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.
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.
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.
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