Stained Terracotta Conservatory Tiles Rejuvenated in Isleham

Isleham is a small village in the Fens area of Cambridgeshire which, as the name suggests, is a natural marshland. The town itself is home to just over 2,000 people and some very nice properties.

I recently visited a customer in the town who contacted me after finding our website because her Terracotta tiled conservatory and utility room had become worn and stained due to leakages from plant pots and other various spillages. Terracotta is a highly porous stone and so has a strong propensity to absorb stains, and dirt can easily become ingrained. This problem is easily exacerbated when the sealer has worn away and can no longer adequately protect the stone.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

These tiles were now due for deep clean and reseal, and I was more than happy to oblige.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

Cleaning a Stained Terracotta Tiled Floor

My first action, before beginning the restoration, was to tape up all the walls and wood features around the conservatory and utility areas with our décor protection film, to protect them from getting damaged.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

Then, to begin, I applied Tile Doctor Pro Clean – which is our high alkaline cleaner – across the floor to strip away the old sealer and to provide an initial clean. The product was left to dwell for 10-20 minutes before being worked into the pores of the stone using a firm scrubbing brush fitted to a rotary machine.

Next, I removed any deep staining using Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, a potent cleaner which contains nano-sized particles to penetrate the pores of the Terracotta to dissolve and lift out the embedded stains. I also used this product to remove the very stubborn salt deposits in the utility room – although it took three to four attempts.

To complete the cleaning process, I gave the grout a light clean using Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner designed to remove grout haze and any deep staining in the grout. The floor was then dried down with cloths and air-movers, and left over the weekend to make sure any excess moisture had evaporated.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Upon returning to the property at the beginning of the week, I sealed the floor firstly using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, followed by five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra.
Ultra-Seal is a penetrating sealer which fills the pores of the stone to protect against staining and ingrained dirt. It is also fully breathable and allows for moisture vapour transmission. Seal and Go Extra provides further protection and a durable and aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish to really improve the overall look of the floor.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

The customer absolutely loved her newly restored Terracotta tiles and was amazed by the transformation. I’m sure she is looking forward to spending time in her conservatory over the course of the summer months.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Stained Terracotta Tiled Conservatory and Utility Room in Cambridgeshire

Dull Terracotta Tiles Restored in Great Gransden

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.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

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!

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

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.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

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.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

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.
 
 

Tile Cleaning and Sealing of a Dirty Terracotta Tiled a Floor in Cambridgeshire