Stripping Off an Old Terracotta Sealer in Knutsford

We were asked if we could restore the appearance of a large Terracotta tiled floor in a kitchen/dinner that had not been cleaned for many years. The sealer had mostly worn off in the high traffic areas but was still fairly thick under the table.

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. Now with the sealer worn off completely in the busy parts of the floor anything that landed on the floor was very quickly absorbed into it.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Knutsford Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Knutsford

The house was in Knutsford on the East side of Cheshire which was named as Best Place to Live in the North West” by the Sunday Times in 2017; being close to the Peak District and within easy reach of Liverpool and Manchester its easy to see why.

Deep Cleaning a Spanish Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

My first task would be to completely remove the old sealer so the whole floor could be given a deep clean before resealing. It’s not a good idea to add a new sealer on top of another especially if you don’t know what was used before, it can also lead to a build of sealers on the tile which will darken their appearance.

To do this I soaked the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a powerful stripping and cleaning solution that’s designed to removes old coatings on tiles and draw out ingrained staining. After twenty to thirty minutes the solution was worked into the tiles using a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary buffer machine. I also used a wire hand brush along the grout lines to make sure they were cleaned as the scrubbing pad can fail to reach into the recess. It wasn’t long before the old sealer and dirt was released from the Terracotta which was then washed off the floor using water and a wet vacuum.

Terracotta Tiled Floor During Cleaning Knutsford Terracotta Tiled Floor During Cleaning Knutsford

I inspected the floor at this stage and retreated any stubborn areas using the same process. I did have a few problems removing some greasy marks however I managed to get rid of these by applying Tile Doctor Wax Away worked in by hand with a scrubbing brush. Once I was happy that the floor was clean and free of old sealers it was given a final rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product, dried with the wet vacuum and left to dry out fully overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

On my return the next morning I took a few damp readings to check the floor was dry before starting with the next step of sealing the tiles. All was well so began to add the first of multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water-based sealer that works really well on Terracotta and leaves a nice subtle sheen to the tile. Being was based it has the added advantage of not leaving a solvent smell as it dries.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Knutsford Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Knutsford

The Terracotta took some time to seal completely, in fact ten coats of sealer were required to fully seal the tile. You can always tell when a tile is sealed by adding a small drop of water to the surface, if it forms into a bubble then its’ fully sealed.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Knutsford Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Knutsford

I’m not sure you can appreciate the difference from my photographs but hopefully you can see that Terracotta tiles now look much fresher and the grout cleaner and lighter in colour.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Cheshire

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Cleaned at Buckinghamshire Farm Cottage

I was recently contacted about the restoration of a fantastic example of a Terracotta tiled floor in the kitchen of a farm cottage just south of Buckingham.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Buckingham Farm Cottage

There was a very noticeable build-up of dirt on the tiles and in the grout lines. Additionally, there were lots of white spots on the tiles in front of sink area because of a caustic soda spillage. Caustic soda is also known as sodium hydroxide, as is commonly used as a drain unblocking agent. It’s a highly alkaline product and isn’t very friendly to Terracotta.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Buckingham Farm Cottage

The grout was also stained and naturally, the homeowner was keen to get her floor back into the best shape possible – and I was on hand to see what could be done.

Terracotta is a very attractive and useful material that has been in use for over two millennia throughout the world. It has been used perhaps most famously for sculptures and other forms of art, although it has since the days of the Ancient Romans been used as a building material – including in the form of floor tiles. It’s still a popular choice for tiles amongst homeowners today, since Terracotta tiles are typically thicker, and the red colour adds a warm country feel to the home.

Cleaning Stained and Dirty Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

Before beginning the restoration, I first removed the kickboards from underneath the kitchen units to protect them from splashes from the cleaning products I would be using.

Once this had been done, I got straight into deep cleaning the tile and grout lines using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner. To get the best result I left the solution to soak into the pores of the tile for approximately ten minutes before being agitated with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

The floor was then rinsed with fresh water and the resulting slurry of soiled cleaning solution was promptly extracted using a wet vacuum. This process left the tiles and grout looking much cleaner and fresher, however, the white spots caused by the caustic soda would need something extra to remove them.

I treated these spots using Tile Doctor Acid Gel in combination with a steam machine. Acid Gel is a mixture of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form, and can be used to neutralise alkali-based stains such as these. We also commonly use it to treat efflorescence (mineral salt deposits).

The floor was then once again rinsed with fresh water to remove any trace of cleaning products and neutralise the floor, before being left to dry off fully for two days.

Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

I returned after 48 hours and the floor was dry enough to be sealed. The customer wanted to retain the natural-looking and rustic appearance of the Terracotta, so I suggested that we seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This sealer is impregnating and colour-intensifying (so it emphasises the patina of the stone), but also leaves a matte finish.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Buckingham Farm Cottage

The after photos show the result of the restoration – I job well done if I say so myself. And certainly, my customer agreed!

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Buckingham Farm Cottage

 
 
Source: Professional Cleaning of a Stained Terracotta Kitchen Floor in Buckinghamshire

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

Removing Linseed Oil from a Terracotta floor

This client in the Wiltshire village of Urchfont contacted us because a competitor had attempted to restore their floor but ended up ruining it due to the over application of linseed oil which had left it both brown and sticky. I warned the customer that we may not be able to get rid of the Linseed oil as we don’t know what products had been used previously however they were happy to proceed and they booked us in immediately after conducting a successful test.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Urchfont Before

Cleaning Oil and Wax from Terracotta Tile

We started by smothering the floor with Tile Doctor Remove & Go leaving it to dwell and soak into the floor. After thirty minutes the product was scrubbed into the grout lines using a stiff grout brush. We then attached a black scrubbing pad to a rotary machine and set about trying to bust through the top layer of wax and oil. It became apparent that this particular terracotta floor was very porous indeed and that it was going to take quite a few attempts to got a section clear we rinsed the tiles thoroughly and started again. This process was repeated every five square metres so that the slurry didn’t drop back into the tile. Once we were satisfied that we had removed as much of the wax and oil as possible we then used a steamer on the areas that had an increased amount of linseed oil and scrubbed vigorously with a deck brush until happy. Once the entire floor was clear we rinsed the area thoroughly with fresh water to remove any trace of cleaning product using a wet vacuum to remove as much of the water as possible before leaving it to dry for 7 days.

