This is a Terracotta cleaning London project to clean and seal a Terracotta tile floor in Ilford IG3 with a heavy sealer build-up.
The Terracotta tile floor was around ten years old, and my client wanted to restore the Terracotta as part of a project to re-decorate her kitchen and dining areas.
My client likes a shiny finish on the floors, so she regularly polished the Terracotta with a shop bought polish. Before polishing, my client would clean the floor with a mop and bucket.
However, Terracotta cleaning with a mop does not remove much soil, and the mop moves a lot of the surface soil into the grout.
The result was that each new layer of polish locked in a small amount of residual soil. The outcome was a thick coat of polish with a lot of dirt trapped in the polish.
Before starting work, I protected the surrounding walls from splashes with a plastic sheet.
Terracotta Cleaning London – Removing Old Polish
I started the Terracotta cleaning by coating sections of the floor with a heavy duty sealer remover and let the chemical work for 30 minutes.
Then I used a rotary scrubbing machine with scrubbing pads and scrubbing brushes to remove the softened sealer off the tiles. The grout was quite deep, so I had to clean the grout by hand.
I was surprised at the amount of polish on the floor. In most cases, one or two applications of sealer remover will remove the existing sealer and polish.
Terracotta is a soft tile, so I could not use abrasive brushes, and I had to continue with standard polypropylene scrubbing equipment
In the end, it took me five applications of the sealer remover to remove all traces of the old sealer off the tiles.
I had to remove the sealer form the grout by hand, using the sealer remover, grout brushes and pads. Just like the tiles themselves, it took several applications of the sealer remover to remove the sealer off the grout. I had to be careful, as the grout was a soft sand mix, so again I had to be patient.
Raw Terracotta is very absorbent, and I had used a lot of cleaning and rinse water on the floor. So I left the floor for three full days to dry out.
I emphasised the importance of not spilling anything on the floor while it died.
I returned three days later and applied three coats of colour enhancing impregnating sealer to bring out the natural colours in the tiles.
After sealing, I left the floor for two more days to fully dry, ready for finishing.
Sealing Terracotta Tiles In London
I discussed the finishing options:
A wax finish often referred to as a traditional finish gives a mid-sheen natural finish. However, a waxed finish needs to be cleaned and re-applied every one to two years. Otherwise, the wax will become soiled, making the floor dull and unattractive.
A surface sealer often referred to as a Modern finish. The finish does not look as natural as a wax. However, a surface sealer can be longer lasting and straightforward to maintain.
Surface sealers are maintained with specialised cleaners containing a small amount of polymer, to help support the finish. The finish can also be topped up with a dilute solution of sealer, further extending the life of the finish.
Surface sealers are available in mid-sheen and gloss finishes.
My client was keen to have an easy to maintain, high gloss finish, so we agreed on a gloss finish surface sealer.
I sealed the floor with five coats Gloss finish Acrylic surface sealer. Each layer of Sealer drys in around an hour, so I sealed the floor in a day.
My client was over the moon with the finish. The Terracotta has a nice shine, and the natural colours of the tiles stand out.
I explained the importance of regular cleaning, emphasising the importance of dry sweeping or vacuuming before damp mopping. Removing the dry soil will help prevent a build-up of ingrained dirt.
As with many Terracotta cleaning and sealing projects, this project took several days to complete. But I am sure you agree that the finished result is well worth the time and effort.
If you need your Terracotta tile floor cleaning,
We will be happy to help you.