Struggling With Wax On Terracotta

Traditionally Terracotta tiled floors were protected using wax and this floor at a house in Battersea had been protected with a number of treatments including wax and other sealers, without a full history of the floor it’s not that easy to tell what you’re dealing with. Wax isn’t an ideal sealer as it can scratch easily which allows dirt to become ingrained and modern sealers outperform it in many ways.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning in Battersea Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning in Battersea

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

To get the floor clean I started the job using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a heavy duty alkaline cleaner which can be used to remove wax residues and old sealants and being an alkaline product its safe for use on tiles. Unfortunately because there was so much old sealer and wax in the tiles it took several attempts to get the tiles clean and in the end it took five days to get them back to their natural state. Once this was done the floor was given a thorough rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product and allowed left to dry.

Terracotta Tiles Before and After Cleaning in Battersea

Sealing Terracotta Tile

Tiles need to be bone dry before sealing or it will upset the final effect of the sealer and in the end I had to wait three weeks before I was happy to start sealing, Terracotta being clay based is very porous so this is not that unusual.

To seal the tiles I used eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based topical sealer which leaves no smell as it dries and also adds a nice sheen to the floor, eight coats is not unusual for Terracotta again due to its porosity.

Terracotta Tiles After Sealing in Battersea Terracotta Tiles After Sealing in Battersea

The customer could not believe the transformation and even though it took a lot longer than first anticipated he was really pleased, especially when he got his invoice, because he was expecting to be charged for the extra time it took to complete. I told him that once I had given him my price I do not add extras.

Terracotta Tiles Before and After Sealing in Battersea

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Maintenance and Restoration in East-Surrey

Regular maintenance of Terracotta tiles

Some great photo’s below of Terracotta tiled floor in the kitchen of a house in Burbage which as you can see was overdue for a deep clean and seal.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Burbage Before Cleaning

Terracotta Tile Cleaning

The first job was to get the floor clean so it was covered in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left it to dwell and soak into the surface for about twenty minutes, this helps to soften and beak down any existing sealer and ingrained dirt and grime. The grout lines were then scrubbed clean with a stiff grout brush which was run along the grout lines before running a rotary floor machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad over the tiles several times to get them clean. Once satisfied with the condition of the floor the remaining soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed several times with clean water with the aid of a deck brush due to ensure we had flushed out all the dirt from the Terracotta tiles which are quite porous. Once we 100% satisfied that all traces of cleaning product had been removed the floor was left to dry for seven due so we could be sure the Terracotta would be dry on our return.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Burbage After Cleaning

Terracotta Tile Sealing

Upon our return we tested that the floor was dry enough to seal; Terracotta is very porous so it can take a while. Seven days had proved to be plenty of time and the test came back as fine so we sealed the floor first using a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone and also enhances natural colouring and the secondly with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle sheen to the floor.”

Terracotta Tiled Floor Burbage After Sealing

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning in Wiltshire