Ceramic Bathroom Water Concerns
Water Resistance: Most ceramic bathroom floor tiles which you purchase should be resistant to water penetration. This is often achieved by choosing glazed tiles, which have a colored glass surface that rests over the material protecting it from damage.
Unglazed tiles, and quarry tiles, can be protected by sealing them with a commercial water barrier sealing agent. However these will be less resistant and durable, and higher maintenance in a bathroom.
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Ceramic Bathroom Grout Problems
Grout is the most vulnerable point in a ceramic bathroom floor tile installation. That is because, while the material may be resistant to damage from water, the grout lines are often porous and can be conduits for spills and drips to spread down into the flooring installation itself. If this occurs, the water can then settle into the adhesive bed, causing bubbles, breaking the bond, and leading to the growth of mold and mildew.
The answer to this is to seal the grout lines periodically with a professional quality ceramic grout sealing agent. This is a clear chemical that seeps down into, and rests invisibly over the grout, protecting the lines between the tiles from any liquid spills. This will fade and wear away over time, so will need to be reapplied on a periodic basis annually.
One way to help minimize mold, mildew, and water problems in the bathroom is to install very thin grout lines. The drawback to this is that the tiles used will have to be smaller, as the grout will not allow them to expand and contract as much with temperature fluctuations. In a bathroom these can be quite extreme, so using grout lines which are too thin can lead to tiles cracking.
Bathroom Stains On Ceramic Floors
Ceramic bathroom floor tiles are extremely durable pieces that can withstand a wide variety of staining agents which would permanently mar and discolor less resilient materials. This makes them ideal in a bathroom setting, which is prone to a wide variety of acidic soaps, cleaning agents, and body care products.
If discoloration does occur, you can generally use any household detergent or disinfectant that you like to clean the tiles without fear of harming them. However the grout lines will have to be sealed properly in order to keep them protected. The tiles themselves are nearly impervious to harm from stains.
Broken and Cracked Ceramic Tiles
If a floor tile cracks, it can generally be replaced with a minimum amount of hassle. You just need to remove the broken piece, and replace it with another piece of the same color, size, and shape. If possible, extra tiles should be kept over from installation jobs for this purpose. If those are not on hand you may be able to match the tile color online, or get ir replicated by a replacement ceramic tile company for about $30-$50 a piece.
While ceramic tiles will expand and contract with fluctuations in heat and pressure, properly installed grout lines should prevent this from damaging one another. You also need to ensure that a water resistant bathroom ceramic tile adhesive is used during installation so that the floor does not start coming loose. Proper and regular sealing will also help prevent humidity from penetrating into the material and causing a problem.
Drawbacks: Cold and Hard
Cold: The first step on a ceramic bathroom floor on a chilly winter morning can be brutally cold. This can be offset by a number of measures, ranging from the simplicity of bath mats, to the complexity of radiant below surface heating systems.
Hard: Ceramic floors are very durable and very hard. If you drop something in the bathroom there is a good chance it will break or shatter against the tiles underfoot. Again, carpets and bath mats can offset this issue, but it may be a concern if the bathroom is being used by children or elderly people.