Restoring a Terracotta and Slate Tiled Conservatory in Bicester

I was recently contacted by a client living in the historic market centre of Bicester, one of the fastest growing towns in Oxfordshire. Many will know Bicester for its famous shopping village.
They had a small, dirty Terracotta and Slate tiled conservatory which had suffered from water damage and a loss of colour. Terracotta and Slate are examples of naturally porous tiles which can suffer from dirt becoming trapped/ingrained into its pores making it difficult to clean for the regular homeowner with everyday cleaning products. The water damage had also left stubborn stains on the floor which would require professional attention to remove.

Grubby Terracotta and Slate Conservatory Floor Bicester Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Terracotta and Slate tiled floor

My first task was to cover the whole floor with Tile Doctor Remove & Go, mixed with water to form a solution. Remove & Go is a powerful cleaner that needs to be left to dwell for roughly ten minutes when first applied. This allows the product to soak into the pores of the stone, thereby getting underneath dirt and lift it out. After allowing the solution to dwell, I then agitated the surface with a brush attached to a floor machine to remove the particularly difficult muck.

In this process of doing this, I unveiled some staining in the floor. To tackle this I used NanoTech HBU (previously known as Ultra Clean), which uses nano-sized particles to remove heavy soil build-up in places other products simply cannot reach.

Following this I repeated the cleaning process with Remove & Go until I was satisfied that the conservatory floor had been cleaned to the best of my abilities. All of the resulting soiled residue was quickly extracted using a wet-vac machine. The floor was then given a final rinse before leaving to dry completely overnight before returning the next day to seal the tiles.

Sealing a Terracotta and Slate tiled floor

On day two and after checking the floor had dried, I applied several coatings of Tile Doctor Seal & Go to seal the floor. This helped to restore the desired colourful sheen finish to the floor, whilst also guaranteeing durable surface protection for the future. Seal & Go is suitable for use on internal, unsealed porous surfaces such as Terracotta, Sandstone, Slate, and more.

Grubby Terracotta and Slate Conservatory Floor Bicester After Cleaning

My client was very pleased with the results. They were especially happy to see the fantastic natural colours and shades in the tiles brought to life again, after forgetting they were there to begin with!
 
 

Cleaning and sealing Terracotta and Slate tiles in a conservatory in Bicester

Cleaning and Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor in Oxford

The before picture below was actually taken after another cleaning company had come in to clean these Terracotta floor tiles for a client in the city of Oxford; well what can I say except they then called Tile Doctor.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Oxford

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

I started by doing a test on a small area and realised that I could strip the remaining sealer from the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean which is also an effective cleaner and safe to use on stone and tiled floors. So I diluted Pro Clean with warm water and spread this on the floor leaving it to dwell for twenty minutes before scrubbing it in with a black padf fitted to my Rocky floor machine. This worked very well on the floor and the cleaning solution was soon dirty with the released soil which was removed using a wet vacuum and more water to rinse it away and dry the floor as much as possible.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

Satisfied that the floor was now as clean as it could be I left for the day and returned the next day to seal the floor, first checking that the tiles were dry and ready to be sealed.

Sealing was done in two stages starting with an initial coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that adds life to the natural colours in the tiles and gives the floor a good base for the next sealer. The second stage was to apply a few coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which builds up a surface seal that leaves a nice sheen to the floor as requested by the customer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Oxford

 
 

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Oxfordshire

Terracotta Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Great Bourton

At first glance and this Terracotta tiled floor at a house in the village of Great Bourton looks in good condition, but on closer inspection there were visible white marks where there had been a water leak in previous years and the salts had come through the tiles. The customer also told me she had to wax the floor on a regular basis and was looking for a seal where she didn’t have to do this.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton Before Cleaning 1 Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton Before  Cleaning 2

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

My first task was to protect all the skirting and kickboards with protective tape. I then mixed Tile Doctor Pro Clean with water and spread it over a section of the floor and then left it to dwell for a few minutes. The solution was then scrubbed in with a black pad on a 17inch rotary floor scrubbing machine. I then used a wet vacuum to remove the slurry and rinsed the floor with water. This process was repeated this process until the whole floor was scrubbed and rinsed with any stubborn areas re-treated.

