With the beauty of natural materials and the strength of concrete, it’s easy to see why outdoor porcelain tiles are such a popular choice for gardens up and down the country.
Not only do they look great, they’re incredibly hard-wearing and durable, too. Which is important, as they have to contend with the elements all year round. And while they need less upkeep than traditional sandstones and timber decking, they do require some maintenance from time to time.
In this article, we’ll take you through exactly what you need to know and do, to keep your new porcelain slabs looking their best, throughout the seasons. Just to be clear, we’ll be discussing 20mm thick porcelain slabs and we’ll assume that they’ve been thoroughly cleaned immediately after installation.
Read more - How To Install Outdoor Tiles
Why do outdoor tiles get dirty?
It’s fair to say that outdoor tiles have a lot to contend with. Exposed to the sun, wind and rain, there’s nothing to protect them from falling leaves, bird droppings, mould, mildew and other organic matter. In addition, there’s often mud, general muck and food residue from summer BBQs.
How often should outdoor tiles be cleaned?
Although we’re keen on regular maintenance, this doesn’t mean that outdoor tiles need to be cleaned every week. In the warmer months, a light clean of your patio once a month should suffice; a deeper clean in autumn and at the end of winter will ensure your patio looks beautiful for spring.
It’s a good idea to give your patio the occasional sweep, especially during the summer months - when you’re likely to be outside more often - and late October, when the leaves are falling. Otherwise, as leaves break down they can turn slimy and make your patio slippery underfoot, especially when wet.
How to clean outdoor tiles
Cleaning outdoor tiles is relatively simple - even if the tiles are pretty grubby. We recommend using LTP Grimex for the job. This specialist product will react with any dirt and break it down, allowing you to deep clean the surface of your slabs.
To begin with, you’ll need the following tools:
- Soft brush
- Scrubbing brush
- Clean water
In addition, a hosepipe and leaf blower are useful, but not required.
Before you start, move any furniture or plant pots out the way. Then brush up any leaves, twigs and dirt - use the leaf blower if you have one.
- In the bucket, dilute one part of Grimex with 10 parts of warm water.
- Slowly pour the diluted solution over a small part of your patio
- Agitate the mixture by brushing it in circles
- Let it sit on your tiles for 5 to 10 minutes
- Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water, from a bucket or pipe
If your outdoor tiles are severely stained, try a more concentrated solution of 1 part Grimex to 3 parts warm water. You may need to agitate stubborn stains using the scrubbing brush.
Can I use a jet wash?
Our 20mm outdoor tiles are incredibly sturdy and can be safely cleaned using a high-pressure jet washer. We recommend using a specialist cleaning product to help break any dirt down and be careful around the grout joints - the high water pressure can, in some instances, damage or dislodge the grout or resin. For best results, use an attachment that’s designed for cleaning patios.
Do I need to seal outdoor porcelain tiles?
In theory, you don’t need to seal outdoor porcelain tiles as they are completely non porous. However, most outdoor tiles have a textured or gritty surface, which can easily trap grout cement or brush-in compounds and affect the look of your new patio.
Therefore, it’s good practice to apply a protective treatment to your tiles during installation, before grouting. Our Porcelain Tile Protector is perfect for the task. It won’t alter the appearance of your slabs, helps make ongoing cleaning a little easier and as an added bonus, usually increases the working times of brush-in jointing compounds.
How to clean rust marks off outdoor tiles
Metal items such as garden furniture, toys and BBQ grills can all leave their mark on patio tiles, in the form of ugly rust stains. These are easy to remove if the correct cleaning product is used, such as Rust Stain remover. Simply pour the cleaner over the affected area, let it work for fifteen minutes and rinse with clean water.
How to clean algae off outdoor tiles
Given our wet and mild climate, it’s a fact of life that algae and moss will eventually build up on your patio, especially in shaded areas. Unlike porous materials such as concrete, porcelain tiles won’t be damaged by moss and mould, but the green buildup is still an eyesore and potentially slippery in wet weather. In a similar vein, unswept leafs can release tannin, leaving a telltale brown stain on your terrace.
Apply LTP Black Spot & Algae Remover direct from a watering can to remove these stains from your tiles and keep your patio looking its best, year round. This video shows you how.