We all have come across dirty, stained and sometimes even have mold on our grout. There are many ways to clean your grout, however some every day house hold cleaning products are too rough and can damage what you have in place. You can try using a simple at home application of hot water and dawn dish soap.
- The first thing to start with is a deep soak.
- Make a bucket of very hot water adding dawn dish soap.
- Apply that on a small area and let sit for about 20 minutes.
- The dawn soap should start to pull the dirt out of the grout.
- Use soft clean towels to soak up the water.
- If there is still dirt on the grout, use a soft nylon brush and in a circular motion lightly scrub at the dirt.
After trying this and your grout is not getting clean we suggest you using a commercial grade solution made just for cleaning grout surfaces. Aqua Mix is a great brand that has many different solutions to help in the care and maintenance of your grout.
Almost everyone will ask what is the difference between porcelain tile and ceramic tile. I have a few key points that will help clear that up.
Porcelain – The Tile Lady has a great article explaining tile.
- Long lasting
- Easy cleaning
- Low moisture absorption
- Less uniformity of size and shape
Ceramic - Houzz has a great article on the pros and cons of Ceramic Tile.
- Very affordable, usually significantly less then Porcelain
- A large variety of color and sizes
- Lacks in the strength
To sum this up, Porcelain is a stronger tile that you would want to use on your floor and high traffic areas. Ceramic tile is great for places on your walls and as accents pieces such as rails.
Choosing grout for your tile can be a daunting task. You need to decide on the look you are planning on having at the end of the project. Do you want your grout to match and blend, or do you want your grout to make statement, be bold?
Here are some tips to help with:
Matching and Blending
*By matching and blending you are creating a less noticeable grout joint, therefore the lines will run together creating a harmonized area.
- Chose a color that is similar as the main color or your tile
- Chose a color that is the same as all the edges of your tile
Making a Statement
*You can make a statement with your grout by contrasting.
- Chose a light grout with dark tiles or dark grout with light tiles
- Chose a color that is not in the same color family as your tile
There is a great article from Crossville that can be of help and answer many questions pertaining to grout.
Wood has always been a popular choice in flooring, but also comes with a lot of extra work. There is waxing, preventing water damage, and color changing from the sun light.
Now you can have just about any color, size and texture in porcelain that looks just like wood. Your care and maintenance will be easy. You won’t need to worry about a leaking dish washer or an over run bathtub, because porcelain is hard and non absorbent to those things.
Take a look at Houzz.com and see the many variations of wood look porcelain that is the up and coming flooring style.
Most standard drains for tiled showers have a round cover but many tiles used on shower floors are square mosaics. Of course this is not an issue for any skilled tile installer who can cut the tile to fit to a circle. For a homeowner, round drains might present more of a challenge.
The fix is not only easy but also more visually pleasant. Square covers are not only easier for any installer but also better looking and a more up to date design.
Ebbe drains are made to fit into most all standard tiled shower floor drains. You simply unscrew the round drain grate and insert Ebbe’s square drain grate. They also come in a multitude of finishes to match nearly any shower controls.
Square drains are the perfect detail to give your project a perfectly finished look.
You might not know that your home is probably moving right now. Depending on the environmental conditions, different construction and flooring substrates will shift, settle or expand seasonally. For properly cured concrete slabs, this isn’t usually an issue.
Did you know that the average house slab can take up two years to fully cure and settle? Tile installed using an inflexible adhesive over a concrete slab that’s still curing can buckle and pop up unexpectedly as the walls and floors move in different directions.
Expansion joints are typically installed to allow some lateral movement in the flooring without cracking grout lines or causing tiles to buckle, but if they are improperly installed, you might have a problem on your hands.
If you were lucky enough to catch the problem early with only a few squares of tile affected, cutting expansion joints could ease the tension and prevent further buckling. A word of warning: this isn’t a guaranteed fix, and the problem could worsen. In most cases, removing the original tiles and retiling is your only recourse. The area to be retiled will be smaller to original specifications because of substrate movement.
If you’ve been looking for a way to add a little pop of color and texture to virtually any room in your home, mosaic tiles might just do the trick. When used to complement rather than clash, mosaic tiles can have an immediate effect on the overall tone of a room’s design and feel.
When choosing mosaic tiles for your next design project, think about the room’s intended use, tile size and color. If you start with a design concept, you’ll discover that using mosaic tiles in the design of your home can be simple and straightforward.
The small tile sizes make them easy to install and place, so have some fun experimenting with design and placement before grouting them down.
Bathrooms and showers are perfect places to experiment with mosaic tile. It’s almost impossible to go wrong, actually. Here’s an example of mosaic tile used as a full-length wall and backsplash, as well as accent pieces in the shower enclosure for a sleek, modern look.
