terracotta tiles

Removing Wax from 30-Year-Old Terracotta Flooring in Dursley

Our client contacted us to find out if anything could be done about his Terracotta tiled floor which has been laid thirty years prior in the Conservatory and Kitchen of his house in Dursley. I went over to survey the floors and conduct a test clean on part of the floor to see what would be needed to renovate it. Fortunately, the customer knew the maintenance history of the floor and had told me for the last thirty years they had been applying wax which can be tricky to remove.

Terracotta Conservatory Floor Dursley Before Cleaning Terracotta Conservatory Floor Dursley Before Cleaning

The test clean went well and he was amazed how clean I managed to get the tile so confident in a good result a date was booked in for us to return to do the whole floor. We find surveying the floor before pricing is the most accurate way to provide a quotation as there are no surprises for all concerned.

Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Floor

On arrival the first task was to cover all the skirting boards, walls, and units to protect them. The floor was really dirty, and I could see we would need to conduct a lot of rinsing with water to remove the soiling. Having been informed about the wax covering from my earlier visit I was able to start stripping off the old layers of wax using a Tile Doctor product called Wax-Away which is made for this type of work. The product was mopped onto the floor, left to soak in for ten minutes and then scrubbed in with a black burnishing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffing machine. The soil was then rinsed away with water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

This process was repeated until I was happy the wax had been removed and then I turned my attention to the grout which was really ingrained with dirt. For this I sprayed on Tile Doctor Remove and Go, left it to dwell for ten minutes as before and then set about scrubbing it clean. Once this was complete and I was happy with the results the floor was washed with fresh water twice to remove any trace of product and the floor dried with the wet vacuum.

The floor was then covered with dust sheets so the customer could carry on using the floor as normal whilst we left it to dry out for three days. Terracotta is very porous and needs to be bone dry before sealing to achieve the best result.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Conservatory and Kitchen Floor

On our return 3 days later, I did a moisture test to ensure the floor was dry. The results were good, so I set about sealing the Terracotta with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which was the best sealer for this type of floor. I applied seven coats which takes some time as you need to ensure each coat has dried before applying the next. This sealer leaves a nice sheen but also allows the Orangey/Red colour in the Terracotta to come through.

Terracotta Conservatory Floor Dursley During Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Floor Dursley During Sealing

Once complete it was clear the deep clean and fresh seal had given the rooms a new lease of life and my client could not believe how well it had come up. For aftercare I recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is designed for the day to day cleaning of sealed tiles.

Terracotta Conservatory Floor Dursley After Sealing Terracotta Conservatory Floor Dursley After Sealing

 

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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
 

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