Tips For Restoring Ceramic Tile

Posted on: 13 July 2015

Are you restoring an old home? If you've recently purchased a historic home, chances are you've come across dingy, stained and even damaged tile work. One option is to rip it all up and start fresh. However, many old homes feature beautiful antique tile work that it's impossible to replicate. Restore your existing ceramic style to enhance the historical and aesthetic value of your home instead.

Remove Stains from the Tile

The first step in restoring ceramic tile is getting it clean. To avoid scratching and damaging your antique tile, look for an acidic over an abrasive cleaner. Sweep away big debris, and tape off any area of paint. Mix the cleaner according to the package directions. After that, it's simply a matter of using a scrub brush and some elbow grease to remove stains from the tile. Once you've finished scrubbing, mop with fresh water to remove the cleaner from the surface.

Clean the Grout

Cleaning the grout is also going to take some elbow grease. You can clean the grout in conjunction with the tile or as a separate project. If you'd like to use a natural solution, Better Homes and Gardens suggests mixing a cleanser of two parts baking soda and one part water. For stained or discolored grout, it's necessary to replace the water with white vinegar for the acidity.

For either method, use a toothbrush to apply the cleanser to the grout lines. Let the paste sit for a few minutes, and then get down to the scrubbing. After rinsing the area with water, allow the grout to dry for a full 24 hours before applying a sealant to protect the areas from further stains.

Remove the Grout

If the grout is deeply stained with mold or cracked, it's necessary to actually replace it. This is a long and involved process as the old grout doesn't want to go anywhere. If you see persistent stains or cracks in the grout, it's advisable to call in the professionals.

Replace Damaged Tiles

In the case of cracked or broken tiles, it's possible to call in the tile cleaning professionals as well. However, tiles are actually a little simpler to replace than grout. First, use a flathead screwdriver to remove the grout. Next, tape the nearby tiles to prevent damage. Drill ¼-inch holes into the tile, and use the flathead screwdriver to remove the damaged tile. Apply tile adhesive to the area and to the back of the new tile, and center the tile in the area. Finally, grout around the area, finishing off with a grout sealer.

Before using any cleaning products on your antique tile, test a small, inconspicuous area. With some ingenuity and elbow grease, you can have beautiful antique tile work. 

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