Initial polish, only use with water.
Based in Leicester Kay Sylvester and her partner Steve Carpenter are your your local tile, stone and grout specialist providing cleaning, sealing and restoration services across all types of stone and tile.
Help with Tile and Stone > Terracotta Tile Cleaning
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 can 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.
The photographs at the top of this page were taken from a job we did at a restaurant in Ethiopia where the tiles were ingrained with black dirt and proved most difficult to clean; normally we only recommend 9 coats of sealer for Terracotta but in this case used 12 coats for this floor due to the high traffic.
Deep Cleaning Terracotta
Use Tile Doctor Pro-Clean Tile & Grout cleaner to effectively clean tiles, highly effective against wax and topical acrylic sealers, Grease, Grime and general dirt build up (Mix with 3 parts warm water). This product is especially formulated to strip off synthetic and acrylic waxes and floor finishes. Pro-Clean can be applied using a deck brush or a buffing machine fitted with a black pad. For stubborn areas of heavy build-up of dirt or sealer we would recommend following up with NanoTech HBU (please ensure the tile is wetted before applying
Tile Doctor Remove and Go is very effective at removing impregnating sealers and can be applied undiluted and used in the same way as Pro-Clean. It's worth noting that Pro-Clean is better with the removal of topical sealers however if you are unable to determine which sealer has been used previously then you may need to utilise both products.
After cleaning it is important to remove any trace of cleaning solution and effectively neutralise the floor before sealing by rinsing with water and extracting with a wet vacuum; any cleaning product left on the surface may impact the sealer during curing.
Sealing Terracotta Tiles
The best sealant we find for Terracotta is a topical sealer called Seal and Go that generally leaves a satin finish that coats the tiles to stop dirt and grime penetrating into the clay. An impregnating sealer (that generally leaves a matt finish) does not work particularly well with a soft clay such as Mexican Terracotta due to the high porosity of the clay. Tile Doctor recommends that Terracotta in particular requires a regular top up of sealer in high traffic areas once or twice a year.
This type of clay is not made to a great standard and thus the porosity levels between each tile can vary greatly, this makes them hard to clean, hard to seal and generally harder to maintain. UK Tile Doctors have been trained to cope with these issues however it should be noted even with the right equipment, products and experience no guarantee can be made on a satisfactory outcome of what we at Tile Doctor and a customer would call a great finish given the low quality of this product.
Once the floor has been cleaned and dried apply Tile Doctor Seal & Go sealer with a paint-pad applicator and tray. Spanish or Mexican terracotta tiles are very porous and may require up to 8 or 9 coats of sealant, always allow to dry before applying the next coat.
FRENCH, ITALIAN OR SPANISH (semi hand-made)
These tiles are generally made in a factory with some artizan involvement however the quality of the kiln is far better than Mexican and so are easier to clean, to seal and to maintain; naturally this results in a higher production cost.
Once the floor has been cleaned and dried apply Tile Doctor Seal & Go sealer with a paint-pad applicator and tray. terracotta tiles typically require between 6 and 8 coats of sealant, always allow to dry before applying the next coat.
Sealers will break down after 2-3 years (depending on usage and cleaning products used) so for regular cleaning use a sealer friendly cleaning product such as Neutral Tile Cleaner which has been especially formulated for the regular cleaning of Sealed Stone and Tile surfaces keeping them fresh with a pleasant lemon scent.
Efflorescence problems usually occur when salts are in contact with the tile from an outside source. This is most evident in porous tiles such as Terracotta where the efflorescence can rise through. For example we have come across a number of jobs where the contractor has used a sand and cement mix with terracotta tiles and over a short period of time the salts that are evident in the sand and cement crystallise into the tile and a whitish bloom develops on the surface of the tile often cracking the sealer. If a cement based adhesive was used from a reputable tile shop this problem would never have occurred.
Recommended Products for Terracotta
When using our products please take time to familiarise yourself with the directions on the back of the bottle before use.
Black Buffing pad 17" (44cm), for heavy duty wet scrubbing, use with with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to remove wax layers and most synthetic sealers, also use on heavily built up grime and dirt.
PH1 blend of Phosphoric and Hydrochloric acids in a gel form for the treatment of grout haze (grout smears) and efflorescence on wall and floor tiles. The gel is especially effective on vertical or sloped surface where where more dwell time is required.
Grout Clean-Up contains concentrated phosphoric acid and cleaner designed to penetrate below the surface to remove light grout smears (grout haze), mineral deposits, rust stains and efflorescence.
NanoTech HBU (formerly known as Ultra Clean) is a Heavy Build-Up Remover designed to work where other cleaners won’t. It utilises nano-sized particles to penetrate below tough stains, dissolve and lift them out.
Most tile cleaning products sold on the market today are designed for cleaning ceramic rather than stone surfaces, as a result they can slowly etch away at the sealed surface of your stone floor reducing the life of your sealer.
A concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser. Best for Heavily Soiled & Neglected Tile, Stone or Grout.
Tile Doctor Remove and Go is a non-flammable, multi-purpose stripper formulated with a long dwell-time to remove most sealers, epoxy grout haze, urethane coatings, synthetic finishes, adhesives and paints.
A specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish.
A special acrylic based formula which allows moisture vapour transmission making it fully breathable and ideal for situations where no damp proof membrane has been installed and mineral salt deposits (efflorescence) occur.
Easy to apply Wax Remover with a fast and effective formula that is designed for the safe removal of wax and polish from tile and stone including Marble, Slate, Quarry, Terracotta and Travertine.
Contact us for a personal solution to your tile installation problem by calling us on 0845 652 4652 or e-mail Info@TileDoctor.co.uk. Please include as much detail about your issue as possible and if you feel it will help attach a photograph. Our Tile Doctor have many years of experience of dealing with the typical issues that people experience and were confident we can find the right solution.
Alternately take a look at one of our dedicated sites below where we detail real examples of issues faced by our customers and how they were resolved.
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