5 Expert Tips for Maintaining Your Porcelain Tile

Porcelain Tile Care + Maintenance Before, During and After Installation

Porcelain tile is a very durable flooring material that is water resistant, non-porous and requires little maintenance day to day. There are three main types of porcelain tile products: unpolished, polished, and patterned/ textured. To maintain appearance and protect your long-term investment, consider the following before, during and after installation.

  • Ensure all construction is completed before final installation as any heavy objects or traffic can damage the surface
  • Ensure you are using materials to cover the tile surface (kraft paper, plywood) during installation of grout to avoid grout residue and related product on the tile
  • Ensure the grout is sealed at all joints
porcelain tile care

Porcelain tile Photo credit: Ciot

Porcelain Tile Care After Installation

Depending on location and daily foot traffic, a simple vacuum or sweeping can be executed. For any stubborn areas a damp mop will also work to remove debris that vacuuming or sweeping missed.

If there are any stains that are not easily removed, spot cleaning is recommended rather than taking any type of detergent or chemicals to the entire surface area.

It is also critical not to use any cleaners with harsh ingredients such as ammonia or bleach to clean these problem areas. Over time it may erode the surface finish of the tile by opening the seal, allowing water to cause erosion to both the tile and the grout used to keep the tiles in place.

“The key characteristic with porcelain tile is the grout lines when cleaning, that’s why we recommend industry approved porcelain tile and grout solutions,” says Graham Linton, General Manager of Interior Care.  “This is important as these cleaners already have the proper PH levels and won’t lead to damage as is the case with corrosive and acidic cleaners.”

porcelain tile installation

Photo Credit: Ciot – Polished porcelain tile

Interior Care is a member of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring’s partner program. Established in 1964, Interior Care offers a comprehensive client maintenance package. Owned and operated by the Linton family, Interior Care services all types of flooring finishes, including porcelain tile, hardwood, carpet tile and more. Interior Care is one of the largest privately-owned specialty flooring maintenance service businesses in Canada. Staff maintain over 700 corporate offices across Southern Ontario.

porcelain tile care

Photo Credit: Ciot

Porcelain Tile Care: Glazed and Unglazed

Porcelain tile care and maintenance for glazed and unglazed tile is similar for moderate to high foot traffic areas:

  • Loose debris and dirt can simply be swept or vacuumed daily.
  • If water is needed to remove dust/dirt, simply damp mop and dry.
  • If a cleaning solution is required for more stubborn stains – test the area, do not use any abrasive materials to remove the stain and allow to air dry.
  • Before the wipe down and air dry it is important to make sure that the detergent used is completely rinsed away with a second wet mop with clean water.
  • Do not let any industrial cleaning solutions dry on their own without removing and cleaning with fresh water immediately after staining is removed. By following this process, water spots and any streaking or residue that is left by cleaners will be eliminated.

Textured or Patterned Porcelain Tile Care

There are a variety of options with textured or patterned porcelain tile. Many of today’s styles mimic the appearance of wood or stone and have textured surfaces which may hold dirt. This can require extra cleaning time and more chemical solutions. This porcelain tile will also need to be cleaned more frequently as a simple damp mop will not easily remove dirt from crevices.

porcelain tile care

Photo Credit: Ciot – Textured porcelain tile.

“The cleaning protocol doesn’t really change much between textured, glazed or unpolished surfaces,” says Linton. “Porcelain is a very durable product. It takes a lot to damage the finish. The area that will require the most attention with textured porcelain tile is the grout.”

According to Linton, the same steps apply as above for polished and unpolished porcelain, however when cleaning the grout, if the wrong chemicals are used it can change the colour. The main difference with textured porcelain tile is that a damp mop will not work when there is soiling in and around this surface. Instead, agitation through a rotary scrubbing floor machine with a soft brush attachment will work best.

“Our challenge is the grout lines that are really porous,” says Linton. “These must be addressed with the greatest of care. There is a grout brush we use that is tapered to a point. We agitate all the grout lines then we mop off. We usually spend more time on the grout than on the tile itself.”

How to care for textured finishes

Photo credit: Ciot

5 Expert Tips for Porcelain Tile Care + Maintenance After Installation: Summary

  1. It is wise to use walk off matting systems or entrance throw mats to prevent dirt and debris brought in by foot traffic, especially in inclement weather.
  2. Do not use oil-based detergents, wax sealants or cleaners that will create a coating or build up on tiles or grout. This will damage both surfaces over time.
  3. Do not use any harsh or abrasive cleaners or materials such as steel wool pads, scouring pads, or any item containing that contains metal. These small particles can rust and stain the grout.
  4. Do not use abrasive cleaners such as ammonia, bleach or acid-based solutions as these harsh chemicals can damage the tile finish and may alter the colour of the grout.
  5. Any cleaning solutions should be free of any type of dyes or colour, specifically for unglazed ceramic tile. It is important to note that these agents may also alter grout colour.

