The Tile Association and its members are promoting the hygiene advantages of correctly installed tiled surfaces, especially in commercial kitchens and food preparation environments.
Tiled surfaces are entirely safe to install and use in hygiene-sensitive installations, particularly if large format porcelain tiles are used with epoxy grouts.
Brian G Newell, chair of the TTA’s Technical Committee, points out that porcelain tiles are in fact to all intents and purposes impervious, with less than 0.5 per cent porosity and that epoxy grouts are also impervious, to the extent that they can have an approval for use in nuclear power stations, since they are not porous to radioactivity.
“If British Standards are followed, there is absolutely nothing unsafe about tiled surfaces,” says Brian Newell.
Fully vitrified tiles and epoxy resin-based grouts are not porous and have been recommended in hygienic applications such as commercial kitchens for many years. The ability to clean tiled surfaces is also not compromised by the grouted areas, which normally amount to two-three per cent of the total surface area.
Tiled surfaces can safely be cleaned at temperatures in excess of 60°C, since tiles are fired to temperatures far above that during the manufacturing process. This means that tiles are a good solution in an environment where boiling liquids might get spilt on them.