Sealing Terracotta

Terracotta Floor Restored at 400-Year-Old Cottage in Leatherhead

This client had acquired a 400-year old cottage in Leatherhead as part of his divorce agreement. The front room was tiled with Terracotta which is a soft stone and particularly porous. The tiles had seen a lot of wear and use over the years and were now in need of some love.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Restoration Leatherhead

He emailed over some photographs however it’s difficult to tell the best remedy without doing any testing, so I arranged visit the property and take a proper look. It was immediately clear the Terracotta had become badly discoloured in places some of which was from burning logs which had previously fallen from the fireplace onto the tiles. There was also a considerable amount of red paint around the edges that would need removing.

This work would take two days with at least 48 hours in-between days to allow for evaporation as a wet tile cannot be sealed. The client was happy to go ahead with my quote and we arranged a suitable time to complete the work for him.

Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Living Room Floor

Firstly, as the terracotta is soft and more importantly red it can make a mess of the woodwork when cleaning with water, so I covered the kickboards with sticky plastic coating to ensure they were protected.

Then I removed the edging paint by softening it with an application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go. Once left for half an hour the paint starts to soften and this makes it easier to remove, although this is a manual process carefully scrapping the remains of the paint away.

Next, I coated the floor with Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. This strong cleaning product is left for half an hour to work into the pores of the Terracotta. With some water I gently cleaned the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a nylon pad. This is a wet process, so no dust is created.

For the next few hours, I cleaned the whole room. The areas damaged by burning wood were worked on with a diamond encrusted pad to get deep into the tile. When finished, the tiles were clean and more consistent in appearance and colour. I left the floor for the weekend to fully dry.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On the Monday I returned to seal the Terracotta first checking the tiles had dried out using a damp meter. The customer didn’t want either a shiny finish or a matte finish. He did want a strong, protective sealer so we agreed on using Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which leaves a sheen finish and will last for years. The floor was now fully protected and should be durable for the foreseeable future.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Restoration Leatherhead

The client was very happy with the work we had carried out, it had really transformed the room and he was looking forward to getting the furniture back in to position.


Professional Restoration of a Terracotta Tiled Living Room in Surrey

Cleaning and Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Patio Area in Epsom

This property in Epsom featured a small enclosed Terracotta Patio which the owner wanted deep cleaning in time for the summer. She had a huge shared garden and was hoping to host a family BBQ later in in the year, so wanted it to look good for the event. Given the situation with the COVID-19 epidemic I was happy for the opportunity to work outdoors and agreed a time to pop over and take a closer look.

Small Terracotta Patio Before Cleaning Epsom

I went over to survey the Terracotta tiling and except for a few stains I could see it was in good order, however the old sealer was wearing thin and it was due a good clean and re-seal. It was roughly 18m2 and I was confident weather permitting it could be done in one day. I worked out a price which was accepted, and we agreed a date for my return.

Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Patio Floor

Focusing on the grout first I sprayed on a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, and then left it to soak in for ten minutes. The Pro-Clean was then scrubbed into the grout lines by hand using a stiff brush. This action cleaned up the grout and using minimal water the soil was rinsed off the tiles and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Having inspected the tiles on my initial visit I had decided the best course of action to remove the old sealer and clean them up would be to apply a coarse 200-grit diamond pad. This would deep clean the tiles, remove the old sealer, renovate the surface, and remove the stains. This can be a little messy but gives a great result. After the 200-grit pad I closed the pores in the tiles with a 400-grit and then 800-grit burnishing pad. Terracotta is very porous so by closing the pores it should ensure the sealer doesn’t rapidly soak into the Terracotta during sealing.

After the application of each pad the tiles were rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum. I used minimal water during the rinsing to improve my chances of them drying quickly so I could apply the sealer later that day.

On this occasion the tiles were in reasonable condition, however, that’s not always the case and for tougher patio cleaning work I would of used Tile Doctor Patio and Driveway cleaner which really cuts through dirt and can pretty much clean up any external patio regardless of condition.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Patio Floor

It was a warm June afternoon which greatly aided the drying; I know from experience that applying a sealer to a damp tile can result in an inconsistent finish so I used a damp meter to measure the moisture levels before proceeding.

My plan had worked, and the moisture reading soon reached an acceptable level allowing me to apply the sealer. The sealer I selected was Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra, this is a tough sealer that will provide plenty of protection for many years to come and its breathable so will cope with external environment. Seal and Go Extra also contains a colour enhancer which gave the natural red colour of the Terracotta tiles a real boost.

Small Terracotta Patio After Cleaning Epsom

The patio looked great and my client was over the moon with the results. Hopefully, she won’t have to wait too long before she can have that barbeque with her family.


Professional Renovation of a Terracotta Tiled Patio in West Surrey

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