Things to Consider Before Resurfacing your Tile

Semco Florida

Is your old tile floor cracked, stained or otherwise detracting from the look of your room, kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor area? Do you try to hide your tile with rugs and furniture? Perhaps you think the only solution to old and ugly tile is to rip up and remove the old tile and replace it with either new tile or new flooring. There is another way: tile resurfacing. Tile resurfacing is a relatively new technique that is helping home and business owners update the look of their spaces without incurring the expense of ripping up old tile. Tile resurfacing is part of Semco Florida’s Remodel without Removal System. Tile is a particularly tricky surface to attempt to get materials to bond to. The Semco solution, however, features a scratch-coat resurfacing system that bonds at the molecular level with the original surface and is used on tile and other surfaces.

But before you decide on a tile resurfacing project, you should consider a few things first. In this article we are going to discuss some of the things that you should consider before you start any tile resurfacing project.

Cracked Tiles

Besides out of date aesthetics, the most common reason people want to replace or resurface their tile is due to an abundance of unsightly cracks, chips, and other surface damage. Unlike tile refinishing, which is just a surface level touch up of otherwise structurally pristine tile, tile resurfacing solutions are designed to first fix the structure of the tile before the resurfacing layer is added. This prevents the broken tile from pushing through the new surface and creating a new crack.

Delaminating Tiles

Another thing to consider before you resurface your tile floor or tile wall is the state of the tile adhesive integrity. Tile is held in place by a layer of mortar that adheres the tile to the floor or wall. As this layer of mortar ages, it can deteriorate and crack to the point that it causes a hollowed out space where the tile is no longer connected to the surface. In some cases it can become so bad that the only thing holding the tile in place ist the grout that connects it to the tiles around it. This is called tile delamination and it is something that absolutely must be addressed before you undertake a tile resurfacing project.

To determine if your tile is delaminated, you can gently knock on tiles and listen for a hollow sound empty sound. Some people use a chain that they drag over the tiles to find the hollowed out areas. If you suspect that you tile is delaminated, it is best to consult with a professional.

If your tile is in fact delaminated, it will require removal. The good news is that you do not have to replace the tile before you resurface it. The Semco solution allows you to fill in any missing tiles before you resurface the remaining tiles.

Floor Transitions

If your floor has a number of transitions areas either between different types of tile or different types of flooring, you can use the resurfacing system to smooth out those transitions. Going from tile to wood flooring, for example, can result in a large and uneven transition. The tile resurfacing material can be sloped as to create a smoother transition zone and can seamlessly continue on to another flooring area if you choose to resurface multiple types of flooring.

An Overview of the Semco Tile Resurfacing Process

Semco Florida

If you are curious about how tile resurfacing works, here is a rundown of the steps involved and the reasoning behind each. The Semco Tile Resurfacing System is a great way to cover up old, ugly tile on floors and walls in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor areas and more.

Step 1. Clean the Tile

Resurfacing projects are only as good as the bond created with the old surface. Tile is notoriously difficult to get new materials to bond with. The Semco System solves this issue by adding an extra scratch coat layers that provides the bonding pores necessary for the new surfacing material to adhere to.

Creating a great bond requires an exceptionally clean surface. This is especially true for commercial kitchen application and any high traffic area. Calcium deposits and magnesium grease, also called efflorescence, interfere with the bonding process and need to be removed.

The Semco System makes three different cleaners to address this and they are applied in a systematic way to ensure that the tiles are clean enough to lay the bonding and scratch coat material.

Step 2. Rolling Primer and Applying Scratch Coat

After the surface is clean, the next step is to roll the primer and then apply the scratch coat. The primer is a polymer liquid that is rolled out in a very thin consistency onto the surface. The scratch coat is then mixed and applied after the primer is dry. The scratch coat application is what makes the Semco system unique over other resurfacing systems. The scratch coat creates a layer of porous surface that allows the topping material to bond. This is why Semco can bond to tile and metal surfaces better and stronger than most other systems.

Step 3. Grout Line Cover-up

Most people who are undertaking a tile resurfacing project have the goal of eliminating the grout lines. This is another area that the Semco Tile Resurfacing system beats out the others. Most other tile resurfacing system are a thin, paint like epoxy that is applied haphazardly over the old tile. They can change the color of the tile and grout lines, but they do nothing to smooth the grout lines or cover them up.

