Stripping Off Old Varnish from Terracotta Kitchen Tiles in Gloucestershire

Terracotta tiles are always a popular choice for Kitchens but being made from clay they are porous and need to be sealed to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained in the tile. Once sealed though you need to remember Kitchens are high traffic areas, so you can expect the sealer to wear off quicker than it would elsewhere.

I mention this as a customer from Bristol asked me to do a survey on her Varnish Sealed Terracotta Kitchen Tiles where the seal had worn down and were now dull, and the grout had darkened. I surveyed the floor and completed a test clean on a section of the floor which came out well impressing the customer who was happy for me to proceed with cleaning and sealing the floor.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol Before Cleaning Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol Before Cleaning

Traditionally Terracotta tiled floors have been sealed with a number of products over the years including Wax, Linseed Oil and on this occasion Varnish however all these products have their disadvantages and don’t compare to modern sealers which are designed for the job.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles Bristol Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

The first day was spent trying to get the Varnish off the floor which somebody had used on the floor as a sealer; Varnish is easily scratched by furniture, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. I worked out however that it could be scrubbed off once coated in a combination or Tile Doctor products Pro-Clean, Remove and Go and Nano-Tech HBU which would be left to soak in for a while and then softened with steam.

Mechanical assistance from a buffing machine fitted with a large black scrubbing pad helped reduce the amount of elbow grease that was required and once I was happy the tiles were clean the now soiled solution was rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next day and with the floor now clear I was able to see those areas that needed further re-treatment and also turn my attention to the grout which was cleaned using more cleaning solution worked in with a stiff narrow grout brush that gets into the grout lines. Once I was completely happy with the floor its was given a final rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then dried with a wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning

Sealing a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

It’s important that the tiles are dry before sealing so I left the floor to dry out for three days before returning to seal them. No Varnish this time of course, Tile Doctor has a range of sealers for every type of situation and what I find works best on Terracotta tiles is a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow topped off with multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol During Cleaning

Tile Doctor Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates into the pores of the clay protecting it from within whilst enhancing colour whilst Seal and Go completes the sealing process and adds a nice sheen to the look of the tile.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing

As you can see from the final photographs the floor looked really good and the customer gave me top marks for feedback.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Gloucestershire

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

Maintaining the Appearance of Polished Terracotta in North-Buckinghamshire

This old Terracotta floor in Shenley Brook End near Milton Keynes was already dirty with very little sealer intact when our customer moved into the property. Then after having extensive building work done throughout the property they were in desperate need of a Tile Doctor service to improve the look of the floor.

Old Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning in Shenley Brook End

Cleaning Old Terracotta Floor Tiles

We started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the floor which is our go to cleaning product for all types of Tile, Stone and Grout. After approximately 20 minutes of dwell time we scrubbed the floor 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.

Having removed the soiled cleaning solution, we could see the result achieved on the floor and although there was a massive improvement there were some tiles we still were not totally happy with. We went back to these tiles and applied a stronger Tile Doctor product called NanoTech HBU which stands for Heavy Build-Up remover. We gave this an hour to dwell.

Whilst the NanoTech was doing its magic on the problem tiles we went to work scrubbing all the grout lines by hand using more Pro-Clean. Once we had finished cleaning the grout we gave the whole floor one more rinse and were pleased to see the problem tiles were now looking much better.

Sealing Old Terracotta Floor Tiles

We then left the floor to dry off completely overnight and returned the following day to seal the floor. Made from clay Terracotta is very porous and needs to be sealed to stop dirt becoming ingrained in the tile, it also improves its general appearance.

To fully seal the floor, we used six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will provide complete protection against stains and dirt, Seal and Go also adds an appealing satin sheen to the tile.

Old Terracotta Floor After Cleaning in Shenley Brook End

For an old floor that has been exposed to building work it’s now looking much cleaner and healthier; more importantly the customer was delighted with the service and left the following glowing review which is always appreciated:

Andrew and his colleagues (including Gemma in the office) could not have been more helpful and courteous. They are some of the tidiest tradesmen we’ve met! The results have exceeded our expectations and the service is very cost-effective compared to the cost of a new tiled floor, so happy customers all round. Thanks again!
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning & Sealing Service in Buckinghamshire

Putting new life into a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen in Somerset

Anyone with familiar with tile cleaning and maintenance will know that Terracotta is one of the most difficult of tiles to seal. This is due to the clay being particularly porous thus requiring several coatings of sealer to ensure complete saturation and protection against ingrained dirt and stains. The next problem is that a sealer will wear down in high traffic areas first and without regular maintenance will wear off allowing dirt to penetrate resulting in areas which seem to be impossible to keep clean.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Minehead Somerset

At this property in Minehead, the coastal town in Somerset known for its beaches, the sealer on the Terracotta kitchen tiles had not been maintained in over four years and during that time, the sealer had deteriorated, allowing dirt and dust to enter the pores of the stone. Trying to get the floor to look clean was now an impossible task so I was contacted by the property owner to resolve the problem first by cleaning the tiles with professional products and methods, and second by applying a fresh sealer.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Minehead Somerset

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

My focus for the cleaning process was soak the Terracotta tiles in Tile Doctor Pro-Clean for around ten minutes before scrubbing the solution into the tiles with the aid of a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a powerful alkaline cleaner designed for use on all types of natural stone. In concentrated form, it breaks down old sealers as well as removing dirt, while the rotary machine helps the product to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone to eradicate ingrained dirt and stains.
The now soiled solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the then the floor rinsed with water. With the floor clear I was able to see stubborn areas that need more work and spot treated them using the same process.
One I was happy that the floor was clean and free of old sealers it was given a final rinse and then dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum and then then left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

The next day, I returned to the property to find the tiles fresh, dry, and ready to be sealed.

