Mark Atkins on porcelain pavers (1)

May 2020

“It’s been pretty incredible to see the rise of the porcelain paving slab over recent months – and it looks set to continue.  

Domestic and contract customers have really embraced these new tiles.

They do bring lots of benefits, in terms of their many practical features; durability and non-absorbency are big pluses outdoors, as well as the slip resistance offered by textured finishes.  But, like all new trends, they also bring new challenges.

The main issue relates to residues.  When you’re using a brush-in jointing compound, it’s very important to keep the surface of these tiles as wet as possible, so that any residue can be easily wiped away.  

Porcelain tiles can dry out quite quickly – especially in warmer weather - causing an element of the resin within the compound to cling to the surface. In addition, the textured nature of most external porcelains also makes it more difficult to apply grouts and jointing compounds.

Whilst keeping the surface wetter for longer helps to improve and increase the working time of grouts and jointing compounds - and greatly reduces the possibility of grout and resin staining - problems can still arise.  Dried-on jointing compound can be difficult to remove and the residue left can ruin an installation.

Although unpolished porcelain slabs don’t need sealing, ‘pre-and-post-grout’ barriers like our new Porcelain Tile Protector can be really useful on a number of fronts.  The applied barrier helps to improve and increase the working time of grouts and jointing compounds, and greatly reduces the risk of staining. It also helps protect against organic staining and makes ongoing maintenance easier.  

Being water-based, the treatment can be applied over residual moisture, so it’s a viable solution at all times of year.

As outdoor areas become more popular – and the demand for porcelain increases – the need for quality maintenance products will increase too.  Where porcelain is installed from indoors to outdoors, an outdoor cleaning regime becomes even more important.  

Routinely cleaning both areas will greatly reduce the need for intensive treatment with harsh products  – and an applied barrier along with a specialist patio cleaner will save considerable time and resources.
Keep safe!”

Mark Atkins is Technical Director of LTP.  
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