Mosaic Tiles in Havana´s Rental Houses
By LaHabana.com // GTB (granadatiles.com)
Over 90 percent of the floors in Havana are laid with mosaic tiles, some even dating back to colonial times.
Originally, tiles were prepared from a pigmented clay base and then fired in an oven. Following the discovery of Portland cement and the development of hydraulic presses, cement tiles are prepared without the use of clay or heating.
The desired color pattern stencil is then placed within the mold. These stencils are made of brass, which makes them easier to shape and form the lines and curves that will result in many beautiful designs, ranging from traditional flower designs to more modern contemporary ones. The mold is then filled with several layers of material, which will give resistance to the tile.
Subsequently, pressure is applied, depending on the use the tile will be given and the conditions it will be exposed to. Finally, it is rinsed with plenty of water and let to stand in a water bath for several days to cure to its final hardness, and later air dried. The end result is a durable and beautiful tile, which continues to be the ideal flooring for Cuba’s tropical climate.
How can We Clean and Maintain Cement Tiles at Home?
Cement tiles aren’t hard to maintain but they do require some basic cleaning and maintenance to keep their beauty and handmade charm. The first item of action is to mop your cement tiles on a regular basis using clean water and a neutral cleaning solution.
To keep cement tiles looking their best, make sure not to let any type of liquid sit on the tile surface. Clean up any spills immediately and dry the cement tiles completely with a clean cloth to prevent stains and permanent damage. Given that cement-like marble and other natural stone – is a porous material that absorbs liquids easily, over time, liquids like wine, soda, vinegar, and even water that is left to accumulate, can stain the tile.
One simple way to maintain cement tiles is to place mats near entrances to prevent the wear and tear of heavy footwear and usage.
Cleaning Dos and Don’ts
Cement tiles are built to last and will retain their luster if cared for appropriately. Follow these guidelines when cleaning up spills on your cement tiles:
- Sweep cement tiles daily to brush away dirt and debris
- Wash cement tiles weekly to monthly with water and mild pH-neutral soap to buff away any dried residue before it sets in and becomes a stain
- Never use an acid-based cleaning solution or bleach on cement tiles because they can wear away at the sealer and damage the surface of the tile
- Avoid using detergent because it can leave a residue on the tile that is difficult to clean and can attract dirt and debris