Cleaner, Greener, Smarter Surfaces

Imagine a tile that can defend its environment against contaminants, practically clean itself, and purify the atmosphere like a living, growing plant. This is Hydrotect™ by Crossville, a revolutionary, invisible coating that harnesses the power of light, water, and oxygen to create the best defense against dirt and pollution. Whether indoors or out, floors and walls stay cleaner, providing a superior experience in any space.

Hydrotect Recommended Colors and Finishes

How it Works

Crossville’s proprietary process uses a hybrid photocatalyst coating containing nontoxic titanium dioxide. Applied in a secondary, high-temperature firing process, it stays on the surface and doesn’t wash or wear off.

Tiles coated with Hydrotect attract water, rather than allowing it to bead and sit on the surface. In exterior applications, attracted rainwater forms a barrier beneath dirt and grime, naturally washing it away. Everyday exterior humidity also causes a fine film of water to build on the tile, preventing the adhesion of dust and oily dirt.  Hydrotect-coated surfaces require less, and less costly, maintenance that’s easier on the environment, too.

When exterior walls coated with Hydrotect are exposed to light, the photocatalytic process breaks down harmful nitrogen oxides—greenhouse gases produced by exhaust fumes, smoke, VOCs, and other environmental pollutants—into harmless nitrates. In fact, a 10,000-square-foot area of tiles can clean the air as effectively as 70 deciduous trees or green space the size of four tennis courts.


Demonstration Videos

Crossville with Hydrotect Coating – Self Cleaning Demo


Crossville with Hydrotect Coating – Oil Removal Demo


Crossville with Hydrotect Coating – Glass Coating Demo


Hydrotect – Methylene Blue Decomposition demo


Hydrotect – NOx Reduction Demo


Hydrotect – Water Contact Angle Demo


Crossville with Hydrotect Coating Demo



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What is the simple explanation of Hydrotect technology?
Hydrotect is patented technology for keeping surfaces cleaner, longer.  In the presence of moisture (humidity in the air) and natural or artificial light (in the UV spectrum) Hydrotect produces a non-consuming reaction that creates beneficial properties:

  • Self cleaning attributes ( “self-cleaning” outside, vertically in the presence of UV light).
  • Air cleaning (studies have been done on odors and NOx)
  • The self cleaning attributes are due to the properties of hydrophilicity (water attraction), reduced adhesion, and decomposition (things are easily removed from coated surfaces due to these properties and the ability of water to get behind the contaminants).
  • NOx is generic term for the oxides of nitrogen (NO & NO2)
  • Primary sources of NOx are vehicles, manufacturing, and utilities.
  • NOx is key ingredient in the production of smog (ground-level ozone).
  • NOx reacts with VOCs to produce smog
  • NOx is hazardous to human health and the environment and is regulated by EPA.


How long will the coating last?
Unless physically abraded off, the coating will last forever.

Should a building owner expect exterior maintenance advantages over non-coated alternatives?

For the exteriors, absolutely, the self cleaning aspects offer a clear benefit of reduced cost to maintain the facade of the building.  Eliminating or reducing expensive cleaning processes and environmentally unfriendly cleaners is straight-forward and easily quantifiable.  In addition, the ability of the self-cleaning attributes to keep the facade looking brand new and as designed is invaluable to the building owner.  This along with the added environmental benefit of air cleaning through NOx removal makes exterior Hydrotect a win-win for the building and the environment.

Should a building owner expect interior maintenance advantages over non-coated alternative?

For the interior, the return on investment should be seen as creating a cleaner environment for the occupants of a given space.  While this ROI is difficult to quantify, the investment in the satisfaction of occupants and customers is clearly a worthwhile investment.

Are there any negative effects from HYDROTECT, off gassing of TiO2, unfriendly elements, etc.?
There are no negative effects, no off-gassing of TiO2, or unfriendly elements. The treated tiles remain inert.

Will our tile still be Green Squared certified with this coating?
It should not affect our Green Squared certification. All products produced in Tennessee will be Green Squared certified, including these.

Any changes to color or DCOF (dynamic coefficient of friction)?
In general, the Hydrotect application results in negligible or only slight changes to the shade or finish. It becomes more apparent on high-gloss, polished, or very dark colors. A detailed list relative to your question is available from your Crossville representative. There is no decrease in the DCOF of the product when treated with Hydrotect; the values for the untreated tile can be used for representation of the product.

What is the plan for Crossville warranty with this product addition?
The tile would carry the normal warranty, available on our website, that all of our other products do.