By following these 5 expert tips for porcelain tile care and maintenance, your porcelain floor will be maintained in the best condition possible, increasing longevity, while protecting your investment.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please click here.

For other articles on our maintenance after installation series, please click here. 

For more information regarding Interior Care, please click here.

 

5 Critical Tips for Your Next Carpet Tile Installation

There are five critical tips for successful carpet tile installation. If you are planning a new office space or redesigning an existing one, your organization’s requirements will involve several considerations. Here’s how to make a more informed decision about your investment, ranging from moisture issues to employee health.

1.Carpet Tile and Moisture

The first factor to consider is whether the site in question is newly constructed or a renovation. This will determine the type of carpet tile required and what solutions make the most sense for that area.

For example, under ideal conditions a newly-poured four-inch concrete slab takes four to five months to be fully ready to accept flooring.

Commercial Carpet Tile Flooring Examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher Entertainment One carpet tile installation

As construction schedules don’t allow for the time required for concrete to cure, the carpet tile installed is one that must be able to handle rising water vapour. It’s a good idea to install modular carpet tile products have been designed to manage subfloor moisture vapor through an open-cell cushion backing.

Unlike hard backed tiles, these types of systems allow for water vapour to travel through the open-cell cushion and up the seam. It is then able to naturally evapourate through the edges of the carpet tile as it surfaces. If the water vapour isn’t allowed to evaporate condensation occurs which can lead to various problems including, lifting carpet, mould and mildew and potentially poor office air quality.

If the project is a renovation, properly preparing the floor and removing the existing flooring to lay the new carpet tile is the first step. The job may require grinding the floor and removing existing adhesives.

Products available for various manufacturers can easily be installed over existing adhesives to  completely obscures any surface irregularities, whereas these types of surface issues may show through hardback carpet after installation.

2. Carpet Tile and Reduced Downtime

Carpet tiles can be easily installed and do not require the dismantling of office systems or employee workstations. When installing carpet tile there is no need to lift furniture in contrast to broadloom, ceramic or hardwood flooring.

carpet tile installation

Darwin Fisher corporate office carpet installation

Darwin Fisher’s secret weapon is Levitate, an Office Lifting System that eliminates downtime and disruption while saving money. Levitate is a technology that allows carpet to be replaced with little or no downtime.

Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. Once the furniture and workstations are lifted the carpet is easily installed.

Levitate office lifting system enables users to re-carpet occupied office areas providing significant savings in time, cost and eliminates employee disruption and relocation. There is no need for disconnection and reconnection of computers, cables, phone lines or other equipment.

The cost savings that Darwin Fisher provides its clients using this system is in excess of 50% as Levitate eliminates the need for computer technicians, staff relocation, furniture specialists and other budget intensive resources required with other types of flooring.

3. Carpet Tile and Durability

Carpet tile systems provide greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry. If broadloom is chosen and an area is damaged, fixing the spot in question is a much larger and more complicated process in terms of seam and pattern matching. It also makes it difficult to fix if there is no attic stock available.

carpet tile maintenance Toronto

Carpet tile spot removal and cleaning

Once your carpet tile is installed it is easy to change out any specific areas wear and tear areas or to spot clean for spills. This will help promote the longevity of your investment.

4. Carpet Tile and Investment

Yes, you can take it with you when you go. After installation you can protect your investment long term. If there is a future requirement to move locations, carpet tile can be easily lifted, removed and re-installed at a new site. At Darwin Fisher, we’ve had clients move their tile and number the tile so that it can be re-installed the same way it came up it was lifted.

Carpet tile has a long lifespan and if it is well maintained well you can realize a return on your investment for many years to come. Colour matching technology also have gotten much more accurate with time so that if a certain colour of tile is purchased years before and a new space needs to be carpeted there is the opportunity to match the older installation to the newer area.

5. Carpet Tile and Employee Health

Independent research reveals  cushion backing in carpet tile decreases muscle fatigue for the people who stand for long periods.  This helps to ensure employees reap the benefits of  improved comfort and the cumulative benefit may have an impact on overall health.

Commercial carpet tile Toronto

Darwin Fisher IMAX carpet tile installation

More good news for your employees. Acoustically, cushioned carpet tiles are also quieter than hard floors or hardback carpet. As a result, sound is contained and a quieter office space can be realized making for a more relaxing workspace.

