Renovating a Stained Terracotta Tiled Floor in North-Buckinghamshire

A local cleaning contractor called us in to work on the Terracotta tiled floors at a council building in Amersham. The Terracotta had not been deep cleaned and resealed for about ten years and the sealer had worn off leaving the tile vulnerable to dirt becoming ingrained in the pores of the tile. The grout had also suffered the same fate and had almost gone black in many areas.

Terracotta Floor Files Before Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

This is a common problem with Terracotta which is quite porous and once those pores become ingrained with dirt the tile becomes difficult to clean effectively. The solution is to seal the tile however sealers wear off over time and this was basically the problem.

Terracotta Floor Files Before Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

After discussing the issues we agreed on a plan of action to deep clean the Terracotta tile and grout and then re-seal to protect it. Due to the busy nature of the building we agreed to do the work between Christmas and New Year when we knew the building would be empty.

Cleaning Old Terracotta Floor Tiles

We started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a strong tile cleaning product that being in a gel form ensures it sits on the tile for longer, giving it a longer effective dwell time so it can really eat into and loose the dirt. After approximately twenty minutes the gel was scrubbed into the tile with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This broke down most of the dirt and removed any remaining sealer. Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was rinsed thoroughly with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the soiled cleaning solution removed I could see the next step would be to spot clean stubborn staining and clean the grout. For this task I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbing it in by hand using stiff brushes and aided with a hand-held steamer to help treat the stubborn staining. Once done the floor was given a final rinse and then as much moisture as possible removed with the wet vacuum.

Sealing Old Terracotta Floor Tiles

We then left the floor to dry off completely and came back a couple of days later to seal the Terracotta tile.

I mentioned earlier that Terracotta is porous; in fact it’s probably the most porous material I deal with, so to fully seal the floor I had to apply eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will provide complete and long lasting protection against staining and dirt. Seal and Go also adds an appealing satin sheen to the tile and the new seal will make it much easier to clean in future.

Terracotta Floor Files After Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

The floor tile and grout now look much healthier and I’m sure the council will be very impressed when they go back to work after the holidays.

Terracotta Floor Files After Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

Happy New Year…
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Mexican Terracotta Tile and Grout Renovation in York

A few months back I posted a story about cleaning Catalan Terracotta tiles where I mentioned that Terracotta tiles are made all over the world. To prove the point I thought you might be interested to read about this Mexican Terracotta Tiled floor I cleaned recently at a house in York.

The customer actually had two floors they wanted me to clean, the other was a Victorian Tiled floor which is cleaned using a similar process but I’ll post about that separately. Both floors looked a bit tired but especially the Mexican Terracotta which looked dull and lifeless additionally the Grout had gone black when it should have been a Sandstone colour.

Mexican Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning York Mexican Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning York

Mexican Terracotta tiles are invariably hand made and made to the same standard as other makes such as Spanish, as a result the porosity levels between each tile can vary greatly which makes them harder to maintain.

Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles

I cleaned the floor using a strong 1:3 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with water which is an effective alkaline Tile and Grout cleaner that will clean and strip old sealers from tiles when used in a strong dilution such as on this occasion. I left it to soak into the tile for about ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine. This process made a different but the machine couldn’t cope with the “Bull Nose” edges to I had so spend a lot of time cleaning the old fashioned way using a scrubbing brush and a lot of elbow grease. I had the same issue with the grout which being slightly recessed wasn’t cleaned sufficiently by the machine; however I have narrow scrubbing brush that works well for this purpose.

Mexican Terracotta Floor During Cleaning York

The floor was rinsed with water and the soiled cleaning solution was extracted using a wet vacuum. I could then see those area’s that needed more work and spot cleaned them with more Pro-Clean until I was satisfied all the previous sealer was gone and the tile and grout was as clean as it could be.

The tiles were given a final rinse with water and the wet vacuum used again to extract as much moisture off the floor as possible. The next step would be to seal, however the tiles would need to be dry for that to happen and given Terracotta is notoriously porous and absorbs water quickly l decided after I’d leave the floor to dry out for two days.

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles

Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests, which revealed the tiles were ready to be sealed. I then applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides a satin finish and really improves the look of Terracotta.

Mexican Terracotta Floor After Cleaning York Mexican Terracotta Floor After Cleaning York

My customer was very happy with the transformation that had occurred to their floor and I think you will agree from the photographs the floor looks much healthier.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Floor Cleaning and Restoration Service in Yorkshire

Restoring the Appearance of a Terracotta floor in Hertfordshire Kitchen

The pictures below were taken at a beautiful Hertfordshire Lodge located on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden City where the traditional Terracotta Kitchen floor had lost its appeal and was now in need of renovation.

