QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Curious about how to clean ceramic tile? Or whether it’s suitable for outdoor spaces? Find answers to those questions and more below.

Ceramic Flooring

Because there are many different types of ceramic tile it is always important to consult the warranty guide or manufacturer’s website of your specific product before cleaning. For most common forms of ceramic tile it is recommended that you sweep or vacuum (using only a vacuum with soft wheels) a few times per week to remove dirt and debris before it can scratch or grind into the tile. After removing loose material from on top of the tile the next step is to mop. It is recommended that you use a microfiber rag or chamois mop instead of a sponge mop. Sponge mops can push dirty water into the grout and stain it. You can use warm water mixed with a small amount of dish detergent for your cleaning solution, or a manufacturer recommended product. It is important to change your bucket of cleaning solution often so you won’t leave a film of dirt on the floor. If you do end up with a hazy film on your tile floor, remove with an all-purpose cleaner. Ensure the cleaner is non-abrasive so that it won’t scratch the floor. You can make your own all-purpose cleaner by mixing lemon juice or vinegar with hot water. Apply it to the floor and then buff dry with a clean cloth.

One of the most impactful cleaning tips with tile is ensuring that the grout remains clean and stain free. Because the grout is an important design element in your floor, distinguishing the tiles from one-another, when they are dirty they can really harm the beauty of your floor. Most grout is porous and easily absorbs dirt, grease and other materials. To clean your grout it is recommended that you use commercially available grout cleaner as recommended by the grout manufacturer. The type of grout used will determine the best cleaning product. You can also use a mild bleach solution in many cases. For deep stains, allow the cleaner to sit for 10 minutes then use a small scrub brush or toothbrush to scrub the grout.

Ceramic tiles are thin slabs of clay or other minerals tightly compressed and heated in an oven to create a hard and durable building material. Ceramic tiles can be glazed or unglazed, and can come in many different colors, shapes and sizes. There are many different types of ceramic tiles, each manufactured in different ways with different material components for a wide array of applications. Ceramic tiles can be made to suit exterior and interior applications. There are ceramic tiles made for use on walls, floors, counter tops and more. Porcelain tiles are among the most popular and durable types of ceramic tiles. Porcelain tiles are ceramic tiles that have heated at a greater temperature than typical ceramic tiles, making them more durable and less porous and therefore less water absorbent. A porcelain tile must have a water absorption rate of less than 0.5% to be classified as porcelain. All porcelain tiles are ceramic, but not all ceramic tiles are porcelain. Glass tiles are not considered ceramic tiles but are another popular type of tile often used on walls, backsplashes and in other accent applications. Natural stone tiles (tiles produced from cuts of naturally occurring stone such as granite or travertine) are also an alternative to ceramic tiles and can be used in a number of applications.

Yes, but it must be the right type of ceramic tile and it must be installed properly. One of the most important things to consider when selecting a ceramic tile for exterior application is the water absorption rate of that tile. It is generally recommended that you choose a tile with a water absorption rate of 3% or less, with less than 0.5% (porcelain) being ideal. If your tile absorbs too much water it may damage the tile, especially if the water freezes and expands which will cause the tile to crack. You may also want to consider a through-body unglazed porcelain tile, meaning that the top color runs throughout the tile, which makes chips and damage less noticeable in the event your outdoor tile sees some extra abuse.

If you plan installing your tile outside with grout ensure that if you are sealing your grout (or using sealed grout) and utilizing expansion joints when applicable to account for water and changes in temperature.