Floors

Published on January 26th, 2014 | by Henri

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Stripping wax from floor tiles

Q.    My son and daughter-in-law bought an l8-year-old house in Florida. The floors are covered in Mexican tile. The original owner used a wax on them all these years and they are dark brown, instead of the reddish-orange color they should be. (There are some original unused tiles still in the garage and a little of the wax has peeled off in the house to reveal the real color.)

They were told that there is no way to get rid of such a build-up of wax, but they could cover the tile with new ceramic tile. I don’t think that is possible because the tiles are thick and not smooth surfaced. Your opinion please! Can the old wax be removed? And can you cover these Mexican tiles with new ceramic tile?

A.    Your son and daughter-in-law can try one of the strippers available for removing wax from tiles, but it is important to know what kind of wax was used to be able to select the right stripper. The fact that some of the wax is peeling may indicate that the wax used is not a paste but a liquid. A local tile store may carry a variety of strippers in increasing strength, but care must be taken not to damage the tiles.

A safer approach would be to have a certified professional look at the tiles and determine if he or she has the needed stripper. Have your son and daughter-in-law go to the Web site of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification: www.iicrc.org, click on For Consumers, then on the Hard Surface Cleaning followed by clicking on Locate Certified Professionals and enter the information requested.

Restoring the Mexican tiles is better than covering them up with ceramic tiles.

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