I was recently asked to survey the floors at a substantial property in Bucklebury which used to be a school. At some point in the 1970’s there was a major makeover and the property was converted into two houses. During the conversion a combination of Terracotta and Quarry tiles were installed throughout the ground floor and then sealed with what we believed was a wax-based product. Although Wax was a traditional sealant for Terracotta there are better modern sealers available now that are designed for the job and so we don’t recommend it. In this case the wax had deteriorated over the years and left the tiles looking tired and dirty.
After reviewing the flooring, I demonstrated cleaning the tile and grout which went well and impressed the customer who after living with the floor looking dirty for some time was eager for the job to be completed. I gave the customer a price for renovating the whole floor which was agreed, and we set a date for the work to commence.
Cleaning Dirty Quarry and Terracotta Tiles
My first job was to strip off what remained of the wax sealer using Tile Doctor Remove and Go and a new Tile Doctor product called Wax Away which has been specifically designed for dealing with wax. Both products had very similar effects and together striped off the old coating with little issue. Of the two products my preference to use Wax Away as it foamed less when wet extracting with a spinner tool.
After applying the Wax Away, I left it to dwell for fifteen minutes re-applying more product when it began to dry out. Leaving it to dwell allows it to penetrate the wax and weaken it so it’s easier to remove. I then used a 17-inch black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine to scrub the solution into the tiles. Finally, I used a spinner tool fitted to a hot water pressure extraction system that is housed in my van to rinsed away and extract the resulting slurry.
After the floor was clean, I set to work on the grout lines that still had traces of embedded wax sealer. The floor pads can struggle to reach into the recesses of the grout, so the solution is to use a stiff grout brush and scrub them clean by hand assisted with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is out go to grout cleaning product.
As a last step in the cleaning process I gave the floor and Acid Wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up. I did this to further clean the floor and to neutralise Its pH after using so many high alkaline cleaning products.
Sealing Quarry and Terracotta Tiles
I returned at the end of the week and checked that the moisture levels of the floor, we always do this to ensure the floor is dry before sealing and would not recommend sealing a damp floor as the results can be patchy. The readings were spot on, so I was able to get a started.
The customer wanted to keep the rich terracotta colours in the tile and wanted a sheen, so I selected Tile Doctor Seal and Go as the sealer. To fully seal the tiles, I used six coats on the smaller Quarry tiles and nine coats on the large Mexican Terracotta tiles. Seal and Go is a modern water-based acrylic sealer that provides both a stain resistant seal and a durable low-sheen finish, also being water based it doesn’t give off a smell as it dries.
The result was a huge improvement, needless to say my customer was very pleased and left the following feedback.
”I had a large quarry/terracotta tiled floor in kitchen/conservatory badly in need of cleaning. Dennis did an incredible job. He was very efficient and the result is outstanding, very happy to recommend”