The key to cleaning and maintaining a terracotta floor is properly sealing it, either when it is installed or when replacing an older sealant. With the right sealing material and procedure, you can protect the floor's appearance and make cleaning your floor a more simple and less time consuming job. Refer to the information below to choose the right sealer and to clean and maintain your terracotta tile floor.
Step 1 – Choosing a Sealant
Your terracotta floor may already have been sealed right after it was installed. If so, you'll know it was sealed when you spill liquids on it. If the liquid penetrates the surface and pores, it more than likely it has not been sealed. Or, if it was sealed with the wrong type of sealer you'll likely see the same results. If your floor has no sealer on it, you'll need to choose one that works well with stone surfaces. Although you'll find special sealers that are made specifically for terracotta tile, most commercial stone sealers will work fine.
Step 2 – Preparing your Tile for Pre-Sealant
Remove dirt, sand, or debris from your floor surface by washing it with a mixture of water and mild detergent. Or, if you have a wet vacuum designed to clean hard floors, use that. After cleaning, use plain water to rinse and remove any soap or detergent used to clean the floor. Allow the surface to dry completely before applying pre-sealant.
Step 3 - Applying Pre-Sealant
If your terracotta tile floor has been newly laid and grout had been applied, you can pre-seal lit. Otherwise, you'll need to apply grout and pre-sealant. If you're not sure whether it has been sealed, check the floor. Sealer will leave a shiny, smooth surface. On unsealed tile, or tile on which the sealant is worn you'll see a dull and porous surface.
For a newly laid and unsealed floor, choose a pre-sealant made especially to be applied to a new floor within a 24-hour period after installation has been completed. Always follow the directions from the manufacturer before applying your sealant. When applying your pre-sealant, always use a paint brush or clean cloth. After sealing, allow the floor to dry, using manufacturer's instructions. Never walk on the floor until it has dried completely.
Step 4 – Cleaning your Sealed Terracotta Tile Floor
Your floor's sealed and shiny appearance will last longer if you clean it frequently. Grit from dirt or sand will wear the sealant off your tiles. The more often you sweep and clean these floors, the longer the sealant will last, and the longer your protected floor surface will last before you will need to re-seal. For cleaning these floors, you will not need to use a special floor cleaner. A solution of plain water and mild soap or detergent will work well and will preserve the finish on your tiles. To clean them, use a mop or cleaning rag to clean up normal dirt. For a those spots that are hard to clean with water, a brush will usually do the job.