Cement tiles are one of the most popular materials on the market today. They wow with their many beautiful patterns and colors, and impress with their nearly unmatched durability and longevity. From floors to walls, cement tiles come with many benefits that outlast both ceramic tiles and hardwood floors.
While cement tiles have been proven to last many, many years, they still require the regular cleaning and occasional tile-specific maintenance to remain strong and beautiful. Follow our handy guide for cleaning and maintaining cement tiles, and you’ll be able to keep the original appearance and structure of your tiles for a very long time, with no fading, scratching, or cracking.
Cement tiles aren’t hard to maintain but they do require some basic cleaning and maintenance to keep their beauty and handmade charm. The first item of action is to mop your cement tiles on a regular basis using clean water and a neutral cleaning solution.
To keep cement tiles looking their best, make sure not to let any type of liquid sit on the tile surface. Clean up any spills immediately and dry the cement tiles completely with a clean cloth to prevent stains and permanent damage. Given that cement-like marble and other natural stone – is a porous material that absorbs liquids easily, over time, liquids like wine, soda, vinegar, and even water that is left to accumulate, can stain the tile.
One simple way to maintain cement tiles is to place mats near entrances to prevent the wear and tear of heavy footwear and usage.
For cement tiles in high traffic areas, or outdoors, you may need to refinish them more regularly to maintain their luster. Similar to natural stone, cement tiles can be refinished with a fine grit (e.g. 600) wet-dry sandpaper to remove a micro top layer to reveal a fresh layer of pigment below the surface.
Cleaning Dos and Don’ts
Cement tiles are built to last and will retain their luster if cared for appropriately. Follow these guidelines when cleaning up spills on your cement tiles:
- Sweep cement tiles daily to brush away dirt and debris
- Wash cement tiles weekly to monthly with water and mild pH-neutral soap to buff away any dried residue before it sets in and becomes a stain
- Never use an acid-based cleaning solution or bleach on cement tiles because they can wear away at the sealer and damage the surface of the tile
- Avoid using detergent because it can leave a residue on the tile that is difficult to clean and can attract dirt and debris
Even sealed cement tiles can stain if spills are not cleaned up right away and properly. Common stains are wine, coffee, salad dressings, sauces, food spills, and even water when left to sit on the tile surface and accumulate.
Stains are typically divided into the following categories:
- Organic substances: food, beverages, cosmetics, plants, and blood
- Naturally occurring substances: mildew, mold, fungus, and algae
- Grout and mortar residue
- Inorganic stains: rust and stains from different types of metals
- Oil-based: common cooking oils, grease, and body oil
- Paints and inks
Listed below are the most recommended methods for removing the different types of stains on cement tiles. Many messes can be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner. Deep set-in stains may not come out with a general cleaner. If an all-purpose cleaner is not working for you, try the suggestions listed below. Avoid using acids like bleach, vinegar, and citrus soaps to remove stains since they can wear away at the sealer and damage the tile surface.
Organic Stains (food, beverages, and bodily fluids)
- Poultice with hydrogen peroxide (To make this thick, stain-removing paste, mix unscented baby powder or talcum powder and 40% hydrogen peroxide. Soak an absorbent material like paper or cotton in your special poultice and let it sit on the stained spot to absorb the stain and pull it out.)
- Fine (600 grit) wet-dry sandpaper used with plenty of water, and clean cloths to mop up the water as you go
Naturally Occurring Stains (mildew, mold, and fungus)
- Liquid poultice solution (same as above)
- Scrub brush or fine wet-dry sandpaper (same as above)
Grout and Mortar Residue
- Clean water and a soft bristle brush
- Fine wet-dry sandpaper (same as above)
Inorganic Stains (rust and stains from different types of metals)
- Liquid poultice solution (same as above)
- As a last resort (and an exception to the acid rule): Oxalic acid, which is an acidic substance that specifically binds to metal ions and can remove tough rust stains. Use oxalic acid by itself in powder form or mixed with water. Wet the stained area and apply the acid using circular motions over the stain. Rinse and remove any acid or leftover residue. A sealer may need to be re-applied over the tiles cleaned with oxalic acid.
- Liquid poultice for concrete
- Hydrogen peroxide 35% for light colors
- Acetone or lacquer thinner for dark colors
- Household cleaner
- Mineral spirits
Re-Sealing Cement Tiles
Most cement tiles need to be resealed periodically (often every 2-3 years). Because there is a lot of information regarding different types of sealers, we will address this topic in a follow-up post.
Contact Granada Tile for Help with Maintaining and Designing Your Cement Tiles
If you already have a cement tile area that you want to maintain, don’t hesitate to contact our team of cement tile experts for hands-on advice.
If you are considering cement tiles for your next project, our design professionals will help you every step of the way to design and order your cement tiles. Browse through our beautiful collections to get inspired by the many shapes and designs, and look through our color palette to narrow down your favorite hues. You can also create your own custom cement tile designs, for any area of your home. Our design experts will guide you through the process.
Contact our team today for the best advice and professional help with maintaining and acquiring the most beautiful, artisan-made cement tiles!