How Do I Clean Grout?

Cementitious grout is porous – it can absorb a stain. Looked at under a microscope, there is a large surface area to absorb stains. For this reason, many owners choose to seal their grout – usually the better the sealer, the more the grout joint is protected. Even better, if epoxy grout is used, it is virtually as stain proof as the tile.

Removing stains from cementitious grout is similar to removing stains from clothing. The same cleaners you might use on clothes to get out a stain should also work on grout.

Keep in mind though, that grout is based primarily of cement and sand. Sand, like glass, is unaffected chemically by most cleaners. Cement is not – rather it is alkaline based and is dissolved by acids. As baking soda and vinegar react, so do grout and vinegar.
Accordingly, it is better to clean grout with an alkaline cleaner (Spic and Span, Mr. Clean, etc.) than an acid based cleaner. There are also specialty cleaners available at most tile retailers that are designed for tile and grout. There are also cleaners with enzymes that attack stains similar to enzyme pre-soaks for laundry.

The same cleaner that works on the grout generally will work well on the tile. In fact, since the tile is usually so easy to clean, the tile can often be cleaned with water.
Just a few more important points: As the grout can absorb the soap as well as a stain, do not clean with oil or wax based cleaners (Murphy’s Oil soap, Pine Sol, etc.). These products will leave a waxy or oily film in the grout. Even good alkaline cleaners, if not properly rinsed, will leave a sticky soap film. This usually attracts dirt. In fact, truly clean ceramic tile without any sticky soap film will stay very clean as tile does not tend to hold an electrostatic charge (which can attract some kinds of dirt).

The absolutely best way to clean grout is to apply the cleaner and then vacuum (“shop vac”) up the dirty water. This lifts the dirt off the joint. Apply rinse water and vacuum that water up. This lifts off any remaining soap film.

Just to mention it, there are tile installers that remove very stubborn stains on grout with an acid (like straight vinegar or a stronger acid). There they have elected to dissolve the top layer of grout molecules so the stain is no longer attached to anything. While this works, it is not recommended by the grout manufacturers – needing to regrout is sometimes the result. Also, extreme care should be used when handling any acids.

Should you be unable to get your grout clean through conventional methods, you may also want to try steam. Some stains that do not respond to conventional cleaners will come clean when subjected to pressurized steam. As a last resort, some installers elect to cut out the grout and regrout. This is possible although care must be taken to not damage or loosen the tile. Generally it is not possible to grout directly over the old grout without cutting the old grout out. The same contaminants that made the old grout dirty may prevent new grout from sticking properly.
Source: The Tile Council of North America

Updated Master Bath and Spa Bath

MODA Floors & Interiors Project Consultant: Tasha Elrod
Client: Paces Construction
Location: Atlanta

Goal: Remodel home for re-sale
What We Did:
• Master Bath Tile – Versailles 12×24 Natural Chateaux Ivoire Porcelain Tile that looks like marble, with Calacatta Gold Accent band and pencil in shower.
• Spa Bath – Travertine Mosaic Tile on walls and Versailles floor.
• Steps to Terrace Level – Fabrica Chinois Silver Sage Carpet with rubber pad.
Design Challenges:
Paces Construction brought in designer Barbara Shelton and MODA project consultant Tasha Elrod to update this William T. Baker designed home’s master bath and terrace spa areas. The newly refreshed spaces perfectly complement the architecture while matching the existing home, creating a seamless upgrade. Tasha also handled MODA carpet upgrades in several rooms, and a curved stairway to the terrace level.

Photos: Paces Construction

Does Your Kitchen Look Dated?

Photo: Daltile

Photo: Daltile

Nothing dates your home quite like style trends that ended long ago. To make your space look fresh, try incorporating new kitchen ideas. Here are some tips and ideas to help you get started.

Make a Statement with Your Backsplash

To make a bold statement, go with a backsplash that’s taller than average. Create a statement wall around your sink, or another area of the kitchen you want to emphasize. A wall and counter glazed tile shines and shimmers to reflect light and catch the eye, which is just what you want from a statement wall. A backsplash can serve as more than a material that protects the walls from kitchen splashes. It can also be an artistic element that stands out and adds a special touch.

Add the Simple Beauty of Rustic Style

Rustic charm adds a beautiful touch of warmth to any modern kitchen design. When paired with the gleam of stainless appliances, stone stands out. Luckily, instead of learning masonry, you can get the same gorgeous look with Brickwork tile. This tile looks like individual bricks that have been carefully mortared into place, but it has the easy maintenance of ceramic, cleans up easily, and stands up to wear and tear. Add the beauty of stone to your island, walls, countertops, or all of the above.

Give Your Room More Dimension with Texture

Three-dimensional design always creates a modern look, and a textured backsplash design can add a lot to your space. Metal accents can make your backsplash shine, and the 3-D design brings life and detail to the room. Choose accent tiles that are whimsical, elegant, or simple to express your personal style, and mix and match your tiles to create an amazing overall pattern.

Source: Daltile

How to Select the Floor You Need

Photo: Tarkett

Photo: Tarkett

Choosing a new floor is very exciting. You probably already have some ideas about the style you would like, but the following tips will help ensure you get the floor you want and need.

