Care & Maintenance
Learn how to take care of ceramic/porcelain and stone tiles.
1. Ceramic / Porcelain Tiles
The most important cleaning operation is performed immediately after the tile has been set. This involves the complete removal of grout residue and construction dirt from the newly installed tile floor.
- Use cleaning agents from grout and adhesive manufacturers.
- Follow cleaning product instructions.
- Clean leftover residue via scrubbing ( with a soft bristle brush) with mild detergent and thorough rinsing. Repeat several times if necessary.
- Use acid solutions obtained from hardware stores as these chemicals may be very corrosive and permanently damage the tile surface.
The first step in maintenance is the sealing of the tile (if necessary) and the grout (if necessary).
Glazed tiles don’t require sealer while unglazed tiles do need sealer. However some unglazed tiles don’t require sealer.
One easy way to find out is to test with a small amount of water, if the surface darkens that means it absorbs water and needs to be sealed.
You must use a penetrating type sealer or impregnator on the tiles after installation to make the surface more stain resistant. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Scouring creams are excellent for tile cleaning
You can use various general purpose cleaners that are readily available. Make sure the cleaner has the following:
- non-animal fat
- non-soap base
Remember! The tile must be thoroughly rinsed with clean water after the cleaning process has been completed.
Test all cleaners first in a small, inconspicuous area before starting the actual cleaning.
- Remove all loose debris from the tile by sweeping with a soft bristle broom or vacuuming.
- Any spills should be wiped up as quickly as possible.
- Apply the recommended amount and dilution of the appropriate cleaner to the tile. Where necessary, allow the cleaner to remain on the tile for a short period of time.
- For unpolished tile, scrub with a nylon pad or soft bristle brush. For more heavily soiled floors a floor machine equipped with a nylon pad or bristle brush may be used. For polished tile, wipe or mop with a nonabrasive mop or cloth.
- Remove the dirty cleaning solution and water with a wet vacuum or mop. Thoroughly rinse the tile with clean water and remove with a wet vacuum, mop, or towel. It is absolutely essential for all detergent residues to be completely removed from the tile.The tile should be rinsed several times if necessary to remove all detergent residues.
- Factors such as foot traffic, environmental conditions and product colour should be considered when planning your tile maintenance.
You may encounter different types of stains. Below is a chart that recommends the best type of cleaner for a particular type of stain.
|Types Of Stain
||Types Of Cleaner
||Thinner, Turpentine, Mild Sulphuric Acid
||Potassium Carbonate, Caustic Soda
||Thinner , Turpentine
||Potassium Carbonate, Caustic Soda
As a rule, all stone tiles must be sealed first following installation. Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for your chosen product and be aware of the surface preparation of the stone tile (polished, honed, or natural) and the density and porosity of the stone(petroleum or water based).
- Use pH balanced cleaners and soap less detergents for daily cleaning.
- Use mild dish-washing liquid on stone surfaces.
- Remember to rinse the tile and grout thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner.
- Agitate grout joints with a soft bristled brush to loosen debris. Thoroughly rinse, dry, and polish cleaned areas.
- Acidic cleaners aren’t suitable for alkaline stones like marble, travertine, and sandstone.
- Acidic cleaners will eventually erode the grout in the joints making cleaning and maintenance more troublesome. Sanded grout installations are especially vulnerable.
Stone Cleaning Tips:
- Most stones, once protected, require occasional scrubbing to remove surface build-up of dirt and grime. Using a neutral cleaner, mop or scrub on cleaner as directed, rinse if necessary. Towel drying after rinsing removes streaks
- On honed (smooth but not polished) or slate (rough) finish stones, a good scrubbing is required more often, due to the texture of the product holding the dirt to the surface. A good penetrating sealer cuts down on the frequency of this task. The beauty of these finishes are in their texture or matte appearance.
- With all stones, establish what sealer to use or has been used previously, and then work within the Manufacturer's guidelines to set up a regular maintenance schedule.
- You can use a poultice product for stains on marble and stone. Poultice is used in paste form and applied to the surface of the stain. Then apply a piece of plastic, larger than the stain area, over the poultice and seal off with tape. Allow it to set the prescribed amount of time by the Manufacturer and remove plastic and poultice. The stain is normally drawn out of the stone. Some poultice type products push the stain down into the stone away from the surface of the stone and allow you to seal the stone, thus keeping the stain away from the surface. Each product has the ability to save your floor from an unsightly stain. Follow directions as always and you should be pleased with the results. Some stains may require multiple applications or can only be partially removed.
- Polishing kits are available which have all the products in one box. If you have a large area that is damaged or if you want to establish a once-a-year regular maintenance procedure to keep your marble glowing with it's original mirror finish, contact a company that specializes in this type of work.