Ceramic tiles get their hard and lasting surface from being baked in kilns at very high temperatures using certain salts to give the glaze. This surface which makes the tiles very hard and impervious to water, can get scratched, lose their luster and no more have the pristine look that they had when they were new. Removing these tiles and putting in new ones is an alternative that besides being very expensive is one that involves a lot of breaking, redoing, and creates a lot of mess, besides rendering the space being unusable for a fair length of time.
An alternative will be to resort to ceramic tile refinishing that can be easy on the budget, and also save you the inconveniences that come with any replacement. Ceramic tiles, especially in bathrooms become dull because of the dirt and other environmental factors that are ever-present in their usage and are also affected by smoke and may at times attract mold. Regular cleaning can help extend the life of the tiles, but it is the grout between the tiles that first starts showing signs of distress and overuse. Regular household cleaners that help you to make floors and walls with ceramic tiles gleam once again also leave their deleterious effect on the tile and grout and can cause them to completely degrade. The use of homemade cleaners can help to reduce this damage and they are easily made with common household items like vinegar and baking soda.
When you decide that the cleaning and other efforts are still not giving you the desired looks to your walls and floors you can consider the alternative of ceramic tile refinishing. It is a detailed and fairly involved process that requires careful implementation that will enable the tile to get back most of its earlier finished look. The first step is obviously to completely remove all the accumulated dirt and debris from the surfaces to be treated. This can at times involve scraping and the use of industrial-grade cleaners that will completely remove the soap scum, remnants of lotions, and other contaminants. Once this is done, the surface is mildly etched with a light acid so that the surface attains a degree of porosity. It is necessary to examine the surface for any damage caused by the cleaners before this etching step is undertaken. The surface is then allowed to dry and the perimeter of the tile surface masked so that surrounding surfaces will remain protected during the ceramic tile refinishing operations. The etching acid then needs to be neutralized before any further operations are undertaken.
The finishing coat that is applied on the tile surfaces is normally sprayed on and this makes it necessary to have space properly ventilated to extract the fumes from such spraying. A chemical bonding agent is first applied to the tiles and this helps the finishing layer to create a permanent molecular bond, which prevents moisture from getting in between the original glazed surface and the new glazed application. The final acrylic coat that contains solids is sprayed on by technicians who do need to use the proper safety equipment like respirators, gloves, protective clothing, and eye protection. This completes the process and leaves you with ceramic tile surfaces` that is as good as the original baked finishes.