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.
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.
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.
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. It’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 doesn’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.
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.