Soft Terracotta Renovated in Hales Village, Norfolk

How the Terracotta floor tiles at this property in the Village of Hales, Norfolk became quite so comprehensively dirty in so short a time, we will never know. We were contacted by the new owner, a lady who had become so distressed by the state of the floor in the house she had recently bought that she was seriously considering ripping up the entire area of tiling and replacing it. Remarkable particularly because the property had been restored only a couple of years ago, the kitchen and hallway being laid with new terracotta tiles.

The entire surface was deeply ingrained with soiling and the pointing lines were filthy, despite there being evidence of some kind of topical sealer having been applied at the time of installation. It quickly became obvious during testing that the sealer had been applied very sparingly and had mostly worn away, leaving a badly compromised fluid and soiling resistance with a dull and dirty finish which refused to clean up when mopped.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Hales

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tile in Hales

The tiles turned out to be made of a fairly soft terracotta which meant that we were able to deep-clean them extremely effectively using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (one part Pro-Clean to two parts water). A strong dilution was required to remove what remained of the old sealer in the less used areas and strip the surface back to the bare tile.

The Pro-Clean was left to soak into the floor for about ten minutes before being worked in using our heavy rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The resulting slurry being power rinsed and vacuumed away with our 400psi Ninja machine. All the dirt and virtually all of the old sealer was removed at this stage; the remaining patches around the edges of the area being finished by hand with a 200-grit hand-held burnishing block. The pointing lines were then cleaned by hand with neat Pro-Clean and an angled grout brush.

Finally, the deep-seated oil stains in front of the cooker were brought out using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which was left to dwell on the marks for an hour before being agitated with a diamond burnishing pad and rinsed away with the Ninja machine. The floor was then left to dry thoroughly overnight with assistance from our dehumidifier.

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tile in Hales

Owing to the softness and consequently high porosity of the substrate, we realised that it could take up to ten coats or more of our chosen sealer in order to achieve the level of shine our client had requested so that the daily mopping would be effective.

Our usual solution to enable us to complete the work in one day would be to apply a coat of penetrating Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to the tiles first, followed by up to five coats of topical sealer which would provide the finish, but because our client loved the new lighter colour of the cleaned tiles, Colour Grow was not an option as it is designed to enrich and thereby slightly darken the colour.

The solution therefore was to apply a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which, like Colour Grow, is a solvent-based penetrating sealer but doesn’t alter the colour of the material. This was followed by five coats of Seal & Go to further improve the fluid resistance and provide the mid-sheen finish required.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Hales

At the end of the job we had a very happy client whose actual words were: “thank you so much for restoring my faith in my floor!”
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Norfolk

Renovating a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor in Essex

We had a request to visit a beautiful Barn conversion on the Essex side of the market town of Bishop Stortford, the lady of the house was concerned about her Terracotta tiled Kitchen Floor which was dirty and had become difficult to maintain.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

After taking look I could see that the sealer had worn down and was no longer preventing dirt from becoming ingrained in the pores of the Terracotta tile. This is a common problem with Terracotta which needs a sealer in place if you want to keep the floor looking its best. I recommended we strip off what was left of the old sealer, give the floor a thorough clean and then re-seal it over the course of two days. As it turns out the floor had not been cleaned and resealed in ten years, so my client was happy for me to do the work.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tiles

The first step was to strip the floor off any remaining sealer using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The solution was left so soak into the tiles for about twenty minutes before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. At this point I also ran a stiff grout brush along the grout lines to get those clean as well.

The now soiled cleaning solution was rinsed with water and mopped off the floor. Any stubborn marks were then retreated using the same process and when I was happy that the floor was clean the floor was given a thorough rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product.

Having removed the old sealer and cleaned the tile and grout the next step was to apply a new sealer however the tiles needed to be dry to do. I decided therefore to seal the floor the following day and left an industrial air mover in place overnight to help dry out the tiles.

