Uneven Saltillo Terracotta Tiled Hallway Renovated in Canterbury, Kent

Earlier this year I went to visit a property in Canterbury to look at restoring a Terracotta tiled floor. The floor was approximately 11m2 and made from the larger Saltillo type Terracotta tiles. It had been in situ for some time and being located in the hallway it was subject to the heavy foot traffic of a busy household.

Having taken a closer look at the Terracotta tiles I could see there were many high spots due to poor installation by the original tiler, on top of that it had then been sealed with linseed oil followed by a wax paste. Wax was traditionally used to seal Terracotta floors, but it scratches easily and can lead to a thick build-up. Since the introduction of modern sealers designed for the job, we don’t recommend wax treatments anymore.

Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor Before Renovation Canterbury Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor Before Renovation Canterbury

We discussed the process to renovate the floor, explaining that the best course of action would be to use milling pads to level the surface of the tiles which would improve the finish and remove the built-up wax. Once prepared in this way the floor would be sealed to protect it going forward. They were happy with my quotation and we agreed a date to return and complete the work.

Renovating a Terracotta Tiled Hallway Floor

The use of Milling pads can generate a lot of slurry to our first task was to protect the surrounding areas using protective sheeting. The area was quite tight to work in, so we used the smaller six-inch milling pads which are encrusted with coarse industrial diamonds. The pads we fitted to a handheld buffer and worked over the tiles gradually increasing the pads from coarse to finer grits. The machine we use has a water feed that keeps the surface lubricated and this also helps to reduce the dust. The fine slurry generated using this process is rinsed off and extracted with a wet vacuum.

The next step was to remove the old wax the floor had been treated with a dilution of Tile Doctor Wax Away which is designed for exactly this purpose. Its applied to the floor and then scrubbed in using a slow speed rotary machine. Afterwards the floor is rinsed with water several times and the waste removed with the wet vacuum. By the time we had finished that day we could see a big improvement in the floor surface. After the final rinse the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Hallway Floor

I came back the following day and using the moisture meter checked that the floor was dry. It was well within the accepted parameters, so I was ready to apply the seal.

To seal the Terracotta, I had selected to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is a modern durable sealer that provides long lasting protection and ideal for busy hallways. Colour grow also also enhances the natural red and orange colours in the Terracotta leaving a nice subtle finish. Three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied.

Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor After Renovation Canterbury Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor After Renovation Canterbury

The photographs I took don’t show the difference in the floor that well, however my customer was very happy with the improvement in the floor and glad that the potential trip hazard has been resolved.

 

Source: Terracotta Cleaning and Renovation Service in Canterbury, East 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