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

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