How to Restore Discolored Terracotta Tiles
Terracotta tiles are very popular due to their hard wearing features and the fact that they are easy to clean and maintain. However, in time terracotta tiles may become slightly discolored, especially if inadequate cleaning products are used on them, or due to the fact that they have been in use for several years. Discoloring may also be caused by inappropriate sealer and if the terracotta was not properly treated prior to being laid down and fixed on the floor. These are some instructions that can help you restore discolored terracotta tiles and bring back some of their original glory.
Step 1 - Examine the Terracotta Tiles
First of all, it is important to examine well the terracotta tiles in question. You also need to be aware whether any type of treatment was done on them in previous years, and if so, try to ascertain what type of treatment was used. It is also important to examine the type of sealer that was used. The finishing and any polish or sealer all contribute to discoloring; hence they need to be removed in order to take care of the discoloring effect.
Step 2 - Remove Old Finishes
If some type of finishing has been applied on the terracotta tiles, then the first step is to remove that finishing. Depending on the type of finish, you must choose the most suitable type of solvent with which to remove it. Apply the solvent on the tiles and scrub thoroughly with a scrubber. Make sure you mix it with water according to the instructions on the packaging so as to attain the best consistency and the best balance of chemicals. Usually a solution of concentrated phosphoric acid is recommended. Choose a scrubber that is strong enough to remove the polish, but not too hard to cause abrasions or other damage to the terracotta tiles.
Step 3 - Vacuum
Use a vacuum to pick up all the dust particles and other residuals that are left behind from the scrubbing process. The vacuum can also dry your floor slightly.
Step 4 - Dry the Floor
Use a clean, soft floor cloth to wipe the floor dry and clean.
Step 5 - Apply Sealing
At this point the terracotta tiles have been well cleaned and ideally attained their actual natural finishing. You can now apply the sealing on the grooves of the tiles. Make sure you select an adequate type of sealer, both with regards to color and quality. Usually water based sealants are recommended. Sealer can be matched to the color of the tiles so as to make your flooring look more appealing. You may need to apply more than one coating in order to attain good results.
Step 6 - Apply Polishing
Finally, you may opt to leave the tiles in their natural color or else apply some polishing. Polishing may obviously help enhance the shades of the terracotta tiles while also protecting the tiles a little. Make sure to choose high quality polishing.
Try to follow these basic guidelines in order to restore your terracotta tiles to a more appealing look, prolonging their life.