How to Maintain Ceramic Tile Showers
Simple Tips for Maintaining your Ceramic Tile
By Mark J. Donovan
A custom ceramic tile shower is a
luxury bathroom feature that many homebuyers highly value. With an unlimited
array of ceramic tile options and plumbing features, as well as the ability to
customize the shape and size of a ceramic tile shower it is no wonder why more
and more homeowners are forgoing the old fiberglass shower stall. However there
is more to a ceramic tile shower than building or owning one. Knowing how to
maintain a ceramic tile shower, and actually doing the maintenance, is critical
for ensuring its long term charm and looks.
Tile grout is made from water,
aggregates, and Portland cement and as a result it is porous. In addition,
some types of ceramic tile, particularly unglazed ceramic tiles are also
porous. Water left on ceramic tile shower walls and floors can penetrate
into the grout and these certain tiles, which inevitably leads to mold and
mildew growth. Once the mold and mildew take hold, particularly on the tile
grout, it becomes nearly impossible to remove it. Yes there are tile and
grout cleaners, both alkaline and acidic based that can remove much of the
mold and mildew stains, however in many cases the results are less than
Photo by Mark Donovan
And in the case of acidic based tile
and grout cleaners, they can literally eat away some of the grout.
Maintaining a Ceramic Tile Shower
To properly maintain a ceramic tile
shower there are two key things that you need to do. First, it is vital that you
wipe down the ceramic tile shower walls and floor after each use to remove any
water from them. You can do this with a towel and/or squeegee. If the water is
left on the shower walls and floor, it will soak into the grout and/or tile and
breed mold and mildew in short order.
The next item on the list for
maintaining a ceramic tile shower is to seal the tile and grout periodically.
This should be done when the ceramic tile shower is first installed and then off
and on every 1 to 2 years. Again, not all ceramic tile is porous. If your shower
is constructed using glazed tile you may only need to seal the grout lines. If
your ceramic tile is using unglazed ceramic tiles you may need to seal both the
tile and grout. To confirm if the tile needs to be sealed, dab a little water on
the tile and see if it turns a darker color. If it does, then you need to seal
the tile as well as the grout.
There are many different tile and
grout sealers on the market to choose from. Some are latex and acrylic based,
and others are mineral based. The mineral based ones have a strong smell, so I
would recommend using the latex or acrylic based tile and grout cleaners.
To seal ceramic tile and grout make sure that the ceramic tile shower is
thoroughly dry first. Note, it can take a week or more for a ceramic tile shower
to thoroughly dry. Also make sure you carefully read the instructions first on
the tile and grout cleaner packaging label before applying it. Typically to seal
ceramic tile and grout you use a rag or sponge to apply it to the tile and
grout. After applying it, wait just a couple of minutes before removing any of
the excess material with a damp rag and/or paper towels. You never want to let
the tile and grout sealer dry on the tile before wiping it off. It can be nearly
impossible to remove once it has dried on the tile.
So with these couple of tips you should be able to properly maintain your
ceramic tile shower and have it looking good for many years to come.
My Shower Pan Ebook for More Details: For a detailed set of
instructions on building a shower pan, including pictures and a detailed
cross-sectional view of the make-up of a shower pan, see my “Shower Pan Membrane
information on tiling a custom ceramic tile shower, see the
How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook
from HomeAdditionPlus.com. It provides detailed instructions for every
step in the process of tiling a custom ceramic tile shower and is loaded with
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