Terracotta Patio


Old 05-07-07, 06:01 PM
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Question Terracotta Patio

We have a terracotta patio that has a lot of white "salt" residue from many winters. The terracotta is not epoxy sealed, and we'd like to get rid of the white marks before doing that. We don't have a heavy duty pressure washer, and our attempts with the garden hose have proved minimal at best.
Are there any cleaning agents or solutions that would loosen this stuff?
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Old 05-07-07, 06:40 PM
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There are commercial tile cleaners available. You can wet the terracotta and spray on the cleaner and scrub with long handled brush. Rinse and repeat as needed. There are also services that will come to your home and pressure wash for you. If you plan on sealing, you might want to invest in having someone pressure wash for you.

Surface sealers provide protection from stains and darken tiles. Sealer must be periodically stripped and reapplied. Penetrating sealers soak in tile and do not have to be stripped and reapplied, but they do not provide as much protection. Glazed tiles do not require sealer.
Old 05-07-07, 07:11 PM
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I would not recommend any cleaning that would drive water into the tile (pressure washing), as this will bring more of the salts out of the tile as it dries. The first thing is to remove the surface stains with a product designed specifically for your type of tile. Next, let the tile dry completly! Tape a 12"x12" square of poly over the shadiest/lowest part of the patio and leave for 24 hours. If there is condensation under the poly, then it is not dry enough to seal.

Another option is to use a breathable sealer, like orange oil or certain waxes. They require a tad more maintanence, but will help to prevent the build up of efflorescene.

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