Terracotta Tile Cleaning

Renovating a Flood Stained Terracotta Kitchen Floor in Gloucester

Earlier this year a customer from Gloucester got in touch with Tile Doctor through Home Services following a flood that had affected his Terracotta Kitchen floor. It’s difficult to tell from the pictures but the Terracotta floor was badly stained and marked following the flood, it now looked flat and dull and my customer wanted its appearance restored to the way it looked before.

Flood Stained Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Gloucester

I visited site to survey the tiles a recommend a was way to improve the appearance of the floor. Although now completely dry the floor was not looking its best, but there was nothing we couldn’t remedy. To resolve, I recommended deep cleaning the floor, stripping off any dirt and what was left of old sealers and then applying a new sealer. I gave them a formal quote which they could pass on to their insurance company and a not long after we received a call to say they were able to go ahead with the work.

Deep Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

My first job was to prepare the floor for cleaning by removing the kickboards under the kitchen units and sweeping away any grit. Next the floor was deep cleaned using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the Terracotta tiles for ten minutes. This gives time for the Pro-Clean to get to work breaking down the old sealers and dirt trapped in the pores of the tile. The Pro-Clean was then scrubbed into the tile using a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

After scrubbing the floor soiled cleaning solution was rinsed away with water and extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. The tiles were then inspected to see if more work was required, there were a few areas I was not happy with, so the process was repeated where needed.

I then turned my attention to the grout lines which were really ingrained with dirt. I cleaned these with Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a stronger product that is really designed for removing stubborn sealers but is also a powerful cleaning agent in its own right. Again, I left the product to soak into the grout for ten minutes before scrubbing it by hand with a stiff brush to really get the grout clean.

After rinsing and extracting one more time the Terracotta and Grout were as clean as they could be, and I left the floor to dry off fully for four days. Terracotta is very porous, so it absorbs the water and takes longer to dry than other tiles.

Flood Stained Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Gloucester

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

On my return I first checked the floor for moisture using a damp meter taking several readings around the floor to satisfy myself it was dry. Applying a sealer to a damp tile would lead to an inconsistent result so it’s always best to be sure.

Eight coats of sealer were needed to ensure the floor was fully sealed, again Terracotta is very porous, and it can really drink the sealer. For this floor I chose Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works really well on Terracotta it added a nice subtle shine to the tiles and will ensure the floor is protected going forward. It’s also water based so you don’t get a smell as it dries.

Flood Stained Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Sealing Gloucester

Afterwards the floor looked great and the customer was very happy. They are just hoping there will not be a repeat of the floods that caused the previous damage.

 

Professional Restoration of a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen in Gloucestershire

Wax Sealed Mexican Terracotta Floor Stroud

We were called by a customer with a Mexican Terracotta floor who was looking at having it taken it up and replaced but before doing wondered what it would cost to have it renovated. I visited the property in the nearby market town of Stroud in the centre of Gloucestershire to survey the floor and advise on options. Stroud by the way is a lovely part of the county and sits within the Cotswolds which is an area of outstanding beauty.

Wax Sealed Mexican Terracotta Tile Before Cleaning Stroud
The customer had this floor laid thought the ground floor just five years earlier and had been was advised to seal it with wax. After three months the wax had broken down and started collecting dirt as you can see from the pictures. Unfortunately, he had not been advised the correct way to look after his floor and was now fed up with its appearance. Help was at hand and I was confident I could restore the floor for a lot less than replacing it, I explained what could be done, agreed a price which was accepted and agreed a date for carrying out the work.

Wax Sealed Mexican Terracotta Tile Before Cleaning Stroud

Stripping Wax Off Mexican Terracotta Tiles

So, the first job was to strip the layers of wax and sealant off using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Remove and Go. I combined the products together to make a very effective cleaner and coatings remover and left them to soak into the Terracotta tiles for ten minutes, before scrubbing them in with a black pad fitted to a rotary floor machine. This process released a lot of dirt and waxes from the floor which I extracted with a wet vacuum and then retreated areas that needed more work until I was happy it was as clean as it could be.

After the floor was clean I set about on grout lines these were also in a bad state, they needed a lot of manual scrubbing with Pro-Clean which was worked in with a narrow stiff brush to get them clean.

Wax Sealed Mexican Terracotta Tile After Cleaning Before Sealing Stroud
Afterwards, happy with the result, I rinsed the floor three times with water to remove any trace of the cleaning products and soil from the floor. Because I had to use so much water and cleaning products to achieve a good result I left the floor for nearly a week, so it could thoroughly dry out. Mexican terracotta is very porous, and it would need to be dry before sealing so I figured five days should be enough time.

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiled Floor

I returned after five days and checked that moisture levels of the floor were satisfactory with my moisture meter. Once I was satisfied I was good to go ahead with the sealing. I decided to use two different types of sealant on this job. For the first coat I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnator that soaks into the pores of the clay tile protecting it from with and enhancing the natural colours in the process. I then applied six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go letting it dry in between coats. Seal and Go is a water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant seal and a durable low-sheen finish, which the customer had requested on this job.

Wax Sealed Mexican Terracotta Tile After Cleaning Sealing Stroud
The customer was pleased with the result, he never expected it to look so good and had thought he was going to have to put a new floor down. Not only had we completed a great job for them, they had been saved significant expense too.

 

Professional Restoration of Mexican Terracotta Tiles in Gloucestershire

Stripping Varnish off Terracotta Kitchen Tiles and Resealing in Bristol

Terracotta tiles are always a popular choice for Kitchens but being made from clay they are porous and need to be sealed to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained in the tile. Once sealed though you need to remember Kitchens are high traffic areas, so you can expect the sealer to wear off quicker than it would elsewhere.

I mention this as a customer from Bristol asked me to do a survey on her Varnish Sealed Terracotta Kitchen Tiles where the seal had worn down and were now dull, and the grout had darkened. I surveyed the floor and completed a test clean on a section of the floor which came out well impressing the customer who was happy for me to proceed with cleaning and sealing the floor.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol Before Cleaning Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol Before Cleaning

Traditionally Terracotta tiled floors have been sealed with a number of products over the years including Wax, Linseed Oil and on this occasion Varnish however all these products have their disadvantages and don’t compare to modern sealers which are designed for the job.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles Bristol Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

The first day was spent trying to get the Varnish off the floor which somebody had used on the floor as a sealer; Varnish is easily scratched by furniture, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. I worked out however that it could be scrubbed off once coated in a combination or Tile Doctor products Pro-Clean, Remove and Go and Nano-Tech HBU which would be left to soak in for a while and then softened with steam.

Mechanical assistance from a buffing machine fitted with a large black scrubbing pad helped reduce the amount of elbow grease that was required and once I was happy the tiles were clean the now soiled solution was rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next day and with the floor now clear I was able to see those areas that needed further re-treatment and also turn my attention to the grout which was cleaned using more cleaning solution worked in with a stiff narrow grout brush that gets into the grout lines. Once I was completely happy with the floor its was given a final rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then dried with a wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning

Sealing a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

It’s important that the tiles are dry before sealing so I left the floor to dry out for three days before returning to seal them. No Varnish this time of course, Tile Doctor has a range of sealers for every type of situation and what I find works best on Terracotta tiles is a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow topped off with multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol During Cleaning
Tile Doctor Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates into the pores of the clay protecting it from within whilst enhancing colour whilst Seal and Go completes the sealing process and adds a nice sheen to the look of the tile.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing

As you can see from the final photographs the floor looked really good and the customer gave me top marks for feedback.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing
 

Professional Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Restoration in Gloucestershire

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