Terracotta Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Terracotta tiles carried out in Birmingham

Cleaning and Renovating Terracotta Tiles

Terracotta tiles have been around in certain parts of the world for over two millennia, in fact the word Terracotta means burned earth. The ancient Romans used a variety of terracotta tiles in their villas and palaces for many centuries. Terracotta tiles are thicker than most modern tiles giving them strength and durability.

The one big downside to Terracotta is the fact that it has no glaze on the surface and being very porous can soon pick up and store muck and dirt very quickly. If you have ever owned a Terracotta floor before you will be able to relate to this problem however the answer is to ensure you have the correct sealer in place.

Traditionally Wax was used to protect terracotta tiles however with the advent of modern purpose made sealers we don’t recommend it. Not only is it troublesome to remove but it scratches easily and we have seen situations in kitchens where dirt and oil trapped in the wax turns black and becomes very unsightly.

For sealing Terracotta we actually recommend Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works well on clay tiles such as Terracotta and is also water based so doesn’t give off a smell as it dries. When applying a sealer always make sure the floor is dry first as applying a sealer to a damp floor can lead to inconsistent results. Because of this we typically clean and seal Terracotta floors over two days so we can clean on day one and then apply the sealer on day two having let the floor dry off overnight.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.


Mexican Terracotta Tiles Before and After Resealing Redditch

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Rejuvenated in Redditch

A customer in Redditch had recently had a new kitchen fitted and prior to that had tried to seal the Mexican Terracotta tiled floor themselves, however they were not happy with the results, so they contacted Tile Doctor to see if an improvement could be achieved. The sealer they used was matt which didn’t show off the Terracotta at its best and the tile and especially the grout were not as clean as they could have been. Getting the tile and grout clean before sealing is essential otherwise you end up sealing in the dirt.

Mexican Terracotta Tiles Before Resealing Redditch Mexican Terracotta Tiles Before Resealing Redditch

To get the best from the floor I recommended stripping off the sealer, giving the tile and grout a deep clean and then resealing with a satin sealer. The customer agreed and keen to get his new kitchen looking its best booked me in to do the work.

Mexican Terracotta Tiles Before Resealing Redditch

Cleaning Original Victorian and Mexican Terracotta Tiles

My first tasks was to protect the new kitchen units from splashing with plastic sheeting and by removing the kick boards. Once done I began the process of removing the existing sealer by applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go which as the name implies is a strong coatings remover that safe to use on Tile and Stone. The product was dilated with water, applied to the tile and grout and left to soak in for about ten minutes. The floor area between the kitchen units was quite tight so on this occasion I decided to scrub the tiles with a deck brush and hand brush as opposed to using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The Remove and Go did the job and the sealer was removed and the floor rinsed off with water to reveal the original tiles.

Mexican Terracotta Tiles During Stripping Redditch Mexican Terracotta Tiles During Stripping Redditch

The next step was to give the Terracotta tile and grout a deep clean by scrubbing in a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. Mexican Terracotta can be difficult to clean due to the makeup of the tile, but the Pro-Clean scrubbed in with the brushes I used earlier worked well. The now soiled cleaning solution was rinsed off with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum.

The customer had laid some new tiles to fit in with the new units but asked me to grout them so with time to spare before leaving for the day I grouted them in with a flexible grout and polished off any grout smears. Itโ€™s important that tiles are dry before sealing so the floor was then left for two days so it could dry out.

Sealing a Mexican Terracotta Floor

Upon my returned to seal the tiles I first checked with a damp meter that they had indeed dried. All was well, so I began the process of applying Seal and Go which is a water-based sealer from the Tile Doctor range that leaves the satin finish the customer wanted, also being water based it doesnโ€™t leave a smell as it dries. Mexican Terracotta is notoriously very porous, so numerous coats of seal are required and in fact this floor needed eleven coats. I applied a few more coats to the new tiles so they would blend in better with the existing tiles.

Mexican Terracotta Tiles After Resealing Redditch Mexican Terracotta Tiles After Resealing Redditch

The customer was very pleased with the results and I left them with a bottle of Neutral Tile Cleaner to help maintain the tiles appearance going forward.

Stripping, Cleaning and Sealing Mexican Terracotta Floor in Redditch

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Rejuvenated in Redditch Read More ยป

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