WHITE RESIDUE, STAINS ON TILES
Efflorescence is white residue stains that appear on the surface of tiles and is caused by minerals in water that penetrate underneath stone or tiles. Don’t waste time and money on the wrong cleaning product. Identifying the source of the efflorescence and addressing the leak will save you time and money if its completed by specialised technician.
MILKY, CLOUDY SURFACE ON TILES
A cloudy appearance on tiles often means the wrong cleaning product has been used for that type. In more serious cases, a milky appearance on tiles can be the result of the incorrect sealer being applied to tiles, or a sealer has been applied to non-porous tiles. In these situations, the offending sealer must be stripped by an experienced operator. Serious, permanent damage can be caused to tiles and grout by using the wrong products.
STAINED, DIRTY FLOOR GROUT
All grout is a porous, and stains instantly and often permanently. Believe it or not, stained or dirty grout is often caused by the cleaning process. As the grout joints sit lower than the tiles, dirt and other contaminants are pushed into the grout joints during the process or scrubbing or mopping tiles.
In damp areas, such as showers and bathrooms, the penetration of grime into the porous grout becomes a breeding ground for mould and bacteria. The solution is to have the grout sealed by a professional, who can advise of the right sealing solution for your tiles and situation.
MOULD IN SHOWER / LEAKING SHOWERS
Shower and bathroom mould growth is probably the most common, annoying and frustrating tile-related problem. Wet and high humidity areas with poor ventilation provide the perfect breeding ground for mould, and soap residue and body oils also create a food source for mould to grow.
Mould growth in showers is often caused by a leak somewhere in the recess. Even a small hole in the grout, failed seals or cracks in the shower corners quickly lead to water build-up and mould ingress.
Once mould develops in porous grout joints, no amount of scubbing with caustic chemicals will resolve the problem – at least not any longer than a week. In fact, the use of mould-killing chemicals actually damages the grout by disintegrating or ‘eating’ it which makes matters far worse. Showers with frequent growth of mould spores need to be assessed by a leak detection or shower repair expert. The source of the mould needs to be identified, and rectified before you can adopt a new mould management strategy.
Bottom line – never ignore mould or a leaking shower! Even if you ‘suspect’ your shower is leaking, call an expert to assess the shower.
HAIRLINE CRACKS IN TILES
Small cracks, also known as ‘crazing’ can sometimes appear in the glazed surface of tiles, and is considered an inherent property of ceramic tiles. Aside from the visual effect, crazed tiles are not prone to more serious problems – unless they need to be removed, or the grout needs to be removed/replaced. Grout removal can cause a crazed surface to crack further, or easily break if the tiles fall. Generally speaking, a crazed tile surface does not mean there is a crack through the tiles.
LOOSE OR DRUMMY FLOOR TILES
‘Drummy’ or hollow tiles is generally an often an installation issue. It generally means the tile adhesive does not have a good bond between the tiles and the wall or floor, or there are gaps where adhesive is missing under the tiles.
Hollow sounding tiles will inevitably break, crack or lift from the surface. If there has been excessive movement of the wall or floor, this should be identified and taken into account at the installation stage – not after! In some cases, drummy tiles can be rectified by having an experienced repairer inject adhesive under the tiles, but in many cases, the only way to fix the problem is to re-tile.
STAINED, DIRTY TILES
Spots, stains and dirty tiles a occur in many different scenarios. If the tiles are porous, they will always stain – often permanently. Textured tiles will often retain dirt particles in the surface of the tiles, however certain cleaning products and processes can assist with managing the problem.
Porous tiles must be sealed and it’s crucial that this is done by and expert. Never seal non-porous tiles unless you are certain you know what you are doing. Using the wrong products on stone, tiles and grout is very common – and very costly!
SHOWER TILES CHANGED COLOUR
All tiles can absorb moisture, and how much absorption is dependent on the structure of the tile. If water penetrates behind shower tiles, it soaks into the ‘biscuit’ or base of the tile and can change the colour of the tile. There are several causes of water penetration and build-up behind tiles, with the most likely cause being a leak in the shower, due to damaged corner joints, leaking taps and/or missing grout.
The longer a leak is ignored, the greater the damage to the property both structurally (timbers, flooring) and internally (walls, carpets). Once repaired, the tiles dry naturally and the tile colour will return to normal.
Solutions to common problems
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