A reader asks: "The property manager of one of our accounts has contracted to have all the ceramic tile floors cleaned and sealed by an outside third party. How is this going to impact our work?"

There are several companies across the company that provide this or similar services. This is a rather expensive investment for the property management company is far less expensive than replacing or restoring the entire floor. Based on our discussion, it may be a great benefit due to the fact that the building is over thirty years old and the grout is deteriorating in some restrooms.

Remember that Portland cement grout is sand mixed with chemicals to make it stable. It is not impervious to stains and can be sensitive to strong acids and alkali cleaners. If it has not been maintained correctly, the grout tends to disintegrate thereby exposing the substrate to water damage especially if the floor is flooded on a frequent basis. Restoring the grout and sealing it is a preventive measure that can have long-term benefits.

In most cases, the vendor is a local franchisee, which means that service can be inconsistent based on their experience and expertise in the process. Oftentimes they go with a white or light colored grout that tends to re-soil or stain again if not cleaned on a regular basis with the correct products. The greatest area of concern is under the urinals or areas where plumbing may leak mineral stains.

There will usually be restrictions on the type of cleaning chemicals and processes that will be allowed once the floor is completed. It is very important that the vendor properly clean, restore and seal the grout lines so that it will not only adhere but also last with proper maintenance.

We will look at the process in a future article.

Your comments and questions are important. 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.