The Semco system does it differently. The Semco system uses what is called a Brown coat to cover and smoot over tile grout lines, chips, dents, and even whole missing tiles. Unlike most materials that shrink when the dry, The Brown coat is made of a materials that expand. This allows the brown coat to fully penetrate those grout crevices, dents, and missing tile pieces. With the brown coat in place, there will not be much indication that there was ever any tile there to begin with.

Step 4. The Finish

After the brown coat is in place, it is time to lay the finishing coats on. Depending on the Semco finish you choose, there might be different procedures. In the video, you can see them laying the natural grain finish. They first start with a skim coat that goes over the brown coat. The skim coat is then sanded to ensure that it is nice and smooth. Depending on the finish you choose, there are times when then sanding will ensure the proper texture for the final stain. Once sanded, a pre-stain is applied. You can see how the pre-stain is applied in the video. As the pre-stain dries, you will start to see the beautifully textured leathering finish that emerges.

Once the stains are dry, the final step is to apply a sealer. The sealer protects the surface from water, and other damaging agents.

Commercial Kitchen Grout Deterioration: Why Your Commercial Kitchen Tile is Costing you Money and How to Fix it

Semco Florida

Commercial kitchen tile is designed to withstand a lot of abuse from foot traffic, equipment, temperature variations and constant exposure to water, grease, chemicals and other natural or chemical agents. The quarry tile that is used in commercial kitchen tile flooring is not the weak link. Rarely do these tiles break or succumb to the effects of heat and chemicals. The weak link is the grout lines, where grime, bacteria and chemicals pool and loiter. Restaurant owners end up spending a lot of money on costly repairs, tile replacements and regrouting only to have to do it again in a couple of years. Many restaurant owners find that they are having to replace their tile grout every couple of years or even more frequently, yearly, if it is a high use kitchen. This is a costly addition to maintenance budgets that may not be necessary. Below we cover the causes, costs and solutions to commercial kitchen grout deterioration.

Commercial Kitchen Tiles and Daily Cleaning

Commercial kitchen tile floors are perhaps the only floors in the world that undergo not only intense daily exposures to traffic, equipment, and the harshness of heat, but intense daily cleaning. Due to health code requirements, commercial kitchen floors are required to undergo strict cleaning regimens. And this is all the more true for commercial kitchen tile flooring, which has grout lines in which bacteria can flourish. Many a restaurant owner has found that they must replace their tile flooring just to keep up with health codes.

Because of this daily cleaning, restaurant owners and workers have sought out ways to reduce both the work and cost involved in it. We don’t blame them. Cleaning commercial kitchen floors is hard work and anything that can make it faster and less costly to do is certainly in the interest of workers and owners alike. But it is these cost and work saving measures that may be contributing to the grout deterioration problem, unfortunately.

No Rinse Cleaner and Commercial Kitchen Tile Deterioration

To cut back on cleaning costs and work involved, many restaurant owners have started to use no rinse cleaners on their tile floors. No rinse cleaners, also known as enzymatic cleaners, are mostly harmless to commercial kitchen grout in itself. The problems start when these cleaners are applied to dirty floors. No rinse cleaners are designed to break down fats and grease without the need to rinse. This is a great way to reduce total cleaning time. But the tradeoff is that the process of breaking down the grease and fats leaves an acidic residue that breaks down not only grout but tile surfaces too.

The rise in the use of these no rinse cleaners has resulted in restaurants and other places that use them dealing with rapidly deteriorating grout which requires replacement every two years or so. This is an incredibly costly and inefficient way of keeping floors clean! The other option is to use a grout that can be subjected to these cleaners, but their effectiveness has been disputed and none of the manufacturers will offer a warranty on these grouts. That might be all you need to know about their effectiveness.

A Better Solution to Commercial Kitchen Grout Issues

Tile resurfacing is quickly becoming the most popular method of dealing with tile issues of all kinds. From old and broken tiles, to commercial kitchen grout issues, resurfacing tile floors instead of removing and replacing them is a cost effective, environmentally friendly and long lasting option.

Tile resurfacing with a Semco resurfacing product in commercial kitchens confers several benefits that other options do not.

1. Tile resurfacing virtually eliminates the no rinse cleaner problem.

The chemical resistant, fully sealed Semco X-bond solution is used in some of the toughest industrial environments, including mechanic garages. There is no risk of deterioration due to no rinse cleaners.

2. Commercial Kitchen Tile resurfacing is less costly

With no grout deterioration, the obvious cost saving benefit is that you don’t have to replace and reseal the grout every couple of years. But the savings don’t end there. The remodel without removal system used in Semco’s tile resurfacing system means that you don’t have to remove the old tile. The Semco resurfacing product adheres at the molecular level to the tile.

