This lovely old Spanish Terracotta tiled floor was installed at a house in Swansea. Over the years the sealer had worn down and dirt had become ingrained in the pores of the clay tile making it impossible to clean effectively. The owner called me in to give the tiles a really deep clean and bring the floor back to its former glory.
I went round to take a look at the floor and carried out a cleaning test of the tiles with a medium strength dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbed into the tiles by hand. This demonstrates to the customer how the floor could look, and it also helps me to work out which product will work best as well as the likely quantities required for the quote. The Terracotta tile and Grout in the test area came out well and after showing the customer the result and working out a price for the whole floor and he was happy to book me in.
Stripping and Re-Polishing Terracotta
On my return I continued with the cleaning process using more Tile Doctor Pro-Clean but this time I left it to soak into the floor for longer and was assisted by a Black Scrubbing pad attached to a rotary buffing machine. I like to use a slow speed buffing machine for this process as it makes less mess than a high speed and this keeps my customers happy.
It wasn’t long before the cleaning solution changed colour with the dirt that was becoming released from the floor. The dirt was then rinsed off the floor using water and a wet vacuum, and the process repeated until I was happy the tiles were clean.
The next step was to clean the grout lines, this task is best done by hand with a stiff brush and more Pro-Clean as the scrubbing pads struggle to reach into the recesses of the grout line. Once I had finished the cleaning I rinsed the floor down several times with water, to make sure all traces of Pro-Clean were removed.
The cleaning process took up most of the day and the Terracotta would need to be dry before being sealed so I before leaving it to dry off fully overnight I covered the floor with a clean linen dust sheet (not plastic) to protect it overnight. This allows evaporation to continue whilst protecting it from getting dirty again.
Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles
The next day i came back and took some moisture readings to make sure the floor had dried out. Most of the readings were fine apart from a few edges and corners where the moisture must have settled; I used a heat gun on these areas to ensure these areas were dry before starting with sealing.
Terracotta is a very porous clay in its unsealed state, so I like to put down a coat of Impregnating sealer first called Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow works by occupying the pores in the tile making a good base, it also has the added benefit of enhancing the natural colours in the clay tiles.
After leaving it to soak into the tiles for about ten minutes I removed the excess Colour Grow with a cloth and started to apply a Topical sealer Called Tie Doctor High Shine. The customer had requested a high sheen finish, so after several coats of this the job was completed and looking a million times better than before.
I left the customer a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Concentrated Neutral cleaner for aftercare. We recommend using this product for the regular cleaning of sealed tiles, being pH neutral is doesn’t eat into the sealer prematurely reducing its longevity like your regular acidic cleaning products.