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles

Returning the next day to seal the floor I checked the floor first to make sure it was dry. All was well, so I proceeded to seal the floor starting with a base coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tiles, protecting them from within whilst simultaneously enhancing the colours in the tile.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

Once the Colour Grow had dried I followed up with three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which like Colour Grow is a fully breathable sealer that lets moisture rise through the floor. Colour Grow however is a Matt sealer whereas Seal and Go adds a gives the floor a nice sheen.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in North Essex

Renovating a Terracotta Tiled Church Floor in Norfolk

St Andrews church serves a large congregation in Eaton Village which is located just outside the city of Norwich on the south side. A sizeable extension was built onto the old church in the 1980s to accommodate the ever-increasing number of people wanting to attend and it was in this part of the building where a problem had developed with the Terracotta tiled flooring.

The tiles chosen by the architect were made from a surprisingly soft terracotta clay which had been sealed with an oil-based product (probably Osmo Polyx Oil or similar) but the coating generally had worn away badly, particularly along the main foot traffic lane up the aisle to the altar. The overall appearance was extremely tired and dull with wide lanes of ground-in dirt.

The clients asked us to clean the floor and replace the thin oil finish with something more durable and easy to maintain.

Terracotta Floor Tiles Before Renovation St Andrews Church Eaton Norfolk

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Church Tiles

Our first job was to remove the now very patchy finish and deep-clean the entire surface of the floor. This was achieved using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean mixed with a generous quantity of Tile Doctor Remove & Go. The combined solution was left to soak into the Terracotta tile and grout for about twenty minutes before being agitated with a green scrubbing pad fitted to our rotary machine. The tile was so soft I felt that a black pad would probably have been too harsh and may have damaged some of the religious symbols which had been moulded into a number of individual tiles.

The resulting clay, dirt and sealer slurry was then power rinsed and vacuumed away with our Ninja machine. These machines force hot water under high pressure onto the floor and then extracts the resulting soiled water away with suction. It was an expensive investment for the company, but it certainly makes work like this much easier.

Any remaining soiling in the grout lines was removed by hand using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a more powerful but manageable gel form of Pro Clean. Also, there were a few really stubborn areas in the corners where the oil finish had pooled and hardened during application. To deal with these and completely remove the shiny patches it was necessary to use a 100-grit hand-held diamond block.

After a final rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product the whole floor was left to dry off overnight, assisted by two industrial fans and a commercial dehumidifier.

Sealing Terracotta Church Tiles in Eaton village

On returning to the church after the previous day’s cleaning, we spot tested the tiles across the whole floor area and found that the fans and dehumidifier had done their job and the substrate was easily dry enough to accept a sealer. We knew that a damp proof membrane had been laid under the floor at the point of installation, so moisture ingress wasn’t going to be a problem. What was an issue however was the high porosity of the clay tile now that it had been stripped of ingrained dirt and the old sealer.

I usually apply Tile Doctor Seal and Go to Terracotta tiles as it leaves the floor with an attractive subtle sheen, however we realised that the floor would probably soak up around a dozen coats or more if applied directly. With this in mind we decided to start with the application of two base coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a penetrating sealer that would occupy the pores of the Terracotta tile, protecting it from within whilst enhancing the natural colour of the clay at the same time. This was then followed by six coats of Seal and Go which enabled us to achieve the desired level of durability and sheen.

Terracotta Floor Tiles After Renovation St Andrews Church Eaton Norfolk

When we had finished the work, this is what the client had to say:

“After careful consideration of several contractors, it was decided that Nicholas White provided the most sympathetic solution to our flooring needs and at a competitive price. The work was completed as promised with minimum fuss. At all times Nicholas and his staff worked in a professional manner and were totally respectful of their sensitive surroundings.

We were very satisfied with the final work and would have no hesitation in recommending this contractor to other potential clients. J Holmes, Warden St Andrews Eaton.”
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Eaton, Norwich

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

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