Welwyn Garden City is actually a new town that was created in the 1920 with an aim to create a modern garden city, the architecture is therefore fairly modern.

Terracotta Lodge Floor Tile Before Cleaning in Welwyn Garden City

Deep Cleaning Kitchen Terracotta Tiles

As usual the first step before starting the cleaning process was to clear the floor of as move furniture as practical and use protective tape to cover the threshold edges, skirting’s and doors and use a protective sheet to the fixed kitchen units.

To deep clean the Terracotta tiles and remove any trace of old sealers and waxes present a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied to the floor and left to soak in for about ten minutes. Then the solution was agitated using detail brushes along the grout lines and edges and polypropylene pads.

Once done the now soiled cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the tile and grout rinsed with fresh water.

This process removed most of the dirt and old coatings but more work was required so a further treatment using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong tile cleaner and sealer remove was applied and worked in using an orbital floor machine fitted with a scrubbing pad.

Again the soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the tile and grout given a steam clean to remove any trace of cleaning product residue. The floor was then left for two days to fully dry out.

Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

On our return the floor was checked for dampness before we proceeded to seal the floor; sealing damp tiles can result in a patchy finish so this is always worth checking.

To seal we gave the Terracotta tiles a primer coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that brings out the natural colours in the tile and by occupying the pores of the clay tile it stops dirt becoming ingrained. This was then followed by six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works really well on Terracotta and adds a nice satin sheen finish. The floor now looks much healthier and has really lifted the appearance of the kitchen.

Terracotta Lodge Floor Tile After Cleaning in Welwyn Garden City

Before leaving we advised the customer to avoid commercial acid based cleaning products as these are not appropriate for sealed Terracotta tiles. We suggest using a low alkaline/neutral PH product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner as this will maximise the life of the sealer and maintain the sheen of the tile.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Cleaning and Renovation Service in Hertfordshire

Stains removed from Terracotta Conservatory Floor in Cambridgeshire

Isleham is a small village in the Fens area of Cambridgeshire which, as the name suggests, is a natural marshland. The town itself is home to just over 2,000 people and some very nice properties.

I recently visited a customer in the town who contacted me after finding our website because her Terracotta tiled conservatory and utility room had become worn and stained due to leakages from plant pots and other various spillages. Terracotta is a highly porous stone and so has a strong propensity to absorb stains, and dirt can easily become ingrained. This problem is easily exacerbated when the sealer has worn away and can no longer adequately protect the stone.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

These tiles were now due for deep clean and reseal, and I was more than happy to oblige.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

Cleaning a Stained Terracotta Tiled Floor

My first action, before beginning the restoration, was to tape up all the walls and wood features around the conservatory and utility areas with our décor protection film, to protect them from getting damaged.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

Then, to begin, I applied Tile Doctor Pro Clean – which is our high alkaline cleaner – across the floor to strip away the old sealer and to provide an initial clean. The product was left to dwell for 10-20 minutes before being worked into the pores of the stone using a firm scrubbing brush fitted to a rotary machine.

Next, I removed any deep staining using Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, a potent cleaner which contains nano-sized particles to penetrate the pores of the Terracotta to dissolve and lift out the embedded stains. I also used this product to remove the very stubborn salt deposits in the utility room – although it took three to four attempts.

To complete the cleaning process, I gave the grout a light clean using Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner designed to remove grout haze and any deep staining in the grout. The floor was then dried down with cloths and air-movers, and left over the weekend to make sure any excess moisture had evaporated.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Upon returning to the property at the beginning of the week, I sealed the floor firstly using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, followed by five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra.
Ultra-Seal is a penetrating sealer which fills the pores of the stone to protect against staining and ingrained dirt. It is also fully breathable and allows for moisture vapour transmission. Seal and Go Extra provides further protection and a durable and aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish to really improve the overall look of the floor.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

The customer absolutely loved her newly restored Terracotta tiles and was amazed by the transformation. I’m sure she is looking forward to spending time in her conservatory over the course of the summer months.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Restoration in Cambridge

Deep Cleaning Catalan Terracotta with Taco Inserts

Terracotta tiles are made all over the world and not surprisingly are very popular around the Mediterranean which is where these Catalan Terracotta Tiles were imported from.

Catalan Terracotta Before Cleaning Halifax Farmhouse Catalan Terracotta Before Cleaning Halifax Farmhouse

They had been installed in a large former farmhouse outside of Halifax in West Yorkshire about twenty years earlier and had never really been subject to an effective maintenance regime. They were now looking very tired and dirty indeed and well overdue a deep clean and reseal.