For more information about carpet tile installation and how to protect your investment, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection and How It Impacts Your Installation Choices

As Covid-19 continues into 2021, many flooring manufacturers are introducing new solutions, materials and finishes to increase social distancing. However, selecting the right application for your installation goes well beyond the product chosen. Covid-19 flooring disinfection will impact your flooring considerations to include long-term functionality, daily employee traffic flow and maintenance.

As there is now more demand for cleaning and sterilization, understanding how this impacts flooring in terms of life expectancy, appearance retention and ongoing maintenance also needs to be considered as installing the wrong product could lead to future issues.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection and Impact

‘As we continue to live with COVID-19, there’s an increased emphasis on maintaining flooring, with services on offer that are designed to keep floors clean—and virus-free. From protocols, to equipment and disinfectants, there’s plenty to consider when deciding on the proper cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of commercial flooring,” states Floor Trends Magazine in a recent article.

The article goes onto say that more data about how chemicals will affect interior finishes is required as there aren’t enough long-term studies regarding how these disinfectants will affect specific materials over time.  For this reason, there is a greater need for flooring manufacturers to provide more information about what chemicals can be safely used on floor surfaces as disinfection becomes a regular part of the care process. This relates specifically to how this could impact warranty.

Covid-19 flooring disinfection

How disinfection can impact your flooring choices

Covid-19 and Social Distancing Flooring Solutions

Leading applications provide different levels of wear and tear and also vary in design and aesthetic impact. For example, carpet tile technology has progressed to absorb sound and offers cushioning for employees who frequently stand. Carpet tile provides greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry.

Mohawk Group Nutopia 2.0 and Milliken  Social Factor  and other manufacturers now providing navigational flooring solutions using carpet tile. Carpet tile has extra cushion and vinyl backing so that it doesn’t easily unravel. Carpet tile is also  extremely durable and spot areas can be quickly changed without requiring additional installation expertise. Many manufacturers are now offering social distancing carpet tile solutions to help mitigate employee anxiety and direct traffic flow. In general, the cleaning and maintenance costs of carpet are relatively low, requiring regular vacuuming and an occasional deep cleaning. How Covid-19 will impact the cleaning and maintenance of carpet tile will depend on the location, amount of traffic and demands of the space where installation occurs.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection

How Covid-19 will impact carpet installation

VCT offers both style and functionality. It is budget conscious and easy to install, repair and offers simple daily maintenance such as quick damp mop. It has a long lifespan and is a cheaper solution than ceramic or hardwood. It is also ideal for spaces which are prone to high moisture levels. If you require the qualities found in a rubber surface, mixed in with the appeal of laminate or linoleum flooring, vinyl is a great choice. This type of flooring is scratch-resistant. Vinyl floors are very common in dental offices and healthcare verticals because they offer style with functionality and ease of daily maintenance. Products made from 100% vinyl are classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points. Although VCT is easy to maintain the impact of harsher chemicals for disinfection over long periods of time will eventually affect top layer finishes.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Large + Local LVT creates directionality

LVT has become a popular choice as it is available in a large array of designs that mimic wood and stone but is much more durable. It offers better acoustic properties than hard surface flooring like ceramic tile and it won’t chip or discolor. LVT is long-wearing, requires very little maintenance and is protected by a clear layer which helps to maintain its appearance over long periods of time. It will not expand and contract in humid or dry seasons and is a fraction of the price of stone or real wood.  There are several manufacturers that offer wayfinding LVT products to help with social distancing solutions and traffic flow in the workplace. LVT is another material that is easy to clean and maintain however, if it is installed in high traffic area which requires constant disinfection the chemicals used would have to be examined to determine how that would affect long-term care.

Covid-19 and Emerging Healthcare Flooring Applications

The flooring choice for hospitals is still dominated by resilient applications. Here we are seeing new and innovative solutions which are also environmentally friendly, like Legato Liquid Linoleum from Mannington Commercial.  According to Mannington, “Legato Liquid Linoleum can be installed across many segments that require the benefits of infection control, slip resistance, and sound dampening – traits that go above and beyond that of a traditional linoleum thanks to its seamless installation and Quantum Guard Elite® technology. These segments include healthcare, government, education, retail and assisted living applications.”

Liquid linoleum flooring solutions

Photo credit: Mannington Commercial  – Legato Liquid Linoleum

As there are a broad range of flooring solutions available it’s wise to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable flooring contractor that understands the opportunities and challenges associated with your new build or retrofit. As Covid-19 flooring disinfection becomes more complex, true flooring specialists need to have in-depth knowledge of the products that they install. They will make recommendations for your specific project and advise what type of products will offer the best performance. Installing the best solution for your particular space will ensure your flooring needs and return on investment are met for years to come.

Free Consultation

For your free Covid-19 flooring installation assessment, please contact us here.