End-of-site washing: what it is and how it is performed

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Correct post-installation tile cleaning ensures quick and easy-to-wash surfaces, removing grout residue and dirt that can create unsightly streaks: here are our tips for performing it.

End-of-installation cleaning is a very important step, but it is sometimes underestimated or not carried out for various reasons (mostly due to construction site schedules). Yet this step facilitates routine maintenance, which would otherwise be complicated by the presence of seemingly unexplained marks and streaks.

End-of-site washing: what it is and why it matters

We are talking about the removal of installation residue that must be carried out during installation and upon completion of the construction site in order to ensure that grouting material and other powders do not permanently adhere to the surfaces, complicating routine tile washing.

This is an important operation especially for the floor, which in the vast majority of cases is made of porcelain stoneware (while double-fired ceramic is more suitable for walls), and is essential for external or structured surfaces for which subsequent cleaning would be more complicated.

A first important measure is to remove excess grouting material during grouting, before it dries and makes the floor dirtier. This is why it is advisable to grout joints proceeding 4-5 square metres at a time, so as to clean residue as soon as possible with a sponge soaked in water.

At the end-of-site stage, or when the grout is finally dry, the real acid washing must be performed using professional products available at building retailers or DIY chains. The aim is to clean the floor of any process residue (grouting material, glue, paint and dirt).

Who handles end-of-installation washing?

According to Assoposa’s UNI 11493 standard (which regulates the installation of ceramic tiles) cleaning is the responsibility of the covering installer.

However, while the first step is normally performed by all installers during grouting, the second step – end-of-site cleaning – is sometimes omitted because of timing due to work being completed and other professionals passing through after the tilers. Sometimes it therefore has to be carried out by a cleaning company or by the owners of the property themselves, or it is not performed at all (because the owners are not familiar with the process), making routine cleaning more difficult. Except in particularly difficult cases, you can remedy this by purchasing the necessary detergents and following the advice below.

End-of-site acid washing: how it is performed and with which products

Post-installation tile washing should be carried out by proceeding about 2 square meters at a time: the tiles should be wet, then the appropriate detergent should be applied – diluted according to the instructions on the package – and left to act for the indicated time. Then proceed by removing the dirt with a sponge and removing – a very important step – any residual product with water or paper towels (or ideally with a vacuum cleaner). Finally, proceed with the final rinse using clean water.

The choice of product to use depends on the type of grouting material used to grout the tiles and the condition of the tiles.

In the case of cement grout (the most common), end-of-site washing should be performed with a buffered acid-based cleaner. If there are numerous whitish streaks and grouting residue, a more aggressive descaler may be useful, again based on buffered acid, but also containing surfactants and phosphoric acid. If the tiles appear very dirty or some time has passed since installation, a professional degreasing product can be used.

If, however, epoxy grout has been used, there are specific products for end-of-site cleaning of tiles grouted with this material.

These detergents can generally be used for porcelain stoneware and all acid-resistant covering materials. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult the collection’s technical data sheet to check for any different instructions.

What about after end-of-work washing?

If post-installation washing has been carried out correctly, the coverings will be completely clean and free of smears and residue. To keep the surfaces in perfect condition, only a few simple steps are needed for routine tile maintenance: we have summarized them in this post.