My sealer of choice was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a topical sealant which provides a robust seal and the durable low sheen finish in one product. Sealing the floor took some time as you need to let the first coat dry before applying the second and if you recall from my note at the beginning of this post it’s important to use several coats of sealer on Terracotta to achieve saturation due to the naturally high porosity of the clay.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Minehead Somerset

The floor is now fully sealed and looking like new, additionally It will be easy to keep clean simply by using a mop and Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is a pH neutral product designed for the routine cleaning of sealed tiled floors.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Minehead Somerset

 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile and Grout Cleaning and Restoration Service in Somerset

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

Refreshing the appearance of Terracotta Tiles in Cambridgeshire

Due to its naturally high porosity, Terracotta is more susceptible to ingrained dirt than other types of stone tile. Typically, this downside is simple to offset with professional maintenance, including deep cleaning with suitable products and maintaining the sealer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

Unfortunately, this Terracotta tiled floor at a property in Great Gransden (famous for being home to England’s oldest remaining windmill), had not been treated to professional maintenance for at least a decade. As you can imagine, the extremely outdated sealer had gradually broken down in most areas of the floor, leaving the tiles exposed to dirt and grime. I was asked by the property owner to restore the floor back to its original condition, and was more than happy to oblige!

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

The first step in the restoration was to strip the floor of the very old sealer by applying Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which both breaks down old sealers and removes light to medium soil buildup. After allowing the product twenty minutes to dwell, I went over the floor with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine to ensure all of the old sealer was removed, mopping and rinsing the floor several times during the process.

Following this, I used a steamer in combination with Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU – a cleaner that uses nano-sized particles to penetrate and dissolve tough stains – to tidy up some of the more stubborn areas of muck. Finally, I gave the entire floor, including the grout lines, an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up to remove inherent grout haze etc.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Once the cleaning process was complete, I left the floor to dry completely for 24 hours. This is the typical drying time for most natural stone floors, although the process will be sped up if there is a damp proof membrane or underfloor heating installed.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

Upon my return to the property the next day I ran some damp tests to check for excess moisture, as this can cloud the sealer. Thankfully the floor was dry and I was able to start sealing the Terracotta starting with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile enhancing the natural colours and adding protection from within. One this was dry I continued the process by applying four further coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to achieve the desired sheen finish.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

I made sure to give my very happy customer some advice on cleaning before departing the property as sealers do wear down over time so it’s important to maximise their longevity by using a pH neutral cleaning product for everyday cleaning.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile and Grout Cleaning and Sealing Service in Cambrideshire

Restorating the Appearance of a Terracotta Tiled floor

In our experience there is a general lack of good maintenance advice given when new tiled floors are installed which results in floors that looked fantastic following installation losing their appearance of the years that follow. Naturally Tile Doctor aims to fill this gap and this Terracotta tiled floor at a property in Twickenham, Middlesex is a good example. It had not been professionally cleaned since it was installed 18 years prior and due to a multitude of advice over the year’s various oils and sealers had been erroneously applied, leaving a build up of routine maintenance residues in the tile.

Terracotta Floor Before Deep Clean in Twickenham

Furthermore, due to its natural porosity, Terracotta tends to allow dirt and stains to become ingrained, making the tiles even more difficult to clean – and keep clean, for that matter. These types of floors need regular maintenance or the only remedy is to strip and deep clean the tiles followed by the application of a fresh seal which is exactly what we had to do in this case.

Deep Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

To restore the appearance of this floor I would need to strip off the old coatings; fortunately, we have a strong product just for that purpose so to start with I liberally covered the tiles in our heavy duty coatings remover, Tile Doctor Remove and Go. It helps break down old sealers and oils and I left it to soak in for ten minutes so it could get a good start. I then machine scrubbed the floor with a 17″ scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine which takes a lot of the hard work out of the job, although I still need to hand scrub in the corners and along the grout lines with a stiff brush.

Terracotta Floor Deep Clean During Grout Scrubbing in Twickenham

All of the resulting cleaning chemicals and soiled residue were then flushed and vacuumed away with our pressure rinsing system. This method leaves the Terracotta tiles completely fresh and clean, ready to receive a new sealer.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled a Floor

I left the property overnight, giving the floor a full 24 hours to dry completely. As most who read my posts will already know, a floor with outstanding damp issues cannot be sealed as even the slightest quantity of moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Terracotta Floor Deep Clean after grout scrubbing in Twickenham

Upon my return to the property I ran a few damp tests as a matter of precaution. Once satisfied that the floor was completely dry, I proceeded to seal the tiles using seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which works really well on Terracotta providing an aesthetically pleasing sheen finish and forms a stain resistant layer on the surface of the tiles to protect them from dirt and stains. I should mention it’s also a water based sealer so there’s no solvent smell given off as it dries which is always a bonus.

Terracotta Floor After Deep Clean and seal in Twickenham

As you can see from the pictures, the restoration has restored the lustre and colour of the Terracotta and the grout looks much cleaner; the very happy customer can be assured that maintaining the condition of the Terracotta will be much easier in the future.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Middlesex

Commissioning a new Terracotta Tiled Floor in Warwickshire

Newly built properties are not without their problems and often take a while to resolve all the snagging which occasionally extends to resolving problems with newly laid tiled floors. At this new property in the village of Malvern, and overlooked by the Malvern hills, the builders had left the Terracotta tiled kitchen floor covered in grout smears (also known as Grout Haze) following installation. They had also neglected to seal the tiles, which was actually quite fortunate in this case as they would have sealed in the grout haze, making it more difficult to remove.

Naturally, the property owner wanted the problem to be resolved as soon as possible, and for me to make the tiles easy to keep clean in future, which can be achieved by sealing the tile.

Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village

Removing Grout Haze from a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Before starting work, I made sure to fully protect any exposed woodwork with a plastic sheet covering to protect them from potential damage. I then proceeded to give the floor a thorough clean, using Tile Doctor Remove and Go to clean the floor and eradicate some stains that had been left behind as a result of the building work.

Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village

Next, I paid special attention to the grout, where the very visible problem of grout haze had arisen. To neutralise these smears I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner that can also remove alkaline mineral deposits and efflorescence. Grout Clean Up is only to be used on acid resistant stone, as sensitive stone can suffer from irreparable etching if it comes into contact with the product.

Once completely clean and free of grout smears the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water to remove any trace of product and then dried as much as possible with a wet vacuum, afterwards an air mover was installed to speed up the drying process.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Later that afternoon the floor was dry and I was able to apply a sealer. To do this I opted to use several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra, a topical, fully breathable sealer that works really well on Terracotta.

Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village

The sealer builds up a layer of protection on the surface of the tiles, protecting against ingrained dirt and stains. Seal and Go Extra also provides a high quality sheen finish which really did well to enhance the look of the Terracotta.

Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village

The property owner was exceptionally pleased with the results, and to have this problem dealt with quickly and efficiently, additionally the sealer will ensure the Kitchen floor is easy to keep clean in the future.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Warwickshire

Terracotta Hallway Tiles Restored in Cheshire

These Terracotta tiles, located at a property in the town of Pendle, Lancashire had the unique circumstances of being covered by a thick layer of wax which had turned black over the years. Anyone from the Lancs area will have heard of the famous Pendle Witch Trials, and we would need to channel some serious magic to successfully remove the unsightly wax.

The wax had been settled on the tiles for many years, proving difficult to remove even for a seasoned tile cleaning professional, especially since Terracotta has a high porosity and therefore allows the muck to become more easily ingrained. We had to employ all of our years of experience to get the job done. Here’s how we did it.

Black Terracotta in Pendle Before Cleaning Black Terracotta in Pendle Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Wax Covered Terracotta Tiled Floor

Our main product of choice when dealing with the heavy wax build-up was the strong alkaline gel cleaner, Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. Oxy-Gel is a stripper and degreaser that functions very similarly to our liquid alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, the main difference being that Oxy-Gel is in gel form, making it usable on vertical and sloped surfaces.

The thicker consistency of Oxy-Gel would make for a better foil for the thick buildup of wax: we applied it to the tiles and worked it in using a series of buffing pads fitted to a buffing machine. We also employed the assistance of a steaming machine that helped to soften the wax and make it easier to break down. A lot of rinsing with clean water was required, and several wet-vax machines were used to remove the excess cleaning residue, but it quickly became clear that we had finally achieved the result the customer was hoping for.

Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning Before Sealing

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

As was to be expected, the new unveiled tiles were very dull and lifeless, having not been sealed properly for a number of years. To restore the colour and lustre to the tiles we opted to use two different sealers. The first was one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which penetrates into the pores of the Terracotta to block dirt from becoming trapped. It also contains colour intensifying properties which really brought out the natural reddish shades in the stone.

The second was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which differs from its impregnating counterpart in that it is a topical sealer. This means that it forms a layer of protection of the surface of the tiles, as opposed to in the pores of the stone. Seal and Go eliminates the need for two-step sealing by providing both a protective layer and a durable, aesthetic sheen finish in the same product.

As you can see from the last two photographs, this combination of sealers really helped in getting these Terracotta tiles looking at their best again after years of neglect under the layer of black wax. We left our very happy customer with some advice to only use pH neutral cleaners for aftercare as general maintenance producers, including bleaches and washing up liquids can reduce the life of the sealer.

Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning and Sealing Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Cheshire

Restoring the Appearance of Terracotta Kitchen Tiles in Monmouthshire

Terracotta may be one of the most aesthetically pleasing types of tiled floor, but as many of our customers will tell you can be particularly difficult to keep clean. This is due to the naturally high porosity of clay, which allows dirt to become very easily trapped. Quite commonly this situation is made worse by a lack of an adequate sealer to block the intrusion of muck. Of course, poor quality cleaning products also make it difficult for property owners to keep their Terracotta tiles clean, and a combination of the two problems can leave these floors looking a lot like this one, located in the kitchen of a house in the beautiful Forest of Dean.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Forest of Dean Before

The property owner was keen to have me restore some character to her dull Terracotta tiles. It was proving increasingly difficult for her to keep them clean due to the reasons described before, and the grout had also become very dirty. So, the customer turned to me for some professional assistance.

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor in the Forest of Dean

While these Terracotta tiles had been sealed previously it had, over time, lost its ability to protect the stone against ingrained dirt. To remove the old excess sealer my product of choice was the heavy duty soil remover and stripper, Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which I applied liberally across the surface and scrubbed in to the tile used a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. This also helped to remove the trapped dirt and left the stone looking fresher.

Once the old sealer was removed – to be replaced with a fresh sealer once cleaning was complete – I was free to focus on the troublesome grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, an alkaline cleaner that reliably breaks down dirt. When cleaning the grout, I opted to use a handheld grout brush that allowed for more precise, careful application of the product.

As per usual, the floor was given a good rinse and left to dry for 24 hours.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Upon returning to the property I checked the floor was completely dry, ready for sealing. My process for sealing actually involved the application of two different kinds of sealer; initially I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which has soaks into the pores of the tile and has the added bonus of enhancing its natural colours.

Once this had dried I then applied ix coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a product which forms a durable layer of protection of the surface of the tiles and at the same time provides a lovely sheen finish.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Forest of Dean After

The combination of the two sealers will certainly offer a long-term solution to the ingrained dirt problem, and the appearance-enhancing properties in the products really helped to transform the tiles from dull and dirty to lively and eye-catching. Nonetheless, before departing the property, I also left my very pleased customer with some cleaning advice for the future.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Monmouthshire

Deep Cleaning And Sealing Stained Terracotta Tiles in Derbyshire

Having an effective sealer in place is essential for ensuring the long term condition of tiled floors in fact a lack of sealer can make cleaning the tiles exceptionally difficult as the sealer prevents dirt becoming ingrained in the tile.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing in Matlock

This property owner, living in the former spa town of Matlock in Derbyshire, was experiencing problems with their Terracotta tiled kitchen floor since they had applied some kind of wax to act as a sealer, and this had worn off within a few weeks. After this happened the tiles were not sealed again, making cleaning a big problem. Terracotta is a highly porous stone and thus easily soaks in spillages and stains, and allows dirt to become very easily trapped.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing in Matlock

In this situation, the property owner resolved to contact me about some professional maintenance. I suggested that the tiles would need a deep clean followed by the application of a fresh, high quality sealer. The work was agreed on and I made my way down to the property the following week.

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

When I arrived at the property and saw the tiles first hand it became clear that a professional clean had been in need for a long time: greasy looking stains were particularly prevalent and covered large areas of the kitchen floor.

To remove I mixed a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a multi-purpose, high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser, and, working in small areas, applied it to the floor. Working in small sections was important because the stone is very porous and quickly soaked in any product laid down. I scrubbed the cleaner into the stone using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, with the dirt and stains coming away nicely. Pro Clean is highly versatile and can be used for similar cleaning purposes on most types of natural stone floor.

