Types of Tile and Cleaning

posted by: Bruce Myers - "the KING of Floor Care"

Many options exist for floors today. Instead of using hardwood or carpet, many choose tile for flooring. Tile flooring has several benefits. It comes in a variety of colors and textures based on preference. Tile cleaning and maintenance of these floors is easy when finished.  However, many wonder about the differences in tile. What type of tile works best in which room?

The fact is tile comes in many styles. Each type of tile gets created with different materials. These materials and the method of creation determine the characteristics of tile. Each type is unique and offers a different look and feel when placed in a room.

Ceramic

This type of tile is popular. It gets made with clay materials. Once prepared, the clay gets formed into a mold. The three methods used to create ceramic include dry press, extruded, and slush mold. Dry press occurs when the material is dry and pressed under extreme pressure. Extruded happens when a slightly wet material gets extruded through the mold. The slush molding method gets formed when wet material gets mixed with a mold and hardened in a kiln at high temperatures.

– Non-Porcelain vs. Porcelain

  Traditional ceramic tile is non-porcelain. These get produced with white, red, or brown clay. Porcelain tile comes from clay as well. However, 50% of the mixture is Feldspar. This white dust or sand melts into a substance similar to glass during the kiln-drying process. Non-porcelain ceramic is economical and best for a budget. It is also easier to work with. However, Porcelain offers more durability and resistance to stains.

Natural Stone Tile

Many choose natural stone over ceramic. These tiles come from natural materials cut and shaped. There are thousands of varieties to choose from. Most have distinguishing characteristics based on where they got quarried. However, many fall under specific general categories.

 – Granite

The granite is dense and hard. It stands out with a unique appearance caused by veining and speckled minerals within. Its strength and density make it scratch and damage resistant once laid. It also comes in a variety of colors. This stone tile works in any area with high foot traffic.

– Marble

The marble tile doesn’t get used as often as granite. It comes from a metamorphic rock with rich veining. The tile produced from marble is beautiful with a variety of colors. The problem is that it is a porous rock. Unlike granite, it absorbs liquid quickly. It isn’t recommended for using in kitchens or areas with a lot of foot traffic. If used, it needs honed and sealed on a daily basis.

– Travertine

This type comes from a limestone. The tile has a crystallized appearance and earthy tone which is unusual. This stone is soft and porous with natural divots. This makes it impossible to polish or hone until the divots get filled. This stone is easily scratched and requires special care when sealing. Therefore, it isn’t recommended this type be used in areas with high foot traffic.

– Slate

The tile made from slate is durable and dense. It usually comes in darker tones. This stone comes with a natural texture that some enjoy in tile. However, a smooth feel is possible with if honed. Like granite tile, this choice is excellent for areas with a lot of foot traffic and kitchens.

General Cleaning

Floors need considered an investment. The fact is, a ceramic tile floor lasts 75-100 years. A stone floor lasts 100 years or more. The floors last a lifetime. It takes regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking nice and undamaged.

A routine of daily sweeping with a dust mop or vacuum for hard surfaces needs developed. Dirt, dust, and sand do build up which may scratch the surface of the floor. Removing this layer daily lowers risk of scratching. A weekly routine of mopping with soap and water also removes dirt and sand build-up. It is best to avoid acidic, bleach, or abrasive cleaners unless the manufacturer specifies the tile can withstand the chemicals. Clean up any spills when they occur so the tile doesn’t absorb the substance and stain. Finally, mats or rugs make it easier to keep outside dirt and mud from being tracked over the floor.

When it comes to general cleaning, ceramic and stone is more about routine than deep cleaning. However, when needing something more, it is best left to a professional service. If there are questions or concerns, contact us today for answers.

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