Tile and stone floors are attractive and long lasting—as long as they’re cared for properly. Below are some common questions and answers for these types of floors and tips for maintenance.
Q: What are the differences between ceramic tile and stone?
Ceramic tile is a manufactured product in which natural minerals have been pressed together with hydraulic pressure in a press machine. Stone is a natural product taken from the ground, where minerals have been pressed together by the heat and pressure of the Earth over long periods of time. Ceramic tiles can be produced to look very much like natural stone.
Q: How can you differentiate ceramic tile and stone?
Compare the patterns. If the patterns on the different tiles are similar but not identical, the tiles could be made of either stone or ceramic. If the patterns match exactly, the tiles are most likely ceramic or another fabricated material. However, visually identifying these differences can be challenging because ceramic tile and stone can look comparable, especially when polished. Another option for identifying the material is a porosity test—most manufactured tile is not porous whereas natural stone sometimes is.
Q: What are some typical challenges with cleaning and maintaining ceramic tile and stone?
The biggest challenge when a client waits too long before calling a professional for cleaning and maintenance leading to a significant soil load. Another challenge is that the wrong cleaning chemicals have been used which can leave a residue that attracts even more soils. As most professionals are aware, the best cleansers have a pH of 7.
The buildup is even more pronounced in the grout, which is not of the same texture as the tiles and releases soils much differently. Because of the grout’s low position, commercial cleaning crews may be using the wrong tools. Tools such as dust mops are flat, but tiled floors are not. Flat tools actually drive dry soils into the grout. Adding water from a spray mop afterward creates mud in the grout joints, making the cleaners’ jobs more difficult.
Q: What are some cleaning and restoration tips for stone and ceramic tile floors?
- Evaluate the flooring for damage before you begin maintenance. Document the floor’s current condition, including the floor characteristics, installation issues, and damaged areas.
- Use high-quality products for all maintenance. Don’t automatically use strong detergents in a light soil situation where they may not be appropriate—match the detergent to the soil load.
- For tile and stone that needs more cleaning or restoration services, call a professional. They have the proper chemicals and equipment to maintain the beauty of your floors for years to come.