Tile is an artistic way to add texture and design to your home or business. Considering size and color, the options are as nearly endless as paint color. There are both natural stone and man-made tile selections to choose from. The type of tile you choose defines the proper method of cleaning and care. It is very important to know if the tile has a coating, if it is acid sensitive, and if it is porous.
The most common man-made tiles are ceramic and porcelain. Ceramic is fired clay with a colored or painted surface. Porcelain, which is fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, has color throughout making any scratches or damage less noticeable. These options are usually not acid sensitive and non-porous.
Saltillo and terracotta are some of the oldest tiles made by man, but some processes have been adjusted today with new technology to produce them in higher quantity. They both have a very high absorbency and often come with a coating that will need to be removed in order to clean them. Coatings sit on the top of tile opposed to sealers that are absorbed.
Other man-made tile options include paver brick, quarry tile, and engineered stone. Unglazed ceramic material is used in paver brick and quarry tile. These are great for exterior paving. Engineered stone is man-made using natural stones bound in a resin or other binder. Because of the natural stone in them, you must be very careful as to what you use when cleaning. Some natural stones are acid sensitive.
Which natural stones are acid sensitive? Limestone, travertine, and marble. Natural stone has timeless beauty, but to retain it these must be cleaned with an alkaline or neutral pH cleaner. Acid resistant natural stones include granite, slate, and sandstone.
All tile and stone should always be tested to determine if there is a coating, if the material is acid sensitive, and if it is porous. This is why it is highly recommended to have your tile and stone professionally cared for. Tile and grout technicians have the resources, knowledge, and experience to determine the best products and processes for all of your tile. Professionals will also seal most tiles after cleaning, protecting them and the grout from future damage, bacteria, and staining.