terracotta tiles

Wax Covered Terracotta Tiled Floor Restored to New in Pendle

These Terracotta tiles, located at a property in the town of Pendle, Lancashire had the unique circumstances of being covered by a thick layer of wax which had turned black over the years. Anyone from the Lancs area will have heard of the famous Pendle Witch Trials, and we would need to channel some serious magic to successfully remove the unsightly wax.

The wax had been settled on the tiles for many years, proving difficult to remove even for a seasoned tile cleaning professional, especially since Terracotta has a high porosity and therefore allows the muck to become more easily ingrained. We had to employ all of our years of experience to get the job done. Here’s how we did it.

Black Terracotta in Pendle Before Cleaning Black Terracotta in Pendle Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Wax Covered Terracotta Tiled Floor

Our main product of choice when dealing with the heavy wax build-up was the strong alkaline gel cleaner, Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. Oxy-Gel is a stripper and degreaser that functions very similarly to our liquid alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, the main difference being that Oxy-Gel is in gel form, making it usable on vertical and sloped surfaces.

The thicker consistency of Oxy-Gel would make for a better foil for the thick buildup of wax: we applied it to the tiles and worked it in using a series of buffing pads fitted to a buffing machine. We also employed the assistance of a steaming machine that helped to soften the wax and make it easier to break down. A lot of rinsing with clean water was required, and several wet-vax machines were used to remove the excess cleaning residue, but it quickly became clear that we had finally achieved the result the customer was hoping for.

Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning Before Sealing

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

As was to be expected, the new unveiled tiles were very dull and lifeless, having not been sealed properly for a number of years. To restore the colour and lustre to the tiles we opted to use two different sealers. The first was one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which penetrates into the pores of the Terracotta to block dirt from becoming trapped. It also contains colour intensifying properties which really brought out the natural reddish shades in the stone.

The second was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which differs from its impregnating counterpart in that it is a topical sealer. This means that it forms a layer of protection of the surface of the tiles, as opposed to in the pores of the stone. Seal and Go eliminates the need for two-step sealing by providing both a protective layer and a durable, aesthetic sheen finish in the same product.

As you can see from the last two photographs, this combination of sealers really helped in getting these Terracotta tiles looking at their best again after years of neglect under the layer of black wax. We left our very happy customer with some advice to only use pH neutral cleaners for aftercare as general maintenance producers, including bleaches and washing up liquids can reduce the life of the sealer.

Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning and Sealing Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning and Sealing


Professional Restoration of a Wax Covered Terracotta Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Grout Cleaning and Colouring for a Ceramic Terracotta Tiled Floor in Preston

Well maintained grout is fundamental to achieving a great looking tiled floor, whatever your choice of tile or stone. Even if the tiles themselves are in reasonably good condition, dirty and damaged grout lines can really upset the overall appearance of the floor.

Such was the case with this Ceramic Terracotta tiled floor in the bustling Lancashire town of Preston. The property owner recently had a new kitchen installed, but chose not to have new tiles fitted since the original tiles (dating back a good 15 years) were still in fantastic physical condition, with no chips or breaks. This is quite surprising considering that the kitchen is typically one of the main areas of traffic in any house however Ceramic and Porcelain tiles are very durable.

The grout, however, told a different story: it was very dirty and even missing in parts. Over the years it had come away and was replaced with new grout, however, this had left the whole floor with a displeasing patchy finish. Upon closer inspection it also became clear that the tiles themselves could do with a deep clean. I stepped in to discuss what could be done to improve the appearance of the floor and recommended a deep clean and grout colouring.

Grout Colouring Preston Before

Cleaning Ceramic Terracotta Tiles and Grout

Tile Doctor Pro Clean, a versatile high alkaline cleaner, was my choice of product for removing the dirt from the tiles. I applied it liberally across the floor before scrubbing it in with a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Pro Clean is a go-to product for the removal of dirt, stains and other muck on most kinds of natural stone floor, and is capable of dealing with small amounts of soil to heavy buildup.

Once the tiles had been cleaned I turned special attention to the grout. I cleaned it with a product called Grout Colourant Pre-Treatment Cleaner, which is slightly acidic to break down ingrained dirt and tackle inherent grout smears, while ensuring that grout colourant bonds to the grout once it is applied.

Colouring Grout for Ceramic Terracotta a Tiles

The job took two days to complete as it was quite a large floor stretching into several rooms. The floor also needed to dry off overnight once I had completed the cleaning process, so I decided to call back the next day once it had dried completely. Upon my return I proceeded to colour the freshly cleaned grout by applying one coat of natural grey colourant. Sometimes two coats might be required for blending purposes, but not on this occasion.

The customer was very happy with the results. She had, in fact, thought of ripping up the old tiles as part of the kitchen restoration, but she decided not to since she really likes the tiles. A restoration by the Lancashire Tile Doctor was the appropriate and much less expensive choice!

