Jason Mackenzie is the proprietor of Perth Home Cleaners, a reputed and reliable firm that specializes in cleaning carpets and rugs.
Tile and Grout: A Lifelong Relationship
Tiling accrues multiple benefits in the long run: style, durability and cleanliness, to name a few. That said, there is another factor that has made a significant contribution to the growing popularity of tiles- versatility.
Gone are the days when tiles were limited to kitchens and bathrooms. Nowadays, it is a fad to have tiles in living rooms, foyers, hallways and even countertops, thanks to their durability, ease of maintenance and style; not to mention their high aesthetic appeal. With tiles, you can exercise your creativity and choose material, colours and designs as per the décor and purpose of the room.
However, you should take note of the fact that tiling also involves the formation of grout, and both have an important role to play in creating the overall impression of your space. Therefore, as a homeowner, you must pay equal attention to the cleaning of tile and grout.
Types of Tile Spacers
Like tiles, spacers are also available in a variety of options ranging from a traditional plastic cross, to a spacer with a knob on top to facilitate the ease of placement and removal. Because spacers can be washed, it is possible to reuse them over and over again for every tiling project.
Facts About Tile Spacers
- The purpose of spacers is to ensure that tiles appear proportionate.
- Traditional sizes for tile spacers range between 1/4-inch and 1/16-inch.
- Commonly chosen spacers measure 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch.
- 1/2, 3/4 and 1/8 are some of the other sizes that are used.
- There is no golden rule in regards to the size of spacers that should be used during tiling. It depends on multiple factors.
Spacing Between Tiles
No matter which type of tile you choose, it's essential to ensure that the tiles are laid evenly in a straight line with uniform spacing between them. To this effect, the importance of spacing cannot be stressed enough because it has a direct bearing on the final outcome. Not only should you determine the amount of space between your tiles, but also the grid along which the tiles should be laid.
There are several factors that need to be taken into account while determining the space between tiles and primary among them is the size of the individual tile. Once you have ascertained the dimensions of the tiles, the next step is to gauge the spacing between them so that the need to cut or resize is minimal. It will be easier to lay down tiles without requiring too many small pieces or fillers along the edges and across the layout.
Likewise, in the case of an uneven floor, space between tiles should be reduced as much as possible so that the grout remains in its place and you do not have to re-grout within short intervals. Tile spacers are tools that enable you to adjust the space between tiles and ensure that they are aligned correctly as per the pattern or design. Spacers also come in a variety of sizes and it is imperative on your part to identify one that would be best suited for your project.
Why Is Tile Spacing Important?
If you have opted for tiling with the intention of acquiring trendy interiors, then it is all the more important that the task should be handled with care and proficiency. Paying attention to the spacing between the tiles is one way of accomplishing this objective. The spacing has a significant fall-out on related aspects like the size of tiles to be used, number of tiles required and their alignment.
While spacing between tiles might seem insignificant at first, no homeowner should make the mistake of ignoring it. Here's why:
- It is only after having ascertained the space between tiles that you must start cutting as per specific dimensions. This would serve to avoid excessive cutting and enable you to curb wastage.
- Spacing would enable you to ensure that your tiles follow a certain grid and this, in turn, would automatically lead to a symmetrical outcome.
- Courtesy of using spacers throughout the area, the resulting grout will also be consistent in terms of width, thus imparting a neat look even in the corners.
Application of spacers would ensure that your tiles would fall in a straight line and there would be no requirement of fillers even along the edges of the room.
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Tools for Cleaning Grout
No matter which type of tile you use, the inclusion of grout is a must. What might vary is the way in which it is applied.
Grout is obtained by adding cement to a mixture of water and sand and it is regarded as being the perfect material to hold tiles together and fill the void between them. Usually, the level of grout is slightly lower than that of tiles and this explains why it is prone to collect dirt and grime. While it is possible to add a layer of protection to the grout by incorporating a sealer, the shield is effective only for a short duration.
Over a period of time, grout appears as a crisscross of dark lines; courtesy of stains, spills and dust having gathered in the crevices and this, in turn, shrouds the tile floor in dullness. Noting how imperative it is to clean tile and grout regularly, you would do well to be aware of appropriate tools for the exercise so your results are truly effective and long-lasting.
Small Grout Brush
Designed to be larger and wider than a normal toothbrush, it is particularly useful in scrubbing out dirt from narrow lines and corners that may otherwise seem inaccessible. Unlike a toothbrush, the small grout brush comes with stiff bristles that may be curved or U-shaped, and hence are well-suited to remove not just dirt, but grime and stubborn oil stains too.
Given that every house has its share of tricky twists, turns and corners, including this brush in your grout cleaning arsenal is a must.
