Concrete Tile: Sealing, Care, and Protection
Concrete tile can add beauty to any home, inside or out. Use it for flooring in your kitchen or bathroom or outdoors on a patio, pool deck, driveway or roof. There are many benefits to choosing concrete tiling.
Concrete doesn't damage easily from cleaning chemical spills, which is why it is often used as commercial flooring. The tile is very versatile: it can be colored, textured, stenciled, painted, stained and patterned to resemble natural stone or other materials. A wide range of colors and shapes offers many creative possibilities.
One of the most inexpensive flooring tile options you will find is concrete tiles with a basic stain and seal. Styles with advanced staining, patterning and texturing will be around the same price as ceramic tile.
Concrete flooring is energy-efficient, absorbing and retaining heat in the winter and staying cool in the summer. This makes it a great choice if you have in-floor heating.
Concrete tiles are durable and long-lasting—when properly installed and sealed, they can last a lifetime. They are also made from limestone, which is one of the most abundant minerals on earth. To ensure the longevity and beauty of your tiles, be sure to seal and clean them regularly.
Because of its porous surface, concrete is vulnerable to stains, especially by acidic liquids like vinegar and citrus. Cooking oils, berries and red wines will leave stains on untreated concrete, and light can alter the natural hue. Use 2 different types of seals to best protect your tiles.
- Penetrating Sealers - These enter into the concrete through its porous surface and seal up the pores. Manufacturers sometimes add this type of sealer to the concrete. Check with your manufacturer or supplier to find out. A penetrating sealer is always applied first.
- Coating Sealers - These leave a physical wax-like barrier on top of the concrete and should be reapplied every couple months. Not only does the coating sealer protect the concrete, it protects the penetrating sealer as well. Look for physical signs that your sealer is fading, like worn spots. Be sure to apply seal more often to any cracks.
Untreated concrete is naturally slip-resistant, but once you add sealer, your concrete floor will be quite slippery when wet. If you are laying your concrete inside—especially in the bathroom—make sure you add a finish or texture that is slip-resistant. For pool decks, you may choose to leave untreated.
General Care Tips
- Clean thoroughly and regularly with warm water and mild soap. Clean spills immediately. Remember: sealer makes your concrete stain-resistant, not stain-proof.
- Avoid cleaners with ammonia, bleach or other abrasive ingredients.
- Choose a neutral pH cleaner that can be purchased at a tile store.
- Consider placing area rugs over high-traffic areas, like in front of entryways or in foyers. Not only will this protect the tile, but it will muffle the noisy sounds of shoes on concrete.
Following these tips will make your your concrete flooring ready for a lifetime of use!
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