Cleaning and Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor in Penrith, Cumbria

I have lost count of how many Terracotta tiled floors we have cleaned and sealed over the years and the one thing it has taught me is to wary of Mexican Terracotta. This type of Terracotta is extremely hard to work with, its porous and made of soft clay which has usually been badly fired. Even if you do have all the equipment, experience and the right products it can be a challenge.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Penrith

If you look at these pictures of this Mexican Terracotta floor, we recently worked on in Penrith you will see the tiles looked very dull before we cleaned them. Testing indicated there was still a sealer present however we didn’t know what type it was. Knowing what your dealing with really helps narrow down the best cleaning products to use which for Terracotta tiles tends to fall into one of three different categories.

If you have the misfortune of having had Varnish laid on top of these tiles, then the job becomes significantly harder. Because of this we have to be flexible when pricing for the work, naturally if we give a quote and we use the wrong system then not only will we be out of product but also the extra labour time to get the job right for the customer.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Penrith

Cleaning a Mexican Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

On this occasion the sealer at this property in Penrith was of the more common acrylic type, so we used a combination of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and some Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel for the stubborn areas. The products are applied to the floor and then scrubbed in using a black pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This releases the old sealer and dirt from the tile resulting in a slurry that is then extracted off the floor using a wet vacuum. The floor is then rinsed with water and extracted again to make sure all the soil has been removed.

Last step the cleaning is to treat the tiles to an Acid Rinse to further clean the tiles and equalise the floors pH level after the use of alkaline cleaners. We used Tile Doctor Acid Gel for this which was first scrubbed in, then rinsed with water and finally extracted as before. The floor is then rinsed down again with water to remove any trace of product and the wet vacuum used to extract as much moisture from the floor as possible so it can have a better chance of drying out overnight.

Sealing a Mexican Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

We called back the next day to seal the Terracotta first checking in several areas with a damp meter that the floor was nice and dry. All was well so several coats of a Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied to the floor for a nice mid satin finish.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Penrith

The finished floor looked fantastic and was doubly improved by the grout cleaning which had responded well to the Pro-Clean. The customer was over the moon with the transformation in their floor which now looked clean and bright.

Before leaving we left the customer with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner for aftercare. To get the best from their Terracotta tiles it’s important that customers use the correct product for regular maintenance cleaning from the start.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Penrith

 

Source: Terracotta Cleaning and Sealing Service in Cumbria

Stripping Off an Old Terracotta Sealer in Knutsford

We were asked if we could restore the appearance of a large Terracotta tiled floor in a kitchen/dinner that had not been cleaned for many years. The sealer had mostly worn off in the high traffic areas but was still fairly thick under the table.

Terracotta tiles are made from soft clay making it very porous and likely to absorb anything that lands on it; as a result, it’s important to maintain the sealer to stop this happening. Now with the sealer worn off completely in the busy parts of the floor anything that landed on the floor was very quickly absorbed into it.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Knutsford Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Knutsford

The house was in Knutsford on the East side of Cheshire which was named as Best Place to Live in the North West” by the Sunday Times in 2017; being close to the Peak District and within easy reach of Liverpool and Manchester its easy to see why.

Deep Cleaning a Spanish Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

My first task would be to completely remove the old sealer so the whole floor could be given a deep clean before resealing. It’s not a good idea to add a new sealer on top of another especially if you don’t know what was used before, it can also lead to a build of sealers on the tile which will darken their appearance.

To do this I soaked the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a powerful stripping and cleaning solution that’s designed to removes old coatings on tiles and draw out ingrained staining. After twenty to thirty minutes the solution was worked into the tiles using a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary buffer machine. I also used a wire hand brush along the grout lines to make sure they were cleaned as the scrubbing pad can fail to reach into the recess. It wasn’t long before the old sealer and dirt was released from the Terracotta which was then washed off the floor using water and a wet vacuum.

Terracotta Tiled Floor During Cleaning Knutsford Terracotta Tiled Floor During Cleaning Knutsford

I inspected the floor at this stage and retreated any stubborn areas using the same process. I did have a few problems removing some greasy marks however I managed to get rid of these by applying Tile Doctor Wax Away worked in by hand with a scrubbing brush. Once I was happy that the floor was clean and free of old sealers it was given a final rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product, dried with the wet vacuum and left to dry out fully overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

On my return the next morning I took a few damp readings to check the floor was dry before starting with the next step of sealing the tiles. All was well so began to add the first of multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water-based sealer that works really well on Terracotta and leaves a nice subtle sheen to the tile. Being was based it has the added advantage of not leaving a solvent smell as it dries.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Knutsford Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Knutsford

The Terracotta took some time to seal completely, in fact ten coats of sealer were required to fully seal the tile. You can always tell when a tile is sealed by adding a small drop of water to the surface, if it forms into a bubble then its’ fully sealed.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Knutsford Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Knutsford

I’m not sure you can appreciate the difference from my photographs but hopefully you can see that Terracotta tiles now look much fresher and the grout cleaner and lighter in colour.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Cheshire

Sealing Porous Spanish Terracotta Tiles in Alderley Edge

According to the Mirror Newspaper Alderley Edge with its restaurants and bars is a playground for footballers; well I certainly didn’t bump into any on a recent visit there to clean and seal this lovely Spanish Terracotta Tiled Kitchen floor.

Joking aside it is a very nice area and fortunately for me the residents are very partial to stone floors. Getting back to the post, we were asked for advice on cleaning and sealing ninety square metres of Spanish Terracotta tiles that had been installed in this kitchen four years prior. The sealer had since worn off and the floor was becoming difficult to clean effectively.

