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

Removing Efflorescence from Terracotta Tile

At first glance and this Terracotta tiled floor at a house in the village of Great Bourton looks in good condition, but on closer inspection there were visible white marks where there had been a water leak in previous years and the salts had come through the tiles. The customer also told me she had to wax the floor on a regular basis and was looking for a seal where she didn’t have to do this.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton Before Cleaning 1 Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton Before  Cleaning 2

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

My first task was to protect all the skirting and kickboards with protective tape. I then mixed Tile Doctor Pro Clean with water and spread it over a section of the floor and then left it to dwell for a few minutes. The solution was then scrubbed in with a black pad on a 17inch rotary floor scrubbing machine. I then used a wet vacuum to remove the slurry and rinsed the floor with water. This process was repeated this process until the whole floor was scrubbed and rinsed with any stubborn areas re-treated.

To remove the white salts from the Terracotta I applied Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up over the floor which was scrubbed in and then removed using the wet vacuum. The whole floor was then thoroughly rinsed with water and the wet vacuum used to suck up the water until it the surface was dry.

The photograph below shows the terracotta floor at this stage with the floor clean and stripped back before re-sealing. I left the floor a couple of days at this point to allow it fully dry before applying the sealer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Stripping

Sealing Terracotta Tile

On my return I checked the floor had dried and then applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating seal that enhances the natural colour of terracotta, I then added five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a topical sealer giving it the nice finish the customer required.

The customer was really pleased with the results and also relieved that she would not have to keep waxing the floor; whilst I was there I demonstrated how to clean the floor using Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner which unlike acidic cleaners will not harm the sealer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Cleaning 1 Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Cleaning 2

The floor looks much better and certainly my customer thought so and left the following feedback on the system.

Very pleasant young man and he has done a great job. The kitchen floor is transformed. Thank you Barry!
 
 
Source: Terracotta problems resolved in Oxfordshire