A customer from Sevenoaks contacted me to see if I could help with the restoration of their Terracotta floor.

Terracota Cleaning Sevenoaks Abbey Floor Care
Terracota Cleaning Sevenoaks – Abbey Floor Care

The owners of the property were keen to restore the Terracotta and asked for my advice on a renovation.

After discussing the various restoration options, we agreed on the most suitable option and agreed on a start date.

They’re so lovely I don’t want to walk on them. Our painter used to do floors and commented on the good job you’ve done!!
Thank you again for your hours of hard work. It was a pleasure having you here.

Confirm The Existing Terracotta Sealer

Older Terracotta can be sealed with a variety of treatments, including waxes, water-based sealers, solvent-based sealers, paint etc.

Looking at the sealer I could see it was not a wax sealer. With my experience, it looked to me like a water-based surface sealer.

This was confirmed when my client showed me a container of the original sealer.

I could also see that there was a heavy build-up of old sealer.

Heavy build-up of Sealer on Terracotta Floor

So I chatted with my client to understand how this had happened.

My client explained that over the years they applied new layers of sealer to restore the shine.

However, they did not understand the need to remove the old sealer, they just kept laying layer upon layer.

In some areas, especially in the grout, the sealer was over 1mm thick.

I find this to be an all too common issue with Terracotta.

I have a few specialist water-based sealer removal treatments. I tested each to see which sealer remover gave the best results in the shortest time.

Testing Terracotta Sealer Removers - Abbey Floor Care

Each worked well, however, the sealer coat was so heavy. My tests confirmed that it  would take a number of treatments to remove all the old sealer.

I had originally estimated two to three days to remove the old sealer, however, I could see, it would take me twice as long.

Thankfully, my client understood the situation.

Terracotta Cleaning – Remove The Existing Sealer

I applied the Terracotta Sealer Remover to workable sections of the floor and left the chemical to soften the Sealer.

During this time, I kept an eye on the chemical to make sure it did not dry.

Terracotta Cleaning Sealing Sevenoaks Kent By Abbey Floor Care (26)

After 20 minutes, I scrubbed the area using a rotary scrubbing machine with brushes and pads. I needed to use brushes and pads because the surface of the tiles was not smooth. Some tiles had animal footprints and the grout was quite deep. So scrubbing pads alone would not reach the deep grout.

After scrubbing, I rinsed the area and removed the slurry with a powerful wet vacuum.

In some areas of the floor, the sealer residue was very heavy, so I used scrapers to help remove the old sealer.

Terracotta Cleaning Sealing Sevenoaks Kent By Abbey Floor Care (11)

It took me four to five applications of sealer remover reach the tile surface.

Removing Terracotta Sealer from Corners And Edges

I removed the sealer from corners, edges and around static furniture by hand, using scrubbing brushes and scrubbing pads.

Removing Teracotta Sealer From Deep Grout

The scrubbing brush did not remove all the old sealer from the grout. So I had to use a combination of hand brushes and scrapers to remove old sealer from the grout.

In the time available, I managed to remove most of the sealer from the grout.

Terracotta Scraping Sealer Out Of Grout Sevenoaks Abbey Floor Care

However, there was some old sealer left in areas of deep-set grout.

Allow The Terracotta To Dry

I used a lot of cleaning and rinse water during the cleaning process. So it was important to get the Terracotta dry before applying a new sealer.

During the cleaning, I used air movers to help the Terracotta to dry.

Once I had fully removed the old sealer, I left the floor to dry for a further two days.

During this time, the air movers were working to help to dry the floors.

Terracotta Sealing

Originally, I had planned to seal the floor with a water-based surface sealer.

However, during my time with the client, I could see this was not an ideal solution because:

  • The household dogs and pets had free access from the garden onto the floor
  • The area was used well used
  • My Client was looking for minimum maintenance.

Once my clients understood the maintenance needs of a surface sealer, they would not be able to meet the maintenance needs of stripping and re-sealing every two to four years.

So I suggested an alternative sealing solution that is:

  • more hard-wearing than a surface sealer
  • easier to maintain than a surface sealer
  • lasts much longer than a water-based surface sealer.

Applying The Sealer To The Terracotta

After one coat, the sealer had soaked deep into the Terracotta.

A water test demonstrated the desired level of protection against spills. After 20 minutes the water had not penetrated the stone and after removing the water there was not a shadowing showing any water absorption.

Terracotta Sealing after one coat

However, the finish was matt, and my client preferred a mid-sheen finish.

So, applied two more coats and achieved the finish my client was looking for.

Terracotta Sealing Sevenoaks after three coats of sealer

As you can see, my client was delighted with the results.

If you are looking for a Terracotta Cleaning Service, please drop me a line, I will be delighted to help you.

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