Mosaic tiles are a style of flooring and wall decoration that is steeped in centuries of rich history, and their popularity shows no signs of waning – even in 2013. They’re a stylish option for contemporary and classic designs alike, whether used as a splashback in a kitchen, as wall tiles in a bathroom or as a unique flooring choice for an outdoor area.
Whatever you choose mosaic tiles for in your home, they’re a fantastic addition – that is, so long as you look after them. Mosaic tiles are just like any other form of tile in that they need regular cleaning and maintaining to ensure they’re well-kept and will stand the test of time.
Due to their small size and range of materials available, mosaic tiles can be particularly susceptible to neglect and poor cleaning techniques – so here are some key ways to achieve a flawless mosaic tile, without risking any damage.
Always Apply Sealant – Especially Outdoors! - Waterproof sealant is a vital part of any tiling process, especially when being used in frequently damp areas like bathrooms or outdoor areas. After you’ve laid the tiles and filled the joints with a good quality grout, it’s always best to treat both the tiles and the grout with a waterproof sealant. This prevents the tiles and joints taking on water when it rains/in a steamy bathroom/next to a kitchen sink, which stop mould appearing and damp affecting the adhesive and structure of the tiles. Sealant is particularly important when working with natural stone, as it is a porous material and often comes unfinished.
Always Wipe Down With Soapy Water - As well as giving your tiles a regular wipe down with soapy warm water, you should always thoroughly wipe them down with this simple solution after using any cleaning products or chemicals. Even if the products you’ve used are friendly for tiles, grouts and sealants, it’s still worth wiping the slate clean (for want of a better phrase). This way you ensure that there is no residual product left over that could cause damage to your tiling if left on for a long time. It’s also a good idea to wipe your tiles dry afterwards, to avoid water spots or stains from appearing on the tile surface.
Regularly Clean Grout To Avoid Mould Build-Up - Tile grouting can be a real magnet for dirt, damp and mould, so regular cleaning is always an absolute must. This is even more true when it comes to mosaic tiling; their small individual tile size means that there is more grout, and more grout means more scope for damp and mould to take hold. Using a specialist grout cleaner (there are some great, really cheap products out there) and a sponge (and/or toothbrush if the grim is particularly bad), get right in the grout joints to ensure they’re spotless and step back and admire your bright clean tile grout. Don’t let damp take hold; give a little elbow grease to make sure your tiles don’t deteriorate.
Avoid Acidic Substances & Homemade Cleaners - It can be really tempting to avoid going down to your local DIY shop and sifting through shelves full of specialised cleaning products, and instead concoct your own homemade cleaning solutions. In reality, though, tiled surfaces require special treatment regardless of their material – whether it’s ceramic or porcelain, natural stone or glass. A lot of ‘recipes’ for homemade tile cleaners include vinegars; often white vinegar. This is perhaps one of the most harmful substances to tiled flooring – its acidic nature can mean it works wonders in a number of other applications, but can potentially damage and eat away at the grouting in between the tiles. It’s also been known to etch away at marble surfaces. To avoid ruining your tiling, grout or the effectiveness of your sealants, leave the vinegar on your food and grab a bottle of specialist tile cleaning product.