Whether you’ve purchased a home with beautiful tile flooring or you’ve recently installed some of your own, you’ll want to make sure it lasts. Tile can become dull over time if it’s not well cared for and properly installed. Consider these tips for keeping your tile flooring in top shape.

Provide a Barrier Between Your Tile and Subfloor

Use uncoupling membranes between the tile and subfloor when installing your tile floor. This barrier under the tile absorbs impact from pressure put on the surface of the tile and grout like running feet, moving furniture, etc. Tile installed directly onto subflooring is much more susceptible to cracks in the surface and grout. A thick mortar bed under the tile will add to floor height and could create awkward transitions between rooms. Uncoupling membranes are a thin and effective solution.

Avoid Cleaning With Harsh Chemicals

Your tile needs the right cleaner. Some all-purpose cleaners will be too harsh for certain surfaces. Never use cleaners with acidic ingredients, like lemon, vinegar, or ammonia, on stone tile. The acid will leave marks on the tile and dull its appearance over time. Dish detergent or specific stone cleaners will work best. Ceramic and porcelain tile can handle some acidic cleaners, but it’s still best to stick with cleaners that use biodegradable and safe ingredients, especially in homes with pets and children.

Take Care of Your Floors

Now you know what chemicals not to use, but what should you do to care for your tile floors? First, make sure to clean up spills and messes regularly and as quickly as possible to avoid the buildup of dirt and grime. Dirt and dust steal the shine from your beautiful tile.

Obviously, we have to live on our floors, so they will be walked on with dirty shoes and spills will happen. When you’re ready to bring back the shine, get a mop and a bucket. Fill the bucket with your favorite gentle tile floor cleaner following the cleaner-to-water ratio recommended on the bottle. Grab a clean mop with a rag or chamois head, not a sponge head. Sponge mops will push all the dirt into the grout lines, while rag mops pass gently over the grout.

Once the surface of the tile is clean, make sure you get into the grout lines and give them a good clean. Grab a good grout-cleaning solution and a small brush. Spray the cleaner into the grout lines and give it some time to work before starting to scrub. Higher-quality cleaners make the scrubbing much easier.

Even clean floors can get a little beat up if you don’t take the right precautions. Put furniture pads on the bottoms of all of your chair and table legs and anything else sitting on the tile.

At the end of the day, the best way to make your tile last is to simply take care of it. Once it’s installed and ready to use, don’t forget about it and assume it’ll keep. Treat your tile well and it’ll stick with you for years to come.