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Care & Maintenance
What could be causing cracks to appear in ceramic floor tiles?
There is always a remote possibility of an individual fractured tile, usually caused by not being bonded properly and then being impacted by an object dropping o n it. That type of fracture is repaired by replacing the damaged tile. A sure rule of thumb to determining the problem: if the crack goes from one tile to another on a continuous line through the grout joint, the problem, without any doubt, is in the substrate; usually a crack in the slab. The damaged tile would have to be removed, a crack isolation membrane put down and the tile reinstalled; which should solve the problem.
What is the best way to clean abrasive quarry tile without leaving mop strings?
First, with any abrasive tile, you cannot use a standard mop as it will be torn to shreds and leave strings on the floor. A nylon mop will not normally leave "strings" behind. MOST IMPORTANT: Make sure you always use clean water. Change as often as necessary. When cleaning this floor, it must be scrubbed daily (at least) with a brush and, if available, use a vacuumed system (wet vacuum) to pull up the residue of water. At least once a week the floor should be cleaned with an electric floor scrubber. If no vac system is available, surplus water must be accumulated in one area and gathered up, or some commercial kitchens have drains for disposal of excess water.
What is the best method to re-polish an old marble floor installation that is dull and scratched?
Stone is made shiny by working the surface until it is smooth enough to reflect light. When the surface has been roughed up to the point that light does not reflect evenly, the marble looks dull and needs to be refinished. The first point is to determine the depth of the scratches. Deep scratches are not only visible, but can be felt with the fingernail. Light scratches can been seen, but not felt. If they are only slight, they can be buffed with a standard floor machine and a red pad. Deep scratches are removed by grinding/sanding the surface down until the scratches no longer show. The surface is then refinished with Multi-Seal Refinisher to bring the shine back. Once a floor is restored to it's original condition, a maintenance program should be set up and there are a number of companies that provide the components and instructional guidelines.
Where would unglazed be preferable over glazed ceramic tile and why?
Unglazed ceramic tile is strongly recommended for most exterior horizontal (floor) applications, interior applications subject to standing water such as shower floors, for very high traffic floors such as airports, train stations, etc. Impervious porcelain tiles are recommended in all 'freeze/thaw' horizontal exterior applications, and even in vertical 'freeze/thaw' applications subject to standing (or in) water.
What type of tile is recommended for kitchen counter tops and why?
Although a great variety of glazed tiles are used for counter tops, manufacturers specifically recommend only specific tiles. These are usually double glazed or glazes fired at higher temperatures, such as glazes on vitreous and porcelain bodies. High-gloss glazes are not recommended because they will scratch under normal kitchen counter top use. Many owners will select these 'high-gloss' tiles for counter tops even though they are told "they will scratch," because they like the look and do not intend to use their kitchen on a regular basis.
What is the best way to clean grout?
NEW GROUT: Because cementations grout is porous, sealing can help to keep grout joints clean. Allow grout to dry at least 48/hours, then make sure it is clean before sealing with a sealer recommended for grout. EXISTING GROUT: A routine for cleaning grout should be established, as occasionally cleaning with household cleaners containing acid, bleach or even vinegar will etch the tile and grout in time. There should be two types of cleaning procedures, regular 'Routing Cleaning' with a concentrated non-acidic phosphate free cleaner and occasional 'Heavy Duty Cleaning' when dirty.

What causes grout cracking?
There are several possible reasons for cracking grout:
1. A flexible substrate (plywood, etc.)
2. Poor installation; tile not bonded, resulting in loose tile.
3. A non-sanded grout was used with the grout joints too wide. When the grout shrunk, the only possible thing it could do is crack.
4. The grout joint was not completely filled during installation, leaving voids on the surface.
5. In a large floor installation, where the grout crack is isolated in specific areas, it is usually caused by the lack of expansion joints.

Can existing dirty grout be re-grouted?
1. To merely apply new grout over existing grout is not the answer because it will always look like that is what you have tried to do without success.

2. You can re-grout if you dig out the existing grout and there are saws specifically designed for this purpose. However, be forewarned that it is a tedious and exasperating task and it is virtually impossible to do without damaging some of the tile, which would necessitate replacement. You would then probably have a problem matching the color shade of the tile. The saws are actually utilized either with fresh grout or a smaller area which needs re-grouting; thus they are not really practical for large areas.

3. The grout can be stained with a grout stain.

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