Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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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.


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Matching tile for repair – ‘white’ is not white

When your beautiful project is complete, and all the bills have been paid, the last thing you want to think about is a potential problem 5 or 10 years from now. But a little preparation for the unforeseen can keep a future headache from becoming a migraine.

If a repair person who comes a few years from now accidentally drops his hammer on your tile, are you going to be able to find a matching tile? We keep records on tile installations for 10 years, and as tile colors and types have become more varied, the names and numbers have become more complex. It’s no longer enough to think you can match a tile by describing its color and general size. For an exact match, the brand, color name, actual size, and shade and caliber numbers are needed.

Most manufacturers keep shade variation within a series to a minimum, but, when the lightest of a shade is placed beside the darkest, the variation can be quite startling. Caliber is a more technical variation in tile dimension, but, nonetheless, can be a real challenge in the repair process. Acceptable measures of variation depend on a tile’s type and size. For example, variations of 0.18 inch could be found between two 12×12 tiles that were on opposite ends of the ANSI tolerance. That kind of variation will result in a visual mis-match and diminish the beauty of your installation.

A professional service technician can work around small variations in tiles, but an inexperienced repair person might not notice the differences until they’ve removed your tile and are at a loss on how to accomplish your repair.

How to avoid issues in matching tile or stone?
— Keep thorough records of what tiles and stones are used (including shade and caliber numbers and grout choices) and the tile installer who did the work.
— Keep some tile when your project is complete. (We reserve a small quantity of tile for one year for any potential warranty work, but some ‘attic stock’ on the premises will be a huge help if an issue ever arises.)
— Use a tile installer who keeps good records and who will be likely to be in business 10 years from now if you need help with a tile issue.

Matching grout is also a potential repair headache because they way a surface has been maintained will determine whether the grout has kept its original color. A professional service person will be more likely able to keep the look of your job consistent by matching new grout to the existing color.