Ceramic tile countertops, especially if they are made of glazed ceramic tiles, are hard to stain because they have a natural sealant that makes them stain-proof. Ceramic tile countertops that are made of unglazed tiles can be applied with a penetrating sealer to shield, protect, and make them stain resistant. The penetrating sealers are invisible and would not affect the color of the tiles. While ceramic tiles are generally stain-resistant, the grout that holds and seals the tiles in place are susceptible to staining because it is soft and porous. It can get stains from food, water, and other liquids. Applying a grout sealant can make the grout become stain-resistant.
Cleaning ceramic tile countertops
Ceramic tiles are easy to clean. Spills, dirt, and dust can easily be cleaned with a sponge and dishwashing liquid dissolved in water. Spills that stick to the surface can be removed with vinegar. Avoid using acid-based cleaners because they can discolor the tile surface over time. Do not use abrasive sponges because they can scratch the surface, too.
Make sure to clean the grout properly because the build-up of food allows molds, mildew, and bacteria to develop. Use a soft toothbrush to clean the grout joints. You can also use dishwashing liquid mixed with water to take the stains out.
Sealing ceramic tiles
Sealing the grout should be done to prevent it from absorbing moisture and bacteria from developing. It also makes the grout stain-resistant and prevents from discoloring. However, sealing does not prevent the build-up of dirt, so it is still important to clean and brush the grout regularly even when it has been sealed.
Sealing must be done after the grout has cured upon the installation of the ceramic tile countertop. Curing usually takes a week or two depending on what is suggested in the grout mortar package instructions. Some applications and products recommend damp curing. The best type of grouts to use for ceramic tile countertops are the latex modified grout and the epoxy grout. Always follow the manufacturerâs advice regarding the use of sealants. The mixture and the application period should be indicated in the instructions.
Re-grouting may be necessary when your grout joints have significantly discolored from use and abuse, or if they have cracked due to heating and cooling. When re-grouting, you should thoroughly clean the tiled installation prior to applying new grout. A razor knife can be used to scrape the excess thinset or adhesives out of the joints. For some grout products, it is a good idea to moisten the joints with water before applying the grout to allow it to flow smoothly into the joints. However, do not leave a puddle of water in the joints before grouting. Always check the instructions in the manual if there is any pre-moistening advice.