3. Easier to clean and ADA compliant

Semco X-Bond is easier to clean than tile due to its smoother surface and lack of grout lines. Additionally, Semco surfaces can be augmented to provide ADA complaint coefficient of friction for safety.

Shower Tile Resurfacing vs Replacing vs Refinishing

Semco Florida

how to remove wall tileBathroom remodeling is a big job. There are a lot of things to consider. And if you have a tile floor or shower tile, at some point during the remodeling process, you will have to make a decision about what to do about it. If your bathroom remodel matches your current tile, you may not need to do anything to update the tile floor or shower tile. But if your shower tile is old, broken or just plain ugly, you have several options. You can resurface shower tile, replace it, or refinish it. All three options come with there own distinct advantages and their own distinct drawbacks. Let’s take a look.

Resurface your Shower Tile

We have already discussed how to update tile floor without removing it in another blog. The same concept applies to shower tile and wall tile. Resurfacing shower tile involves overlaying the old shower tile with a micro-cement, also called a micro-topping. The cementitious overlay adheres to the tile at the molecular level, ensuring long lasting durability. The advantages of covering shower tile include reduced cost. By cutting out the entire process of wall and shower tile removal, resurfacing shower tile is significantly cheaper than replacing the tile. The shower tile resurfacing material used by Semco also comes in a variety of stylish and waterproof colors, polishes and finishes that you can match to your bathroom remodeling palette.

Refinishing Shower tile

When your shower tile was brand new, it had a beautiful glaze to it. In order to create that glaze, the tile is baked in kilns and heated to nearly 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. As time goes by, the glaze on shower tile begins to dull and fade. Cleaners, chemicals and soap take their toll. The goal of shower tile refinishing is to restore the tile to its original luster. The tile refinishing process involves cleaning the surface, fill in chipped or broken tile, apply a bonding agent, and, finally, apply the new finish.

Tile refinishing has a few drawbacks. It is time consuming and requires professional installation and you if you don’t like the color of your old tile, reglazing it wont do it. Resurfacing or replacing is a better option if your old tile color is ugly.

Replacing your Shower Tile

The final option is to remove and replace your shower tile completely. This is the most labor intensive and costly option. But if you really like tile, and your remodel requires it, it can be a good option if you can afford it. Most people hire a contractor to remove tile, but you can do it yourself if you have the time and tools. Check out our article on how to remove wall tile to learn more. If you do it right, you can recycle or even sell your old tile. This can cut back on the total cost of the project.

Resurfacing your Shower Tile with Semco Florida

We want you to do what you think is best for your tile remodeling project. But if you choose to resurface your shower or wall tile, Semco Florida can help you every step of the way. Semco’s Remodel Without Removal system makes remodeling any kind of tile, including shower tile, a breeze. It comes in a variety of waterproof, mildew resistant polishes, finishes and textures and colors.

How to Remove Wall Tile Without Damaging Tile

Semco Florida

Removing wall tiles can be a tricky process. There are a lot of things to consider. how to remove wall tile

Making sure that you do not damage the drywall underneath is probably the most important part of the job. And if your goal is to keep the tiles intact, then it gets even trickier. Unlike floor tiles, wall tiles are closely spaced and the grout lines are incredibly thing, making it harder to remove the tile without damaging them. Here we will give you a step by step how to remove wall tiles as delicately as possible.

1. Prepare yourself and your area

Believe it or not, removing tile can be a bit of a hazard. We recommend equipping yourself with safety googles, a long sleeve shirt and pants to avoid tile shards in case one shatters.

Protect your work are by tapping up any drains to avoid debris entering and clogging them. Spread plastic or cloth tarp to make cleanup easier.

2. Remove the grout

If you intend to save some of the wall tiles for later use, you must remove the grout from between the tiles. This will make it easier to remove the tiles without damaging them. If you are removing an entire wall of tiles, the only areas that need to have the grout removed are along the floor and ceiling. If you are removing a few tiles for repair or replacement, remove all the grout between the selected tiles.

3. Heat the grout up

To remove the grout, first use a heater of blow dryer to heat the grout surface. As the grout heats up, it expands and become easier to remove. If you are having trouble scraping the grout out, try heating it for longer periods.

4. Scrape the grout

Once the grout is heated, use a utility knife or a special grout scraper to remove the wall tile grout. Sometimes a utility knife is not enough and a special scraper is required. In cases where the grout is tough, you may need the help of a rotary grinder or dremel.

