Although Zerorez SoCal if famous for its zero residue, chemical-free and no soap carpet cleaning, our high pH empowered cleaning water also does wonders on tile and grout. So it’s always disappointing when we get a call like we recently did after a tile cleaning in Yorba Linda: They were disappointed with the results of their tile cleaning.
Piece of Cake
After having used our service on several occasions for their carpet cleaning, a client in Yorba Linda decided to have us come out to clean their kitchen and dining room tile. Our technician Matt took one look and knew the results were going to be spectacular. A piece of cake. He’s cleaned this type of floor many times before and each time it came out looking great. The floor was a porcelain tile with a sanded grout joint of about ¼ inch. Soil had built up over the years by virtue of cleaning product being mopped onto the tile and grout and never being rinsed off properly.
So after thoroughly pre-conditioning the floor, scrubbing the grout joints and giving the soil time to emulsify he fired-up the spinner (an indoor pressure washer that rinses the floor by flushing and vacuuming all the soil and water out to the waste tank of our van). The results were indeed spectacular. The tiles were white again and the grout joints had been returned to their original, light gray, color again. But wait, what are those shadow-like specs and discolorations?
As it turns out the tile floor, or to be more precise the grout had two problems that we had missed to point out before we started the cleaning project.
Discolored grout. Because of the soiling level of the grout it was impossible to detect before the cleaning, however after the cleaning it became very clear that certain tiles had been grouted with a different shade of gray.
Damaged grout. In this case there was a part of the floor where the tiles had been installed in such a manner that there were some hollow spots where water had penetrated and had loosened the grout. This also was not visible at the start of the project as the soil had obscured this to a great extent.
We call such issues pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, if not pointed out prior to the start of the cleaning job it tends to be perceived as an excuse. However, they are real issues that even the best cleaners can’t fix as they are not cleaning issues.
Disappointing cleaning results
To make a long story short, the tile cleaning in Yorba Linda didn’t go as planned, but the client understood what had happened and why her floor turned out the way it did. The cleaning itself was done to perfection, however it had exposed some pre-existing conditions that would need some additional work to fix. And that’s what they ended-up doing. A tile contractor was able to find a better matching grout color and re-grouted both the mismatched colored area as well as the damaged areas.
Two more pre-existing conditions to be aware of:
Besides the two issues we already covered there are two more conditions we encounter on a regular basis as we’re out cleaning many tile floors.
Cracked tiles. Although a cracked tile is easy to spot, we’ve found that a homeowner who’s been living with this cracked tile for many years somehow can turn a blind eye toward it. Somehow it tends to blend in until we clean it and expose it again.
Missing grout. This one falls into a similar category as the damaged grout does, however we’ve found that on certain tile installations where the grout line is relatively thin it’s not obvious that grout is missing until the entire floor gets cleaned and exposes areas of grout that still seem to be dirty. On closer inspection it turns out that there is missing grout that shows up as a darker area on the grout line.
Kitchen counters and shower walls and floors
So far we’ve covered tile and grout on the floor. Although we find a fair amount of pre-existing conditions there, kitchen counter tops and the area where the shower walls meet the shower floor are even more prone to pre-existing conditions.
In the case of kitchen counters we’ve found that older ceramic tile installations will suffer from severe degradation of the grout from years of aggressively cleaning with bleach, comet, ajax, etc. What appears to look dirty is actually the shadow of the degraded grout.
Not an issue cleaning can solve
And unfortunately there is no good cleaning answer to an issue that many of us face. That area where the shower wall meets the shower floor. Over time this will become discolored and cleaning doesn’t seem to help. What we’ve found is that it’s mold and mildew settling into the pours of the grout. Because these areas never fully dry out the only real solution here it to remove the grout and re-caulk the area,
If you’re ready to get your tile floors cleaned, please keep us in mind. However also be aware that we are not miracle workers and that there might be some pre-existing conditions present that we’ll do our best to point out prior to starting your cleaning project. You can reach us at 866-937-6739 or on the web at www.zerorezsocal.com.
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