How to Clean Freshly Laid Tiles
How to Clean Freshly Laid Tiles – The builder cleaner way.
There are many different types of tiles that can be used when constructing a building. Porcelain and Ceramic tiles are the most commonly used tiles for their cost effectiveness and durability. Then there are the natural stone varieties such as Marble and Travertine which are used for their aesthetic qualities on high end projects. Regardless of the type of tile it’s important to know how to clean them to ensure they look their best come handover time.
Cleaning tiles on a builder’s clean can either be simple and quick or a more demanding and lengthy process depending on what condition they are presented to the cleaner in. The workmanship of the tiler and the presence or absence of floor protection can drastically affect the time it takes to get the tiles back to their original condition. Unprotected floors can have paint, glue and other materials on them that can prove difficult to remove without causing damage. The use of a substandard tiler can further add to the challenge by leaving behind excessive amounts of grout and grout haze.
The Cleaning Process
Before cleaning the tiles it’s important to identify what exact type of tile you are working with. The majority of the time it will be either Ceramic or Porcelain, however it always pays to check with the builder so that you are using the correct cleaning methods to avoid causing damage. The main danger when cleaning tiles is the incorrect use of acid based cleaners. Ceramic and Porcelain tiles can generally handle an acid wash whereas Calcite containing stone such as Marble and Travertine will be etched which is a situation no cleaner wants to find themselves in! Once you’ve identified the tile, test the appropriate cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area.
The steps below should be followed in their entirety for “worst case” tile cleans. Tiles that have had the grout cleaned properly by the tiler and protected by the builder, may only need steps 1 and 5. Tiled walls generally only require steps 1 and 5.
- Remove the dust and debris
Vacuum floors to remove dust and debris using a bristle floor tool to avoid damage. For walls you can either use a vacuum dusting attachment, a dry flat mop or a series of microfiber towels.
- Scrub with clean water
If the floors are heavily soiled then it’s wise to give the tiles a pre clean with warm water. Saturate the tiles with a moderate amount of water and agitate the dirt with a brush or floor scrubber. A grout brush is also recommended to help clean out the grout lines .Use a wet vacuum to extract the water.
- Remove any paint, glue etc
Now that the tiles have been pre cleaned you will be able to more easily see if there is any paint, glue etc that needs to be removed. For paint and glue spots first try to remove with a plastic scraper and damp microfiber towel. Failing that a razor scraper or paint removing chemical can be used. However before proceeding ensure that you test in an inconspicuous area or on a spare tile to confirm if it will cause damage or not.
- Remove grout haze – Ceramic and Porcelain
If grout haze is present on Ceramic and Porcelain tiles after the pre clean then a specialized tile and grout cleaner can be used to remove it. Traditional acids such as Hydrochloric should be avoided due to it’s toxic fumes and corrosive properties when the vapours come in contact with metals. Your local cleaning supply store should be able to direct you to products that are far safer and less corrosive for grout haze removal.
When applying the tile and grout cleaner ensure that the room is well ventilated and that gloves and eye protection are worn. If the ventilation isn’t great then a mask is a good choice to reduce the smell and fumes. Dilute the chemical to the lowest suggested ratio with clean water and spray or mop onto the floor. For application to walls simply apply spray on and clean with a sponge or brush. Agitate the solution with a brush or floor scrubber. Strengthen the mixture slightly if haze still persists. Once the haze has been removed, extract with a wet vacuum. Wipe down all metallic surfaces with a neutral cleaner as a precaution to prevent corrosion or staining.
Remove grout haze- Natural Stone
For grout haze present on natural stone contact your local cleaning supply store to find a product suitable for grout haze removal on acid sensitive stone types.
- Final Mop
Once the tiles are free from grout haze and any other paint spots etc it’s now time for a final mop. Either a flat mop or string mop can be used. Spray or mop on a neutral floor cleaner to finish off the process. For walls wipe down with clean microfiber cloths.
Cleaning new tiles on a builders clean can be one of the most challenging aspects of the job. The technician can be faced with multiple obstacles standing between them and a sparkling clean set of tiles. Having the correct tools, knowledge and experience will prove the difference between great and mediocre results. For a cleaning team that you can depend on every time, look no further than Lighthouse Cleaning Services. We work with Adelaide builders to make sure their projects are handed over on time and looking their best!