What is the actual chemical reaction?

Several white papers have been written in Japan and in the US.  These would serve as the best detail for the reaction.

Reaction is dynamic as no end stat is achieved.


What are the molecular details in the hydrophilic reaction?
When TiO2 is energized, it reacts with water in the air to produce hydrophilic (water loving) — OH group.
Stains are lifted by water for easy cleaning by photocatalytic hydrophilicity (water-attracting surface).

What are the molecular details in the decomposing reaction?

  • When TiO2 is energized, TiO2 produce electrons (e–) and holes (h+), which react with surrounding Oxygen (O2) and Water (H2O) in the air to produce activated oxygen (O2–) or oxide ions.
  • Oxide ions break down organic stains and dirt molecules on the Hydrotect surface.
  • Weaken the adhesion of dirt and stain.

Does Hydrotect perform self-cleaning without rain?
Hydrotect surfaces are adhesion-reducing, and they also decompose organics. So they will  resist dirt, dust, and other contaminants, but rain will be needed occasionally to wash everything away.


Does the TiO2 dissolve in the reaction; does it lose its strength?
No, the TiO2 does NOT dissolve or lose its strength in the reaction. TiO2 stays on the surface permanently, unless purposeful scraping or abrasion physically removes it. Normal, regular use will not affect the product. TiO2 does not break down in the reaction, as it is only a catalyst.

Is TiO2 harmful for human health?
No, TiO2 is not a harmful material. TiO2 is popular as an inorganic white pigment and has many uses. It is used not only in paint but also in  cosmetics and food.

What is NOx?
NOx or nitrogen oxides are highly reactive and are harmful air pollutants EPA monitors and regulate.

According to EPA, common sources of NOx are combustion engines, factories, plants, gas stoves, heaters,and smoking.

Why is NOx bad?

  • It is a main ingredient involved in the formation of ground-level ozone, which can trigger serious respiratory problems.
  • Reacts to form nitrate particles, acid aerosols, which also cause respiratory problems.
  • Contributes to formation of acid rain.
  • Contributes to nutrient overload that deteriorates water quality.
  • Contributes to atmospheric particles that impair visibility most noticeably in national parks.
  • Reacts to form toxic chemicals.

What is SOx?
SOx or sulfur oxides are highly reactive and are harmful air pollutants that EPA monitors and regulates.
According to EPA, common sources for SOx are:

  • coal-fired power generation, power plants, and other industrial facilities

Why is SOx bad?

  • It is a main ingredient involved in the formation of ground-level ozone, which can trigger serious respiratory problems.
  • Reacts to form sulfide particles, acid aerosols, which also cause respiratory problems.
  • Contributes to formation of acid rain.
  • Contributes to nutrient overload that deteriorates water quality.
  • Contributes to atmospheric particles that impair visibility most noticeably in national parks.
  • Reacts to form toxic chemicals.


What testing has TOTO performed to validate the product claims?

  • There are multiple studies over a 15± year span.
  • Hydrotect is not new, only new to the U.S. market.
  • TOTO has tested all claims in various laboratories globally.
  • Self-cleaning.
  • Cleans air, including NOx.

Who did TOTO use as independent labs?

  • U.S. — Georgia Institute of Technology (http://people.ce.gatech.edu/~mhbergin/index.htm)
  • TCNA — Third-party lab used for independent testing of multiple properties.
  • Japan — Third party labs certified by PIAJ (Photocatalysis Industry Association of Japan)
  • E.U. — Dresden University, Germany.

Other FAQs

What materials can overcome Hydrotect?
Rust, efflorescence, mud, bird droppings, and tree resin (thick, non-transparent or inorganic materials).

Hydrotect may not be effective in places with too much soil load-such as under exhaust outlets.
Are there any special maintenance instructions for Hydrotect?
In most cases, Hydrotect surfaces can be cleaned only with water. If needed, use very mild soap to clean the surface. Avoid using harsh or caustic detergents, as they are harmful for the environment. Also avoid cleaning methods or cleaners that scratch, abrade, or etch the surface.

The use of any surface coating applied over the Hydrotect surface will render the Hydrotect ineffective.  Sealers, waxes, or any other coating that creates a layer between the Hydrotect surface and the contaminants that land on the surface must be avoided.  Grout releases are acceptable, as they will be completely removed during the grouting process.  Grout hazes, especially epoxy and urethane hazes, will diminish the effectiveness of Hydrotect.