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Cement Tile Floors: The Most Common Mistakes People Make

Some people like to make things more difficult than necessary. I happen to be an expert on this subject. I learn lessons the hard way. Frequently. (Sigh) Installing and maintaining cement tile floors is not something that should cause strife in your life. Avoid these common mistakes that people make with cement tile floors and save your hard lessons for more important things in life!

hexagon cement tile floors

Work with a clean surface. Cement tile that is fresh off the production line has fine pigmented portland cement dust on its surface. Prior to moving full force ahead with installation, your installer needs to wipe the tiles clean with a damp rag to remove this dust.  This prevents any unnecessary pigment stain on the surface of the tile.  I can’t emphasize this point enough if you’re installing cement tile floors with light and dark colors in the design. The dark color dust can bleed into the light colors if it’s not cleaned properly. (Still don’t have your Cement Tile?  Check out what’s on sale this month in our stock designs of the cement tile MeaLu Collection.)

Did you skip the grout release step?  Ouch! This is an ingredient in the cement tile floors installation process that you do not want to ignore. Even with good sealer applied, we recommend applying grout release on the surface of the tile before it is grouted. Why? Let’s face it… cement tile floors are not cheap. Why risk staining the surface of your tile with grout when it can be easily avoided with the quick and inexpensive application of grout release?  Talk to your installer.  Make sure he or she doesn’t miss this step.  Tell him or her that we said so!
patchwork cement tile

Did you apply sealer that funk-i-fied your cement tile?  Again, it’s a common mistake. Not all sealers are equal when it comes to smooth, handmade cement tile floors. If you applied sealer that is peeling, flaking, or has discolored your tile, you have some work ahead of you. But not all hope is lost. Most issues are rectified with the proper process and materials.  Talk to your installer about the right way to remove the funky sealer and reapply our TerraNano cement tile sealer. TerraNano is a nanotechnology sealer that is ideal for cement tile floors. It has a long lifespan which adds to its value since little to no maintenance is required over several years.

Lastly, the most colossal mistake that people make regarding cement tile floors is to not sealing the tiles at all.  Cement tile floors from Rustico Tile and Stone are initially unsealed. The tile needs to be sealed upon installation in order to prevent stains in the future. Your first glass of a Bordeaux red spilled on cement tile immediately penetrates into the surface and stains it.  With some elbow grease, you should be able to remove most stains but not without some expense and time invested. That makes for a bothersome happy hour.

cement tile bathroom

Cement Tile in this bathroom is featured with a Copper bathtub

These common mistakes are easy to avoid. If you’re considering cement tile floors or other Mexican tile varieties from Rustico Tile and Stone, follow our tips and guidelines for a successful installation. We have proper setting and sealing materials which will leave you with a hassle-free experience and years of minimal maintenance.

Happy Flooring!  Make Every Space Count!

Stay in the know and check out these short articles!
Saltillo Tile for Living Room Floors
Get Decorative with Painted Talavera Tiles
Before & After – Cement Tile Bathroom Remodel
Rustic Decor Ideas for Southwest Decor Interior Design


  • Pam Koch says:

    Hi there. Well—our installers did not clean our tiles properly prior to sealing them. I am so upset. What product would you recommend to try and take off the sealant so I can do a proper clean of them and re seal? Do you have any suggestions? I have been scouring the internet but have yet to find out if this is possible. Any info greatly appreciated. Thanks , Pam Winnipeg, Manitoba.

  • Sal Hamby says:

    Melanie what sealer do you recommend prior to installing and what grout release to use before grouting and what sealer to use after installing?

    • Melanie says:

      Hi Sal – We recommend a 2-step sealer system using our HydraGuard penetrating sealer as step 1 and TerraNano sealer as step 2. It’s an easy process. Just check out the Installation Guidelines here!

      • Lorrie says:


        We just had cement tiles installed and they did not use a grout release. There are ever so slight stains on the tiles from the grout or tile dust. What can I do at this point? They sealed after grout. 😳. I also love Jesus!!


        • Melanie says:

          Hi Lorrie – Unfortunately it’s bad news if the tile was sealed before cleaning all of the grout haze off of it. You’ll need to reach out to the sealer manufacturer to get their advice on removing that specific sealer. That said, if the stain is really minimal and doesn’t cause heartache for you, it may not be worth the effort of removing the sealer so you can further remove grout haze. I wish I had better news for you! There are more Cement Tile Installation Guidelines here. God bless!

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