5. Find a loose tile to remove first

After the grout has been removed, try to locate a loose tile to remove first. To do this tap along the edges of the tile with a chisel, screwdriver handle or other small tool.

6. Chisel tiles away from wall.

Using a hammer and chisel, gently chisel the tile away from the wall. Because of the steep chiseling angle, the first tile to be removed tends to break, especially if it set hard in the mortar. From there, the remaining tiles are easier to access during the removal process and are much less likely to break.

To avoid losing any tiles, have a helper catch the tiles as they fall away from the wall. Make sure that both you and your assistant are wearing leather gloves. Tile shards can be tiny and easily bury in the skin. If a tile will not come out by this method, it may require you to break it. Unfortunately, you likely will not save all the tiles. If you have to break the tile, make sure you are wearing both gloves and eye protection, as porcelain tile often shatters into tiny shards.

7. Scrape off setting material

The final step is to take a chisel and scrape off the setting material and remaining grout until it is fairly even with the wall. Also remove any remaining tile spacers that may remain.

Other tile restoration options

Removing wall tile is a tedious job. While it seems easy to read through the steps, it involves a lot of work and can take good day of work including prep and cleaning. With that in mind, removing wall tile may not be the best option for you. There may be other options, including resurfacing without removal.

Tile over tile

One option that is commonly implemented is to actually just tile over the old tiles. Not having to remove the old tile saves significant time and money. Learn more about how to tile over tile.

Resurfacing Tile with a Tile Overlay system

Another great option is to resurface your existing tile. If you don’t plan on retiling the old tile, is it really necessary to remove it? Removing tile is, as we have seen, a hassle and it can damage your drywall and more in the removal process. Skip this step by resurfacing your tile with a tile overlay like Semco resurfacing solutions. Another advantage of resurfacing is that you can choose the style that you want. From venetian plaster to a smooth finish, resurfacing tile without removing it gives you design latitude that other options do not. Learn more about how to update your wall tile without removal here.

How to Cover Wall Tile Without Removing Them in Bathrooms, Showers, Kitchens and More

Semco Florida

Are old, ugly tiles in your bathroom shower or kitchen backsplash ruining your attempts to beautify your spaces? You might have thought about removing the old tile and replacing it. But that can get costly and it is a big job. Have you ever removed and replaced floor tile? We have; it is a pain in the neck. Now imagine all the delicacy that goes into setting floor tile on the ground and think about doing that on a vertical wall. Wall tile is difficult to install and before you go and tear it out and replace it, read over these options to cover up wall tile in your bathroom, shower or other areas.

Cover Up Wall Tiles in Bathroom or Kitchen with Tile Stickers

While not a total cover up tile solution, tile stickers offer a way to revivify old tile and without having to remove or replace them. Tile stickers can be used on both floor and wall tile. They are especially suited to kitchens and can give that old backsplash a bit of decorative flair. Tile stickers come in a variety of materials including vinyl and even metal. To install tile stickers to your bathroom or kitchen wall tiles, first clean the tile with a surface cleaning product. Cleaning the tiles ensure that you will get a good adhesive bond. After you allow the tile to dry, remove the paper backing from a self-stick tile and press it over the tile.

Tile stickers are a quick and easy solution to cover up wall tile, but they are not always the best solution. One of the main drawbacks is that the adhesive used in the stickers can wear down in moisture rich environments like a shower or bathroom. And if you get a stronger waterproof adhesive, it can end up damaging the tile in the long run.

Consider using tile paint to cover wall tiles without removing them

Another great option is to use tile paint cover up old bathroom and kitchen wall tiles. Tile paint can be applied to any tiles to give them a clean look. Painting your tile may sound like an easy job, but it is anything but. Tile, especially ceramic tile, is really hard to paint because it is a non-porous smooth surface. The paint has trouble adhering to the tile. So if you chose to go this route, either hire a contractor or be sure you know what you are doing.

Another issue with tile paint is that it makes cleaning your wall tile a little trickier. Cleaning solutions can chip away at the paint and cause it to erode. Tile paint also does not last as long as a more permanent solution like wall tile resurfacing.

Resurface your old wall tileupdate floor tile without removing them with SEMCO

If you are tired of that old tile wall, and don’t want to go through the hassle of removing and replacing, painting or stickers, resurfacing is the best way to cover wall tiles. Tile resurfacing involves applying a resurfacing compound called a microcement over the tile. The resurfacing material is easily applied and usually comes in a variety of surface texture finishes, polishes and colors to meet your color pallet. The Semco Remodel without Removal resurfacing system is a great choice if you want to resurface your wall tile. It even works on floor tile too. The Semco system creates a molecular bond with the tile surface, creating a strong, durable and beautiful new decorative wall or floor.


