Cleaning and processing old tiles - what can you do?

Tiles are enormously durable. They can sometimes survive up to 100 years without major damage. Of course, very old tiles still suffer optically over time. What you can do to clean and prepare old tiles is explained in this article.

tile materials

First, it is important to take into account when cleaning and processing the tiles on the tile material.

The following materials are common in tiles:

  • Ceramics (for very old tiles stoneware, for more modern tiles also stoneware or porcelain stoneware)
  • natural stone
  • Cement in cement tiles
  • Glass (glass tiles, more rarely)

Ceramic tile materials

All ceramic tile materials are usually quite resistant. As stoneware tiles called the today used mainly as wall tiles, glazed tiles. Stoneware and porcelain stoneware, however, is much harder and more robust. It can also be glazed, but is used as a floor tile mostly unglazed.

Cleaning stoneware and stoneware tiles with soda

Stoneware tiles can lose their shine over time. The glaze prevents dirt from settling. For rarely well-kept or heavily neglected tiles, however, dirt layers may still occur.

The processing is best done with soda. From soda and water, a mixture is prepared which should give a thick paste. Rub in this paste first and then let it work.

Then you can polish the tile mirror (including the joints, they are also cleaned here) vigorously. Polishing should be done with as much pressure as possible. After polishing, rinse the tiles and joints with plenty of clean water.

Unsuitable cleaning agents

For tiles, you should never use abrasives or acids. For all non-glazed tiles you should also refrain from all surfactant-containing cleaner. You can make the surface of the tile very unsightly.

cement tiles

Cement tiles were mainly used as floor tiles around the turn of the century. They are made without burning. Although cement tiles are also single-colored, ornamental patterns (Art Nouveau) are usually the most common.

Cement tiles are slightly less durable than ceramic tiles. They often receive their typical "patina" even a few decades ago, which makes up their special charm. They should normally be impregnated, and maintained regularly with soft soap.

If this is neglected, you can remove coarse dirt with abrasives and brushes. Under no circumstances should you use acidic cleaners, as they can destroy the tile.

Natural stone tiles

For natural stones, it depends on the type of natural stone and the surface treatment, which methods are suitable for processing. Here you get the best advice from a tiler advice, which treatment measures can be useful.

Tips & Tricks

If old tile flooring looks very shabby, or you do not like the design, your tiler may be able to lay tile on tile. There are special tiles with particularly low construction heights. Inquire at a specialist company.

Video Board: How to Polish Stone Floors Using Diamond Polishing Pads - Jon-Don Video