To remove the white salts from the Terracotta I applied Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up over the floor which was scrubbed in and then removed using the wet vacuum. The whole floor was then thoroughly rinsed with water and the wet vacuum used to suck up the water until it the surface was dry.

The photograph below shows the terracotta floor at this stage with the floor clean and stripped back before re-sealing. I left the floor a couple of days at this point to allow it fully dry before applying the sealer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Stripping

Sealing Terracotta Tile

On my return I checked the floor had dried and then applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating seal that enhances the natural colour of terracotta, I then added five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a topical sealer giving it the nice finish the customer required.

The customer was really pleased with the results and also relieved that she would not have to keep waxing the floor; whilst I was there I demonstrated how to clean the floor using Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner which unlike acidic cleaners will not harm the sealer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Cleaning 1 Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Cleaning 2

The floor looks much better and certainly my customer thought so and left the following feedback on the system.

Very pleasant young man and he has done a great job. The kitchen floor is transformed. Thank you Barry!
 
 

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Oxfordshire

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Thame

This customer had recently moved into a house with a Terracotta Tiled Floor in Thame, Oxfordshire and decided she did not like the colour of the floor grout and also was unable to clean off some back marks in the corners. When I went to view the property I performed a test clean on a sample area to show her that the black marks could be removed and also stripped back the tile show how much cleaner they could look. The work was agreed and I was booked to come back and completely strip the floor tile, reseal it and also change the grout colour.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Thame Before Cleaning

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

On the first day I carefully taped up all the kitchen cupboards and skirting board to protect them from any splashes or damage. Once this was done a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner and stripper was applied to the Terracotta floor tiles and left to soak into the tile for a while before being worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a black stripping pad and then a floor scrubber.

Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner the now soiled Pro-Clean solution was removed from the floor using a wet vacuum and then the floor rinsed with clean water using a spinner tool attached to the wet vacuum. The spinner tool has been a great investment for us, it applies water under pressure to the floor and at the same time removes it via an adjacent suction connection saving loads of time; it’s also a versatile tool that can also be used for Carpet Cleaning which incidentally we also do.

The Terracotta tile was now stripped of all sealer so the next step was to cleaned the black grout with Grout Clean Up which is a mild acid cleaner that can remedy a number of grout related issues, after this I rinsed the floor again with fresh water. At this point I noticed some of the grout joints had loose or missing grout so the loose grout was removed and new grout applied to the affected areas, I then had to wait overnight so the floor could dry.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

On the second day I set about sealing the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which as well as protecting the floor also brings out the natural colours in the Terracotta tile. For added protection and to enhance the shine on the floor I then applied a further five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, the combination of the two compatible sealers provided the effect the customer wanted. I then had to wait overnight for the sealer to dry hard.

Grout Colouring

If you recall from the start of this post, the customer also wanted to change the grout colour to a light grey so I came back for a third day to complete this. With the original grout colour being black I was concerned that the dark grout may show through the lighter grey and so I first let the customer know that it might take two coats of Grout Colourant to achieve this. However once I got started colouring the grout using an applicator I noticed that the light grey was consistently covering the black grout and therefore one coat would be sufficient.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Thame After Cleaning and Sealing

When I had finished she was very impressed by the colour of the tile and grout and remarked on how much brighter her kitchen looked. She also asked me to come back later to do the hall floor which is a multi coloured Victorian floor.
 
 

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Oxfordshire

Terracotta Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Henley on Thames

Another Terracotta tiled floor installed in a conservatory this time in Henley on Thames. The previous sealer was mostly worn away and was no longer offering much protection allowing dirt to get ingrained into the tile and making it difficult to clean effectively resulting in dull looking tile and grout.

