It’s that time of year in Maine where we’re ready for spring. Snowstorm after snowstorm keeps us thinking about how many more months of heating fuel we’ll need to buy, how much longer the snow tires will stay on, and how many more times we’ll have to shovel.
We don’t often think about the wear and tear of the winter on our interior spaces though. More specifically: how does our Maine weather affect our tile and grout?
Below we’ll uncover some key areas to keep in mind for tile and grout during cold Maine winters: both during installation and after it.
During Tile Installation
During tile installation, it’s critical that proper steps are taken in areas that experience extreme temperatures – both hot and cold. For us in Maine, it’s important to keep this in mind for our chilly winters.
With good quality installation – including placing expansion joints – under your tile, your floor, or wall tiling will be able to expand and contract as necessary with temperature fluxuations. In addition, certain tile is better rated for freezing conditions more than others. You might consider using these types of tiles in entryways and other areas of your home or business that may experience more cold than others.
In general, colder temperatures can cause a slower setting time for grout, which may cause cracking during the curing process. So while it’s possible to work with grout in the cold, it’s best to work with grout in room temperature conditions.
Depending on the type of grout in use (epoxy vs. cement grouts), different cold weather help may be useful. For example, epoxy grout is more dramatically affected by cold conditions and must be pre-conditioned before mixing and pouring. Cold cement grout can be mixed with warm water (not hot) in order to preserve strength gain, but this can take time and must be done properly.
After Tile Installation
Overall, ceramic tile is very resistant to extreme weather conditions and has the ability to expand and contract for each extreme temperature.
But temperature isn’t our only enemy here in Maine. When you and your family come in from the snow, slush, sand, and salt that our winters bring, it means you’re also tracking all of that moisture in with you.
Luckily, tile can stand up to the test of moisture and grit alike. Tile is naturally resistant to water and other moisture, as well as etch-resistant to grit and dirt (like the sand and salt we use on our driveways, walkways, and roads) and the chemicals we use to clean tile.
Like tile, if proper precautions aren’t made prior to grout installation, you may see cracking and breaking once the weather turns cooler. Some homeowners notice cracking in the spring, as frost heaves under their foundations occur.
Unlike your tile, however, grout can be more vulnerable to moisture and grit, and certainly the chemicals used to clean them. The best thing you can do for your tile floors and walls is have them sealed to protect them from any possible winter time damage. Depending on the sealer used and wear and tear on your flooring (in particular), you may need to re-apply it every year.
Proper installation and care will ensure your tile and grout will last for years to come here in Maine.
Have more questions about your tile and grout in our Maine weather? Tough Grout is here to help. Get a free quote today to learn more!