After cleaning each section, I quickly removed the excess dirty water and chemicals with my wet vax machine. Once the whole floor had been cleaned I rinsed it several times with fresh water just to make sure all cleaning chemicals were gone. I then left the floor to dry completely for 36 hours.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

When I returned to the property, I conducted several damp tests to check for any areas of the floor that needed further drying. As is almost always the case, there were a few areas that remained slightly damp, and I set about speeding the drying process along using my heat gun. In fact, it actually took me more than three hours to get the floor completely dry, but this was worth the effort as even the slightest excess moisture can damage the performance of the sealer.

Once the floor was finally dried I began sealing the floor with one coat of Tile a Doctor Colour Grow sealer. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates deep into the pores of the stone, thus acting as a shield against ingrained dirt, and also raises the colour of the tiles to provide an aesthetically appealing appearance. sealer. After sealing with Colour Grow, I left the floor to dry for couple of hours and then applied six coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is a topical sealer that builds up durable protection on the surface of the tiles.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Matlock

The combination of through cleaning and the application of not one, but two high quality sealers really did wonders for the appearance of these Terracotta tiles. Looking at the final results you wouldn’t have believed they had been without a proper clean and seal for so long! Needless to say the customer was exceptionally pleased and will surely be able to keep her floor looking great for a long time to come.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Derbyshire

Refreshing the Appearance of Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

This Terracotta tiled kitchen in the village of Willingale near Maldon, in the Epping Forest District of Essex had lost its finish and looked slightly dull. The client wanted the tiles restored to a shiny finish and additionally wanted the two cracked tiles replaced in the kitchen doorway.

Terracotta Tile Replacement

I started by removing the two cracked tiles using an angle grinder and cleared away the grout to leave the edges of the remaining tiles as smooth as possible.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Replacement in Willingale Before Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Replacement in Willingale After

Cleaning a Dull and Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

The next stage was to strip and clean the tiles and grout lines. I dampened the tiles with water before applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go, a product which breaks down existing sealers so they can be scrubbed off the tiles and rinsed away. To make the work easier I used a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad to work the solution in and then pressure washed them using a spinner tool attached to a wet extraction machine mounted in my van. This process blasts any remaining dirt and sealer from the stone and grout lines and vacuums the waste into a holding tank in the van.

This process took most of the day, but just before I left I replaced the broken tiles with two new ones and re grouted them in place, fortunately these tiles were still available and so it wasn’t difficult finding replacements. The tiles and grout were left to dry over night.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

The following morning I damp tested the floor before beginning to seal the floor, this is an important check as damp can upset the sealer and lead to unexpected results.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Testing for Damp Willingale

Once I was satisfied the tiles were dry I applied five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, leaving the stone with a healthy lustre. Seal and Go is a topical sealer that is highly recommended for Victorian, Terracotta and Quarry tiles and being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Cleaned and Sealed in Willingale Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Cleaned and Sealed in Willingale

 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile and Stone Restoration Service in North Essex

Deep Cleaning a Very Dirty Terracotta Floor

The old town of Halstead, Essex, meaning ‘safe place’ or ‘place of refuge’ in Old English, was the site of this job. Similarly, historic is the property I was called to, a fantastic seventeenth century thatched cottage, situated just on the outskirts of the town.

The owner was keen to have her Terracottatiled living room restored; the tiles had been laid twenty years prior and had been given very little treatment over the following two decades. They were now very dirty and dull looking and were certainly in need of a deep clean, followed by the application of a fresh seal to maintain condition.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Halstead

Cleaning a Dull and Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

To begin the cleaning process, Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a heavy duty, high alkaline product designed for cleaning Terracotta and many other types of natural stone, was applied liberally to the floor in a dilute form. The product was then left to dwell for a short period, allowing it to seep into the pores of the stone, before being scrubbed into the tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad.

The grout lines should usually be treated individually in the cleaning process since the dirt and stains found here can prove very stubborn, and so they were scrubbed carefully with a special grout brush.

Following this a high pressure spinning tool, which is powered by a machine in my van, was used to blast stubborn ingrained soils from the grout and tile. This tool also serves to rinse the tiles and vacuum all slurry and chemicals back into a waste tank on the van.

The floor was then left to dry fully overnight, allowing for any excess moisture to disappear and leaving the tiles ready to be sealed the following day.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

In the morning I arrived back at the property and promptly for any dampness. Once satisfied with the condition of the tiles, I proceeded to apply Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is an odourless, water-based topical sealer that builds up protection on the surface of the tiles, providing a durable and aesthetically pleasing satin finish.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Halstead

Since Terracotta is a very porous material, I was required to apply five coats of the sealer, allowing enough to fill the pores completely to offer protection from within.

The results of the restoration were very pleasing for both the customer and myself. I think you will agree that the floor no longer looks like it hasn’t been cleaned for twenty years – in fact, it looks almost brand new!
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile and Stone Cleaning and Restoration Service in North-Essex

Transforming a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

The new owner of this house in the very old and quaint English village of Penn, Buckinghamshire wanted to refresh the look of the Terracotta tiled kitchen floor before they moved in. It had suffered from a heavy soil build-up of dirt over time due to inadequate maintenance and ineffectual sealer.

Since Terracotta (which came into popular use in the West in the 19th century) is highly porous, large amounts of dirt can become ingrained very quickly if not taken care of. Restoring this floor would be a two-day job, including thorough cleaning and stripping, as well as the application of a fresh sealer to provide long-term protection.

Terracotta Tile Before Cleaning in Penn Bucks

Cleaning a Heavily Soiled Terracotta Tiled Floor

The first day was spent giving the tiles a deep clean. To begin, I mixed a strong solution of the heavy duty alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which a versatile product suitable for tackling heavy soil build up on a range of natural stone floors.

The solution was spread evenly across the surface area of the floor, before being worked into the stone with a commercial rotary machine fitted with an abrasive scrubbing pad. This really helped to break down the layers of muck. Next, I paid particular attention to the grout lines, scrubbing them with the acid-based Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up to remove dirt and neutralise any grout haze and mineral salts that had built up. Thanks to this the stained grout lines were restored to their original colour.

The final task on day one was to strip away the remaining failed sealer using Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is specially designed for this purpose. Similar to earlier, the product was worked in using the rotary machine and abrasive pad. Once the cleaning process was complete, I washed the floor to remove all chemicals and slurry, before leaving the floor to dry naturally overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Returning to the house the next day, I firstly checked for any remaining moisture on the, which is important as it can negatively impact sealer performance. With everything in good condition I proceeded to seal the tiles using the solvent-based, topical sealer known as Tile Doctor Seal and Go.

