As we hurtle towards the end of British Summer Time, many of you might be thinking (a) pfft, is that really it for summer? and (b) how do I make my lovely porcelain slab tiles look great again after the weather has dumped all this detritus on them?
If that’s you then we cannot help you with the first enquiry but we can give you a bit of guidance on how to clean outdoor tiles in this handy guide…
Cleaning outdoor slab tiles is not a big job and by having the right tools on hand you can make it even smaller!
- Leaf blower (not essential)
- Soft-bristled brush
- Stiff-bristled nylon brush
- Pressure Washer (not essential)
- Hosepipe (not essential)
- Rubber gloves
The type of products you’d need to effectively clean your outdoor slab tiles depends entirely on the type of dirt and conditions they’ve been subjected to. Here’s an exhaustive list but you are unlikely to need everything included here:
Now, before you start running those taps and sloshing water all about the place, it’s important to ensure that the surface of your outdoor slab tiles are free from debris and organic matter (by which we mean twigs, leaves, pebbles and small ‘parcels’ that may have been left by a pet).
Take the hard bristled brush and give the tiles a good sweep to remove surface debris. If you’re undertaking this task towards late September/October (check out our Outdoor Maintenance Calendar for info on which jobs to do when) you might find your tiles have a scattering of crisp leaves all over them. If that happens to be the case then you can either sweep them all into a pile or get out the leaf blower if you have one and make light work of the lot!
How To Remove Organic Matter From Outdoor Tiles
Once you’re satisfied that your tiles are free of twigs, leaves, pebbles and the like it’s time to tackle those organic stains such as moss, algae, rust and efflorescence. We recommend using an acid-based cleaning solution such as Fila Deterdek Residue Remover – a powerful detergent that cleans all kinds of detritus from ceramic, porcelain, and unpolished natural stone tiles without damaging them.
For outdoor use, first rinse down the surface of the tiles using a hose or pressure washer then dilute the Deterdek to a ratio of 1:5 or 1:10 (1 litre of product in 5 or 10 litres of water). Apply your mixed solution a few square metres at a time – allowing contact time of 5 minutes – before scrubbing the surface with a hard-bristled brush. Next, remove all residues using an absorbent soft cloth and then rinse the tiles with plenty of water. Should any stubborn stains remain, repeat with a higher concentration solution mix. Please be aware that Deterdek cannot be used on quartz, polished natural stones, metallic tiles or slate.
How To Remove Tough Stains From Outdoor Tiles
Tougher stains such as limescale, oil/grease, and wax, require a detergent that will remove marks but not damage the tiles. Thankfully, there’s such a thing available in the form of Fila PS87 Stain Remover. This concentrated cleaning solution is ideal for use on porcelain, stoneware, ceramic, natural stone, terracotta, and concrete tiles and can be used undiluted to remove the toughest stains from porcelain outdoor tiles.
To clean and degrease outdoor tiles, follow the same procedure as outlined above for Fila Deterdek Residue Remover then dilute in water (1:10-1:20) and apply to the surface. Leave to act for 4-5 minutes before brushing with a large stiff-bristle brush. Use a cloth (or ‘aqua vac’ if you want to push the boat out!) to remove residue and then rinse thoroughly with a hose or pressure washer. For more intense cleaning of organic build up, dilute 1:5 and clean as described. To remove ingrained stains from outdoor porcelain tiles, pour undiluted onto the stain and the whole tile, leave until totally dry, then wash and rinse. This cleaner cannot be used with quartz, marble, wood or any polished stone tiles.
How To Protect Outdoor Tiles Post-Clean
Outdoor slab tiles are by and large constructed from durable 20mm thick porcelain and as such, shouldn’t need sealing. However, if you want to be absolutely certain your tiles will look in great shape for months to come (and also save yourself some elbow grease when you next clean them), then you could do worse than investing in some FilaStop Dirt.
This clever little solution forms a protective barrier against dirt when applied and protects porcelain tiles from a build up of grime. Suitable for use on textured, unpolished and lappato finish porcelain tiles, FilaStop Dirt provides prolonged protection and is UV resistant too, meaning it helps protect your outdoor tiles from sun damage. To use, first wash the tiles thoroughly using Deterdek Residue Remover then apply FilaStop Dirt to the clean and dry tiles also treating the grout, covering evenly with a microfibre cloth. Next, fully remove any residues within 10 minutes, either manually using a micro-fibre cloth or with a single-disc floor scrubber. Et voila! You’ve got some fully protected tiles!
How To Clean Grout Joints on Outdoor Tiles
It’s all very well having pristine outdoor slab tiles but if your grout is grubby then it lets the entire side down. Thankfully, those Fila guys have got even that covered with their excellent Fila Fuganet Grout Cleaner – a powerful solution that effortlessly removes dirt and grime from grout. Suitable for use with single-fired and double-fired porcelain tiles, Fuganet is tough enough to remove grease, grime, mould and organic stains but won’t damage your tiles.
To get that grout gleaming, simply spray the product directly onto the grout to be cleaned, leave for a few minutes, then work onto the grout joints using a stiff bristled brush. When you’re satisfied all the dirt has gone, rinse thoroughly with cold water (you can use a pressure washer for this if you have one). If the grout has been tainted with properly ingrained grime, wash the tiles and grout with Deterdek Residue Remover mixed to a ratio of 1:10 before using the Fuganet.
So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to cleaning outdoor tiles. Follow our advice and your outdoor slab tiles should look sublime throughout their lifetime. Don’t forget – if you have completed an outdoor project using Tile Mountain tiles, send in your photos and if we use them on our website you could receive an Amazon voucher up to the value of £20! For further information on how to submit your photos, click here.
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