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

Deep Cleaning Dirty Terracotta Tiling in Great Holm, Milton Keynes

The Terracotta tiled kitchen floor in the kitchen house of this house in the residential district of Great Holm, just outside of Milton Keynes had been laid some time ago and was now well worn and dirty. The houses in the area are not that old and so I suspect the floor may have been down since the house was built.

The Terracotta tiles had not been professionally cleaned for many years and the floor had lost its’ lustre where the sealant had worn away and dirt had become ingrained in the tile, the Grout had also darkened. I went over to look at the floor and perform a test clean, so I could give the owner an accurate quote for renovating the floor.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Milton Keynes

The quote was accepted, and we agreed a date to do the work which would take place over a four-day period. One day to clean the tiles, two days between for it to dry and one day to seal the floor in order to protect it going forward.

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

We started by applying a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the floor. Pro Clean is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser. It is ideal for heavily soiled and neglected floors. After about 10 minutes dwell time we used our scrubbing machine fitted with a black buffing pad to scrub the floor and loosen the ingrained dirt from the pores of the tile.

A wet pick up vacuum was then used to remove the now dirty cleaning solution, we then thoroughly rinsed the floor by hand to remove any trace of cleaning product and so we could inspect the tiles to see if more work was required. In this instance I felt the floor could do with more work, so the process was repeated, and the edges scrubbed by hand.

We let the floor dry a little over lunch but noted a few of the areas were not quite perfect. To get the best result on these areas we then used Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel, this is a stronger gel-based version of Tile Doctor Pro Clean which is perfect for spot cleaning specific stubborn areas.

With the floor clean it was time to turn our attention to the grout and for this we used more Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a specialized narrow grout brush to meticulously scrub each grout line. The floor was then completely rinsed with water.

Terracotta Floor During Cleaning Milton Keynes

The floor was now spotless but before it could be sealed it would need to be dry, so we left specialised drying equipment in the room and allowed the floor two days to completely dry out.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

After two days we returned, we used a moisture meter to test that the floor was dry enough to seal. It was thoroughly dry, so we were able to carry on with applying the sealer which can be quite time consuming as you have to wait for the first coat to dry before applying the next. In this case the Terracotta proved to be very porous which is not unusual for a clay tile and it took eight coats of sealer before I was satisfied the tiles were fully sealed. The sealer used to protect the floor was Tile Doctor Seal and Go which leaves a nice subtle satin finish on the tiles. Tile Doctor have a variety of sealers available and we select the sealant to suit dependent on the finish the client wishes to achieve.

The customer was absolutely delighted and left a great review (please see the feedback below)

“Andrew explained the process clearly and the floor looks absolutely stunning. It is hard to believe the difference between before and after. I would have no hesitation in recommending Andrew.

Fiona W, Great Holm”

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Milton Keynes

 

Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Great Holm, Milton Keynes

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