I applied multiple coats in order to build up sufficient protection on the surface of the tiles to reduce the damage of future spillages and staining. The sealer will also provide a durable and aesthetically pleasing low sheen finish.

Terracotta Tile After Cleaning in Penn Bucks

As you can see from the before and after photographs, a remarkable difference was made to the condition and appearance of this Terracotta tiled floor. My customer was very pleased with the results, and I’m sure the new home owner will be even more pleased to find the floor looking great when they move in.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile and Stone Cleaning and Restoration Service in South-Buckinghamshire

Regualar Maintenance of Terracotta Tiles

As part of our service we advise customers on best practice for maintaining the appearance of the floor and I’m happy to report this client in Ampthill who has a Terracotta tiled floor that we had fully restored a few years ago had followed to the letter.

Having two dogs and two children, the floor gets a lot of traffic and as expected over a period of time the sealer does wear thin in the busier areas. Should the sealer become too damaged dirt can get underneath and gradually the seal will deteriorate to the point where restoration will be needed again.

Terracotta Floor Before Maintained Ampthill Terracotta Floor Before Maintained Ampthill

By keeping on top of the maintenance our client has kept a beautiful terracotta floor in great condition however as the sealer was wearing he called us back to do a maintenance clean and top up the sealer an activity which we are able to complete in one day rather than the several days needed to do a full restoration.

Terracotta Floor Maintenance Clean and Seal

To maintain the floor, I applied a Tile Doctor fine diamond burnishing pad fitted to a rotary machine and with a little water sprayed onto the tiles to lubricate the process the top was burnished, this took the dirt off the top of the tiles and left a clean surface to top up the seal. The floor was then rinsed to remove the soil generated by the process.

Having removed any damaged sealer an industrial air mover was switched on to get the floor as dry as possible, we then tested the damp levels at various intervals until the floor was dry for re-sealing.

To re-seal two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go we applied to the floor allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second. Once the second coat had dried a white polishing pad was used to buff the tiles.

Terracotta Floor After Maintained Ampthill Terracotta Floor After Maintained Ampthill

 
 
Source: Terracotta Floor Maintenance Service in Bedfordshire

Reviatlising a Faded and Dirty Terracotta Conservatory Floor

Cranleigh is the self-proclaimed largest village in England, sitting about 8 miles southeast of Guildford in Surrey. One of its villagers contacted me recently to see if there was anything I could do to improve the state of their Terracotta tiled conservatory. They were in the process of completely redecorating the conservatory, having just replaced the wood and glass and I was called in to restore the tiled floor back to looking its best.

Terracotta is made from clay and is quite porous ceramic, and tends to be quite porous when made into commercial or residential tiling. Just like stone it needs to be sealed to ensure the pores don’t become ingrained with dirt, following that sealers do need to be maintained as they do wear off over time.

In this case, my client had moved into the property twenty years ago, and had only ever carried out a routine mop of the floor; as a result the floor was now ingrained with dirt and had lost its colour and would require a deep clean and seal to bring it back to life.

Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh Before Cleaning Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Terracotta tiled conservatory

To begin with, I mixed a cleaning solution consisting of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to one part water. This was spread evenly across the floor and let to dwell for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. The solution was then agitated with a scrubbing pad fitted to my heavy-weight rotary machine, lifting away the initial layers of muck and any remaining old sealer.

However, I noticed after giving the tiles a rinse that some of the old sealer was still prevalent in some areas. To deal with this, I applied a solvent-based sealer stripper and left it to work its magic on the affected areas. After about an hour, I added a steamer to the mix, and this allowed me to thoroughly scrub away the old seal. This was followed up by another rinse of the floor, and left it to dry.

Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh During Cleaning

Sealing a Terracotta tiled conservatory

I returned to the house five days later to complete the restoration. My immediate task was to carry out a moisture test to make sure the floor was completely dry and therefore ready to take the new seal, this is an important step as adding a sealer to a damp floor can result in problems.

Once satisfied, I proceeded to seal the floor with five coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. This sealer is particularly effective at providing durable surface protection from within, and contains properties which enhanced the natural auburn shades in the Terracotta tiles.

Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh After Sealing Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh After Sealing

I’m pleased to say that my client was overjoyed with the quick transformation of their conservatory floor. They never knew quite how vibrant the colours in the stone could be, and better still, the floor now blends in with their newly painted lemon walls.


Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh Before and After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Cleaning and Maintaining Terracotta Flooring in West Surrey

Dealing With Sealers On Terracotta Tiles

Sealers really do bring out the best in Terracotta tiles, however the catch is they will wear off over time and if you want to maintain that appearance you have to work out a regular maintenance plan. If you don’t maintain the sealer you will find that the sealer near the most heavily used areas such as doors etc. will wear away first and once that happens dirt will become ingrained in the tile and becomes difficult to clean resulting in a patchy appearance.

The remaining sealer on this Terracotta tiled kitchen floor at a house in the town of Wickford, Essex was no longer effective and had worn completely off in places. The solution was to strip off the old sealer, clean the Terracotta tile and gout and then re-seal with a fresh seal.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Wickford

Stripping Sealers from Terracotta Tiles

I started by giving the floor a deep clean with Tile Doctor Pro Clean diluted 2 parts water to 1 part cleaner. This is quite a strong dilution designed to allow the removal of the sealer and was left to dwell on the floor for ten minutes before working it into the floor using a scrubbing machine fitted with a black pad. Surprisingly the sealer was proving difficult to shift in certain areas and I had to repeat the process a few times and made sure to give the grout a good scrubbing as well.

I managed to get rid of most of the sealer using this process and for the remaining stubborn areas I used a stronger product called Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a very effective coatings remover that is safe to use on tiles. This did the trick and the floor was now free of sealers and the grout was looking much better too, the resultant slurry was removed using a wet vacuum and I then rinsed the floor several times with water before leaving it to dry for weekend.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Wickford

Stripping Sealers from Terracotta Tiles

Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile to block them and prevent contaminates becoming ingrained in there and it also enhances the natural colours. Once this was dry I followed up with a number of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is topical sealer that will protect the surface and adds a nice sheen to the floor and is a popular choice for Terracotta and Quarry tiles.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Wickford

I’m not sure my photographs do this post any justice however hopefully you can see that floor was quite transformed, the grout is much cleaner and the colours in the Terracotta have really come to life.
 
