I was asked to visit a property in the old Yorkshire village of Bramhope to view a Terracotta conservatory floor. The owners of the property been recently had the floor laid and were unhappy with its appearance. The Terracotta tiles looked faded and washed out and did not have the finish they were expecting; they were also finding it difficult to clean.
I viewed the floor and went through with them what the tiler had done. Apparently, he started ok by giving each tile two coats of linseed oil which is a traditional approach but not something I would recommend these days. He then laid the floor and grouted it and told the customer that it didn’t need further sealing and that a good wash the next day would get rid of the grout and the dull appearance of the floor. Unfortunately, despite the customer washing the floor nothing he could do improved the appearance of the tiles and they remained dull and un-inviting.
I was asked my opinion and having come from a tiling background of many years I can tell you his advice was completely wrong. Linseed oil is like a pre-seal so even touching it with greasy or dirty hands will permanently stain the tile so now grout was stuck in the linseed oil ruining the appearance of the terracotta. To clean up the tile and give it the appearance it deserved I would have to remove the grout haze and then seal with a more suitable product. The client was relieved that the floor could be salvaged and was happy to go ahead with my quote.
Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Floor
To remove the grout haze, I applied a 400-grit coarse diamond burnishing pad to the floor which was run over the tiles with a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. The acidic nature of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up combined with the abrasive properties of the diamond pad dealt with the unwanted surface grout and helped close the pores of the tile improving its appearance.
After thoroughly rinsing with water and extracting the soil with a wet vacuum the floor looked immediately better. The floor was inspected, and any problem areas retreated using the same process until I was happy with the floor.
Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Floor
I left the floor to dry out for two days and then returned to seal with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is ideal for Terracotta and being a water-based product, it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries. Seal and Go is a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish. It restored the natural colour of the terracotta and gave the floor the lovely sheen that the customer originally wanted.
The floor now looks as it should. The client was really pleased with the renovation, the conservatory is now a pleasure to use!
This Terracotta tiled kitchen floor in Twickenham had accumulated a high amount of soil over the years. Spots and spills from kitchen activity had also proved impossible to remove by the owner which was due to the sealer breaking down; the floor was now in need of a deep clean, stripping off the old sealer and then re-sealing to ensure easy maintenance in the future.
Cleaning Terracotta Tiles
The first step was to use a rotary scrubbing machine together with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a high alkaline cleaner for use with tile and stone. This action breaks down the soil in the tile and releases it along with the remaining old sealer. The floor was then pressure rinsed to ensure all of the dirt was removed from the pores of the tile and grout lines scrubbed by hand with a stiff brush. Once I was happy the floor was clean it was given a thorough rinse to remove any remaining chemical and left it to dry.
Sealing Terracotta Tiles
The floor was left to dry for a period of twenty four hours before sealing which was done by applying five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a water based topical sealer that leaves no smell and will repel liquid and soil allowing the tile to keep its appearance and making it easier to maintain in the future. The sealer also gives a high sheen finish which reflects the light and enhances the colours of the stone. As you can see from the pictures, the restored floor brought the kitchen back to life and made the room look brighter.
These photographs are from an old Terracotta tiled floor in Chingford, Essex that had been under carpet for years. The owners had removed carpet which had been glued to the tiles beneath and found this lovely floor which they wanted to restore as an original feature. As you can see it was in a bad state and needed some work on it.
Remove Grout Haze and Cleaning Terracotta Tiles
We started by giving the floor a deep clean with Tile Doctor Pro Clean which was left to dwell on the floor for ten minutes before working it into the floor using a scrubbing machine fitted with a black pad. I knew this wouldn’t resolve all the problems but it was a good start and would show what was going to be removed easily.
As expected there were a number of stubborn areas including the surface glue especially around the edges which needed to be tackled with a stronger product so the next step was to apply Tile Doctor Remove and Go which as the name suggests is a coatings remover that will remove almost anything and is safe to use on tiles. Hand scrapers were used along the edges of the floor and although the area was relatively small it took a long time to remove all the various contaminants.