Terracotta tiles are made from soft clay making it very porous and likely to absorb anything that lands on it; as a result, it’s important to maintain the sealer to stop this happening.

Deep Cleaning a Spanish Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

To clean the floor, I soaked the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a strong stripping and cleaning solution which removes old sealers and also draws out ingrained stains.

Spanish Terracotta Floor Tiles During Cleaning Alderley Edge

After twenty to thirty minutes the solution was worked into the tiles using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The soiled solution was then removed with a wet vacuum and this was followed by scrubbing the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a grout brush until they were clean.

Spanish Terracotta Floor Tiles During Cleaning Alderley Edge

The whole floor was then rinsed with water to remove any soil and trace of cleaning product. The water was then extracted using the wet vacuum. The floor was then checked to make sure it was as clean as it could be and stubborn areas spot treated.

Spanish Terracotta Floor Tiles After Cleaning Alderley Edge

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and we returned the next day and tested the tiles with a damp meter making sure it was dry before we could seal it. To seal the floor I first applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which soaks into the pores of the tile to enhance its colours. Once this was dry it was followed up by multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds further protection and adds a nice sheen to the tile.

I took some time to complete due to the porosity of the Terracotta requiring nine coats before the tiles were fully sealed but once done it was transformed and I left a very happy costumer. A quick tip here is that you can always tell when a tile is fully sealed by adding a small drop of water to the tile, if it forms into a bubble then it’s fully sealed.

Spanish Terracotta Floor Tiles After Cleaning and Sealing Alderley Edge

 
 
Source: Spanish Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Alderley Edge

Maintainting Terracotta Tiles in South Middlesex

This Terracotta Tiled floor was in an old Coach House in Shepperton that had been subject to building renovations for over 2 years. Prior to this, it was used as a motor garage and as a school before that so as you can see from the photograph below it had seem extensive wear and tear and was now in need of full restoration.

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

To remove the large build-up of soiI and dirt the tiles were cleaned using a using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the tile before being scrubbed in with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. The process was repeated a number of times and a stiff hand brush used along the grout lines to get the grout clean.

Terracotta Tiles in Shepperton Coach House During Restoration

Following this we spot treated the areas with paint and oil marks with Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a strong coatings remover assisted with a steam cleaner to help release the oil from the pores of the tile and bring it to the surface.

Once happy with the general condition of the Terracotta tile it was given a thorough rinse with fresh water to remove any remaining cleaning product and neutralise the floor before the sealing. We use a wet and dry vacuum to quickly remove liquids from the floor it also speeds up the drying process.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

We allowed the floor 72 hours to dry due to the porosity of the Terracotta and then returned to re-seal it using nine coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is a water based sealer that doesn’t give off an odour when it’s drying and also offers durable stain protection together with a low sheen finish which really enhances the natural colour of the tile.

Terracotta Tiles in Shepperton Coach House After Restoration

The work took two days and I think you will agree the floor has had a huge improvement in appearance. If you have a similar floor do get in touch, I cover Shepperton and the surrounding areas outside of that Tile Doctor can put you in touch with your local representative.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Floor Restoration in Middlesex

Choosing a Sealer for Terracotta Tiles

Pictures below of another Terracotta tiled floor that was deep cleaned and then sealed, this time in Whipsnade. You can see from the photograph below the floor was in good physical condition but was looking washed out and had staining to the grout.

Terracotta Floor Whipsnade Before Cleaning

Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tiles

To deep clean the Terracotta tile and grout I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed 50/50 with NanoTech Ultra Clean to produce a heavy duty alkaline cleaner with nano sized abrasive particles that can clean deep into the tile. The resulting solution was left to soak into the Terracotta for 10-20 minutes before being worked in with a Rotovac machine fitted with a Tile and Grout head attachment. The Rotovac is a powerful and versatile tool that can also be used to clean carpet as well as tile and connects to separate machine that feeds high pressure water to the unit as well as generating a vacuum to remove the dirty water back to a separate tank. Once we were happy that the floor we left for the day so the floor could dry.

Terracotta Tile Sealing

We returned two days later to seal the floor which we did using a combination of two compatible sealers. First off we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a premium impregnating sealer that soaks into the tile and brings out the natural colour. Once this was dry five coats for Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied which is a surface sealer that adds a nice subtle sheen to the floor as well as topping up the stain protection.

Terracotta Floor Whipsnade After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 
Source: Sealing Terracotta Tiles in Bedfordshire

Cleaning a Terracotta tiled floor in Bedfordshire

Details below of a Terracotta tiled floor at a house in Leighton Buzzard which was in need of a deep clean and re-seal.

Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tiles

To get the tiles clean we applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed 50/50 with NanoTech Ultra Clean which combines into a heavy duty alkaline cleaner containing nano sized abrasive particles that cleans deep into the tile. For best results let the cleaning solution dwell on the surface of the tile for 10-20 minutes before working it into the tiles with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The soiled solution was then removed from the floor using a wet and dry vacuum and the stubborn areas treated with a steamer, following that the whole floor was washed down to remove any remaining chemical before sealing.

Leighton Buzzard Terracotta Before and After

Terracotta Tile Sealing

We returned when the floor was dry to seal using seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go (Terracotta is very porous) which works well on Terracotta adding a nice shine to the tile as well as providing on-going stain protection.
 
 
Source: Terracotta Floor Tile Cleaning