Back in the day, many of the floors in food service and prep areas were made of these porous and semi-porous tiles and grout surfaces because they looked good and were popular. On the other hand, Glazed floors were also popular and looked good but presented many safety hazards.
Glazed tile floors presented hazards like slips and falls due to spills which cause the floor to become very slippery. While safer, the porous floors presented difficulties in cleaning and maintenance and even required preventative measures and special considerations. Even though the porous tile and grout floors did not present safety hazards, the most challenging difficulty is in preserving the grout. Once again, the problem lies in the porosity of the grout, which allow contaminants to enter the unsealed grout.
Things such as the high heat and pressure of washing, harsh cleaning chemicals, and the acids in oils all take a toll on this type of grout. After a time, the continued exposure of these things to the porous grout and tile will cause cavities and voids in the grout causing further instability and safety hazards. For a time, Epoxy grout was used in the place of porous grout with some success but it was found to cause health hazards to workers installing the epoxy who had to breathe the fumes. Besides the health hazards from fumes epoxy grout lost favor due to its high cost.
Because of the cementations nature and lack of durability of the more prevalent grout, other measures had to be discovered. After a tile and grout floor has reached the point of no return and is unable to be properly cleaned, you have two options including, removing the floor completely and replacing it with something different or restoring the grout in such a way that it changes the integrity from porous to non-porous and prevent further issues. To accomplish this restoration, the tile and grout must be protected using materials, which do not alter the coefficient of friction but still sealing the pores against damage.
The beauty of the tile still remains and can even be enhanced, and the cost is considerably less than replacing the entire floor. In addition, the restoration process does not require demolition that can result in dust and debris and downtime for the business plus it can be done in sections after closing hours. Because of state of the art techniques and materials, the beauty of tile and grout floors can be brought back to life with less cost to the owner, less to no downtime for the business and easier cleaning and maintenance.