Tiles are a simple and highly attractive solution for walls, floors and other surfaces, but they do need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them in tip top condition.
Maintaining Your Tiled Floor
Make good use of rugs or mats in heavy footfall areas and external entrances, in order to minimise potential damage to floor tiles in these areas.
Dry sweep your tiled floor on a daily basis, clearing away dirt or grit which could scratch the tiles.
Once a week, use a mild, diluted cleaning solution to wet or damp mop the floor. Many people find it helpful to use a steam cleaner once in a while, to help loosen any ground-in dirt.
Maintaining Tiled Walls and Surfaces
Wipe tiles down daily with a damp cloth, and make regular use of a pH neutral cleaning product. If it's a cleaning solution you haven't used before, test a small inconspicuous area first to ensure that it's suitable.
An occasional wipe over with a homemade solution of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda will help to remove any buildup from cleaning products which may be affecting the shine of your tiles.
If your tile grout becomes mouldy, use a toothbrush and a grout cleaning product to scrub away the stains; the longer you leave them, the worse they'll get!
Even with the best maintenance and cleaning, accidents do happen and tiles can chip or break. Fortunately, it's easy to make minor tile repairs with just some basic equipment.
How to Repair a Small Chip in a Tile
If the chip is tiny, you may be able to get away with applying a sneaky dab of nail polish in a matching colour. Slightly bigger chips can be filled with epoxy glue and then sanded down, before being painted with matching tile paint.
How to Replace a Broken Tile
If the crack or break is too big or too obvious to be camouflaged as above, then you may have to remove the whole tile.
There are various ways to remove a broken tile. The fastest way is to simply cover the tile with a cloth and break it with a hammer. Make sure you are wearing goggles for this, and be very careful not damage surrounding tiles.
Then you can scrape away the adhesive, and vacuum the space to ensure that no dust and dirt gets behind the new tile. Apply adhesive to the replacement tile and set it in place. Once set, apply grout (you can buy small tubes of grout intended for minor repairs) and then wipe away the excess.
If you don't want to smash the broken tile, use a tile cutter to cut around it, effectively separating it from its neighbours. Next, heat the tile by pressing an iron against it; this will help to loosen its adhesive. Eventually, you will be able to pry the tile away from the wall; then proceed as above to fix the replacement tile in place.