Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


1 Comment

Taking care of your tile

We’re in the process of re-writing our tile maintenance brochure and would love to have your input. In addition to what we’ve described here about routine maintenance, sealers and repairs, what else would you like to know?

Routine Maintenance:

  • Remove soil with a broom, dust mop or vacuum. Damp mop or spot clean as needed, using CLEAN, warm water or water and a pH neutral tile cleaner.
  • Avoid all products containing bleach or acids, as they can weaken the grout (opening  the pores & causing grout to get dirtier more quickly).
  • Always rinse thoroughly with CLEAN, warm water and allow to dry. A second rinsing with clean water may be necessary to completely remove all cleaning solutions. When mopping, change rinse water often, preferably every 50 feet.
  • Shower tile will look its best when you remove excess water with a squeegee after each use and when you run the exhaust fan for at least 20 minutes.
  • Tile distributors sell cleaning products developed specifically for tile and stone which generally outperform products available in supermarkets.
  • Use fiber or nylon scrubbing pads to help remove difficult stains; do not use steel wool pads.

Grout care:  For stubborn grout stains, agitate with a fiber or nylon scrubbing pad and a higher concentration of the recommended pH neutral grout cleaning solution. Over time, if the grout appearance becomes unacceptable, your tile distributor offers specialized products, including colored epoxy sealants which help restore grout’s appearance. Contact a tile service company or carefully follow manufacturer’s recommendations.

Sealants:  Many newer grouts have stain resistors already built in, so check with your tile installer about the brand used in your project. While not a part of base-level tile installations, sealers can be added to help keep stains from penetrating the grout. Sealers should be applied to cement-based grouts when the installation is thoroughly dry and after the initial grouting has cured for at least two weeks.

Common Concerns:  Clean up spills as soon as possible. Material left on your tile can be ground into the tile or grout, making clean-up more difficult. Ask your distributor or installer for specific information on your products because different materials require different cleaning regimens.

Tile Repairs:  The joint between the tub and tile wall and the counter-top and tile splash have the potential to separate with seasonal changes. As a house settles or the tub flexes, the grout in these joints may periodically crack. If this happens, remove the old grout with a sharp-pointed tool. (Be careful not to chip tile or tub.) Dry the joint thoroughly, and fill with silicone caulk available in tubes at hardware stores and in matching colors at most tile distributors. Broken or damaged tiles should be removed and replaced only by a reputable tile installer.

Always test products in an inconspicuous area before treating the entire surface and be sure to protect surrounding non-tiled surfaces because some tile cleaning products can adversely affect metals, glass, wood, etc.

Our website: www.NeuseTile.com has links to some of our preferred manufacturers.


2 Comments

Grout ‘worms’? Lurking in a well-used shower

grout worm

Tiny larvae in a shower

15 years ago it seemed like a prank call when someone told us they had a problem with ‘grout worms’ in their shower, but now our service manager has taken a picture of what was likely lurking in the crevices of that shower and several others we’ve seen lately — tiny larvae that grow into little flies and thrive in the damp recesses of a well-used shower.

grout worm's shower

Breeding ground for mildew

When life gets away from us and routine cleaning with a PH Neutral cleaner isn’t done regularly, a shower can be a great breeding ground for mold and mildew. [It takes 3 things for mildew to thrive — a food source (soap scum and skin cells), water, and absence of light.] Many showers are poorly ventilated (or the fan is not used properly), and long showers and sporadic cleaning make them the perfect breeding ground for mildew and the tiny mites our caller was referring to as “grout worms.”

On the opposite extreme, we have also seen these larvae in over-cleaned grout lines. Each time bleach or some other overly harsh product is used, the pores of the grout open more, and mold and mildew are given an even better nesting place. This is why some people tell us that the more they clean, the more quickly mildew & other scum seems to develop. It’s because they are cleaning with a product that is too harsh for the grout, and they are actually eroding the cement in the grout.

Tile and grout are meant to last a long time, but, like all things, they have to be properly maintained. When you clean, do yourself, the environment, and your grout a favor and use a pH Neutral cleaner. It will make your grout last longer, do a better job of keeping away any “grout worms” and help your tile installation remain one of the trouble-free parts of your home. (Assuming it’s installed correctly in the first place, of course.)

Here’s to good installations and no more calls about “grout worms”  🙂


4 Comments

Tile cleaning before and after

Here’s a quick, fun Friday post:

Scroll down for a before-and-after picture of a grout transformation.

We installed this kitchen tile 6 years ago, and it’s had some heavy-duty traffic, so the grout had gotten pretty dingy. A thorough clean from our technicians, and the floor looks as good as it did when it was new!Floor tile after our heavy-duty clean

Tile and grout renewed after our heavy-duty cleaning.

Clean grout and tile.

Kitchen tile with 6 years of heavy traffic.

Tile in need of a thorough cleaning


1 Comment

Cleaning/ preventing grout mildew

Bleach-based cleaners will kill mold and mildew (temporarily) but they will also kill your grout. Over time, these harsh products will turn your grout to chalk, and it will wash out little by little.

The best defense against mildew is prevention! Increase the ventilation in the room. Leave the shower door open after you bathe. Let the exhaust fan run at least 20-30 minutes after use. Open a window. The next best weapon is a squeegee. Run it over your tile before you step out of the shower to eliminate water hanging around inviting the mold and mildew spores to take root.

The best cleaners for tile and grout have a Neutral PH. That means it is neither too acidic or too alkaline and will not harm your tile or grout. Some of our favorites are sold by Aqua Mix: Aqua Mix Products

Sealing your tile and grout may also help. Check out the sealers at TEC Products. These water-based sealers allow moisture and air out but none in, helping starve mold and mildew. Or take the extra step to eliminate future growth altogether with new antimicrobial SHIELD. Check out PowerOfShield.com
You can always contact Leigh in our service department for more details!


Leave a comment

To Seal Grout or Not to Seal?

Applying a high quality sealant to your tile’s grout can be an extra layer of stain-fighting protection, but you’ll need to know your products to see if it’s necessary in your installation.

— Traditional cement-based grouts benefit from a topical sealant which keeps stains on the surface rather than allowing them to penetrate;

— Many of today’s grouts add stain-resisters to the base grout powder, and an additional sealant would be redundant;

— Additives can add stain-resistance to the water used to mix grout as it is installed;

— Some grouts are specifically formulated to resist stains and bacterial growth.

A knowledgeable tile installation company can explain the range of grout and sealant options for your job and assist you in selecting the right product.

— Other sealant notes:

Natural stones installed by Neuse Tile are sealed before arrival on a job site because their innate porosity can cause them absorb pigment from setting materials and grout. Most ceramic and porcelain tiles do not need to be sealed because of the protective glaze already fired onto surfaces.

Before applying a topical sealant to cement-based grout, allow the grout to completely cure — at least two weeks after initial installation. Don’t take chances with this permanent investment in your home.