In the kitchen, mosaic tile walls offset the cabinetry and the warm tones of natural wood. The soft colors pair perfectly with the white finish on the cabinetry and brushed steel appliances.
Color, color, color! Brash, funky, and very cool. Big chunky pieces and wide grout lines make quite the statement in this outdoor pool installation, wouldn’t you say?
It’s no surprise that we love tile, so it’s not hard to get a little emotional talking about the beauty and warmth that can be achieved with the design material that sometimes get a bad rap for being cold and sterile.
If you need a little inspiration to get those creative juices flowing, take a look at these photos of dramatic spaces punched up a few levels with some really awesome tile work. Color, texture, and mixed shapes — they have a little bit of everything.
Brightly colored tiles here provide a neat quilted effect for this backsplash installed beneath equally bright blue cabinets in Brazilian designer Ana Theresa Bello’s kitchen. Image by Andre Nazareth, via casa.abril.
A hallway lined with honeycomb floor tiles mirrors the same effect on the ceiling. The House Hotel Galatasaray, Istanbul. Photo courtesy of NOTCOT
Check out this mosaic blacksplash installed in a home bar. The placement of the bar can easily make it seem hidden, but not here. Via Houzz.
There are times when a proper porcelain tile is simply a better choice than ceramic. With a water absorption rate of less than .5 percent, porcelain tiles are available in glazed or unglazed varieties.
This lower water absorption rate means that porcelain is a very durable choice for floor surfaces and areas of high wear and hard knocks. Because the material is much harder and denser compared to most ordinary ceramic tile, its usefulness in these areas is pretty clear. The dense, hard surface of porcelain can be polished to a high gloss, creating a shine without the need of a glaze.
Here’s the thing: porcelain and ceramic aren’t actually different types of tile. They’re actually both ceramic tile. Porcelain tile is simply fired for longer and at higher temperatures that what we consider ceramic. At a glance, you really can’t tell the difference between a proper porcelain tile and a proper ceramic tile.
For durability, porcelain wins. It’s a combination of the higher kilning temperature and a higher concentration of feldspar. The resulting density can be a pain to cut and fabricate at the DIY-level. Ceramic tile is quite a bit easier to cut — by hand, wet tile saw, or snap tile cutter.
Generally speaking, porcelain tends to be a bit more brittle compared to ceramic, so exercise care if you’re going to attempt cutting it yourself.
Here’s an installation tip: Be sure to allow enough time for your thin-set to dry before applying any grout. Because porcelain absorbs so little moisture, the only place where the water content from thin set can escape is through the grout joints. Allow at least 24 hours before grouting. This will allow excess moisture enough time to evaporate. Trapped moisture can cause a host of problems with your installation.
Note as well: typical ready-mix adhesives are not recommended for porcelain due to the material’s weight and density. Only use adhesives specially formulated for use with porcelain.
If you’ve been reading this blog over the past several months, you’ll notice that we’ve always written about using tile in a conventional way — that is, as a building material for flooring, back splashs, and shower enclosures or as a decorative accent in mosaics, vaulted ceilings, and the like. However, the durability of tile also lends itself to some rather unconventional uses, especially around the kitchen.
Tile, especially unglazed quarry tiles, are rated to extremely high temperatures and, depending on the specific variety, are non-porous and food-safe.
Hearth baking stones If you enjoy baking pizza crusts and breads, slip a couple 18″ x 18″ unglazed quarry tiles into your oven. They’ll act as a heat sink and help yield the crisp, crackery crust that wood-oven pizzerias are known for producing. There’s no need to take them out when you’re not using them, either. Even if you’re not baking, they’ll retain heat incredibly well and regulate the temperature inside. Foods will cook more quickly and evenly.
Bread warmers Smaller unglazed quarry tiles can be used as bread warmers. Preheat them gently in the oven and they’ll keep the bread warm and crisp at the dinner table. Choose tiles that don’t have sharp or rough edges so you don’t mar the finish on your kitchen table.
Trivets Protect your kitchen and dining room table from just-out-of-the-oven serving dishes with a tile trivet. Food-safe isn’t really necessary here, so you can choose ceramic, slate, granite or other stoneware tiles that suit your decor and personal taste. Tip: glue felt pads using an industrial-strength epoxy to the back of the tiles so they don’t scratch.
Cheese boards Marble and granite tiles make excellent cheese boards. They can be put into the refrigerator to chill slightly before arranging various cheeses and fruit for entertaining.
Coasters Small square tiles can be used as distinctive and unique drink coasters. Choose a pattern and finish that works with your decor. As with the trivets, you may want to glue small felt pads on the back to prevent scratching.
What are some of your favorite unconventional uses for tile in your home?