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Without proper protection, food spills and mud and snow from your guests' shoes could wreak havoc on ceramic tile and stone surfaces. Ceramic tile and stone bring quality, value and beauty to any room of your home, and with a little preparation you can relax and enjoy the party instead of following your guests around with a mop. Both surfaces are easy to clean; so a little tender loving care will help protect your investment. While tile and stone are extremely durable, they need regular care to provide lasting performance and visual appeal, especially when they are in heavy traffic areas of your home.

Regular cleaning of tile and stone can be done with simple detergent and water -- using scouring powders or other abrasives can scratch the finish. However, for tougher cleaning problems and for ongoing maintenance, you may want to use cleaning products intended specifically for tile and stone. This is especially important in areas that take a lot of wear and tear.

"Inappropriate cleaners can strip sealants from tile and stone leaving surfaces and grout unprotected," says Tom Plaskota, manager of technical support for TEC Specialty Products, Inc., Palatine, Ill., experts in the tile and stone industry. "Many products marketed today are silicone-based, which only protects surfaces against basic water damage, but not much else. Food stains, oil, grease, mineral deposits and dirt can quickly mar or damage surfaces not properly sealed."

TEC has created a new care and maintenance line that is designed to give homeowners a complete care system for their ceramic tile and stone. It features more than 20 sealants, cleaners, colorants and specialty products that are chemically engineered to work together. "The products in our new care and maintenance line penetrate deep below the surface to create a safe and effective water barrier, unlike products that merely work on the surface," adds Plaskota.
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