Tile Floors: Beauty of Recycling

Crossville crosshatchSubmitted by Steve Cooper

Many of us grew up believing that recycling meant that your first bicycle had been your sibling’s before it became yours. Thankfully, we’ve gotten a little more sophisticated. Recycling means something much more beneficial these days.

Take Crossville’s EcoCycle tiles, for instance. Whether these tiles are earthy ceramics or gleaming glass, each is made of recycled material. Colors are vivid and surfaces are slip resistant and easy to clean. Yet, each tile contains at least 40 percent recycled material and qualifies for LEED points, which assure that a material lessens the environmental impact of a new home.

The main benefit is seen in the design, of course. This is quite apparent in the stripes, diamonds, dots, ropes, crowns and other shapes of that create the unique look of a tile floor. If you can imagine a theme or pattern, you can bring it to life in the colors you choose. And those colors will sparkle.

In times past, keeping grout clean and stable often proved difficult, causing some homeowners to use another material. But manufacturers have addressed this shortcoming.

Today’s effective sealers come in penetrating and membrane forms. Those that penetrate are liquids, which soak into and fill microscope holes in grout. Membrane types form a hard film across the grout to keep out water and contaminants. Either will work, though membranes are usually preferred when a change of grout color is desired.

So today’s grout sealants make it possible to have your grout and clean it, too, giving contemporary tile undeniable appeal.

How to clean grout

logo-thumb Reader Question:

“I am getting my ceramic tiles cleaned and the grout sealed and the professionals are using different methods:

1. High pressure washer w/chemical and a color sealer for the grout.

2. A truck mounted hot water extraction system (also used for carpets) and a grout sealant (tubing)

3. Hand scrubbing w/a grout sealant that claims is good for 5 yrs.

Which method is better to clean my ceramic tile?

The price per square foot is the same for the 3 professionals.

Thanks for your input!!”


For this response, I turned to the professionals at The Grout Doctor. Here’s what they said:

Option #1 – In my experience high pressure is not good for grout.  It opens up the natural pores in the grout and allows the grout to collect more dirt, grime and grit.  The color sealer I cannot comment on without knowing the type used

Option #2 – Pretty much the same thing as option #1.  A high pressure truck mount extraction system can open up grouts natural pores as well.

Option #3 – This cleaning method is good and safe for the grout as long as the correct chemicals and dwell time are utilized.

At The Grout Doctor we used hand scrubbing with proper chemicals and dwell time.  Then would color seal with a 3 yr. guarantee.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.