Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Tips for Sealing & Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

Tips for Sealing & Cleaning Terracotta Tiles


1. The Traditional Method: Find Out if They’re Porous

It’s important to check if your tiles have become porous. This will happen from time to time over the years, but it’s easily remedied. To see if your terracotta is porous, just place a bit of water in the middle of a tile. If after about 15 minutes the water soaks through, it’s time to treat them with boiled linseed oil. It’s a good idea to check the porosity of terracotta every year or so. Boiled linseed oil is the traditional method to help with protecting terracotta tiles and gives the tiles a sheen; it darken the tiles naturally, too, as well giving them a lovely ‘been there forever’ sort of look.

2. How to Apply Boiled Linseed Oil to Terracotta Tiles

If you find you need to improve the water-tightness of your terracotta tiles, then here’s how you apply boiled linseed oil: clean the floor with a PH neutral soap, then mop or wipe to dry as best as possible and leave to dry fully (this can take a day or so). Once the tiles are perfectly clean and dry, work warm linseed oil with a paint brush into the whole area ensuring it covers all nooks and crannies (as well as the grout). After about 20 minutes check to see if there is any excess. If there is, re-work this into the tiles until the covering is equal across the floor. Now leave the floor for about 8 hours (or even a bit more) for the linseed oil to soak in and repeat the process of applying boiled linseed oil. This time, after 20 minutes take a dry rag and remove any excess oil to ensure an even finish (if excess oil is left it can collect and cause streaks).

3. How to Seal Terracotta Tiles

Unsealed tiles can obviously look super-charming, but if laid in a kitchen they can quickly become stained and grubby with general day-to-day use, spills (wine or olive oil, invariably…) and wear. In other rooms you may decide to not treat and seal terracotta tiles and just seal them.
If you do decide that sealing the tiles is the way forward so that they're protected and easy to clean, use a protective finish (ideally oil-based) as this works well with the linseed oil.

Sourced from: http://www.reclaimedtilecompany.com

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