Grout Colouring Preston After

Professional Grout Cleaning and Colouring of a Ceramic Floor in Lancashire

Heavily Worn Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Restored in Garstang

This Terracotta tiled floor was installed in the conservatory of a house in the old market town of Garstang, Lancashire, famous for being the world’s first ever ‘Fairtrade Town’.

There were quite a few problems with this floor; for one, my client had not re-sealed the tiles in many years and had therefore allowed the existing seal to become very worn and almost completely ineffectual. This had subsequently allowed the floor to become very dirty and marked with white blotches. These white blotches had occurred where the fertilizer held in decorative plant pots had started to eat away at the sealer.

Terracotta conservatory floor Before cleaning Garstang

Cleaning a dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

The tiles were cleaned with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner. The solution was liberally applied to the floor and left to dwell for a short period, allowing time for the cleaner to seep into the pores of the Terracotta and lift the ingrained dirt to the surface. The solution was then agitated using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy rotary machine, making a marked difference to the appearance of the tiles within a matter of minutes.

Terracotta conservatory floor Before cleaning Garstang
Tile Doctor Acid Gel was then used to spot treat the white marks, the acid content in the product breaks down the alkaline salts that had developed, left behind by the leaked plant fertilizer.

The entire floor was then rinsed several times to remove the soiled cleaning residue and the excess moisture was extracted using a wet-vac machine.

Terracotta conservatory floor after cleaning Garstang

Sealing a Terracotta tiled floor

The Terracotta tiles were left to dry for an entire week as there was no evident damp proof membrane in place at the property. I used damp testers to approximate when the tiles would be dry enough to seal, which was very important as any excess moisture can upset the performance of the sealer.

My first choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer that also intensifies the natural colours in the stone. A single coat of Colour Grow was applied, before I opted to follow this up with six coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides a very robust surface seal and also helped to give the Terracotta the aesthetically pleasing my client had requested.

Terracotta conservatory floor after cleaning Garstang
Before leaving the property with its newly restored Terracotta tiled conservatory, I made sure to give my client some tile maintenance advice. Needless to say, she was very pleased with the results.

Professional Terracotta Tile Restoration in Lancashire

Badly Neglected Terracotta Tiled Floor Restored in Fulwood

Not too long ago, I visited a house in the town of Fulwood in Preston, Lancashire. My client had a Terracotta tiled floor which had been neglected for many years and in their attempt to improve it had unfortunately been given some very poor advice by tile retailers, all of whom sold him different products, and each of which was unsuitable. Using these different products in succession had resulted in the depreciation of the floor’s texture and smoothness, in turn making the clay difficult to clean and maintain.

As per my usual process I ran a small test clean to demonstrate what could be done to improve the floor and I was commissioned to restore the floor back to its former glory.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Fullwood

Cleaning a badly neglected Terracotta floor

I started by mixing a strong cleaning solution consisting of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to three parts water. The solution was applied to the floor and left it to dwell for a short period. The high alkaline cleaner seeps into the pores of the tile getting underneath and lifting out the ingrained dirt and breaking down the old sealers. Then, I agitated the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine before using a wet vacuum to suck up the resulting soiled solution.

There were a few paint marks dotted across the floor, but these were not noticeable until after I had given the Terracotta a deep clean. To remove the paint marks I used Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is specially formulated to break down paint stains, adhesives and coatings. This product was used in combination with a steamer which, when applied directly to the tiles, helped to lift the paint out. Following this, I rinsed the entire floor a couple of times to remove any trace of cleaning product, and vacuumed up the excess moisture.

Sealing a Terracotta floor

It’s always best to let the floor dry completely prior to sealing as applying sealer to a damp floor will affect the sealer. I left the house to allow this to take place overnight returning the next day. To get the best out of the Terracotta I sealed the floor using one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile and acts as both as a bonding sealer enhancing the natural colours and darkening the clay (as requested by my client).

After the coat of Colour Grow had dried, I applied a further seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which achieves a nice, low sheen Satin finish. Before leaving my happy client to enjoy his newly restored Terracotta floor, I made sure to provide some professional cleaning and long-term maintenance advice.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Fullwood

Neglected Terracotta Tiles Professionally Cleaned and in Lancashire

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed

Terracotta Tiles cleaned With Tile Doctor Pro-clean and 2 Black Buffing pads, there were some awkward stains in corners and such so I used Remove and Go and some Nano-scrub cleaner on these, but only after they had been pre-wetted first otherwise Remove and Go is hard to get out of the clay.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing
Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing

Lots of Rinsing with water, left to dry overnight and came back the next day to Seal, turned the heating up, opened a couple of small windows front and back to allow for some Airflow and then started to apply 9 coats of Seal and Go with a Paint pad, this took all day, so quite a bit of waiting around, good time to catch up on my paperwork in the van in between sealer drying times.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning and Sealing
Terracotta Floor After Cleaning and Sealing


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