Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Refreshed in Buckingham Farm Cottage

I was recently contacted about the restoration of a fantastic example of a Terracotta tiled floor in the kitchen of a farm cottage just south of Buckingham.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Buckingham Farm Cottage

There was a very noticeable build-up of dirt on the tiles and in the grout lines. Additionally, there were lots of white spots on the tiles in front of sink area because of a caustic soda spillage. Caustic soda is also known as sodium hydroxide, as is commonly used as a drain unblocking agent. It’s a highly alkaline product and isn’t very friendly to Terracotta.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Buckingham Farm Cottage

The grout was also stained and naturally, the homeowner was keen to get her floor back into the best shape possible – and I was on hand to see what could be done.

Terracotta is a very attractive and useful material that has been in use for over two millennia throughout the world. It has been used perhaps most famously for sculptures and other forms of art, although it has since the days of the Ancient Romans been used as a building material – including in the form of floor tiles. It’s still a popular choice for tiles amongst homeowners today, since Terracotta tiles are typically thicker, and the red colour adds a warm country feel to the home.

Cleaning Stained and Dirty Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

Before beginning the restoration, I first removed the kickboards from underneath the kitchen units to protect them from splashes from the cleaning products I would be using.

Once this had been done, I got straight into deep cleaning the tile and grout lines using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner. To get the best result I left the solution to soak into the pores of the tile for approximately ten minutes before being agitated with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

The floor was then rinsed with fresh water and the resulting slurry of soiled cleaning solution was promptly extracted using a wet vacuum. This process left the tiles and grout looking much cleaner and fresher, however, the white spots caused by the caustic soda would need something extra to remove them.

I treated these spots using Tile Doctor Acid Gel in combination with a steam machine. Acid Gel is a mixture of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form, and can be used to neutralise alkali-based stains such as these. We also commonly use it to treat efflorescence (mineral salt deposits).

The floor was then once again rinsed with fresh water to remove any trace of cleaning products and neutralise the floor, before being left to dry off fully for two days.

Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

I returned after 48 hours and the floor was dry enough to be sealed. The customer wanted to retain the natural-looking and rustic appearance of the Terracotta, so I suggested that we seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This sealer is impregnating and colour-intensifying (so it emphasises the patina of the stone), but also leaves a matte finish.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Buckingham Farm Cottage

The after photos show the result of the restoration – I job well done if I say so myself. And certainly, my customer agreed!

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Buckingham Farm Cottage

Professional Cleaning of a Stained Terracotta Kitchen Floor in Buckinghamshire

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Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Given New Lease of Life in Kingston Upon Thames

It’s very surprising how often I hear from home owners who are considering completely replacing tiled floors that can be easily be salvaged. While some people might believe that replacement is cheaper and quicker than cleaning, this is emphatically not true in most situations.

Thankfully, one of my recent customers, who lives in Kingston Upon Thames had been persuaded by her husband not to completely strip out the original Terracotta tiles in their kitchen. While the couple had just had new kitchen units installed, it seemed unnecessary to completely replace the Terracotta floor tiles even though they certainly needed a deep clean.

Terracotta Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Kingston on Thames

Instead, they contacted their local Tile Doctor to rejuvenated the tiles to complement the new kitchen design.

Cleaning Original Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

Before beginning, I covered all the new kitchen units with protective sheeting to prevent them from encountering water and splashes from the cleaning products. I could see that the tiles had been left unsealed for many years and this had allowed dirt and general muck to become deeply ingrained.

To clean the tiles, I applied a covering of our strong alkaline-based cleaner, known as Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, and left it dwell for a short period. I then attached a coarse, 200-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad to my buffing machine and began working the product into the tiles. The burnishing pad milled away the dirty top layer of the tiles. Contrary to what some might believe, this doesn’t harm the tiles in any way, but instead polishes them.

Any old sealer and dirt that the buffing machine could not reach in the corners of the room was removed by hand using diamond encrusted burnishing blocks. The burnishing process does, in fact, make quite a mess, so I promptly rinsed off the resulting slurry with more water and a wet vacuum to clear the area and leave it clean and ready to be dried.

Sealing Original Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

A lot of water was used during the cleaning process, so I had to leave the property for 48 hours to let the tiles dry completely. Returning to the property after those two days, I sealed the tiles using six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Following years of next to no protection, the floor desperately needed an effective sealer to put new life in the Terracotta and Seal and Go does that in spades by adding a lovely sheen to the tile.

Terracotta Floor Tiles After Cleaning Kingston on Thames

The photo above shows the amazing difference made by cleaning the floor instead of choosing to replace. The customer’s testimonial speaks for itself:

“Excellent service and we are delighted with the work. Would definitely use Rupert again.”

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen in Surrey

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