I was asked to visit a property in the old Yorkshire village of Bramhope to view a Terracotta conservatory floor. The owners of the property been recently had the floor laid and were unhappy with its appearance. The Terracotta tiles looked faded and washed out and did not have the finish they were expecting; they were also finding it difficult to clean.
I viewed the floor and went through with them what the tiler had done. Apparently, he started ok by giving each tile two coats of linseed oil which is a traditional approach but not something I would recommend these days. He then laid the floor and grouted it and told the customer that it didn’t need further sealing and that a good wash the next day would get rid of the grout and the dull appearance of the floor. Unfortunately, despite the customer washing the floor nothing he could do improved the appearance of the tiles and they remained dull and un-inviting.
I was asked my opinion and having come from a tiling background of many years I can tell you his advice was completely wrong. Linseed oil is like a pre-seal so even touching it with greasy or dirty hands will permanently stain the tile so now grout was stuck in the linseed oil ruining the appearance of the terracotta. To clean up the tile and give it the appearance it deserved I would have to remove the grout haze and then seal with a more suitable product. The client was relieved that the floor could be salvaged and was happy to go ahead with my quote.
Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Floor
To remove the grout haze, I applied a 400-grit coarse diamond burnishing pad to the floor which was run over the tiles with a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. The acidic nature of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up combined with the abrasive properties of the diamond pad dealt with the unwanted surface grout and helped close the pores of the tile improving its appearance.
After thoroughly rinsing with water and extracting the soil with a wet vacuum the floor looked immediately better. The floor was inspected, and any problem areas retreated using the same process until I was happy with the floor.
Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Floor
I left the floor to dry out for two days and then returned to seal with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is ideal for Terracotta and being a water-based product, it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries. Seal and Go is a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish. It restored the natural colour of the terracotta and gave the floor the lovely sheen that the customer originally wanted.
The floor now looks as it should. The client was really pleased with the renovation, the conservatory is now a pleasure to use!