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

Upon our return we tested the floor using a damp meter, this is important as adding sealer to a damp floor can have unexpected results. The test was OK so we began to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go eventually applying nine coats until the tile was fully sealed. You can see from the photographs below that the floor looks much better and the sealer enhanced the look of the tile and will continue to protect it against day to day wear.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Urchfont Sealed
Our customer was over the moon with the result we had achieved even though not all the linseed oil could be removed due to its porosity.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Urchfont Sealed

Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Wiltshire

Terracotta Deep Clean and Seal

This Terracotta tiled kitchen floor in Twickenham had accumulated a high amount of soil over the years. Spots and spills from kitchen activity had also proved impossible to remove by the owner which was due to the sealer breaking down; the floor was now in need of a deep clean, stripping off the old sealer and then re-sealing to ensure easy maintenance in the future.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Twickenham Before Cleaning

Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

The first step was to use a rotary scrubbing machine together with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a high alkaline cleaner for use with tile and stone. This action breaks down the soil in the tile and releases it along with the remaining old sealer. The floor was then pressure rinsed to ensure all of the dirt was removed from the pores of the tile and grout lines scrubbed by hand with a stiff brush. Once I was happy the floor was clean it was given a thorough rinse to remove any remaining chemical and left it to dry.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Twickenham During Cleaning

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

The floor was left to dry for a period of twenty four hours before sealing which was done by applying five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a water based topical sealer that leaves no smell and will repel liquid and soil allowing the tile to keep its appearance and making it easier to maintain in the future. The sealer also gives a high sheen finish which reflects the light and enhances the colours of the stone. As you can see from the pictures, the restored floor brought the kitchen back to life and made the room look brighter.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Twickenham After Cleaning Terracotta Kitchen Floor Twickenham After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Making Terracotta tiles look new again in Middlesex

Resolving Sealer Problems on Terracotta Tiles

I was asked to look at a Terracotta tiled kitchen floor that had just be fitted at a house in Kidlington, it seems the tiles were sticky and patchy and basically looked a bit of a mess. The home owner phoned me on Thursday sounding really upset and as I’m based in the general area I was able to look at the floor later that day.

On inspection I could see that the recently applied sealer had not taken to the floor probably as it was not been allowed to dry properly before sealing. We didn’t know what had been applied on the floor so I did a test on a couple of tiles to see which products would work best to strip the sealer off and then booked the job in for the following Saturday.

Patchy Terracotta Tiles Before

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

I placed my dust sheets down were needed and then I started on the floor by wetting it with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean, this product is quite versatile and being alkaline is safe to use on tile, stone and grout. The floor was then scrubbed using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad to agitate and then rinsed down with clean water which was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor left to dry. This process was repeated until I was satisfied that all the sealer was off and then give the Terracotta a thorough and final rinse to neutralise the floor and make sure there was no chemicals were left on the tile, again a wet vacuum was used to remove the water and I also asked the customer to leave the front and back windows open so the air flow would help dry the floor quicker.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

After a couple of hours I tested the floor with a Damp Meter to confirm the floor had dried and began to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealer which is an ideal sealer for Terracotta and also provides the satin finish the customer wanted.

Patchy Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning and Resealing

The area wasn’t the large so I managed to complete the whole Job in one day, needless to say the owner was very pleased that I was able to restore her new floor and oven the moon with the services given only three days had elapsed from the first point of contact to completion.
 
 
Source: Travertine Tile Problems Resolved in Oxfordshire

Kitchen Terracotta Tile Maintenance

This Terracotta tiled floor was laid in the kitchen of a property located in Shepperton, Middlesex. It had been laid eight years prior and had an initial sealer applied. Over the years the customer had applied polish to help maintain a shine however the sealer and polish were now in a bad state and holding onto dirt. You can see this in the photographs below which show the tiles looking quite dull and the grout grey.

Terracotta Tiles Before Terracotta Tiles Before

Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

I started the job using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a heavy duty alkaline product ideal for cleaning natural products such as Terracotta and stripping off old sealers and polish, this was scrubbed in with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. We repeated the process a couple of times and also used a stiff hand brushes along the grout lines where the pads can often struggle to reach. Once happy the floor was clean it was given a thorough rinse to remove any remaining chemical and left it to dry.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

We left the floor to dry for 48 hours and then returned to re-seal it. Tile Doctor Seal and Go was used to seal the floor, it’s a topical water based sealer that doesn’t give off an odour when it’s drying and also offers durable stain protection together with a low sheen finish which really enhances the natural colour of the tile. Terracotta is very porous and in the end the floor actually took six coats of sealer before it was fully sealed. Applying a sealer does take a long time to apply as you have to wait for it to dry before applying the next coat.

Terracotta Tiles After Terracotta Tiles After

The work took two days in all and you can see the difference for yourself, the floor now looks much improved certainly the customer was very pleased with the end result and now has a floor that is easy to maintain for the future. I cover Shepperton and the surrounding areas so please feel free to contact me.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile and Grout cleaning in Middlesex