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Detectable Warning Tile Maintenance and Repair

ADA compliant detectable warning tiles have two main purposes:


  1. Provide alerts to pedestrians of potential hazards so they can be avoided, and

  2. Help individuals with disabilities thrive more independently and safely when accessing public spaces. It’s vital that ADA tiles are regularly inspected and maintained. Any issue should be immediately resolved in order to be compliant and to provide safe areas.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting tiles and maintenance best practices.

Low Maintenance Cleaning

ADA detectable warning tiles are low maintenance, requiring regular surface cleaning. Due to their smooth texture and non-porous surface, liquids, oil, and everyday city grime do not seep into the body of the tiles, shortening their effectiveness and purpose. However, grime and liquids build up on the tiles’ surface. The tiles need a frequent, regular cleaning to keep the color brightly visual, and to prevent dirt, grime, and oily residues from building up on the surface, creating a slippery hazard.

Detectable Warning Tiles Chart (Multiple Colors)


Use an All-Purpose Cleaner

Use a good neutral general purpose commercial cleaner or a machine bristle scrubbing for regular cleaning maintenance.

Though these methods won’t harm or diminish ADA tiles, they weaken or dissolve adjacent floor finishes so pay extra attention to the cleaning solutions that are used. 

The all-purpose cleaner should have a non-oil, non-animal fat, non-soap base. Cleaners with these types of bases cling to a non-porous surface, becoming a magnet to surface grime, oil, and liquids.

It’s advisable to check the cleaning solution manufacturer before using to confirm that the cleaning solution you choose won’t harm the tiles, grout, or adjacent floor finish in any way. Consider testing any cleaner on a small corner section and adjacent floor before applying to the entire tile. This will avoid any unexpected problems.


No Surface Coatings Needed

ADA tiles do not need sealants nor to be waxed. In fact, adding surface coatings increases tile maintenance without improving the tile appearance or resistance to the dirt and grime buildup. 

ADA tiles are composed of a low maintenance vitrified polymer composite, and adding a wax or coating turns the tile into a high maintenance tile with diminished effectiveness by creating a thin barrier that changes the tiles’ unique skid resistance and bright color visibility characteristics. These are two very important safety features of the tile.


Snow and Ice Cleaning

Snow and ice may be removed using a variety of methods:

  • Snow plow
  • Rotary brush
  • Snow blower
  • Deicing stone
  • Hand shoveling
  • Chemicals (salt or calcium chloride)
ADA tiles will not tolerate the severe forces of a snow plow. 

Also some tiles may be temperature sensitive and become brittle by extreme weather. Be sure when selecting tiles to confirm with the manufacturer or retailer that the selected tiles are appropriate for the weather conditions of the region.


Repair or Replace

The ability to repair an ADA tile and how it should be repaired are major considerations when selecting tiles. Most manufacturers provide advice, a repair kit, and detailed methods for repair and replacement.
Certain issues such as worn or missing truncated domes are treacherous hazards and should be immediately repaired or replaced. All the issues listed below are dangerous, and they should be resolved immediately.

Some maintenance considerations when selecting ADA detectable warning tiles:

  • If set screws or anchor bolts lift, can they be easily replaced?

  • Can individual domes be repaired or replaced?

  • What to do if the color fades?

  • Can cracked or broken tiles be repaired or should they always be replaced?

  • Is replacing missing tiles an easy process?

  • Will tiles shift or settle, and if so, how to treat them?

  • What are the best placements for control joints?

  • Will repairing methods delaminate a ramp surface?

What is delamination?

Delamination is when a material, like composites, split into layers. This is a possibility with surface applied tiles, and it’s an issue when heavy equipment like snow plows are used. Sometimes delamination can occur due to extreme temperature changes and precipitation.


White Cap Can Help

If you need help choosing the right products, confirming products are ADA compliant, or installation advice, talk to a knowledgeable White Cap sales associate. We also have DOT experts available to answer your questions by phone, so you don’t have to leave your jobsite. 

We can provide detailed information on each of the many ADA compliant products we stock that will help you make the best choice for your projects. We build trust on every job.
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