Once satisfied the haze was removed we washed the floor down three times with water to remove any residue using a wet vacuum to pick up the slurry and suck any remaining liquids from the floor to allow it to dry quicker..
The floor turned out to be quite acceptable to customer who was happy with the results. They were going to seal the floor themselves once all the decorating had been completed.
Details below of a terracotta floor cleaning job we did near Boston, that’s Boston in Lincolnshire which is small port on the east coast of the UK as opposed to Boston, Massachusetts which was given its name by emigrants from this area.
The tiles were expensive handmade terracotta tiles, a few of which contained finger prints that had been baked onto the tile during the manufacturing process. The owner had previously tried to seal the floor themselves using other products but was having difficulty and had delayed making use of their new kitchen extension until the floor could be sealed.
Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tiles
To ensure a consistent finish we had to remove the previous sealer and make sure the Terracotta floor was clean it was scrubbed with a buffing machine assisted with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective alkaline cleaner and sealer remover depending on the dilution. Cleaning the Terracotta floor tiles took a day to complete before being washed down with clean water to remove any remaining cleaner and neutralise the floor.
Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles
The floor was left overnight to dry and we came back the next day to apply a sealer to protect the tiles, sealing those pores that collect dirt and make them easier to clean. We used four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go for this; it’s recommend for Terracotta floors bringing out the colour in the tile whilst providing a Matt finish. The customer was over the moon with the results and can now move into their new kitchen and sealed tiles.
Terracotta Tiles cleaned With Tile Doctor Pro-clean and 2 Black Buffing pads, there were some awkward stains in corners and such so I used Remove and Go and some Nano-scrub cleaner on these, but only after they had been pre-wetted first otherwise Remove and Go is hard to get out of the clay.
Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing
Lots of Rinsing with water, left to dry overnight and came back the next day to Seal, turned the heating up, opened a couple of small windows front and back to allow for some Airflow and then started to apply 9 coats of Seal and Go with a Paint pad, this took all day, so quite a bit of waiting around, good time to catch up on my paperwork in the van in between sealer drying times.
Details here of a customer who had discovered old Terracotta tiled floor that had been hidden under carpet in the kitchen of their house in the village of Oadby Leicestershire. The carpet had been glued to the Terracotta tile which as you can see was in quite a state, the tiles also had grout haze on the surface of the tile which may have been the reason for covering them up in the first place.
Restoring Terracotta Floor Tiles
First step was to remove the carpet adhesive and grout haze which we did using a special coatings and sealer remove product called Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a multi-purpose stripper and cleaner. We applied Remove and Go to the whole floor and then covered it with a plastic sheet and left it to dwell on the floor for around 12 hours so it could really get to work. When we returned we gave the floor a good scrub and rinsed off with clean water to neutralise the floor ready for sealing.
Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles
The floor was dried and then sealed with six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is recommended for Terracotta tiled floors as it brings out the deep red colour in the tile with an attractive durable low sheen combined with stain protection whilst allowing vapour to transmission through the sealer, something you need if the floor is old and your not sure if a damp proof course has been installed.
You can see from the photographs what a fantastic transformation we achieved, naturally the customer was very pleased.
Mexican Terracotta tiled floor laid several years ago in the kitchen of a property in Wheathampstead near St Albans. It had originally been laid and sealed in the classic method with a wax and was becoming increasingly impossible to clean.
Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles
We started the cleaning process using a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean in order to remove excess dirt and soil from the surface of the tile. This was followed by the application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined 50/50 with NanoTech Ultra Clean agitated with a brush fitted to a scrubbing machine running at slow speed. This worked to breakdown and remove the remaining wax sealer returning the Mexican Terracotta back to its original condition. The resulting solution was rinsed off with water and a cleaned with Neutral Tile cleaner followed by two further water rinses. A wet vacuum comes in very useful at this point for removing the liquids from the floor.
Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles
We left the floor to dry and returned some days later to seal. We started this process with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which really helps to bring out the colour in the tile followed by six to seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Terracotta is by its nature a very porous tile and so it’s not unusual for it to need seven coats.