1970’s Terracotta Floor Stripped of Wax and Restored in Kent

Recently I visited a 150-year-old cottage in the beautiful small village of Chilham near Ashford to restore/improve a terracotta tiled floor. As it turns out the floor had been laid in 1970 by the owner and was protected with a thick wax-based product called Bourn Seal. The owner had diligently applied the product with a cloth and polished in by hand every year for approximately 20 years and then applied it on a as when needed basis, in fact the original tin was still in there cupboard!

Over the years since the floor was laid the Terracotta tiles were now looking worse for wear due to the sealer being very patchy and flacking in areas not walked upon. Unprotected dirt had become ingrained in the pores of the clay tiles making them difficult to clean and very unattractive.

1970s Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Restoration Chilham Cottage

After surveying the floor first-hand, I recommend that the layers of old wax be stripped off, so the tiles could be deep cleaned and then resealed with a modern sealer. After agreeing on a quote for the work we set a date for my return to renovate the floor.

Stripping Wax from Terracotta Tiles

On my return the first task was to set about covering all the walls, timber and original finishes with protective tape to protect them from splashing during the cleaning process. Once this was done, I started stripping off what was left of the multiple layers of wax by applying a generous application of Tile Doctor Wax Away which as its name suggest is designed for the removal of wax from tiles. I left the product to soak in for ten minutes and then started scrubbing it into the Terracotta using a black nylon pad fitted to a slow speed rotary floor buffer.

The stripping process was done in sections scrubbing in the Wax Away and then rinsing it off thoroughly with water as we went. All the soils were then extracted with a wet vacuum and the process repeated when required until we were happy all the wax was gone, and we were back to the virgin tile.

The cleaning process can be quite rigorous so before continuing I checked the floor for loose tiles and cracked or missing grout. All was good, so I set about cleaning the tiles with a burnishing pad that was run over the floor using the rotary buffer and water which acts as a lubricant. The floor is then rinsed with water to remove the soil that is generated and then left to dry off overnight.

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles

The next day I returned to seal the floor, but not before checking first with a damp meter that it had dried completely. This is essential because excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance. Our choice of sealer for the Terracotta was several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which provides excellent surface protection along with an aesthetically pleasing deep sheen finish. Also, being water based it doesn’t give off an unpleasant odour as it dries.

1970s Terracotta Tiled Floor After Restoration Chilham Cottage

As you can see from the photograph above, the transformation was fantastic, and the floor looked like a new installation. My customer and I were very pleased with the result, I only wish I had taken more photographs.

 

Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Kent

Stripping Off Old Varnish from Terracotta Kitchen Tiles in Gloucestershire

Terracotta tiles are always a popular choice for Kitchens but being made from clay they are porous and need to be sealed to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained in the tile. Once sealed though you need to remember Kitchens are high traffic areas, so you can expect the sealer to wear off quicker than it would elsewhere.

I mention this as a customer from Bristol asked me to do a survey on her Varnish Sealed Terracotta Kitchen Tiles where the seal had worn down and were now dull, and the grout had darkened. I surveyed the floor and completed a test clean on a section of the floor which came out well impressing the customer who was happy for me to proceed with cleaning and sealing the floor.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol Before Cleaning Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol Before Cleaning

Traditionally Terracotta tiled floors have been sealed with a number of products over the years including Wax, Linseed Oil and on this occasion Varnish however all these products have their disadvantages and don’t compare to modern sealers which are designed for the job.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles Bristol Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

The first day was spent trying to get the Varnish off the floor which somebody had used on the floor as a sealer; Varnish is easily scratched by furniture, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. I worked out however that it could be scrubbed off once coated in a combination or Tile Doctor products Pro-Clean, Remove and Go and Nano-Tech HBU which would be left to soak in for a while and then softened with steam.

Mechanical assistance from a buffing machine fitted with a large black scrubbing pad helped reduce the amount of elbow grease that was required and once I was happy the tiles were clean the now soiled solution was rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next day and with the floor now clear I was able to see those areas that needed further re-treatment and also turn my attention to the grout which was cleaned using more cleaning solution worked in with a stiff narrow grout brush that gets into the grout lines. Once I was completely happy with the floor its was given a final rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then dried with a wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning

Sealing a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

It’s important that the tiles are dry before sealing so I left the floor to dry out for three days before returning to seal them. No Varnish this time of course, Tile Doctor has a range of sealers for every type of situation and what I find works best on Terracotta tiles is a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow topped off with multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol During Cleaning

Tile Doctor Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates into the pores of the clay protecting it from within whilst enhancing colour whilst Seal and Go completes the sealing process and adds a nice sheen to the look of the tile.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing

As you can see from the final photographs the floor looked really good and the customer gave me top marks for feedback.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Gloucestershire

Terracotta Floor Deep Cleaned For New Owners

I was contacted just before Christmas by a couple who had bought a house in the southern resort of Bognor Regis that they hoped to spend the festive season in; apart from a new coat of paint and carpet their main concern was the state of the Terracotta tiled floor in the hall, kitchen and dining room. On my initial site inspection it was clear that there were years of grime build up caused by the previous owner’s dogs coming into the house onto a poorly sealed floor. After assuring the client that I was confident that the floor could be bought back to life a price was agreed and a date fixed. I estimated it would take two days to carry out the work with a gap of two days in between to allow the floor to fully dry out.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Bognor Regis Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Bognor Regis

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

On the first day I prepared a warm water dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and worked this into the tile surface and grout using a hand brush and then the buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This lifted all the residual dirt, grime and remaining sealer if any. After vacuuming up the dirty solution using a wet Vac the floor was then rinsed several times with clean water to make sure that there was no cleaner or dirt left in or around the tiles.

There were a few stubborn areas where it was necessary to repeat the process and then the whole floor was given a final rinse using the wet vacuum and sponge to get the surface as dry as possible before being left to dry for two days. The tiles were covered with dust sheets in any area that was required for access in order to keep them clean whilst drying out.

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

After allowing the floor to dry out I returned to the property and using my moisture meter tested the floor in several areas to make sure that it was ready to be sealed (I had previously warned the clients that if it wasn’t then further time would have to be given). Satisfied that all was well I set about sealing it, first with a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which was allowed to cure and then followed by five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the stone protecting it from the inside and as a bonus enhances colour whilst Seal and Go is a topical sealer that protects the surface and also adds a nice sheen to the tile. The end result was everything that I imagined it would be and the clients were very pleased with it also saying that they never thought it would ever look as good as it did. As I said to them ‘I’m no magician but I am a (Tile) Doctor!!

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Bognor Regis Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Bognor Regis

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Problems resolved in West Sussex