A reader writes: “I disagree with your comments about waxing tile floors with grout. I want them to be shiny and clean in appearance. Your feedback is appreciated.”

If you, the customer, wants shiny ceramic tile floors then so be it as long as you understand the related costs and challenges associated with such a position. Most ceramic tiles (especially in rest rooms, lobbies, etc.) are glazed with a built in “shine” which can be easily maintained by daily sweeping, dust/damp mopping and regular scrubbing with appropriate cleaning products. Note my observations from two airports:

  1. I travel a lot and tend to inspect floors in various locations. Recently, I was at an airport that had tile floors that looked great with a nice gloss and NO FINISH (wax) that would have radically increased the labor to maintain an acceptable appearance due to the high traffic.
  2. I noted that the grout lines were clean and sealed with a penetrating sealant that protected them without being soaked with floor finish.
  3. I observed a worker operating an autoscrub unit using a neutral detergent to “mop” the floors which showed no signs of wax build up.
  4. At the next airport I went through, I noted that the rest room floors (one inch ceramic tiles with grout lines) looked dingy and soiled due to an attempt at waxing them.
  5. First of all, the ceramic tiles do not accept finish so the finish just sits on top and smears. How do you buff/burnish floor finish on ceramic tiles in a rest room?
  6. Secondly, the grout lines had considerable build up since the wax had soaked into the grout and will be difficult, if not impossible, to remove without damaging the grout itself.
  7. I also noted slurry splash and build up along partition panels, baseboards and corners.

The second airport has higher labor and supply costs due to the decision to make the ceramic tiles “shiny” while producing the opposite results than desired.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.