Clean and Seal For a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor in Wadhurst

This client in the East Sussex town of Wadhurst, was selling her country cottage and wanting to achieve the best price decided to have the Terracotta tiled kitchen floor restored before she put property on the market. Personally I think this is a great idea as you want to show the house at its best; I guess Estate Agents and Sarah Beeny would call it staging the property, although she should do well as it was a lovely cottage and Wadhurst is an old, quiet market town lying on a high ridge in the area known as the Weald, between the North and South Downs and so should prove popular.

The Terracotta tiled floor was in real need of a good clean and seal which is not surprising considering that the kitchen is generally a very high traffic area in most houses and, in this case, the family Labrador loved to use it as a play area. Terracotta tiles have been used for over 2000 years, having been first popularised by the ancient Romans. However, one downside to them is that, due to the lack of surface glaze, they can pick up dirt very quickly, which can become ingrained in the tiles if not removed quickly.

Terracotta tiles before cleaning in Wadhurst Terracotta tiles before cleaning in Wadhurst

Cleaning a Terracotta tiled floor

After removing the client’s Labrador from the kitchen, I set to work cleaning the floor using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. I applied a layer of the solution to the floor, before leaving it for a short period to dwell and soak into the pores of the Terracotta. I then set to work scrubbing the cleaning solution into the tiles and, since Pro-Clean acts as both a cleaner and a stripper, the any remaining old sealer quickly came off.

The Pro-Clean successfully lifted the ingrained dirt out of the tiles leaving the colourful terracotta looking much cleaner. It also had a dramatic effect on the colour of the grout, transforming it from a mucky shade of tan to cleaner looking yellow.

Sealing a Terracotta tiled floor

After cleaning and a thorough rinse, I left the floor to dry over the weekend, but not before instructing the client to keep the dog out of the kitchen during this time. It was important to allow the floor sufficient time to dry completely, as any excess moisture left over from cleaning could affect the performance of the sealer.

Terracotta tiles after cleaning in Wadhurst Terracotta tiles after cleaning in Wadhurst

My sealer of choice was Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which I applied to the floor to provide it with not only a nice low-sheen finish, but also a stain resistant surface seal that will protect the tiles against dirt in the long-term. Seal & Go is a suitable sealer for unsealed porous surfaces like Terracotta, Victorian tile, textured Quarry and Slate.

My client was very pleased with the results of the clean and seal, and so was I. The Terracotta tiled floor in the kitchen of her house is a fantastic feature, and I’m sure whoever buys the country cottage will love it as well.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Restored in Wadhurst

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Deep Cleaned and Sealed in Henfield

This customer in Henfield was contemplating digging up her Terracotta kitchen floor and replacing it, the tiles were ingrained with dirt which had proved impossible to remove and as a consequence were left looking flat, dull and very un-appealing. Additionally she had an elderly dog that had been ill several times in the corner area and she really struggled to make it look decent again. Following a quick test I was able to persuade her to try a clean and re-seal first.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Before Cleaning in Henfield

Terracotta Tile Cleaning

The first step was to deep clean the floor to remove the ingrained dirt and any previous sealers. As well as the dog I had two rugby playing sons to deal with so to make it easier for the family I split the floor up into areas and worked on one area at a time.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Before Cleaning in Henfield Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Before Cleaning in Henfield

The tiles were first soaked in a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean before scrubbing it into the tile and grout with a black pad fitted to a buffing machine. The tiles were rinsed, the now dirty cleaning solution extracted and the process repeated until I was happy that the Pro-Clean had done its trick and the floor was as clean as it could be.

The Terracotta tiles now looked clean but completely washed out so I assured the customer that once the tiles had been sealed the colour would return and more. Unsealed Terracotta marks easily so given I left the customer dust sheets to walk on.

Terracotta Tile Sealing

I returned after two days to ensure any moisture had left the tile and proceeded to seal with six coats of Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is highly recommended for use in food preparation areas and gives a high gloss finish whilst providing maximum stain protection. As each coat takes 40 minutes to dry I took the opportunity to clean her slate front door step as well.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles After Cleaning and sealing in Henfield
The customer was very happy with the finished floor and I’m glad to report she has decided to keep the floor.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles After Cleaning and sealing in Henfield

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Henfield

Mexican Terracotta floor tiles in Lewes, East Sussex

Mexican Terracotta is a lot more porous than typical Spanish or Italian clays, because of this it’s more prone to trapping dirt and needs to be sealed to protect it. These Mexican Terracotta floor tiles installed in a house in Lewes, East Sussex were no different and were proving difficult to keep clean; apologies in advance for the photographs, on refection they are not my best.

Terracota Tiles Before Cleaning

Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles

The dirt was quite engrained and so a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed one part Pro-Clean to ten parts water was applied to the terracotta tile and grout and left to soak in. The solution was then agitated using a floor buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. It’s important to make sure you use the right concentration of floor cleaning product, too little and if won’t be effective and too much will mean your having to wash the floor down more as if you leave any on the floor tile it can upset the sealer. It’s recommended therefore to do a small test before cleaning the entire floor. Once we were happy with the condition of the tiles we used stiff hand held brushes on the grout to give that also a scrub before removing the all the solution with a wet vacuum, rinsing the floor down and then left it dry overnight.

Sealing Mexican Terracotta floor tiles

Once cleaned and fully dried we came back and applied nine coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a durable low sheen sealer that will protect the grout and tile from staining. We advised the customer that due to its softer clay further top up coats may be necessary. We left what was remaining of the Seal and Go for this purpose and advised them that if the seal faded slightly then this was then the best time to apply a further coat.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing Mexican Terracotta floor tiles in Lewes

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