 
Source: Cleaning and Maintaining Terracotta Tiles in Essex

Treating a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor for Efflorescence

Here’s an interesting job I completed recently in the town of Lymington which is a lovely costal town within the New Forest and on the west side of the Solent. This Terracotta tiled floor was installed in the kitchen and was suffering from an efflorescence issue due to an ongoing leak which resulted in the salts in the water becoming deposited on the surface of the tiles as the water evaporated leaving a white bloom on the surface.

Terracotta Floor With Efflorescence in Lymington Before

This process is more commonly known as efflorescence and is particularly common in old properties which have no damp proof membrane under the floor and white staining by the cupboards is especially visible in the below photograph.

Terracotta Floor With Efflorescence in Lymington Before Enlarged

My client was eager to have the problem fixed, and so enlisted Tile Doctor to get the job done.

Removing Efflorescence from Terracotta

To remove the efflorescence, the Terracotta tiled floor was acid washed using a mild dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is primarily sold to remove grout smears but is equally effective at removing mineral deposits such as the white salts left behind by efflorescence.

The solution was scrubbed into the tiles using a stiff scrubbing brush and was successful at removing the white staining. Naturally it’s not advised to leave acid too long on any surface so the floor was treated in sections and then rinsed off with water and the residue removed using a wet-vacuum.

Following this, the floor was power-scrubbed in combination with a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. Pro-Clean is a versatile cleaner that also contains stripping properties, allowing it to break down and remove old sealers, it also does a nice job getting the grout clean.

With the efflorescence treated and the floor now clean I was now happy with the condition of the tiles and give them a final rinse under pressure to ensure the floor was neutralised and any trace of products removed.

Sealing a Terracotta tiled floor

The Terracotta tiled floor was then left to dry overnight and I came back to seal the floor the next day. To seal the tiles I used three coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra, which provides a robust surface seal, and is recommended for internal floors with the damp issues.

Terracotta Floor With Efflorescence in Lymington After

Hopefully this quick report has offered some useful advice on how to treat efflorescence which is quite a common problem; naturally if you have further questions Tile Doctor does offer a free advice service so do get in touch.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tiled Floor Cleaning and Restoration service in Lymington

Stained Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Renovated in Lancashire

This Terracotta tiled floor was installed in the conservatory of a house in the old market town of Garstang, Lancashire, famous for being the world’s first ever ‘Fairtrade Town’.

There were quite a few problems with this floor; for one, my client had not re-sealed the tiles in many years and had therefore allowed the existing seal to become very worn and almost completely ineffectual. This had subsequently allowed the floor to become very dirty and marked with white blotches. These white blotches had occurred where the fertilizer held in decorative plant pots had started to eat away at the sealer.

Terracotta conservatory floor Before cleaning Garstang

Cleaning a dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

The tiles were cleaned with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner. The solution was liberally applied to the floor and left to dwell for a short period, allowing time for the cleaner to seep into the pores of the Terracotta and lift the ingrained dirt to the surface. The solution was then agitated using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy rotary machine, making a marked difference to the appearance of the tiles within a matter of minutes.

Terracotta conservatory floor During cleaning Garstang

Tile Doctor Acid Gel was then used to spot treat the white marks, the acid content in the product breaks down the alkaline salts that had developed, left behind by the leaked plant fertilizer.

The entire floor was then rinsed several times to remove the soiled cleaning residue and the excess moisture was extracted using a wet-vac machine.

Terracotta conservatory floor after cleaning Garstang

Sealing a Terracotta tiled floor

The Terracotta tiles were left to dry for an entire week as there was no evident damp proof membrane in place at the property. I used damp testers to approximate when the tiles would be dry enough to seal, which was very important as any excess moisture can upset the performance of the sealer.

My first choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer that also intensifies the natural colours in the stone. A single coat of Colour Grow was applied, before I opted to follow this up with six coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides a very robust surface seal and also helped to give the Terracotta the aesthetically pleasing my client had requested.

Terracotta conservatory floor after cleaning Garstang

Before leaving the property with its newly restored Terracotta tiled conservatory, I made sure to give my client some tile maintenance advice. Needless to say, she was very pleased with the results.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing service in Lancashire

Cleaning Neglected Terracotta Tiles

Not too long ago, I visited a house in the town of Fulwood in Preston, Lancashire. My client had a Terracotta tiled floor which had been neglected for many years and in their attempt to improve it had unfortunately been given some very poor advice by tile retailers, all of whom sold him different products, and each of which was unsuitable. Using these different products in succession had resulted in the depreciation of the floor’s texture and smoothness, in turn making the clay difficult to clean and maintain.

As per my usual process I ran a small test clean to demonstrate what could be done to improve the floor and I was commissioned to restore the floor back to its former glory.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Fullwood

Cleaning a badly neglected Terracotta floor

I started by mixing a strong cleaning solution consisting of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to three parts water. The solution was applied to the floor and left it to dwell for a short period. The high alkaline cleaner seeps into the pores of the tile getting underneath and lifting out the ingrained dirt and breaking down the old sealers. Then, I agitated the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine before using a wet vacuum to suck up the resulting soiled solution.

There were a few paint marks dotted across the floor, but these were not noticeable until after I had given the Terracotta a deep clean. To remove the paint marks I used Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is specially formulated to break down paint stains, adhesives and coatings. This product was used in combination with a steamer which, when applied directly to the tiles, helped to lift the paint out. Following this, I rinsed the entire floor a couple of times to remove any trace of cleaning product, and vacuumed up the excess moisture.

Sealing a Terracotta floor

It’s always best to let the floor dry completely prior to sealing as applying sealer to a damp floor will affect the sealer. I left the house to allow this to take place overnight returning the next day. To get the best out of the Terracotta I sealed the floor using one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile and acts as both as a bonding sealer enhancing the natural colours and darkening the clay (as requested by my client).

After the coat of Colour Grow had dried, I applied a further seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which achieves a nice, low sheen Satin finish. Before leaving my happy client to enjoy his newly restored Terracotta floor, I made sure to provide some professional cleaning and long-term maintenance advice.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Fullwood

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone, Grout Cleaning and Colouring service in Lancashire

Restoring the Appearance of a Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

For this job, I travelled to a house in the town of Fifield, near the city of Windsor, Berkshire. My client’s problem was a heavily soiled Terracotta tiled floor. Terracotta tiles have been used for over two millennia, but are known to pick up dirt quite easily due to their porosity and a lack of natural surface glaze. This dirt can become ingrained if not removed quickly.

