Ceramic and Stone Tiling
The most commonly used tiles are ceramic and porcelain which are made in completely different ways but are often confused.
Ceramic tiles have a durable surface glaze which carries the pattern and colour, below which is softer material often of a different colour.
Porcelain tiles are much denser, harder and are highly water resistant The hardness and the colour normally go all the way through, so chips and damage are much less likely and if they do occur are less visible.
Care and cleaning of ceramic and porcelain tiled floors
As with all flooring, the best care is regular care. Vacuum at least once a week, more often for heavily used areas. A combination of grease, moisture, dust and fluff can turn into unpleasant grime if they are not efficiently removed. If the tiles are uneven, textured, or have wide grout gaps it is essential to vacuum with a combination head or parquet brush.
High gloss tiles can be polished with either standard or diamond pads, but avoid polishing uneven tiles as only the high points are polished. If tiles are used in a “wet” area of the home, they tend to be subject to different spills and spots. Mopping with hot water and a mild household detergent should remove most stains. If the stain remains stubborn, you can use a soft brush or synthetic scouring pad to loosen the spot, but do not use steel wool or a metal brush, as these may scratch the surface of the tiles. After washing a tile floor, be sure to thoroughly rinse the floor with clean water. This will remove any detergent residue from setting and attracting more dirt to your floor.
Although the tiles themselves may be impervious, the grouting between them is susceptible to staining as it is porous. To prevent staining use a good quality grout seal. Alternatively, if the grout becomes stained or discoloured, it can be brightened by a good cleaning with diluted bleach (3 parts bleach to 1 part water). Use the edge of a sponge or a toothbrush for this job, and be careful to keep the bleach solution away from other surfaces. Alternatively seek a specific grout cleaner.
Terracotta tiles do not have a surface glaze and so are highly porous. Without adequate sealing they will soak up stains and fail to be the beautiful floor they have the potential to be. They are also quite delicate, so should be cleaned with care. Seek advice when you buy the tiles about the best sealants and cleaners and consider using a professional for restoration and sealing of older floor.
Natural stone floors
A number of different stone types are used for flooring. Granite is the most hard-wearing and water resistant. Other stone types commonly used are marble, limestone and sandstone. Slate is often used in kitchens and bathrooms because of its water resistant properties, but has an uneven surface which means it must be vacuumed with a combination head or parquet brush. Porous stone should be sealed with an appropriate sealer.
Smooth, gloss natural stone floors such as marble can easily be maintained to a high standard using the SEBO polisher fitted with a diamond pad.