Cleaning, Sealing and Maintaining Terracotta Tile (Terra cotta tile)
Terracotta has been used on floors and walls for centuries. As with all natural materials, it does require a certain level of care.
This post will provide a comprehensive guide to cleaning, sealing and maintaining terracotta floors and surfaces. The post explains the LTP three step approach to cleaning, protecting and maintaining terracotta used in internal situations.
Above Photo: Santa Maria della Passione church in Milan, Italy. Left side nave – 05 – Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi. The ancient terracotta floor, being still the original one. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, February 26 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Terracotta – Internal Application (Traditional Method)
Step one: Initial cleaning
Before sealing, terracotta must be thoroughly cleaned to ensure that sealing of the surface can be achieved effectively. This is true of newly installed terracotta floors, as well as existing, due to the contamination that can occur during fitting.
Equipment recommended for this step is a bucket, mop, scrubber or scrubber dryer machine.
NATURAL TERRACOTTA RESTORATION: CLEANING & REFURBISHING USED AND HEAVILY SOILED TERRACOTTA TILE (TERRA COTTA TILE) SURFACES
- Before sealing the terracotta tile must be thoroughly cleaned. Old layers of sealer, residues from aftercare products and deposits must be removed from the surface and pores of the terracotta tile (terra cotta tile).
- Firstly, remove any old layers of wax with LTP Solvex. Apply the solution undiluted to the face of the tile and spread around evenly with a paint brush or soft cloth. Leave for 30 minutes and then rub with a cloth to remove the old layers of wax. Do not allow the solution to dry on the surface. Repeat process if necessary.
- Remove any residues with LTP Grimex. Dilute 1:5 with water.
- Agitate the surface with a white pad or scrubbing brush and leave for 5 minutes (scrubber machines can be used).
- Continue to scrub while adding clean water. Remove residues from the surface using a cloth or scrubber dryer machine.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean fresh water to remove all remaining residues.
- Allow the surface to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before applying the protective seal.
FOR THE REMOVAL OF OTHER TYPES OF DIRT:
N.B. Do not use LTP Mouldex on terracotta. If you are unsure please call our helpline on +44 (0) 01823 666213 for advice.
Step two: Protect your natural terracotta tile surface from stains
To protect terracotta tile (terra cotta tile) surfaces and help prevent staining terracotta should be sealed. LTP recommends the application of LTP Boiled Linseed Oil or LTP Stone Oil and then LTP Clear Wax or LTP Antique Wax which will render the terracotta tile surface water and oil repellent.
SEALING PREPARED TERRACOTTA TILE
1. Surfaces must be clean and dry. Under floor heating must be off.
2. Apply LTP Boiled Linseed Oil. Remove any excess that remains on the surface within an hour after each application. Depending on porosity of the terracotta tile (terra cotta tile) it may be necessary to apply 2 or more coats.
3. Leave to dry for 24 hours. Apply a light coat of LTP Clear or LTP Antique Wax using a soft cloth. Buff with a soft brush
4. Newly installed surfaces :Grout the joints.
5. After grouting: residual grout will sometime remain on the surface of the tiles. For best results use LTP Grout Stain Remover to wash the surface and leave to thoroughly dry before applying he final seal.
6. Apply a further light coat of LTP Clear or LTP Antique Wax using a soft cloth. Buff to a shine with a stiff bristle brush.
7. Allow wax to dry. Do not walk on the surface for at least 3 hours.
8. Protect from water for 24 hours and do not wash surfaces for at least 3 days.
Step three: Maintaining your natural terracotta tile
Using the the correct maintenance product will increase the life of your floor seal, provide additional protection against staining and ensure your floor looks great. Common household cleaning products often contain harsh substances that can breakdown sealing products applied to terracotta. For this reason LTP recommends using LTP Waxwash
REGULAR MAINTENANCE ON TERRACOTTA FLOORS
1. Add one cap full of product per litre of water in a bucket.
2. Wipe surface with the solution. Do not rinse.
3. Allow to dry. Do not walk on the surface during drying time – 20 minutes.
A one litre LTP Waxwash will wash a 20 sq.m floor 40 times.
Still unsure? Try our new product guide to help select the correct products.
PLEASE NOTE: Always follow the detailed instructions on the product labels. Avoid using normal detergents or strong bleach cleaners on sealed surfaces as they will gradually remove the protective seal.
Please note that this information is offered as general guidance only and without guarantee. Your specific circumstances may need an alternative approach. In case of doubt, any process should be tried out in an inconspicuous area before general application.
At LTP we believe in helping to provide solutions and this is why we offer a no obligation LTP TECHNICAL HELPLINE, so please give us a call on +44 (0) 1823 666213 and we will be happy to help you.