How to choose
How to choose the suitable tiles or cladding?
In order to choose the most suitable kind of tiles for you, it is necessary to take into consideration both technical and aesthetic aspects.
Today we mainly talk about the technical aspects.
The technical features are those necessary for the material's suitable and reliable performance. They can be divided as follows:
- uniformity features
- structural features
- massive mechanical features
- surface mechanical features
- thermo-hygrometric features
- chemical features
- safety features
Uniformity features determine the suitability of a batch of tiles to perform a "regular" tiled surface, or free of "irregularities" like bumps or dimples, steps between adjacent tiles, irregular joints course.
Structural features refer to the real structure of the material the tile is made of: in particular to its porous structure. The tile porosity provides an immediate indication of the water absorption, which reaches the lowest levels with porcelain stoneware. The products with higher levels of water absorption are mono-porous, majolica tiles, cottoforte and terracotta.
Massive mechanical features concern the load bearing strength (for example the weight of people and furniture on a floor) to which the tiled surface may be exposed. We call them "massive" since they refer to the tile’s "mass" and in order to distinguish them from the "surface" features that concern its surface. The mechanical features are the bending strength and the breaking stress. The first one concerns the material the tile is made of, and it is directly proportional to the water absorption. The breaking stress is a property peculiar to a finished tile, with its own structure and size. Therefore, it is directly proportional to its thickness. Among these features we also find the impact strength.
Surface mechanical features refer to the working surface of the tile and they can be associated with the resistance to scratches, wear and deterioration, due to the handling/moving of hard bodies on the surface and in contact with it. These features are very significant in case of floors. The most important one is the abrasion resistance that provides a measurement of the propensity of a tile to wear down (if unglazed) or to alter its appearance (if glazed) as a result of the above mentioned conditions. As for unglazed tiles, this value tends to increase as water absorption decreases, therefore, porcelain stoneware will have the highest level and the best performance. However, the resistance to abrasion can vary depending on the treatments the tiles can be submitted to: in case of terracotta, the impregnation with various substances, natural or synthetic; in case of porcelain stoneware, polishing and smoothing. As for glazed tiles, the abrasion resistance depends exclusively on the glaze. Light glazes show a greater wear deterioration, also due to the fact that they are harder to clean.
Thermo-hygrometric features describe the resistance to specific temperatures ("thermo") and dampness ("hygrometric") conditions, such as thermal shock and frost resistance and for glazed tiles only, crazing resistance. Sudden changes in temperature (for example, when a hot pot is placed on top of a kitchen tiled counter-top) and exposure to frost, should not cause any damage to the tile at all. The frost resistance highly depends on the porosity and on the water absorption: the lower the values are, the less the chances of damage by frost will be crazing, in the form of thin cracks of the glaze, can be favored by some building or environmental conditions. The crazing resistance depends on the glaze composition. Some types of glaze run higher crazing risks compared to others. Further thermo-hygrometric features are represented by thermal expansion and dampness expansion, that is to say the measurement of the tile dimensions increase, when submitted to higher temperature and dampness levels.
As regards to thermal expansion, no major differences exist between the various types of tiles, though a slight increase has been noticed in the presence of a great vitreous phase, which means in products with a more compact, vitrified body. Dampness expansion is usually linked to water absorption, although considerable variations have been observed, likely due to the effects of other micro-structural features, like the type and distribution of the various existent phases.
The chemical features are the stain resistance, resistance to household products, anti-acid and alkali. Resistance to chemicals is the capacity of the glaze at room temperature to tolerate contact with chemicals (domestic products, staining chemicals, pool additives, acid and solvents) without alteration in its appearance.
The safety features particularly preside over the safety of tiled areas regarding accidental or sanitary risks. The main safety feature, also very important for outdoor, public and industrial areas, is the slip resistance, which is inversely proportional to the surface friction coefficient. Safety features also include lead and cadmium cession (metals sometimes contained in glazes), which must be checked when a contact with food substances is forecast, for example kitchen countertops.
What is the ceramic tiles' surface finishing? How to recognize a matt, semi-polished, bush-hammered or textured surface?
The surface finishing is the working processing of a tile in order to achieve certain surface roughness conditions and shape and size allowances.
The natural/matt finishing is very versatile and it has a universal application; the semi-polished effect enhances the aesthetic values of the material by increasing its brilliance and elegance to such degree as to overcome the natural marbles gloss; the bush-hammering processing is carried out with tools like chisel, cap, etc., in order to obtain a rustic, rough surface; the textured finishing solves the slipperiness problem, caused by water or particular environmental conditions.
How to clean
What is the best way to clean your floor ceramic tiles?
Besides their phenomenal beauty and versatility, porcelain tile floors have the advantage of being very low-maintenance. Ceramics are made of natural particles that are shaped and fired in a kiln at very high temperatures. This process creates a durability and resiliency that is unmatched by most other flooring surfaces. When glazed, they also have a protective barrier from dirt, water, stains, and chemicals, making them even more impervious to the elements. Even while easy to maintain, there are some steps to take to ensure that it remains in optimal condition.
How should you clean your tile floor?
One of the most important aspects of cleaning your tile floor is making sure dirt and spills do not have a chance to get comfortable. These things happen; instead of banning everyone but yourself from walking on your floor, clean up spills or tracks as soon as possible.
This is easy enough to do with a mop or cloth, hot water, and a mild household detergent (be sure to do a spot test with any detergent before use and/or get recommendations from the tile manufacturer.
Regular maintenance is important as well. The easiest, quickest, and most effective step you can take is to regularly sweep, vacuum, and damp mop your bathroom, entryway, or kitchen tile floors.
A quick sweeping or vacuuming removes dirt and debris before it can become embedded in the tile or grout. Mopping with warm water and using a manufacturer-recommended cleaning product also enhances your tile’s gloss, shine, and color. One of the best floor cleaning products, though, is one that is readily available in your home. Water is effective in keeping your tile floor looking great.
You can also mix a cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water for a wonderfully effective, odor-eliminating cleanser. If you have children or pets, you may not want to use harsh chemicals, and this is a wonderful alternative.
Ceramic tiles are held in place by grout, which is typically white. Over time, and with exposure to the elements, this can become discolored and dingy. When this happens, it detracts from the beauty of your floor.
To keep this from happening, and to preserve both your tile and grout, it is important to take care of your grout as well. The best way to do this is to seal it after you have installed your tile.
This will keep stains, dirt, and water from being able to penetrate the protective barrier.
Experts recommend doing this about twice a year, though your tile manufacturer may recommend a different sealing schedule.
To clean grout that has become dirt, you can mix hydrogen peroxide and water in equal parts. Simply apply this with a toothbrush to remove the stains. You will find that even grout that is properly maintained is easier to clean and remove stains from than other surfaces, such as laminate.
Among the best qualities of ceramic tiles are its resistance to stains, its hygienic qualities, and its ease of cleaning. Beauty can be low-maintenance.
Our cleaning and maintenace advices.
Cleaning wood look tiles:
Dust tile that looks like wood regularly using a dust mop for flooring. This prevents dust from settling in layers in the grooves and making the tiles look dirty. It might be taken a degreaser with a percentage of buffered acid using a rough cloth with a floor polisher. This cleaning operation has to be done with energy and after that the floor has to be rinsed and to dry up perfectly with a microfiber cloth. These kind of cleaners can be used even for the normal cleaning used with water with a bigger percentage of water.