Standing water is usually caused by 2 common problems: water leaks and low grout lines.
Tips to Avoid Standing Water
1. Find the source of the leak and repair
2. Use floor fans
3. Mop/squeegee puddles throughout the day
4. Keep floor drains unclogged and free of debris
5. Re-grout your tile floors
6. Repair broken tiles
Quarry tile has exceptionally low absorption rates —as low as 0.5 to 3%— leaving a slightly rough texture better suited for high-moisture environments and better equipped to reduce slips and falls.
In fact, it provides better slip resistance than almost any other hard-surface product. Terrazzo has a fall rate of 9.6 incidents per million dollars of sales. Smooth quarry tile has only 7.3 incidents. And abrasive quarry tile comes in at 4.7. Clearly, quarry tile has a marked advantage over other materials when it comes to accident prevention — a key concern in most commercial environments.
NOTE: Make sure your tile contractor is using an abrasive quarry tile or a raised-tread quarry tile to maximize slip resistance. Smooth quarry tile is not recommended for commercial kitchen environments.
Grout Isn't Forever
Even in the places designed to withstand moist and humid conditions, a tiled surface is not waterproof. The tile itself may not allow moisture to penetrate, but the grout, or thin lines of mortar between the tiles, is susceptible to water damage. If you leave water standing on the surface, it can loosen the seal between the tile and the grout, allowing water to leak through.
Cracks and Gaps
Cracks in the tile, gaps in between the tile, or chips in the grout can allow water to make its way underneath or behind the tiled surface. The crack does not need to be big for standing or excessive water to create considerable damage. Repair any tile or grout that shows damage or excessive wear to prevent water from making its way below the surface.
Behind It All
Once water makes its way past the tile or grout, it starts to do real damage, including loosening the bond between the tile and the subsurface. The mortar that holds the tile in place will start to loosen and crumble and the tile will fall away. In addition, if the subsurface is not waterproof, it will swell and warp, further pushing the tile away. Mold and mildew may form, which eats away the mortar even further.
Regular maintenance and limiting water contact can prevent water damage to tile surfaces. Do not allow standing water on tile surfaces whenever possible.In cases where you can't avoid it, remove it as soon as possible. Use a squeegee or mop to wipe away puddled water.
One of my first jobs was a prep cook at an Orlando restaurant, and as a chef, I understand how frustrating it can be to do your job when the tile in the BOH is breaking apart with the grout almost completely gone. You end up standing in a puddle of water. We can help! Let us come and transform your kitchen floor without interruption of your business. When you come in the next day, you will have a brand new floor and several happy employees.
Are you a restaurant employee? Have you ever had to work on a broken floor? Tell me your thoughts.