Terracotta Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Terracotta tiles carried out in South East Wales

Cleaning and Renovating Terracotta Tiles

Terracotta tiles have been around in certain parts of the world for over two millennia, in fact the word Terracotta means burned earth. The ancient Romans used a variety of terracotta tiles in their villas and palaces for many centuries. Terracotta tiles are thicker than most modern tiles giving them strength and durability.

The one big downside to Terracotta is the fact that it has no glaze on the surface and being very porous can soon pick up and store muck and dirt very quickly. If you have ever owned a Terracotta floor before you will be able to relate to this problem however the answer is to ensure you have the correct sealer in place.

Traditionally Wax was used to protect terracotta tiles however with the advent of modern purpose made sealers we don’t recommend it. Not only is it troublesome to remove but it scratches easily and we have seen situations in kitchens where dirt and oil trapped in the wax turns black and becomes very unsightly.

For sealing Terracotta we actually recommend Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works well on clay tiles such as Terracotta and is also water based so doesn’t give off a smell as it dries. When applying a sealer always make sure the floor is dry first as applying a sealer to a damp floor can lead to inconsistent results. Because of this we typically clean and seal Terracotta floors over two days so we can clean on day one and then apply the sealer on day two having let the floor dry off overnight.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Terracotta Floor Deep Cleaned and Sealed Cardiff

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Cardiff

This Terracotta tiled floor was installed at a property in Cardiff around twenty years ago. It hadn’t been professional cleaned since installation and in that time any sealer that was once present had worn off and dirt had built up in the pores of the tile. Terracotta works very well in a Kitchen but you do need to maintain the sealer otherwise the tiles will start to absorb dirt which is very difficult to remove with standard equipment.

Terracotta Flooring Before Cleaning Cardiff

After speaking to the owner on the phone we arranged a time for me to pop over, survey the floor and test clean the tile and grout to work out the best method for cleaning it. The test went very well and proved the floor could be restored to an almost new condition, impressed with the result I was booked in to complete the job.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Cardiff

Deep Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

The test clean I conducted earlier enabled me to work out which Tile Doctor products had worked best to bring the floor back to life. With this in mind I was able to start work with a clear plan which in this case involved applying a combination of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, Nanotech HBU and Tile Doctor Remove and Go. These are all tile cleaning products and have different properties. HBU for instance stands for Heavy Build-Up and is good for handling a large amount of dirt and Remove and Go is a stripper that can remove paint stains and old sealers.

Terracotta Floor During Cleaning Cardiff

This mixture was applied to the floor and left to soak in for about fifteen minutes before being scrubbed into the floor. Scrubbing started with the grout which was done manually with a hand-held scrubbing brush. This was followed up with a Black Scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer.

Terracotta Floor During Cleaning Cardiff Terracotta Floor During Cleaning Cardiff

Once done the floor was rinsed with water and the soiling extracted using a wet vacuum. The Terracotta tile and grout was then inspected and the whole process repeated multiple times until I was satisfied all the ingrained dirt was gone and the floor was as clean as it possibly could be.

The next step would be to seal the floor but it would need it to be dry first. The trouble with Terracotta however is it’s a porous material and retains water during the cleaning process. So, to assist with drying a fan was placed on the floor after I finished the cleaning of a section.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

I returned the next morning and tested the tiles with a damp meter to ensure the tiles were dry before applying the sealer. All was well, so I started with the application of the first coat Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water-based sealer that works well on clay tiles and adds a lovely sheen finish to the floor. Due to the porous nature of Terracotta, it took eight coats of Seal and Go before it was completely sealed.

Terracotta Floor During Sealing Cardiff

The clean and new sealer really lifted the appearance of the kitchen much to the delight of my customer who was very happy with their new floor. For aftercare cleaning I recommended Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is a mild but effective cleaning product designed for use on sealed tiles.

It’s also worth knowing that the life of a sealer greatly depends on what you use to clean it as most tile cleaning products you find in a supermarket are only designed for use on Ceramic or Vinyl flooring and are simply too strong for use on a sealed tile (always read the label!).

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Sealing Cardiff Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Sealing Cardiff


Professional Cleaning of a Terracotta Tiled Floor in Cheshire


South East Wales Tile Doctor

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