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.

 

2021 Dental Office Trends: Porcelain Tile Installation Increases

Dental office porcelain tile installation has been increasing as dentists move away from linoleum and ceramic tile applications.

A recent research report from  Research and Markets states that the the North American ceramic tile market size is expected to reach USD 30.67 billion by 2028. It is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2020 to 2028. The availability of ceramic tiles in a wide range of products including porcelain, glazed, and scratch-free ceramic tiles, coupled with their superior properties including durability, rigidity, and abrasion resistance, is expected to propel the product demand over the forecast period.

A report highlight states that porcelain tiles dominated the market with a revenue share of 50.7% in 2020 due to superior durability and chemical, stain, mold, and bacteria resistance.

While porcelain tile is becoming popular, low maintenance products like luxury vinyl tile, or  LVT, have also gained influence as a viable solution in this sector based on design aesthetics, ease of installation, cleaning and maintenance.

LVT is a floor surface that is slip resistant and offers smooth transitions from one area to another. These benefits are also inherent to porcelain tile, which is very durable and considered a higher end product.

“Specialized dental clinics are now installing porcelain tile,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “We are seeing porcelain tile installations in orthodontist offices and dental surgeon offices. However, the popularity of LVT in dental clinics is still quite high.”

Dental Office Porcelain Tile Trends

Why is this happening? Aesthetics play a large role as porcelain tile is very easy to maintain and can mimic many different surfaces such as wood or stone. These combined factors have also helped to edge out ceramic. Many of the newer flooring finishes like LVT and porcelain tile are trending because they offer a variety of finishes that are highly scratch resistant, while also providing protection from water damage. They are also easier to clean and require very little maintenance.

dental office flooring trends

Porcelain tile is being installed in dental offices.

Dental Office Porcelain Tile: Six Benefits

Porcelain tile has become more popular because it offers many benefits when it comes to high traffic and long-term maintenance.

1. Porcelain tile is harder and denser than ceramic products and are also highly resistant to damage such as stains, scratches, and chips.

2.  This tile is also frost and moisture proof.

3. As porcelain absorbs very little water, it is much easier to clean and disinfect. If stronger chemicals are required, it can withstand harsher solvents.

4. The finish is protected and requires no polishing, sealing, or waxing and can been cleaned with a damp cloth.

5. Due to the hard finish of this product, porcelain is also a great investment for heavy foot traffic areas, as it is very resistant to wear and tear.

6. Porcelain is digitally printed making the design options virtually endless. Many different types of natural surfaces can be mimicked including wood, stone, and marble.

dental office flooring installation Toronto

Porcelain is Popular but LVT is Still Very Versatile from a Design Perspective

Despite new demand for porcelain tile, LVT is still a highly sought-after material as it can replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood but will not wear like natural materials. It won’t chip or discolour and will not expand and contract as wood does in humid or dry seasons. It can also replicate wood and stone at a fraction of the price. Products made from 100% vinyl and porcelain tile are now classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points. LVT is also more economical from an initial cost perspective (supply + install) over porcelain tile and ceramic.

Carpet Tile Becoming Less Popular

Darwin Fisher installations used to include carpet tile. That has also changed. McDonald explains that LVT and porcelain tile are now the main installation products of choice. “The odd time a consultation portion of a dental office will have a carpet tile installation, but the majority are simply focused on LVT and porcelain tile.”

LVT is still quite popular as it offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. Plus, it’s easy to maintain and repair. Since the pandemic these flooring options are also more sought after as they are much easier to sanitize and clean making them better suited to the healthcare environment.

dental office flooring trends

LVT Still Remains Popular Due to Application Features

LVT is in demand as there are thicker products on the market. Specifically, 5 MM LVT Free Lay, also called Loose Lay.

There are a few benefits associated with the newer technology:

  • It’s 5 mm thick and offers a cushioned surface which is ideal for hygienists and dentists who are on their feet all day.
  • Like traditional LVT it wears well and is durable while offering ease of maintenance.
  • After installation, if an accident occurs, the modularity of LVT loose lay flooring systems offer an easy way to isolate a damaged area and provide the flexibility of spot repair rather than having to replace the entire floor.
  • It is aesthetically pleasing as there are many different designs and colours available to meet a variety of project installation needs from a design perspective.

Dental Office Trends: LVT Has Benefits in Terms of Standing

Loose lay LVT has many of the same performance attributes of traditional LVT but goes above and beyond with other benefits that make it a better option. Loose lay is also fast becoming an ideal product for raised access flooring that are typical to new office builds. It can be easily removed and replaced when needed to areas that require constant or frequent access. Its flexibility allows it to be adapted to be installed over other existing flooring materials for retrofits. It is also now thick enough that it can be laid to be flush with other products in the area such as carpet, hardwood or tile if required for transition areas in dental office flooring.

Due the fact that it requires minimal adhesive when compared to traditional LVT, Loose lay has also become the preferred flooring choice as it is easier to install, remove and replace in terms of maintenance and spot fixing if required. Loose lay also offers better acoustic properties than traditional LVT. The thickness and textured surface help to absorb sounds which is also ideal for optimizing privacy between patient examination areas.

dental office trends

Dental Offices Continue to Have a Residential Feel

One of the first concepts to consider before all else is the flooring for a new build or retrofit. It will dictate the tone as it will set the style and comfort a dentist wants for his/her patients.

As you can see from the pictures that accompany this article, dental offices are no longer cold and clinical. There have been many changes over the past several years and it all starts with the flooring.

For more information about dental offices and flooring installation solutions please contact info@darwinfisher.com

To see a related article regarding commercial flooring trends, click here.