Terracotta Tiles Henley On Thames Before

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

I first covered the floor with a mixture of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and water which was scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a slow speed floor scrubber; the soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum and floor was rinsed down with clean water until all the chemicals were removed again using a wet vacuum to remove the liquids. The process was repeated a number of times until we were happy the tile and grout was clean and took most of the day.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

I left the floor to dry overnight and came back the next day to seal it checking with a moisture meter first to ensure the floor had dried. Terracotta is very porous so in the end it tool eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to seal the floor, Seal and Go is a water based sealer so it doesn’t give off an odour when it’s drying and also offers durable stain protection together with a low sheen finish.

Terracotta Tiles Henley On Thames After

The floor has been much improved certainly the customer was very pleased with the result.
 
 

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Oxfordshire

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Kidlington

I was asked to look at a Terracotta tiled kitchen floor that had just be fitted at a house in Kidlington, it seems the tiles were sticky and patchy and basically looked a bit of a mess. The home owner phoned me on Thursday sounding really upset and as I’m based in the general area I was able to look at the floor later that day.

On inspection I could see that the recently applied sealer had not taken to the floor probably as it was not been allowed to dry properly before sealing. We didn’t know what had been applied on the floor so I did a test on a couple of tiles to see which products would work best to strip the sealer off and then booked the job in for the following Saturday.

Patchy Terracotta Tiles Before

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

I placed my dust sheets down were needed and then I started on the floor by wetting it with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean, this product is quite versatile and being alkaline is safe to use on tile, stone and grout. The floor was then scrubbed using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad to agitate and then rinsed down with clean water which was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor left to dry. This process was repeated until I was satisfied that all the sealer was off and then give the Terracotta a thorough and final rinse to neutralise the floor and make sure there was no chemicals were left on the tile, again a wet vacuum was used to remove the water and I also asked the customer to leave the front and back windows open so the air flow would help dry the floor quicker.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

After a couple of hours I tested the floor with a Damp Meter to confirm the floor had dried and began to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealer which is an ideal sealer for Terracotta and also provides the satin finish the customer wanted.

Patchy Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning and Resealing

The area wasn’t the large so I managed to complete the whole Job in one day, needless to say the owner was very pleased that I was able to restore her new floor and oven the moon with the services given only three days had elapsed from the first point of contact to completion.
 
 

Patchy Terracotta Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Oxfordshire

Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Kidlington

This Terracotta tiled floor installed in a conservatory in Kidlington Oxfordshire was in the worst condition I have ever seen, you should be able to make out a large amount of stains quite easily yourself in the photograph below. The conservatory had been used as a greenhouse with many plant pots sitting directly on the tile which over the years had led to the staining and a build-up of white salts on the surface.

Abused Terracotta Conservatory Tiled Floor Kidlington Before

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

My first step was to give it a good hoover to remove any loose detritus; I then covered the floor in a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean which was left to soak into the Terracotta tile for a few minutes. Pro-Clean I should add is a heavy duty alkaline cleaning product designed for cleaning tile, stone and grout. The next step was to scrub the floor with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine; after the scrubbing was done I rinsed with water and removed the waste with a wet vacuum. I then repeated the process again tackling the grout this time with a stiff brush before thoroughly rinsing with a high pressure spinner tool to totally flush the floor. The next step was to rinse the floor with Grout Clean Up which is an acid wash to remove all the salts in the floor, after that I rinsed the floor with the spinner tool again.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

I left the floor to dry overnight and the next day came back to do the sealing taking care to use a moisture meter of the floor first to ensure it had dried sufficiently . I used Tile Doctor Seal and Go to seal the floor, it’s a water based sealer so it doesn’t give off an odour when it’s drying and also offers durable stain protection together with a low sheen finish. It’s also a breathable sealer which will allow moisture to rise up through the floor and evaporate on the surface rather than trapping it beneath the seal.

Abused Terracotta Conservatory Tiled Floor Kidlington After

The floor was transformed by this process and I think you will agree this is confirmed by the before and after photographs above which really speak for themselves.
 
 

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Oxfordshire