Mexican Terracotta is quite a difficult tile to deal with, mainly due to the fact it is very porous clay and partly fired, unlike a Spanish or French equivalent which is fully fired and a lot less porous as a result. Although difficult to maintain they are full of character and colour so it’s understandable why they are so popular.
This particular Mexican Terracotta floor was installed in the kitchen and garden room of a house in Elswick near Preston around twenty years prior. The house had recently changed hands and the new owner wanted the floor in the garden room renovating, it had been covered with a carpet in the past and had now lost all its colour due to ingrained dirt.
Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles
You can see from some of the photographs that the tiles were quite grubby, so I knew we would have to give this floor a really deep clean to get the dirt out. I felt the best way forward would be to apply Tile Doctor Oxy Gel to the Terracotta and leave it to soak in. This product is a very strong gel version of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, our popular tile and grout cleaner and needs a lot of dwell time to break down fully what was left of the sealer, carpet adhesive and extract the dirt from the pores of the clay.
The product was then worked into the tile and grout using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer running at a slow speed. This action worked as predicted and the now soiled cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. A lot of rinsing with water was required after this to remove all the dirt and traces of product from the tiles. I wanted to ensure all traces of the alkaline cleaning solution were rinsed from the pores of the clay, if we left any of this in the clay it could cause issues with the new sealer.
Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles
The floor was left to fully dry out which can take some time with Terracotta so after returning to seal the floor damp meter readings were taken first so we could be sure it had dried completely. This is essential because excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.
Our choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which provides excellent surface protection along with an aesthetically pleasing deep sheen finish that the customer wanted. The sealer is also water based so you don’t get that solvent smell as it dries.
As you can see from the photographs, the result was fantastic, and it just goes to show even a twenty-year-old Terracotta floor can be rejuvenated and make it look like almost new.
Excellent results on terracotta tiled floor that had had carpet laid on top so was covered with glue and pretty dirty! Wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.
Caroline M, Nr Preston
Source: Mexican Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Lancashire