Options to Update Floor Tile Without Removing Them

Semco Florida
update old tile without removing them

Old and outdated floor tiles can ruin the appearance of your space.

Ceramic tiles are perhaps the only flooring solution that can work in any room of a house or office. Tile is most commonly seen in kitchens and bathrooms, but its versatility, durability and ease of maintenance means tile is also seen in a variety of flooring applications including offices, patios, walkways and even pool decks. Tile is also long lasting. But this is where you can run into trouble. Tile that is old is often stylistically dated and tile floors can even limit the type of renovations and remodels you do to walls and other areas of your interior or exterior space. And old tile is also likely damaged and chipped and even stained. Many people believe that the only way to get rid of old tile is to remove it completely and either replace it with new tile or a new surface.

But before you go ripping up your old tile floors, check out these options to cover up ugly floor tiles.

Installing a Vinyl Top

Those who are looking for a quick solution may want to opt for adding a vinyl surface atop their existing tile floors. These days, vinyl comes in many different colors, patterns, and quality levels.

Adding vinyl atop of existing floors normally entails choosing the right amount of vinyl for the space, cutting it at the right dimensions, and applying it to the surface of the existing floor. Keep in mind that although vinyl is a quick fix, it is often permanent as well. Therefore, those who choose to place vinyl atop of their existing floors should only do so if they are certain that they do not want to do anything with their tile floors, and are completely comfortable with the vinyl.

While vinyl is a cheap and easy way to cover your old tile floors, it also comes with a number of drawbacks. Vinyl is cheap for a reason. It is not very durable and is prone to punctures. If your floor takes a lot of traffic and abuse, vinyl flooring is not the best option to update floor tile without removing them.

Clean the Grout Between the Tiles

Cleaning the grout between the tiles is another temporary fix that you can choose. Grout often collects dirt, grime, and other substances over time, which can leave your tile floors looking old and outdated.

To clean the grout between your tiles, you can create your own natural cleaning solution at home, or you can purchase a product from your local hardware store or get a professional surface cleaning product. Either way, the process involves some elbow grease and time. Nonetheless, once you clean the grout between your tiles, you should have tile with a somewhat presentable appearance.

Use a Tile Cleaner or Surface Cleaner

If grout cleaning is not enough to restore your tile to its luster, you can also use a surface cleaner to help bring back those old tiles. A surface cleaner like Semco Stone Soap is a great option for cleaning tile floors. It can also be used as a grout cleaner. It is strong enough to clean, but gentle enough not to damage fragile finishes and is 100% biodegradable.

Use a Rug to Cover Old Tiles

Perhaps the easiest way to update or cover old tile is to place a rug on top of the floors. While the rug may not hide the floors entirely, it can improve the appearance of the space and give it a bit of style. This technique is best used in smaller areas like bathrooms. The downside, of course, is that a rug can become dirty over time and does not solve the old, ugly tile problem but merely hides it.

Update Floor Tile Without Replacing Them by Resurfacing

diagram of tile resurfacing updating tiles without removing them

Resurfacing your tile floors with a micro cement or cement resurfacing compound like the Semco Remodel without Removal system is a great way to update your old tiles without removing them. Tile resurfacing is perhaps the best option for those who are looking to update their tile floors without removing them. You can resurface any type of tile in both outdoor and indoor areas. The benefit of resurfacing is that you get a brand new seamless surface that is stronger than vinyl and other floor tile overlay solutions. Semco Remodel without removal uses the Semco X-Bond Seamless Stone which creates a molecular bond to the old tile surface. The resulting surface is waterproof, chemical resistant and comes in a variety of colors and polishes.

If you think the Semco surface solution is the right choice for your tile restoration project, contact us today and let us help you get the best surface solution for your needs.


Tile Resurfacing and Remodel Without Removal Before and After

Want to Learn More about Remodel Without Removal Tile Resurfacing?

Tile resurfacing is a new solution to an old problem: what to do with that ugly old tile. Instead of removing the tile and replacing it, tile resurfacing is a method of overlaying a tile resurfacing product that bonds to the old tile. It covers the grout to make a seamless, beautiful and polished surface.


Contact Us to Get Started on Your Tile Resurfacing Project

Call 305-814-7872

Contact us to tell us bit about your project and we will get you set up with a Certified Semco Tile Resurfacing Expert in your area.


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Suite 500 #1042
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