Cleaning and maintaining tiles
Ceramic tiles are hygienic and easy to clean. Nevertheless, in order to ensure that the tiled surface maintains its original beauty, we recommend you observe some basic precautions as regards maintenance, cleaning and protection.
Floor and wall coverings do not require any special maintenance other than some cleaning procedures.
Initial cleaning: Cleaning after laying
The initial cleaning process eliminates all residues from the laying process (mortar, adhesive, paint, building-site dirt of various kinds) and removes any surface waste.
In this phase, the floor must be washed using a solution of hydrochloric acid (2/3 water, 1/3 acid) or similar products specially designed for this purpose.
To prevent the acid-based product used for the initial cleaning from corroding the cement-based joint filler, we recommend that you wet the floor prior to cleaning so that the joints are impregnated and thus protected from the corrosive action of the acid.
If the initial cleaning is carried out after the floor has been used, before applying the acid product it is advisable to first remove any greasy or similar substances using suitable cleaning products.
After cleaning, the floor should be rinsed thoroughly and the residual water collected.
Surfaces should be cleaned with proper detergents that do not affect surfaces and glazes; we therefore recommend avoid using acid based or very aggressive detergents.
For everyday cleaning, it is sufficient to wash the floor with water and normal cleaning products suitable for ceramic surfaces. To increase the detergents efficiency, we can dilute them with warm water. For a deep clean and to reinforce the protective layer, we can dilute a little of floor wax in the bucketful of water.
It is best to avoid rubbing surfaces with abrasive materials such as metal pads or hard brushes that can scratch or leave permanent marks on the surface.
For terracotta and marble tiles, no alcohol and no ammonia, neither in case of stains, because they can damage the surface and compromise its natural beauty.
Extraordinary care procedure
In these cases, old treatments or old coats of care wax have to be removed and then restored.
Before using the spcific product for this operation, it is advisable to perform a trial on the surface.
Nonetheless, to preserve the original beauty of the floor as long as possible, it is advisable to protect the entrance to the room, especially if it is in direct communication with outdoor areas, using a door mat that will as much as possible keep dust or other abrasive substances away from the floor. People living on ground floors leading directly to open-air courtyards should pay particular attention and try not to bring sand or pebbles inside that could end up under the door or shoes leaving annoying scratches on the tiled floor.
Of course, due to the physical properties of the tile’s body, always make sure that heavy objects do not fall on the tiled floor to prevent chipping or cracking.
In case coloured joint fillers are used in floor tiles, remember that very light colours will get easily dirty, therefore they are not recommended for entrance areas or kitchen floors.
There are also special grouts able to protect joints and enhance their waterproof properties; they can be used in kitchens or in bathrooms to cover the area in front of the sink.
Materials and cleaning
Grès does not retain stains or smudges of any type. Nonetheless, persistent stains that are difficult to remove with normal cleaning may be eliminated with the appropriate use of stronger and more concentrated cleaning products, capable of removing heavier dirt and restoring the original appearance of the tiles.
In this regard, we should point out that grès is resistant to all chemicals, with the exception of hydrofluoric acid, which is harmful to all ceramic products.
Protective treatment of grès is intended not to protect it against wear (unnecessary, in view of its hardness) but to create a barrier against dirt and stains, and simplify routine care procedures.
Grès may undergo an industrial polishing process. This produces the "polished" type, which has a mirror finish, but unlike the "natural" (i.e. unpolished) material, it does present some stainability problems. The polishing process opens the pores of the porcelain stoneware, making it easier for dirt to penetrate.
On grès and rustic surfaces, dirt builds up in the fissures in the material, making it difficult to keep clean: we can use a product which protects the floor from wear and water or oil-based dirt, simplifying routine care operations.
So, it is important to distinguish between protection for "polished" and for "natural" material.
It is preferable to chose a product that takes into account the specific properties of each stone and distinguishes stone with glossy finishes from matt surfaces.
Besides to create a barrier to prevent the floor from becoming dirty that enhances the material's appearance, the final stage in protection of terracotta is the treatment of is application of a liquid finishing wax that provides a specific surface effect (natural, satiny, matt and gloss) and also adds to the protection provided by the paste wax.
Outdoor terracotta is treated to protect it against water, stains and salt efflorescence. It is necessary to create an in-depth barrier that prevents water absorption and the appearance of efflorescence. This protects the terracotta and prevents it from turning black.
For the chemical composition and also for the treatment, red and rustic stoneware are similar to klinker.
It is possibile to create a water and oil-repellent protection that protects the stone surface against oily dirt without changing its original surface color and appearance and at the same time enhance the surface tone.
A specific water-repellent creates product is a special water-based, waterproofing liquid that offers deep penetrating protection and a superficial barrier against atmospheric agents.
It is possible to protect matt finish stone from water and oil stains by giving the surface a water-effect finish: there are products which are able to revitalize the treated material’s surface, highlighting its color and adding a suitable level of shine. The so-called “wet-effect” is achieved. They are film-forming products that render the surface impermeable to water and oil stains. They do not yellow the surface and are highly resistants to foot traffic.
It is advisable to chose the appropriate detergent reading the label with attention and following the advices given by tile manufacturing companies.