Malkin’s Experts Answer Common Tile, Vinyl, and Laminate Flooring Questions

Customers always have questions about flooring care, maintenance, and troubleshooting. The trained experts at Malkin’s Flooring answer the most common ceramic tile, vinyl, and laminate flooring questions we hear from customers. The tips below will help to extend the life and beauty of your flooring.

How do I care for my tile floors?

Ceramic tile is durable and cleans easily as you can usually use a damp mop to remove the dirt. In most cases, you can use a solution of soap-free detergent and water to remove tougher stains.

Do NOT use abrasive cleaners. These types of cleaners can scratch your floors or adversely impact the sealer or grout.

Always do a test spot when using a new cleaner before applying it to the rest of the floor, to ensure it doesn’t adversely impact your tile.

Is there a difference between cleaning glazed and unglazed tile?

Glazed—Clean regularly with a household cleaner that won’t damage grout joints.

Unglazed—Unglazed tile does pose more challenges—so you need a specific tile cleaner with a neutral pH to maintain the color and texture.

Should a sealer be used on ceramic tile?

Glazed tile is already stain-proof, so there is no purpose to putting on a sealer. You may want to put a penetrating sealer on your unglazed tile or your grout joints. The penetrating sealer is an invisible, stain-resistant shield that is absorbed into the surface providing a great defense against stains and damage.

The grout in my old tile floor is dirty, how can I clean it?

Grout can be tricky as you don’t want to impact the integrity of the grout. We have found that oxygen bleach is generally nontoxic and color-safe. It removes food and other stains with minor scrubbing. If that doesn’t correct the issue, you can paint the grout, or call our Malkin’s experts for more cleaning advice.

What is the difference between ceramic or porcelain tiles?

“Ceramic” or non-porcelain tiles are generally made from red or white clay fired in a kiln. They are almost always finished with a durable glaze which carries the color and pattern. These tiles are used in both wall tile and floor tile applications. They are suitable for very light to moderate traffic area and generally have a relatively high water-absorption rating making them less frost resistant and more prone to wear and chipping than porcelain tiles.

Porcelain tile is dense, impervious, fine grained, and smooth, with a sharply formed face. This makes it suitable for any application—including the heaviest residential and light commercial traffic area.

Because porcelain is more wear-resistant than standard ceramic tile, they are usually priced a bit higher. You do get your money’s worth with porcelain tile, at the same time, ceramic tile works well in areas where there isn’t much heavy foot traffic.

What are porcelain PEI ratings?

PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) ratings indicate the proper usage area for tiles. The system operates on a scale of zero to five, identifying the places to use tile based on durability. A score of zero means that no foot traffic should touch the tile, meaning it’s for wall use only. Class one is for very low foot traffic, which means bathrooms in most houses. Class two is for slightly higher foot traffic, while class three is for moderate traffic areas such as kitchens. Classes four and five mean that the tile is durable enough to survive even the heaviest foot traffic and suitable for commercial applications.

How do I care for my natural stone floors such as marble?

Natural stone floors require a different maintenance routine and cleaners specifically designed for stone. Be sure to avoid acidic cleaners. If you need more advice, please give us a call. We want to help you preserve and protect the beauty of the product.

How do I care for my vinyl floors?

Sweep your floor regularly (at least once a week) to remove loose dirt.

Prevent stains by wiping spills promptly.

Occasional mopping with an approved cleaner is best. If you choose to use dish soap or another cleaner, you may want to consider rinsing the floor. This is not required with an approved cleaner, but it will help produce an exceptional shine.

How do I care for my luxury vinyl tiles or planks?

We recommend sweeping or vacuuming each day or at least every other day. If you choose to vacuum, don’t use the beater bar or other abrasive attachments.

If sweeping or vacuuming doesn’t remove the dirt, mop the surface with clean water. Rinse thoroughly. Do not use soap or detergent products as they will leave a dulling film.

Most vinyl products feature a low-gloss finish, so we do not recommend using “mop and glow” products.

Make sure you wipe up spills and wets spots immediately.

How can I keep my laminate floors looking great?

Each day, dry-mop or vacuum the floor to completely remove any dirt or loose debris. (If you choose to vacuum the floor, don’t use the beater brush or any excessive force.)

Clean any spills or standing water on the floor immediately. This applies to water from a cat or dog water dish.

Do not use oil soap, ammonia-based cleaners, or wood floor cleaners—they can adversely impact the surface or leave a streaky residue. Use a cleaner that is specially formulated for laminate floors.

If you really want to make sure that your floor shines—buff it dry. Microfiber cleaning cloths make the best buffing rags and can help you restore the shine you love.

How do I protect my hard floors in general?

To maintain the beauty of hard floors you need:

  • Protective pads—Adhere these pads to each furniture leg to prevent damage. Should the furniture need to be moved, avoid “scraping” it across the floor.
  • Heels are bad—While high heels make your legs look great, they are not hard floor-friendly. Take them off once you get inside your home and you should also request guests take them off as well.
  • Entrance mats—using mats at each home or business entrance can help prevent dirt, grime, and other abrasive particles from entering your home or business, which protects your investment in your hard-surface floors.

What type of training does the Malkin’s staff receive?

We believe that skilled employees make the best employees, and we invest in this process on an ongoing basis. Whether the training is from a manufacturer, tech school, or our more experienced employees, we want to be sure each and every installation or service call exceeds your expectations.

Should I wait to paint or wallpaper my room after the new floor is installed?

It depends on what you are installing. If you plan on painting a room, it is best to do this prior to having a new floor installed. Old floor treatments provide a great drop cloth. And if removing the old flooring or installing the new flooring created an issue on the wall surface, it’s very easy to use touch-up paint.

On the other hand, wallpaper is best applied after a new floor is installed, as some flooring products can damage wallpaper. We do recommend that you have extra wallpaper on hand, just in case.

The professional installers at Malkin’s always take great care to prevent any damage to your walls whether it is paint or wallpaper. We want you to become one of our raving fans.

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