Don’t Stress Over Tile Cracks – Here’s How You Can Replace a Cracked Tile

Tile is tough — but it isn’t indestructible. Cracks can occur if the installation method was not done properly. For example, sub floor movement can cause cracking as the wooden floor under the tile shifts, passing that stress through to the tile above. While a fairly common occurrence, the problem can be mitigated by using an underlayment membrane such as MAPEI’s Mapeguard UM. As a bonus, Mapeguard UM also provides waterproofing to the installed area.

 

Tile that is installed with “globs” of mortar or thin-set instead of fully back buttering the tile can cause cracking as the hollow areas under the tile are not supported and can break when weight is applied. In any case, tile cracks can occur at some point, and it’s handy to know how to fix the problem if they do.

 

The biggest challenge when faced with tile cracks is finding a matching replacement. You likely have a few leftover tiles from when you first had them laid (the reason you add the 10-15% extra to the original tile measurement). If not, visit Tiles Unlimited to find a good match for your tile and grout — we carry the largest tile selection in Queens and our experts can assist you in finding the best fit for both. If possible, bring in the box the tile came in or your purchase invoice to make matching the tile fast and easy.

 

  • Once you have a suitable replacement for your damaged tile, you can begin by carefully chipping out the grout with a small chisel and hammer. Removing the grout first will allow you the space around the cracked tile to avoid damaging the ones around it. Make sure you wear safety glasses and gloves for protection.
  • Next, chip the tile away carefully with the same chisel and hammer, starting from the center of the tile and working your way out to the four sides. Take your time and do your best not to pry against the surrounding tiles so that you don’t accidently chip or crack them too!
  • Use a floor scraper to properly remove any extra bits of tile or mortar that are stuck to the subfloor. Ensure the area is clean and smooth to form a flat, clean surface for your new tile.
  • Apply polymer modified thin-set such as MAPEI’s Ultraflex 2 to the floor using the appropriately sized trowel, as well as fully back butter the back of the new tile. Set the new tile in the appropriate position. Allow it to set for the required time (usually 24 hours) and then mix and apply matching grout between your new tile and the surrounding ones.
  • Avoid walking on your new tile for at least 24 hours after grouting.

Make Your Tiles Look Showroom New

Impossible Marks on Your Porcelain Floor?

Porcelain tiles are the most frequently used materials for floors, because they are very practical, but if not adequately maintained, they could easily get dirty. The tiles often have a fine layer of residual grouting or concrete, which can only be eliminated with specific products that do not harm the material. Ordinary, often harsh, household cleaners are not up to the task. Tiles Unlimited recommends DETERDEK and CR-10, from Fila Solutions; the ideal products for cleaning floors that were not thoroughly cleaned after installation or that have only recently been installed.

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Thanks to its acid-based formula, it effectively removes building site dirt without harming metal profiles. Let’s take a look at how to use it properly: first wet the floors, then dilute DETERDEK in water and apply this solution a few meters at a time, waiting 2-3 minutes and then rubbing hard with a flat brush. At this point, the floor can be rinsed with plenty of water.

If your surface has tiles with epoxy grouting, use FILACR10, the cleaner for epoxy residues ideal for walls and floors in porcelain and glazed ceramic tiles as well as glass mosaics. Its viscous formula makes it the ideal product for washing vertical surfaces and it also works on larger, old residues.

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DETERDEK can also be used to combat efflorescence or ‘white spots’ on your outdoor tile. The white substance forms a powder-like coating made up of soluble salts and moisture, which migrate to the surface, evaporate and leave a salt deposit behind. As well as affecting porous masonry, efflorescence can also migrate through a grout joint, so it’s a problem that can affect both natural stone and ceramic installations.

