Due to its naturally high porosity, Terracotta is more susceptible to ingrained dirt than other types of stone tile. Typically, this downside is simple to offset with professional maintenance, including deep cleaning with suitable products and maintaining the sealer.
Unfortunately, this Terracotta tiled floor at a property in Great Gransden (famous for being home to England’s oldest remaining windmill), had not been treated to professional maintenance for at least a decade. As you can imagine, the extremely outdated sealer had gradually broken down in most areas of the floor, leaving the tiles exposed to dirt and grime. I was asked by the property owner to restore the floor back to its original condition, and was more than happy to oblige!
Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor
The first step in the restoration was to strip the floor of the very old sealer by applying Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which both breaks down old sealers and removes light to medium soil buildup. After allowing the product twenty minutes to dwell, I went over the floor with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine to ensure all of the old sealer was removed, mopping and rinsing the floor several times during the process.
Following this, I used a steamer in combination with Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU – a cleaner that uses nano-sized particles to penetrate and dissolve tough stains – to tidy up some of the more stubborn areas of muck. Finally, I gave the entire floor, including the grout lines, an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up to remove inherent grout haze etc.
Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor
Once the cleaning process was complete, I left the floor to dry completely for 24 hours. This is the typical drying time for most natural stone floors, although the process will be sped up if there is a damp proof membrane or underfloor heating installed.
Upon my return to the property the next day I ran some damp tests to check for excess moisture, as this can cloud the sealer. Thankfully the floor was dry and I was able to start sealing the Terracotta starting with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile enhancing the natural colours and adding protection from within. One this was dry I continued the process by applying four further coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to achieve the desired sheen finish.
I made sure to give my very happy customer some advice on cleaning before departing the property as sealers do wear down over time so it’s important to maximise their longevity by using a pH neutral cleaning product for everyday cleaning.