Cleaning Spanish Terracotta Tiles

I cleaned the floor using a 1:3 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with water which is an effective alkaline Tile and Grout cleaner that will clean and strip old sealers from tiles when used in a strong dilution such as on this occasion. I left it to soak into the tile for about ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine. This process got most of the dirt off but the pad didn’t have good contact with all the tiles as many were convex in shape as Catalan tiles often are. This became apparent after rinsing the soiled cleaning solution off the floor with more water and extracting the soil with a wet vacuum.

To make sure all the missed areas were cleaned I applied more Pro-Clean and scrubbed them by hand with a scrubbing brush. I also took the opportunity to clean the grout as well which was a long job as the tiles were only 6 inches square so there was a lot of grout to do.
The little white tile inserts between the Terracotta tiles are called Tacos and they came up particularly well during cleaning.

Catalan Terracotta During Cleaning Halifax Farmhouse

Sealing Spanish Terracotta Tiles

Once the clean had been completed I left the tiles to dry off for two days before returning to seal them. It’s important that the tiles are bone dry before applying a sealer as any moisture can cause unexpected results.

Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests, which revealed the tiles were ready to be sealed. I then applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which provides a satin finish and really improves the look of Terracotta floor.

Catalan Terracotta After Cleaning Halifax Farmhouse Catalan Terracotta After Cleaning Halifax Farmhouse

My customer was very happy with the finished result and I think you will agree the floor looks so much brighter and healthier.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile and Grout Cleaning and Restoration in Yorkshire

Removing ingrained dirt from Terracotta Kitchen tiles

Photographs below of a Terracotta tiled kitchen floor installed in the kitchen of a residence in the market town of Brackley, Buckinghamshire. The tiles had gone dark with years of soil trapped into the pores of the Terracotta and the while the grout had become heavily stained.

Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

It had clearly been sometime since the floor had been deep cleaned and to get the dirt out of the tile I could see it was going to take quite a bit of work. I set about applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an industrial strength alkaline cleaning product that’s safe to use on tile and stone and mopped it onto the floor. The solution was left it to dwell on the floor for twenty minutes in order for it to soak into the tile and get to work on the dirt. It was then worked into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and stiff hand brushes were along the grout lines.

Terracotta tiles during cleaning in Brackley

The now dirty cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet and dry vacuum and the floor was then rinsed with clean water to neutralise the tile and allow us to see the result. More work was required and the process was continually repeated until I was happy that any old sealer and all the dirt had been removed and then the floor was given a final rinse, wet vacuum and then left to dry overnight ready for sealing the next day.

Terracotta tiles after cleaning in Brackley

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

I returned the next day to seal the floor checking first that the tiles had dried out sufficiently for sealing. All was well so I started sealing the Terracotta tiles with seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the tiles from staining and also adds a nice subtle shine to the floor. Terracotta is a clay based product and so naturally quite porous.

Terracotta tiles after cleaning in Brackley

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning in Buckinghamshire

Saltillo Terracotta Floor Transformed in Essex

Pictures below of a job we did cleaning and re-sealing a 25m2 Saltillo Terracotta tiled floor installed in the kitchen of a house on a working farm outside Abridge, Essex. The owner had been applying coats of sealer for the last 10 years or so and over the course of time a bad build-up of layers of sealer had occurred causing and un-even and darkening effect on the tile (see picture below).

Saltillo Terracotta Floor Before

Cleaning Saltillo Terracotta Tile

Removing the old sealer to get back to the bare Terracotta surface was incredibly hard work, normally we can get most of the sealer off with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean but in this case something a lot stronger was required so we applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go (which is a coatings remover designed for taking off sealers and other coatings from tile) mixed 50/50 with Nano Tech Ultra-clean which adds tiny abrasive particles to the mix. We applied the resulting solution and let it soak in for 30 minutes before tackling it with scrubbers and a steamer, gradually over the course of three days we managed to remove all of the sealer. We rinsed the Terracotta down with clean water to remove any trace of chemical and neutralise the floor before sealing and then left it to dry out.

Saltillo Terracotta Floor After Cleaning

Sealing Saltillo Terracotta Tile

We left the floor for 10 days to dry out and came back to seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer that protects the tile as well bringing out the natural colour in the tile.

Saltillo Terracotta Floor Part Sealed

I left the floor to cure overnight, and came back the next day to finish sealing with Tile Doctor Seal and Go, Seal and Go is a water based sealer so it doesn’t give off an odour when it’s drying and also offers durable stain protection together with a low sheen finish. In the end the floor actually took seven coats of Seal and Go before it was fully sealed, this naturally took a long time to apply as you have to wait for it to dry before applying the next coat. Needless to say this was a very long job but the difference was remarkable and the owner was very happy with the result.

Saltillo Terracotta Floor After Sealing

 
 
Source: Difficult Saltillo Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Essex