Terracotta is made from natural clay and has been used throughout history for roof tiles, sculptures, bricks and floor tiles.
Being made from clay, tiles come in a vast range of natural colours from creams, to reds to dark brown. Often all the colours can be contained in a single tile.
The traditional methods of producing handmade tiles haven’t really changed in thousands of years. Handmade tiles are characterised by an uneven finish, with varying tile dimensions and may include small stones and inclusions, all adding to the natural beauty of the flooring.
Fired Earth handmade Terracotta Tiles Cleaned and Finished with Floor Wax by Abbey Floor Care
With the advent of modern machinery, machine made tiles have a more consistent finish. They surface is much smoother without any inclusions or small stones. The size is also more consistent, making the tiles easier to install and maintain.
However, the tiles are still very porous and it is still important to know how to clean Terracotta tiles and seal Terracotta Tiles to protect against water and oil spills.
Machine made Terracotta Tiles Cleaned and Finished with Liquid Fila Wax by Abbey Floor Care
Cleaning and sealing terracotta tiles starts with stripping off the old polish and sealers using specialist sealer remover chemicals.
Once all the old finishes have been removed, the tiles are deep cleaned to remove ingrained soil.
The tiles are then left to dry before they are re-sealed.
As the tiles are very porous, they can take 3 to 5 days to fully dry before they are ready for sealing.
Stripping old sealer from Terracotta Tiles by Abbey Floor Care
Whilst impregnating sealers can be a suitable finish, they leave the floor with a matt finish and soil can build-up on the rough surface of the tiles and the grout.
Therefore the tiles are usually given a final finish using an Acrylic water based sealer or a beeswax floor polish.
This Terracotta Cleaning project in London demonstrates a Surface Sealer finish.
Applying Colour Enhancing Impregnator to Terracotta tiles by Abbey Floor Care
A wax finish gives an “old-style” natural finish. However, the wax finish needs to be deep cleaner and re-applied every one or two years. This can be an onerous job, especially if the years are advancing.
An acrylic sealer is hard wearing, however, it does not look as natural as a floor wax. But, it is simple to maintain with a surface sealer cleaner. Also, the finish can be “topped-up” with some dilute sealer, extending the life of the finish.
Finally, we give you a terracotta cleaning guide that gives advice on correct cleaning methods and products to ensure your floor is a beautiful feature of your home for many years.
Spanish style terracotta tiles finish waxed by Abbey Floor Care