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

Very Dirty Terracotta Floor Tiles Cleaned

We were asked to restore the Terracotta tiled floor at an old cottage in the village of Wing which was way overdue for a good deep clean and re-seal. In fact the tiles were so dirty they were black in some areas, which you can see for yourself in the photograph below.

Terracotta Tiles in Wing Before Cleaning

Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tiles

Fortunately this sort of work is bread and butter to a Tile Doctor and the process is relatively straight forward. The first job was to apply a reasonably strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an industrial strength alkaline Tile Cleaning product that is safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout. This was left to dwell on the tile for a while and then scrubbed into using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, a stiff hand brush was used on the grout where the scrubbing pad struggled to reach.

The next step was to wash the floor using a Rotovac machine which applies water at a high pressure and also removes it to a storage tank using it’s built in vacuum. This finishes off the cleaning process and also washes the floor down with clean water to remove any remaining cleaning solution and neutralise the tile to remove any trace of cleaning chemical before sealing.

Terracotta Tile Sealing

The floor was left to dry overnight and when we returned the next day when the floor was completely dry to seal using seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works well on Terracotta providing on-going stain protection as well as adding a nice shine to the tile. As you can see the floor cleaned up really well and now looks like a Terracotta floor should.

Terracotta Tiles in Wing After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Stone, Tile and Grout Cleaning Service in Buckinghamshire