Almost since the beginning of time, ceramic tile has been used as a decorative element in the construction of buildings. Their intriguing shapes, colors and designs add charm and durability to the home. Ceramic tiles are a mixture of clays, shaped and fired at temperatures up to 2200 degrees. The resulting product is glazed and decorated or may remain unglazed.
Since ceramic tile is man-made, the selection of colors, styles and sizes available are boundless. Some of the more popular ceramic tiles are made to emulate natural stone and are intentionally designed to display color variations.
As the composition of glaze varies, different styles of tile will exhibit different gloss levels and surface textures. This is important to note when choosing flooring. For example, in areas that are used while wet, such as a shower or bathroom floor, they should have low water absorption and good slip resistance.
No subfloors are perfectly level. You may hear hollow sounds where your subfloor's surface dips and ridges. This does not effect the integrity or installation of the tile. Hollow sounds are normal and are not considered a product or installation defect.
While ceramic tile is very durable, it is not indestructible and may crack or chip under extreme force. Take the proper precautions when moving heavy objects across your tile floor. Use walk-off mats to minimize dirt being tracked in by entryways.
Grout color varies from sample to sample, and may vary at installation since it is mixed onsite. Once the tile has been laid and grouted, it is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain caulked areas with heavy water use to prevent damage. Grout may darken over time in areas with heavy water use. Check with your Design Consultant for recommendations on products specifically designed to keep your tile and grout looking new.
Maintaining ceramic tile is minimal if done on a regular basis. It is truly a low-maintenance material.
For daily cleaning, sponge down your ceramic tile countertop or wall tile with the manufacturer's recommended tile and grout cleaners or with a non-abrasive household cleaner. Be sure to clean spills as quickly as possible so that the grout or tile does not become stained.
For heavier cleaning, there are cleaning products, sold in your local grocery store, that can be used to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew stains. You'll want to consult the cleaner's manufacturer instructions to make sure the product is compatible with your type of tile. After cleaning, rinse well and wipe dry for more shine. Textured tiles may require mild scrubbing with a soft brush or electric polisher/scrubber.
To avoid scratching the surface of the tile, never use abrasive cleaners or steel wool. Do not use bleach or ammonia, on a regular basis; these products can discolor your grout.
Depending on your lifestyle, sealing of the grout joints on your countertop or wall tile may be an option. After the installation process is complete and your grout has had ample time to cure, sealing the grout can provide protection from dirt and spills, by slowing down the staining process. Ask your Design Consultant for more information about sealing.
Keep in mind that ceramic tile is very durable, but not indestructible. Do not use a ceramic countertop to sit or stand on, or as a cutting board. Ceramic tile or grout can crack or chip under extreme force.
Also, please remember, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain all caulked areas.