Sealing Porous Spanish Terracotta Tiles in Alderley Edge

According to the Mirror Newspaper Alderley Edge with its restaurants and bars is a playground for footballers; well I certainly didn’t bump into any on a recent visit there to clean and seal this lovely Spanish Terracotta Tiled Kitchen floor.

Joking aside it is a very nice area and fortunately for me the residents are very partial to stone floors. Getting back to the post, we were asked for advice on cleaning and sealing ninety square metres of Spanish Terracotta tiles that had been installed in this kitchen four years prior. The sealer had since worn off and the floor was becoming difficult to clean effectively.

Terracotta tiles are made from soft clay making it very porous and likely to absorb anything that lands on it; as a result, it’s important to maintain the sealer to stop this happening.

Deep Cleaning a Spanish Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

To clean the floor, I soaked the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a strong stripping and cleaning solution which removes old sealers and also draws out ingrained stains.

Spanish Terracotta Floor Tiles During Cleaning Alderley Edge

After twenty to thirty minutes the solution was worked into the tiles using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The soiled solution was then removed with a wet vacuum and this was followed by scrubbing the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a grout brush until they were clean.

Spanish Terracotta Floor Tiles During Cleaning Alderley Edge

The whole floor was then rinsed with water to remove any soil and trace of cleaning product. The water was then extracted using the wet vacuum. The floor was then checked to make sure it was as clean as it could be and stubborn areas spot treated.

Spanish Terracotta Floor Tiles After Cleaning Alderley Edge

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and we returned the next day and tested the tiles with a damp meter making sure it was dry before we could seal it. To seal the floor I first applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which soaks into the pores of the tile to enhance its colours. Once this was dry it was followed up by multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds further protection and adds a nice sheen to the tile.

I took some time to complete due to the porosity of the Terracotta requiring nine coats before the tiles were fully sealed but once done it was transformed and I left a very happy costumer. A quick tip here is that you can always tell when a tile is fully sealed by adding a small drop of water to the tile, if it forms into a bubble then it’s fully sealed.

Spanish Terracotta Floor Tiles After Cleaning and Sealing Alderley Edge

 
 
Source: Spanish Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Alderley Edge

Dealing With Grout Smears On New Terracotta Floor Tiles

This newly installed Herringbone-style Terracotta tiled floor in a refurbished kitchen was heavily covered with patches of grout haze. The customer, who lives in the town of Cogenhoe, Northampton informed me that the tiler had supposedly sealed the floor before grouting. If this was true, the grout haze should have been very easy to remove.

However, the tiler had clearly not been entirely truthful as, when I arrived at the property to carry out a test clean, I found very little evidence of any sealer whatsoever. Nonetheless, I found that the grout haze was easily removed using a solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner which is designed specifically for the removal of haze, mineral deposits and efflorescence.

Herringbone design terracotta floor before Cogenhoe Herringbone design terracotta floor before Cogenhoe

These Terracotta tiles were very pitted and the original tiler was correct to fill the small holes with grout to complement the rustic look of the tiles, but he should have taken the correct measures to ensure that a white misty grout haze didn’t appear over the whole area!

The customer was happy for me to proceed with restoring the floor, but also very concerned that her newly installed hand painted kitchen units would be damaged by the chemical cleaning products. I assured her that I would cover them up completely and carry out all work along the plinths by hand.

Removing Grout Haze from Terracotta Tiles

Once on site, I covered the kitchen units to protect them and proceeded to mix up a solution of Grout Clean Up. This was applied firstly around the edges of the floor and scrubbed into the stone by hand using a stiff brush.

Working in areas of four square metres each so as to not the leave the product on the floor too long, I applied the solution to pre-wet the floor ready for the next part of the process. This was to apply Tile Doctor Acid Gel, our blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids, leave it to dwell for a few minutes has then agitate it to neutralise and remove the copious grout haze. Once each area had been treated I rinsed it with water to remove any chemicals.

Herringbone design terracotta floor during Cogenhoe Herringbone design terracotta floor during Cogenhoe

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

With the entire floor treated, I installed a dehumidifier to help the tiles to dry quickly overnight. The next day I returned to the property to apply two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. This is an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection while also lifting the natural shades in the Terracotta.

Each coat was polished in by hand, leaving an hour for drying between coats. I then waited another hour before giving the whole floor a final polish with a buffing machine to remove any excess sealant.

Herringbone design terracotta floor after Cogenhoe Herringbone design terracotta floor after Cogenhoe

The result achieved in the space of 24 hours was fantastic and the customer was exceptionally pleased. Despite the severity of the grout haze problem, the combination of the right products allowed me to handily resolve it. The addition of a properly applied and top quality sealer will help to ensure the floor is protected from staining, something which is essential in a kitchen.
 
 
Source: Tile and Grout Cleaning Service in Northamptonshire