Both porcelain and quartz tile are popular flooring options in kitchens and bathrooms due to their hygienic, hard-wearing and easy-to-clean properties. When installed properly, both are virtually stain- and scratch-resistant. However there are key differences in the way they need to be cleaned and cared for to maintain their original condition and beauty.
It is important to recognize the differences between the two materials. Porcelain is a man-made ceramic product, while quartz is a natural, durable mineral which is found naturally in crystalline form. However, quartz tile is not 100 percent pure quartz; it is a mix of approximately 90 percent quartz grain and an epoxy binder. The main difference between these two materials is that porcelain is porous and in most cases will require sealing at the time of installation.
The most important step to ensure easy and effective care throughout the life of your porcelain floor is the addition of a penetrating sealer. These are commercially available from your local hardware store and do not require professional application. First, clean the floor thoroughly. Then apply the sealer to the floor surface in a thin even layer and allow to dry. The sealer will fill any microscopic gaps and voids on the surface of the porcelain, preventing dirt and stains from penetrating the surface of the tile.
Care and Maintenance
To extend the life of both porcelain and quartz tile:
- Use mats at entranceways to prevent excess dirt from being tracked inside.
- Vacuum regularly to help prevent dirt buildup.
- Clean up spills immediately to minimize damage to your tile.
- Always follow the care instructions provided by the tile manufacturer if available.
For porcelain tile:
- Beware of using black-soled shoes or high heels without a rubber sole as these can mark or chip the tile.
- Never use ammonia, oil-based or artificially colored cleaning agents as these can discolor the tile and grout.
- Stick to water-based sealants, as these are nontoxic and more environmentally friendly.
1) Vacuum or sweep the floor.
2) Saturate the floor with an appropriate cleaning solution. For porcelain tile: a solution of 1/4 cup of vinegar mixed with hot water in a bucket. For quartz tile: warm water and soap, or a mild household cleaner. Do not use vinegar on quartz.
3) Allow to sit for five to 10 minutes but do not allow the solution to dry.
4) Scrub any stubborn stains in the tile or grout with a plastic brush.
5) Wipe away dirty solution.
6) Rinse with clean water.
7) Dry the tile with a clean cloth to prevent water spots and increase shine.
Without the proper treatment, grout can become discolored or cracked. As grout is a porous material, penetrating grout sealer should be applied once or twice a year. This is widely available as a spray-on product that can be easily applied to your porcelain or quartz tile floor. Stained or dirty grout can be cleaned with a soft scrubbing brush using the cleaning solution appropriate to the type of tile.
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