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Sealing and Enhancing Stone Floor Tiles

When a newly installed stone floor doesn’t look up to scratch, the tiles are often blamed. Many mistakenly believe that the tiles are inferior in some way, or that there is an issue with the installation. More often than not, it comes down to one small thing; a poor initial cleaning. After a stone floor has been installed, it should always be cleaned thoroughly, using a quality pH-neutral detergent – like FILACLEANER – not just with a bucket of warm water! It takes a bit longer but it can make or break an installation.

If you use water alone, you’ll effectively be sloshing manufacturing dust, dirt and grout residues across the surface of the tiles. Once the floor is dry, the film of residue – or grout haze – will become visible. Then, when you seal the tiles, this residue will become sandwiched between the tile’s surface and the sealant. As well as ruining the look of the installation, it will also store up problems for the future: The sealant won’t be able to absorb properly into the tile, so its performance will be compromised. Dirt will be built-up on the surface more quickly, making the problem even worse.

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To avoid these problems, always ensure that the floor is cleaned properly after installation with a pH-neutral cleaner such as FILACLEANER as it is safe to use on all natural materials including stone.

Fila Maintenance: Best Tile Cleaning & Protection Products

FILA-logoThe latest here at Tiles Unlimited is our proud involvement with an outstanding company called Fila. Their surface preparation and maintenance products sell in over 60 countries. With high quality standards and constant research to achieve only the most effective products, they are recommended by the highest manufacturers in the wall and floor covering industry. Fila’s reputable product line allows us as retailers to feel 100% confident in helping our customers properly protect and maintain their tile investments for the long run. Tiles Unlimited not only provides a full range of ceramic tile and all of the necessary before-and-after-installation products, but with Fila we are also able to provide continued support far beyond the customer’s tile purchase.

In this particular blog post we will introduce our Fila cleaners. Look for future blog posts regarding our Fila sealers and Fila stain removers.

Fila cleaner detergents clean all surfaces effectively and safely with due care. They can be used to safely remove grout haze, dirt and related materials from installation, efflorescence, oxidation from previous treatments, as well as all types of stains: oily, greasy, organic and colored. Fila cleaners know no boundaries. They act as stone tile cleaners, marble cleaners and granite counter top cleaners.

Simple to use and made to have a pleasant and fresh fragrance, they are guaranteed to always leave satisfactory results.

The four FILA cleaners we carry are as follows:

1). Fila Neutral Cleaner: the perfect everyday floor cleaner.

-Safe – Ph Balanced Formula; can use on all surfaces

-1 capful per gallon of water is all you need.

-Ideal cleaner for natural stone.

-Should be used in place of supermarket cleaners (which actually are harmful to tile and alter the tile finishes!)

2). Fila Deterdek: best cleaner for initial wash after installation.

-Acid-based Formula (not for natural stone)

-Grout haze remover

-Cleaner that even removes rust stains

-Must be done 72 hours after grouting

3). Fila PS/87-for heavy duty, aggressive cleaning (do not use on natural or polished stone)

-Heavy duty alkaline cleaner

-3-in-1 solution: tile stain remover, tile detergent and tile wax remover.

-Perfect for removal of spot stains on tile like wine and coffee.

-Excellent for epoxy grout haze removal.

4). Fila Refresh-ideal solution for routine care of tops. This is how to clean granite counter tops.

-2-in-1 dual action: cleans tile & seals tile (renews tile protection)

-Easy to use; simply spray and wipe

-Should replace your everyday supermarket cleaning spray; Fila Refresh does not release toxic substances or remove the polish from your granite countertops. (If you’re wondering why your granite appears duller from when it was first installed, it’s because regular cleaners from the supermarket are removing the polish!)

We look forward to assisting you in your tile and countertop cleaning, maintenance and sealing endeavors! Remember, we have all maintenance products in stock, so feel free to stop on by for a quick pick up of what you need!

Visit our Maintenance & Sealers page on our website to view all related products. We strongly suggest that you give us a call to determine which product will work best for your situation. Tiles Unlimited is happy to be of assistance!

Look forward to hearing from you soon!

How Do I Care for My Tiled Floor?

