A local cleaning contractor called us in to work on the Terracotta tiled floors at a council building in Amersham. The Terracotta had not been deep cleaned and resealed for about ten years and the sealer had worn off leaving the tile vulnerable to dirt becoming ingrained in the pores of the tile. The grout had also suffered the same fate and had almost gone black in many areas.
This is a common problem with Terracotta which is quite porous and once those pores become ingrained with dirt the tile becomes difficult to clean effectively. The solution is to seal the tile however sealers wear off over time and this was basically the problem.
After discussing the issues we agreed on a plan of action to deep clean the Terracotta tile and grout and then re-seal to protect it. Due to the busy nature of the building we agreed to do the work between Christmas and New Year when we knew the building would be empty.
Cleaning Old Terracotta Floor Tiles
We started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a strong tile cleaning product that being in a gel form ensures it sits on the tile for longer, giving it a longer effective dwell time so it can really eat into and loose the dirt. After approximately twenty minutes the gel was scrubbed into the tile with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This broke down most of the dirt and removed any remaining sealer. Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was rinsed thoroughly with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum.
With the soiled cleaning solution removed I could see the next step would be to spot clean stubborn staining and clean the grout. For this task I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbing it in by hand using stiff brushes and aided with a hand-held steamer to help treat the stubborn staining. Once done the floor was given a final rinse and then as much moisture as possible removed with the wet vacuum.
Sealing Old Terracotta Floor Tiles
We then left the floor to dry off completely and came back a couple of days later to seal the Terracotta tile.
I mentioned earlier that Terracotta is porous; in fact it’s probably the most porous material I deal with, so to fully seal the floor I had to apply eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will provide complete and long lasting protection against staining and dirt. Seal and Go also adds an appealing satin sheen to the tile and the new seal will make it much easier to clean in future.
The floor tile and grout now look much healthier and I’m sure the council will be very impressed when they go back to work after the holidays.
Happy New Year…
Professional Terracotta Tiled Floor Renovation in Buckinghamshire
This Porcelain tiled floor had been laid in the hallway and kitchen of a house in Leighton Buzzard five to six years earlier. During that time the floor had become very dirty and the grout was discoloured to the point where it had turned black and no matter how hard the customer tried they were unable to get the grout clean.
On my initial visit to the property we discussed the options with the customer and decided that the best thing to do would be to thoroughly clean the grout and then seal it with grout colorant saving a messy and costly replacement of the grout.
Cleaning Porcelain Tiles and Grout
To get the porcelain tiles clean and deal with the worst of the grout I treated the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The product was mopped onto the floor and then left to dwell for 20 minutes. It was then scrubbed into the tiles with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine running on a slow speed. I also ran a stiff grout brush along the grout lines to get the grout as clean as possible.
The floor was then rinsed with water under high pressure and the slurry extracted using a wet vacuum. As we were grout colouring later I gave the grout a further scrub using Grout Colourant Pre-Treater which ensures a better bond between the grout and the colourant, this was then rinsed off with more water and also extracted using the wet vacuum.
Once the grout was dry I started applying the Grout Colourant in a colour that best matched the original grout and colour of the tile. The process is quite straight forward and involves using a small brush to carefully apply the colorant along each grout line. When I was finished, I made sure to clean any excess product off the tiles before it had time to dry.
My photographs probably don’t do the floor justice but hopefully you can appreciate how the grout is now uniform in colour and with the protection of the grout colourant which forms a barrier over the grout it will stay that way for a long time to come.
Restoring the Appearance of Porcelain Tile and Grout in Buckinghamshire
Photographs below of a Terracotta tiled kitchen floor installed in the kitchen of a residence in the market town of Brackley, Buckinghamshire. The tiles had gone dark with years of soil trapped into the pores of the Terracotta and the while the grout had become heavily stained.
Cleaning Terracotta Tiles
It had clearly been sometime since the floor had been deep cleaned and to get the dirt out of the tile I could see it was going to take quite a bit of work. I set about applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an industrial strength alkaline cleaning product that’s safe to use on tile and stone and mopped it onto the floor. The solution was left it to dwell on the floor for twenty minutes in order for it to soak into the tile and get to work on the dirt. It was then worked into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and stiff hand brushes were along the grout lines.
The now dirty cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet and dry vacuum and the floor was then rinsed with clean water to neutralise the tile and allow us to see the result. More work was required and the process was continually repeated until I was happy that any old sealer and all the dirt had been removed and then the floor was given a final rinse, wet vacuum and then left to dry overnight ready for sealing the next day.
Sealing Terracotta Tiles
I returned the next day to seal the floor checking first that the tiles had dried out sufficiently for sealing. All was well so I started sealing the Terracotta tiles with seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the tiles from staining and also adds a nice subtle shine to the floor. Terracotta is a clay based product and so naturally quite porous.