In this particular case, the tiles and grout lines were very dirty, with a small amount of grout haze blemishing some of the newly installed tiles. The affected area of the floor required a thorough clean. Additionally, most of the old sealer had worn away, further exposing the tiles to dirt and damage – this would need to be replaced.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning in Fifield

Cleaning dirty Terracotta tiles and grout lines

To clean the floor, I first used Tile Doctor Remove & Go, a strong multi-purpose stripper/cleaner which as its name suggests is designed to remove any old sealer left on the surface. Working in sections, I sprayed down a layer of Remove & Go, before leaving it dwell for roughly 5-10 minutes.

While Remove & Go was soaking into the Terracotta, I scrubbed the grout lines using a stiff grout brush. This helped to lift out the ingrained dirt and grout haze. After I was done with the grout my attention went back on the tiles, so I added a small amount of water to form a solution, which was then scrubbed into the affected area using a heavy weighted rotary machine and a stiff agitation pad.

Terracotta Floor Part Cleaned in Fifield Terracotta Floor Part Cleaned in Fifield

The floor was then rinsed using a high pressure hot water tile and grout cleaning extraction system to remove any remaining soils, pollutants, debris and old sealer. After cleaning, the floor was inspected to ensure all of the issues had been dealt with. Following this, it was treated to a final rinse.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning in Fifield

Sealing Terracotta tiles and grout

The floor was then let to dry overnight. Thanks to the Aga cooker and damp proof membrane under the floor, the tiles and grout were clean and completely dry, ready for sealing the next day.

I sealed the floor with 6 coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go to provide a healthy, durable seal, which also gave the tiles aesthetically pleasing sheen.

Terracotta Floor After Sealing in Fifield

As you can see from the photograph, the clean and seal made a marked improvement to the condition of the tiles and grout – and my client was very pleased!
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout cleaning services in Berkshire

Restoring the Appearance of Terracotta Brick Flooring

This is an interesting Terracotta brick tiled floor installed in a house in the village of Alderly Edge. The Terracotta tiles were made in a brick shape which was a popular design found in rural buildings in the 19th century. Although the floor was in good condition the sealer was starting to wear off and being clay Terracotta are porous and trap dirt if not sealed. You can see this in the before photograph below where you can see how the grout and Terracotta has darkened with ingrained dirt.

Terracotta brick tiled floor before cleaning in Alderly Edge

Cleaning Terracotta Brick Tiles

To get the Terracotta tiles clean and free of any remaining sealer I soaked tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to dwell for twenty minutes, Pro-Clean is an alkaline product and so safe to use on tiled floors. Then using a large 17inch black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and a stiff grout brush proceeded to work the cleaning solution into the tile and grout. The now dirty cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed down with hot water. Some stubborn areas were spot treated using the same process and once happy with the overall condition of the floor the tiles were thoroughly rinsed three times using hot water to remove any trace of cleaning product prior to sealing and then left to dry overnight.

Sealing Terracotta Brick Tiles

I returned the next day to seal the floor testing it first with a damp meter to make sure it had dried. I then started to seal the tiles and with Terracotta being a very porous material it took eight coats of sealer to do the job. I used Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a topical sealer that gives Terracotta a subtle gloss finish, it’s also water based so it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries.

Terracotta brick tiled floor after in Alderly Edge

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

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

This was a rather dirty Terracotta kitchen floor located at a house in Winchmore Hill in Buckinghamshire, not to be confused with the Winchmore Hill in London. The sealer on the tiles had worn off some time ago and now the dirt was becoming trapped in the pores of the Terracotta making it impossible to clean.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiled Winchmore Hill Before

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Tile

To deep clean into the pores of the Terracotta a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a strong tile cleaner sage to use on tiled floors, was applied to kitchen floor and left to soak in for around ten minutes. Then with the aid of a commercial rotary machine the solution was scrubbed into the tiles to release the many years of accumulated ingrained soiling which was removed from the floor using a wet vacuum.

Although this deep cleaned the tile the grout lines needed further attention and were treated with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up solution and then washed down with fresh water which was removed with a wet vacuum.

There was still evidence of sealer remaining on the floor in some areas so the next step in the process was to apply Tile Doctor Remove and Go again working it into the tile using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Remove and Go as its name suggests is used to remove waxes and sealants from tile and stone. It certainly did the job and once the resultant slurry was vacuumed up and the floor given a final rinse to remove any chemicals used in the process the floor was looking much cleaner and left to dry overnight ready for our return

Sealing Terracotta Tile

The next day came back to do the sealing and checked the floor first for any spots we might had missed and also to ensure it had dried sufficiently. Tile Doctor Seal and Go was then applied in coats to fully seal the floor. As well as adding protection Seal and Go adds a nice subtle satin finish to Terracotta and being water based it doesn’t give off an odour when it’s drying.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiled Winchmore Hill After

 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in South-Buckinghamshire

Deep Cleaning New Terracotta Tiles

The owner of this Terracotta tiled floor installed in a house in the village of Osbourne St. Georges several years earlier contacted us as the floor had become ingrained with dirt and was now proving impossible to keep clean. We popped round to take a look and ran a small test clean to show what could be achieved, the test area came up really well and we were immediately booked to do the rest of the floor.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Osbourne St. Georges

Terracotta Tile Cleaning

We started by smothering the floor in a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to dwell for about twenty minutes. Once the dwell time had been reached we scrubbed the grout lines by hand with a grout brush before scrubbing the whole floor thoroughly with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. The cleaning solution soon became soiled with the released dirt and was removed the using a wet vacuum and rinsing with cold water.

At this point it became apparent that the edges needed attention, the machine always struggles here so we used a stiff hand brush to remove the ingrained dirt and also some paint spots with the aid of a razor edged floor.