Cleaning Grout Using a Power Tool
Triangle-Shaped Grout Brush
Slightly bigger than the small grout brush, there are three faces to this brush. Two serve as grips for holding, and the third features stiff bristles. What renders them truly convenient is the provision for attaching handles to grips, which means that you can use them to scrub grout without going down on your hands and feet. This would also serve to enhance their reach although some far-flung corners might still be inaccessible.
This grout-cleaning brush is not just the most flexible but is also regarded as being the most efficient. The flexibility of this brush is attributed to the provision of attachments, like a sponge, scouring pad, roller brush and so on, and to the adjustment mechanism of its handles- thanks to the pole can be lengthened or shortened as per the requirement. The source of power in this grout-cleaning brush is a battery that lasts for about 30 minutes per stretch. After this, it would need to be recharged or replaced.
Professional Grout-Cleaning Brush
At first glance, these might resemble mops and brooms but closer examination would reveal thinner and narrower heads which render this brush perfect for cleaning grout under tables and chairs not to mention behind fixtures like a toilet seat or a cabinet.
Some of the options offered under this category include a brush with V-shaped bristles for extracting stubborn grime and grease and a two-sided brush wherein one side is designed to clean grout and the other side is meant for cleaning tiles.
Types of Tiles
As one of the oldest forms of flooring in the world, tiling has evolved over the decades with the result that today there are several different types to choose from, like ceramic, porcelain, limestone and so on. With so many options, it is natural for a homeowner to feel overwhelmed and confused while picking tiles for his home.
Below, you will find a brief overview of some of the common types of tile, compiled with the intention of rendering the decision-making process easier for you.
Regarded as being the softest material, ceramic is a popular choice among homeowners courtesy of its versatility. Because it is made by baking a mixture of clay and water, it is particularly prone to cracks, chips and scratches. Also, it is more likely to get stained than other types, due to its high absorbency of components.
On the flip side, ceramic tiles come in a wide array of colours and patterns so there is something for everyone in this segment.
Although this type of tile is also based on clay, it is comparatively much denser and more durable than ceramic tile. Porcelain tiles are also resistant to stains, scratches and chips, so it is regarded as being most well-suited for high-traffic areas. Owing to their inherent characteristics, porcelain tiles need less maintenance compared to their ceramic counterparts. This rule is just as applicable to their grout.
Porcelain tiles could be thorough-bodied or glazed and while the former is an ideal option for a commercial location, the latter is often the first choice of residential dwellers.
Economical and convenient, vinyl tiles are the easiest to install and can even be stuck and peeled if the surface permits. For homeowners who are short on budget, these are perfect as long as they are not applied to areas that require hard tiling.
These are most effective on floors and walls wherein reflection forms an important part of the ambiance. Courtesy of their glossy finish and flat surface, they can add glamour to an otherwise normal countertop and provide a distinct outline to mosaic patterns. However, glass tiles require high maintenance since even a tiny smear or a single chip can spoil the entire back-splash effect that they are meant to provide.
Natural Stone Tiles
Granite, marble, limestone and slate are some of the common varieties of natural stone that are used for tiling floors, walls and counter-tops.
Travertine is an exotic type of natural stone tile that is characterized by consistent patterns and does not demand much maintenance. Homeowners prefer this type of tile since it has been known to have a positive impact on the resale value of a property owing to its durability and aesthetic appeal.
Latest in this category are metal tiles that lend a contemporary touch to any décor and require minimal maintenance. While these are a good match for stainless steel utensils, they come in copper and bronze finishes too, thus enabling the user to add a touch of color to an otherwise sterile décor.
Don't Overlook the Importance of Tiling and Grout Styles
Any decision that you take pertaining to the interior of your home should conform to contemporary benchmarks, and tile and grout are no exception to this rule. Knowledge regarding the types of tiles and how to clean grout would go a long way in ensuring that your investment yields long-term returns.
Spacing is an aspect of tiling that many homeowners make the mistake of overlooking often to regret later when the tiles have been wrongly laid or appear clumsy due to many fillers. Learning about spacing and the difference that it can make should be a priority for every homeowner since it can accrue multiple benefits in terms of time, material and expenses.
These are aspects of tile and grout which may not be apparent immediately but their cognizance could prove to be instrumental in defining the success of the project.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2017 Jason Mackenzie
Louise89 on November 25, 2019:
Awesome information, thank you so much for the tips!
Jason Mackenzie (author) from Perth WA 6000 on March 31, 2017:
Thanks Shelley!! Truly appreciate!!!
email@example.com on March 31, 2017:
Great Article. Very helpful. I am sending it to my husband who is often fixing, sealing, cleaning the grout in our tiles!