Inside out – Porcelain pavers and the challenges they present
by Mark Atkins, Technical Director of LTP, the British made, environmentally friendly stone & tile cleaning, sealing & maintenance products.
The popularity of stone-effect porcelain pavers shows no sign of abating. Both domestic and contract customers have really embraced the new large format products, especially for patios and inside-outside installations through bi-fold doors.
Porcelains bring benefits in terms of practical features and the slip resistance offered by textured finishes, but they also bring new challenges.
The main issue with porcelain pavers relates to residues, especially with textured finish non-slip tiles. During installation the tile surface needs to be kept as wet as possible, so that any residue left by the brush-in jointing compound can be easily wiped away. Porcelain tiles can dry out quite quickly, especially in warmer weather, causing some of the resin in the compound to cling to the surface. Dried-on jointing compound is difficult to remove and can ruin an installation.
It is also difficult to apply grouts and jointing compounds.
Keeping the surface wetter for longer helps to improve and increase the working time of grouts and jointing compounds and greatly reduces the risk of grout and resin staining. But problems can still arise.
Although unpolished porcelain tiles don’t need sealing, pre-and-post-grout barriers like LTP’s new Ecoprotec Porcelain Tile Protector can be really useful. It helps increase the working time of grouts and jointing compounds and reduces the risk of staining. And, being water-based, it can be applied over residual moisture, so can be used in all weathers. Once applied it also helps protect against organic staining.
Where porcelain is used indoors as well as on the patio, the same cleaning regime for both areas helps maintain the seamless look. Routinely cleaning with a specialist patio cleaner is better than a harsh clean when it is really dirty, and an applied barrier will make the job a lot quicker and easier.