Natural Stone Information - Terracotta
Meaning ‘baked earth’, Terracotta is a type of rustic ceramic made from natural clay which has been moulded and then kiln fired to bake the clay and produce rigid tiles. The clay is either moulded by hand to give a more rustic feel, or machine-moulded for a more consistent finish. All Terracotta tiles will be subject to edge chipping and variation which is part of the finished look of an authentic Terracotta floor. Terracotta when untreated is very porous and as such any unsealed tiles will look very different from your finished floor. Rapid setting adhesives should always be used in order to minimize the chance of efflorescence being caused by moisture.
Cleaning Terracotta Tiles
Terracotta Tiles require regular cleaning with a PH neutral cleaner. Do not use bleach based or acid based products as these may damage the surface of the tile. Tiles with a rough or textured surface may benefit from the use of a doodlebug rather than a mop for a more effective clean.
Common Cleaning Mistakes
• Using the wrong cleaning products – too harsh a chemical or too abrasive a cleaner.
• Using too much product – dilute as per instructions, more is NOT better.
• Applying too much water to the surface / flooding the area.
• Not changing the water or cleaning solution often enough.
• Not finishing with a rinse to remove any cleaner / chemical residue.
• Leaving residual moisture on the floors – make sure to dry mop, wet vac or dry with an old towel or rag so that there is no residual moisture left on the floors (especially in the grout joints).
Sealing Terracotta Tiles
Sealing of Terracotta Tiles is necessary to protect them from premature decay and contamination, ie, oil, grease and dirt. Even old Terracotta Tiles and grout can be cleaned and resealed to give them back a new lease of life! Terracotta Tiles are generally sealed with one of two different types of sealers – topical or penetrating (2 sub-types). A topical sealer sits on the surface of the tile and leaves a glossy appearance. Topical sealers can lift and peel over time and also need to be stripped before reapplication. StonewrightUK does NOT deal with stripping or application of topical sealers. A penetrating sealer absorbs and sits just below the surface of the tile. A standard penetrating sealer will not alter the appearance of the tile. An enhancing penetrating sealer will enhance the natural colour of the stone and is sometimes referred to as a “wet look” sealer. At StonewrightUK we offer the option of both types of penetrating sealers. Sealing your Terracotta tiles and grout provides reaction time to deal with spills and so forth. An unsealed floor can stain immediately, whereas a sealed floor is stain resistant and can provide a reaction time of up to 4-5 hours. At StonewrightUK we strongly recommend that any newly laid Terracotta Tiles and grout be sealed immediately so that the area gains the full benefit of the protection.
• Prevent unsightly stains.
• Prevent discolouration.
• Keep your tiled floors looking better for longer.