In order for your Queens based home to remain safe and clean, it is important that, as a homeowner, you make sure to spend some amount of time, every few days, towards general home upkeep. Homes with large numbers will naturally experience heavy traffic, especially in areas like the kitchen, dining room and living room. Failure to keep the flooring clean, can lead to increased dust and bacteria build-up, which may endanger the health of residents, and more so those that have allergies.

Caring for your tiles

Fortunately, for you, there are a number of simple measures you can institute to ensure that your tiled floors remain clean. While vacuuming your floor is certainly one of the most effective ways to remove dust, it might not be enough to clean up sticky stains on floors. A good way to tackle floor stains is to use chemical sealants or powders. However, before using these sealants, it is always advisable to test their effectiveness by applying them to a small area first.

Once you have vacuumed and used sealants or scouring powders, you should make sure to use a wet mop to wipe up your tiled floor. It is avoidable to use acidic, bleach-based, or colored chemicals for routine mop ups, as they have the capacity to damage your tile over time. Moreover, if you have found that one or more floor tiles have become damaged over time, you should call a professional company to replace them, rather than attempting to do so yourself.

Floor Tile Cleaning in Queens

How to Clean Mosaic Floor Tiles

Mosaic floor tiles are a popular choice amongst most new homeowners as they are unique, diverse and stylish. However, they are prone to grime settlement and can become very dirty if not cleaned regularly. With small everyday practices, you can maintain your mosaic floors just like new. A good way to maintain your Queens home’s mosaic floor tile setting is vacuum cleaning. In many cases, dust and grime settles between the tiles and can look worse when you use a broom or brush. Vacuum cleaning can effectively remove this dust and dislodge particles.

1216_Level Pure Living Room

Thorough cleaning with soap and acid

Mosaic floors can be easily cleaned with soap solution and thorough scrubbing. You can use any standard detergent or soap and scrub difficult areas with a toothbrush. After you have cleaned the floor tile with soap solution, wash it off with water. After it has dried, you can apply wax polish and buff it with a clean piece of cloth. You can also use acid in a 1:80 ratio with water and clean the mosaic floor. It is important to ensure that acid is being used in small quantities as you could risk damaging the surface of the mosaic.

Simple home remedies for mosaic floors

You can use baking soda to clean your mosaic floor tiles. Mix baking soda in a bucket of water and let it settle on the mosaic floor for about 15-20 minutes. Use a toothbrush to scrub difficult areas till they are clean and rinse it thoroughly with warm water. You can use a sponge that is dipped in the solution to apply it to the floor.

What Types of Tiles Need to be Sealed?

3337_FILA MP90Tile floors and walls are a common sight in Queens or Long Island houses, not just because it looks appealing, but also because of its durability and easy maintenance. Despite that, there are some guidelines that you need to adhere to, if you want your tiles to be low-maintenance. Tiles fend off various pollutants daily to keep up their appearance and one of the most common and damaging pollutants of them is moisture and water. Tiles are able to provide resistance to the seepage and absorption of water, lending long life of your floor and masonry.

2835_sealerSome tiles need to be sealed to acquire that property of resistance to absorption. Most ceramic and porcelain tiles are naturally resistant to moisture; therefore don’t require sealing (with the exception of some types). But other stone tiles like granite, marble, slate, travertine etc. require sealing to be completely resistant to moisture. The best way to know about the sealing requirements of the tiles on your floor, countertops or walls, is to ask the Tiles Unlimited vendor about it right away, when you are making your purchase.

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Another important thing for you to remember is the fact that your tile floor has two parts: tiles and grout. While some kinds of tiles don’t require sealing (most ceramic and porcelain tiles fall under that category), grout, being naturally porous, does require sealing. Most floor installers skip sealing grout because of its need to be cured first.

To ensure the best sealing jobs and technical assistance regarding tile flooring and other residential/commercial masonry, and their installation/maintenance in Queens or Long Island, contact Tiles Unlimited.