Once we were satisfied we had removed all existing dirt and sealer we rinsed again thoroughly with clean water and a scrubbed with a deck brush several times to make sure we had removed all traces of cleaning product. The floor was then dried as much as possible using a wet vacuum and left to dry agreeing to return a week later to seal the floor.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Osbourne St. Georges

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

Upon our return we tested the floor was dry with a moisture meter, the test came back fine so we proceeded to seal the floor using six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works really well on Terracotta and adds a nice subtle sheen to the tile.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Sealing in Osbourne St. Georges

The customer was so happy to have her floor back to the appearance when it was first laid and before leaving I give her some cleaning advice to help prolong the life of the sealer. It’s a fact that a lot of commercial tile cleaning products are designed for cleaning ceramic tiles and contain acid which slowly erodes the sealer so to maximise the life of the sealer use a low alkaline/neutral PH product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner.
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Wiltshire

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

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

Struggling With Wax On Terracotta

Traditionally Terracotta tiled floors were protected using wax and this floor at a house in Battersea had been protected with a number of treatments including wax and other sealers, without a full history of the floor it’s not that easy to tell what you’re dealing with. Wax isn’t an ideal sealer as it can scratch easily which allows dirt to become ingrained and modern sealers outperform it in many ways.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning in Battersea Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning in Battersea

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

To get the floor clean I started the job using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a heavy duty alkaline cleaner which can be used to remove wax residues and old sealants and being an alkaline product its safe for use on tiles. Unfortunately because there was so much old sealer and wax in the tiles it took several attempts to get the tiles clean and in the end it took five days to get them back to their natural state. Once this was done the floor was given a thorough rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product and allowed left to dry.

Terracotta Tiles Before and After Cleaning in Battersea

Sealing Terracotta Tile

Tiles need to be bone dry before sealing or it will upset the final effect of the sealer and in the end I had to wait three weeks before I was happy to start sealing, Terracotta being clay based is very porous so this is not that unusual.

To seal the tiles I used eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based topical sealer which leaves no smell as it dries and also adds a nice sheen to the floor, eight coats is not unusual for Terracotta again due to its porosity.

Terracotta Tiles After Sealing in Battersea Terracotta Tiles After Sealing in Battersea

The customer could not believe the transformation and even though it took a lot longer than first anticipated he was really pleased, especially when he got his invoice, because he was expecting to be charged for the extra time it took to complete. I told him that once I had given him my price I do not add extras.

Terracotta Tiles Before and After Sealing in Battersea

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Maintenance and Restoration in East-Surrey

Regular maintenance of Terracotta tiles

Some great photo’s below of Terracotta tiled floor in the kitchen of a house in Burbage which as you can see was overdue for a deep clean and seal.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Burbage Before Cleaning

Terracotta Tile Cleaning

The first job was to get the floor clean so it was covered in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left it to dwell and soak into the surface for about twenty minutes, this helps to soften and beak down any existing sealer and ingrained dirt and grime. The grout lines were then scrubbed clean with a stiff grout brush which was run along the grout lines before running a rotary floor machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad over the tiles several times to get them clean. Once satisfied with the condition of the floor the remaining soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed several times with clean water with the aid of a deck brush due to ensure we had flushed out all the dirt from the Terracotta tiles which are quite porous. Once we 100% satisfied that all traces of cleaning product had been removed the floor was left to dry for seven due so we could be sure the Terracotta would be dry on our return.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Burbage After Cleaning

Terracotta Tile Sealing

Upon our return we tested that the floor was dry enough to seal; Terracotta is very porous so it can take a while. Seven days had proved to be plenty of time and the test came back as fine so we sealed the floor first using a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone and also enhances natural colouring and the secondly with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle sheen to the floor.”

Terracotta Tiled Floor Burbage After Sealing

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning in Wiltshire

Terracotta Floor Deep Cleaned For New Owners

I was contacted just before Christmas by a couple who had bought a house in the southern resort of Bognor Regis that they hoped to spend the festive season in; apart from a new coat of paint and carpet their main concern was the state of the Terracotta tiled floor in the hall, kitchen and dining room. On my initial site inspection it was clear that there were years of grime build up caused by the previous owner’s dogs coming into the house onto a poorly sealed floor. After assuring the client that I was confident that the floor could be bought back to life a price was agreed and a date fixed. I estimated it would take two days to carry out the work with a gap of two days in between to allow the floor to fully dry out.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Bognor Regis Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Bognor Regis

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

On the first day I prepared a warm water dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and worked this into the tile surface and grout using a hand brush and then the buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This lifted all the residual dirt, grime and remaining sealer if any. After vacuuming up the dirty solution using a wet Vac the floor was then rinsed several times with clean water to make sure that there was no cleaner or dirt left in or around the tiles.

There were a few stubborn areas where it was necessary to repeat the process and then the whole floor was given a final rinse using the wet vacuum and sponge to get the surface as dry as possible before being left to dry for two days. The tiles were covered with dust sheets in any area that was required for access in order to keep them clean whilst drying out.

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

After allowing the floor to dry out I returned to the property and using my moisture meter tested the floor in several areas to make sure that it was ready to be sealed (I had previously warned the clients that if it wasn’t then further time would have to be given). Satisfied that all was well I set about sealing it, first with a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which was allowed to cure and then followed by five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the stone protecting it from the inside and as a bonus enhances colour whilst Seal and Go is a topical sealer that protects the surface and also adds a nice sheen to the tile. The end result was everything that I imagined it would be and the clients were very pleased with it also saying that they never thought it would ever look as good as it did. As I said to them ‘I’m no magician but I am a (Tile) Doctor!!

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Bognor Regis Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Bognor Regis

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Problems resolved in West Sussex

Deep cleaning Terracotta tiles

The photographs below show a Terracotta Tiled floor we maintained that was installed in the kitchen and conservatory of a house in the Northamptonshire village of Holcot. The tile and grout was in good physical condition but had become ingrained with dirt and were now in need of a deep clean and reseal.

Terracotta tiles Before Cleaning in Holcot Village

Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

First job was to protect the kitchen units, doors and skirting boards during the cleaning process for which I used blue plastic sheeting. Next 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 was applied to the floor using a mop. 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 where the pad struggled to reach.

The soiled solution was picked up using our large wet and dry vacuum and the floor was then rinsed with clean water to neutralise the tile and allow us to see which areas need further attention. The process was 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 Being Cleaned in Holcot Village

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

When I returned the next day I checked the floor had dried using a damp meter which it was and so proceeded to seal the Terracotta tiles with seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the tiles from staining and also add a nice subtle shine to the floor. Terracotta is a clay based product and so naturally quite porous.

Terracotta tiles Cleaned and Sealed in Holcot Village

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Problems resolved in Northamptonshire