Exterior Terracotta Floor Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
A terracotta floor is one of the few materials that are popular for both indoor and outdoor use. Terracotta provides a warm, inviting look and adds to the attractiveness of patios, driveways and garden paths. Exterior terracotta floors require some specific cleaning and maintenance steps.
Perform Periodic Sealing
Terracotta floors require regular sealing, whether they are installed indoors or outdoors. Exterior terracotta floors are constantly exposed to the elements. Temperature fluctuations, intense sunlight, snow and rain can all contribute to quicker deterioration of the tiles. This is why through sealing is vital for longer lasting floors. Reapply the sealant once every couple of years. To determine whether your terracotta flooring is in need of sealing, perform a simple test as follows. Pour some water on the flooring and check on it after a few minutes. If it has been absorbed by the flooring, then the sealant has worn off and must be reapplied. Check the grout lines for any signs of deterioration, discoloration or damage and repair as required.
Keep the terracotta floors clean and sweep as often as possible. It is a good idea to sweep every time you work on the garden. Sweeping the floor clean will prevent the buildup and accumulation of dirt, dust and grime. This will make overall cleaning much easier and quicker. Accumulated dust particles can also contribute to a greater amount of scratches on the surface.
Wash with Water Beforehand
Before washing an exterior terracotta floor, wash it down with a garden hose. This will make it easier to clean the surface. You can wet small areas of the exterior floor at a time. Spread cleaning solution on the wet area and scrub it with a long handled scrubber. This way, you do not have to bend or squat on the floor as you clean it. You can also save a lot of time.
Use Recommended Cleaners
To avoid damage or staining on the exterior terracotta floor, always ensure that you use recommended cleaners that are safe on terracotta surfaces. Consult the manufacturer of the flooring if you are in doubt. Using abrasive or excessively strong cleaners can cause problems such as wearing out of the sealant and fading of the color. Once the sealant wears out, the tiles will be open to the elements and dirt. This can shorten the lifespan of the tiles.
Try Vinegar or Mild Detergent
A mix of vinegar and warm water is excellent for cleaning exterior terracotta tiles. Vinegar is a natural cleanser that is very effective for removing grease, dirt and accumulated grime. You can also try mild soap detergent and water. When cleaning, apply the cleaner on small areas and scrub it in before it has a chance to dry out. After scrubbing, wash off with plain water and repeat application if needed. Pay special attention to grout lines and clean them thoroughly. Damaged grout can increase the chances of tile damage by way of moisture infiltration. After cleaning with water, wipe off excess moisture with a squeegee, so that no water marks are left behind.