Floors can be installed over a variety of different surfaces:

  • Concrete, tiles, stone and marble – vinyl, laminate and wood
  • Wooden floor – vinyl, laminate and wood
  • Very short-pile carpet – vinyl, laminate and wood
  • Embossed vinyl – laminate and wood, but must be removed or covered for vinyl
  • Long-pile carpet – must be removed for all new floors

Which Floor for Which Room?

Entrance and Hallway – People coming and going will bring dirt and dampness into your home, putting special demands on this part of the floor. Choose a hard surface that can stand up to moderate dampness and is easy to clean.

Office – If keeping your office quiet for concentration and comfort is a top priority, you should consider floors with good acoustic properties. If you expect a lot of visitors, you’ll probably want a tough surface that won’t be easily damaged by office furnishings or heavy use. Floors with anti-static properties can be a wise investment if you use a lot of electrical equipment.

Kitchens –Spills and dropped food and equipment are a fact of life no matter how careful you are as a cook. Choose a floor that not only has good stain and traffic resistance, but that will also stand up to light moisture and repeated cleaning.

Bathrooms –Water makes the bathroom a challenging environment and you must be careful to select a floor that is water-resistant. In addition, for safety you’ll need to be sure that the floor won’t be slippery when it’s damp and that it will be easy to clean.

Bedroom –Your bedroom is often a very personal space so you’ll be looking at a wide range of decorative finishes. Don’t forget that looks are just part of the equation and that you’ll also want to be sure that it’s comfortable and warm for bare feet.

Kid’s Bedroom/Playroom –These bedrooms often have to accommodate a wide variety of play as well as sleep. To cope with active youngsters you’ll need a tough, practical floor that’s comfortable but also easy to look after and clean, and that will also help to keep noise levels down.

Living Room – You need a multi-purpose floor that reflects your style but can stand up to the challenge of a variety of activities. A tough surface that’s easy to clean and look after will reduce the time you need to spend keeping your living room looking good.

No one wants to spend every minute worrying about stains and cleaning. By choosing a floor that suits the area, you’ll cut down on the cleaning and general care you have to provide. You should also select a floor with the best possible surface protection.

Source: Tarkett

 

Hardwood Flooring Installation: Which is Best?

Photo: Bona

Photo: Bona

Hardwood floor installation is a project that can be done by seasoned professional contractors or by skilled “Do It Yourselfers” ambitious enough to attempt the job themselves. If you’re considering installing your own floor, be sure you understand the different types of hardwood floor installation. The subfloor you will be installing the new floor on may dictate which hardwood floor installation method you can use.

Nail/Staple Down

Hardwood floor installation using the nail-down method is typically used for solid wood flooring of ¾” thick strip or plank flooring to a wooden sub-floor. The flooring cleats are driven down through the tongue of the flooring and fasten securely in the sub-floor beneath.

Floating

A floating floor is engineered hardwood that is installed by attaching each board to the next without any adherence to the sub-floor. The boards are attached using a bead of glue on the tongue or by a click-together system. Floating floors are easier to install for a DIY project and can generally be installed over existing flooring such as tile or vinyl. When nailing or gluing flooring down, each board expands and contracts independently. On a floating system, the entire floor moves as one unit which will help reduce any cracks between boards in areas of fluctuating temperature/humidity levels. Floating floors can also be sanded dependent on how thick the wear layer is.

Glue Down

Glue is primarily used to attach hardwood flooring to fully cured and dry concrete substrates or wood when nailing is just not an option. Glue is also used as a sound reduction barrier and can help soften the transfer of noise when hardwood is installed in applications such as apartment buildings and high-rises. Hardwood that is installed using the nail down method can tend to have higher noise transfer between floors. Please refer to the flooring manufacturer for recommendations on installation.

Nail/Glue Down

In some cases when installing plank flooring 4” and wider, nailing and gluing the boards are recommended. Refer to the flooring manufacturer or the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association (NOFMA.org) for recommendations on installation.

If you’re looking for someone to install your hardwood floor, contact a Bona Certified Craftsman to explore your options. A Bona Certified Craftsman (like MODA Floors and Interiors) is a professional contractor specially trained in the Bona Floor Care System and can provide you with a wealth of experience and expertise concerning hardwood floors.

Source: Bona

Take Care of Glazed Ceramic Tile

Photo: daltile

Photo: daltile

Contaminants and spills on a glazed ceramic tile are, generally, easier to clean than most other unglazed ceramic and porcelain surfaces.

Glazed tile products should be cleaned routinely with an all-purpose, low VOC household or commercial cleaner. The product chosen should also be grout joint cleaning compatible. The type of product may vary depending on the tile application and use. A multipurpose spray cleaner, which removes soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew designed for every day use, can be used on wall tile areas in residential baths and showers.

The entire area should be cleaned and scrubbed with cleaner solution through the use of a cotton mop, cloth, sponge or non-metallic brush. The entire area should be rinsed with clean water to remove any cleaning solution residue. Remember that you should sweep or vacuum floor areas prior to cleaning to remove any dust or debris. Routine cleaners should never contain hazardous or polluting products including, but not limited to acids or ammonia. Acids can damage the grout and the glazed surface of the tile, and ammonia can discolor the grout.

Unglazed tile should be cleaned routinely with concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for safe regular use. These cleaners are better suited at removing grease, oils and normal spills from unglazed products. Again these products will vary depending on the application, amount of traffic and the use. The product chosen should also be compatible with cleaning the grout joints at the same time.

Source: daltile