Robert Lamoureux | Seeking the best options for tile upkeep

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: We are in the process of looking into having tile installed in our home. Over the years we’ve had many different floor types and of course have to learn the proper care for each one. I haven’t had tile before and because it is so expensive to have this done, I’m very interested in knowing how to care for it properly, to keep it and the grout in good shape.  

Is this something that is easy enough to care for or are we heading down a road we’ll regret? Please help, before we make a final decision!  

— Ashley and Josh P. 

Answer: Ashley, don’t worry. You’ve obviously lived with many different floors so you’re aware that there is upkeep no matter the type. The option of quality products that are out there today will help make the future cleaning process much easier than in the past.  

It used to be a nightmare, especially with grout and the stains it would get. Today, there is sandless grout that even has sealer already in place. Like most materials going into a home, it will all come down to personal preference.  

If I were installing tile today, I’d go with a high-quality tile to begin with. The big box stores do have some good options but I encourage you to visit tile distributors as well, so you can compare product quality. The least expensive at a big box store is likely going to be quite thin and not manufactured with precision, leaving the installer with a very difficult time to acquire perfect lines, as well as you in the end, with a product that is highly likely to crack. Spend the money on the front end both in product and with a quality installer who is licensed and insured, so you have the best opportunity at a great outcome.  

I would also choose the smallest grout line possible with the tile of my choice. I prefer this look but it also will reduce the amount of grout and possibility of larger stains. Sandless grout with a sealer is a must for me — it is smooth and will be easier to clean.  

I prefer to choose a color that “disappears,” so that you don’t “see” the lines. I also recommend a tile plank vs. a square tile. There are many out there that look like a wood floor but are ceramic or other materials, so you get the wood look but with the durability of tile.  

Keep in mind, when choosing, if you have a concern about slip-and-fall issues either with family members or pets. Many dogs are injured due to slippery floors. There are some great tiles out there with texture on them, that even when there is water on the floor there is no issue of it being slippery.  

All of these things will cost more in the beginning, but a quality tile floor can last the lifetime of the home in most cases. Best of luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].       

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