When installed correctly and properly sealed, a tile and grout floor can last for decades, providing long-term value as an attractive durable surface.
But when mistakes are made, when grout lines are neglected or left unsealed, the appearance of tile and grout can deteriorate quickly, leaving surfaces looking dank and discolored.
A Catch 22
Returning the surface to a like-new condition and removing foul odors and stains often proves to be a difficult task, especially as cleaning staff ramp up their efforts to adequately clean and sanitize it. Workers often try to fix the issue with stronger cleaning chemicals, more abrasive scrubbing brushes or bristled attachments, even pressure washers, but more aggressive cleaning tends to weaken the grout further, causing additional deterioration. This, in turn, creates more holes or voids in the grout lines, allowing dirt and foul liquids to penetrate the grout itself, which (unless
it’s epoxy) is porous by nature. Because of this, those contaminants will leach into grout, leading to a dingy, darkened appearance and contributing to nasty smells and bacterial growth.
When this cycle of damage occurs, it’s wise to hire tile and grout professionals to correct the issue and restore the surface. As a Cleaning & Maintenance Management (CMM) Magazine article states, “Restoration maintenance is needed when the soils on the flooring get out of hand and when either routine or interim maintenance can no longer remove them.”
When damage has occurred and restoration is needed, it always begins with a deep cleaning and extraction of embedded contaminants to restore the surface to a pristine and sanitary condition. Once the surface is cleaned, damages can be addressed. This can be done in specific areas or across the entire surface.
Today’s market boasts a wide variety of products that make it a cinch to match existing grout colors. Or companies can regrout in a new color, transforming the entire look of a space with a simple style update.
Although regrouting is often done to correct damage and restore an attractive appearance, there are additional reasons why regrouting can be a wise investment. Grout lines act as mini water troughs, collecting debris, dirty liquids and cleaning chemicals. Because many mops are flat, these contaminants often get passed over during cleaning, remaining in grout lines to evaporate unless vacuumed out.
This, of course, leads to bacterial and chemical buildup. Reducing the depth of deep grout lines can alleviate this issue and make daily maintenance easier.
Many companies now opt for epoxy flooring or epoxy-based grout to eliminate porosity from their flooring and improve the sanitation of their surfaces, especially in education, food prep and healthcare settings.
“Mitigating infection is crucial to patient and worker health. With continuous hospital activity, floors can easily be overlooked and become the culprit for infections,” states a CMM Magazine article on Boosting Infection Control Through Floor Maintenance. “Choosing flooring that fits your facility’s specific needs, as well as regularly cleaning and sanitizing it, can help reduce the risk of infection throughout your health care facility.”
As Covid-19 has become a part of our daily language, minimizing the risk of infection has become extremely valuable beyond healthcare settings, so regrouting is certainly a good opportunity to upgrade sanitation and reduce the burden of daily maintenance.
And that’s a very good thing, because while a tile and grout surface from the 1960s may endure, we can’t say the same for its style.