Flood Damaged Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Rescued in Docking

Luckily for this client in the village of Docking in Norfolk, the water pipe under her kitchen sink burst the day before she left for a four-week holiday in the USA, so at least she was able to turn the water off at the mains and minimise the damage before leaving for the airport… every cloud, as they say!

On her return she found that the Terracotta tiled flooring had dried out perfectly but unfortunately, the acrylic sealer had suffered badly as the evaporating moisture came up through it and the entire surface of the floor had developed a milky-white bloom. Our client thought that complete replacement of the whole floor, which ran from a large kitchen diner through to a long utility room with separate storage cupboards and a WC would be the only option. Fortunately, before investigating that expensive option she gave Tile Doctor a call in the hope that the floor could be saved.

Large Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Docking

Deep Cleaning Water Damaged Terracotta Floor Tiles

In order to remove the damaged acrylic sealer, we applied a strong dilution (1:2) of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with a little Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was scrubbed in along with a small amount of honing powder using our 17″ rotary machine fitted with a medium nylon brush before being power rinsed and extracted to remove all the chemicals and resulting slurry.

The grout lines, corners and edges where the original sealer had been applied more thickly were then further cleaned by hand with Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU Remover, HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up and this is a useful product for tackling stubborn areas.

The floor was then finished off with very fine honing powder applied with water and a black scrubbing pad before being rinsed and extracted again. Finally, the whole floor was acid washed with Tile Doctor Acid Gel to neutralise all remaining cleaning agents and counter act any efflorescence salts which may appear in the future before being left to dry thoroughly overnight with the assistance of our dehumidifier.

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles in Docking

On our return the following day, the floor was thoroughly damp tested and found to have dried extremely well enabling us to start applying the new sealer straight away. The client had specified a muted shine surface for her floor, so we chose to use Tile Doctor Seal and Go.

Terracotta is made from clay which is quite a porous material so seven coats were needed to completely seal the floor. This would provide optimum fluid resistance along with the mid-sheen finish she had requested.

Here’s what the client had to say when we’d finished:

I am delighted with the work carried out. The terracotta tile floor of my kitchen was in a terrible state following a flood and it has been restored to an excellent condition. A very professional and personal service which I am happy to recommend.

Large Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning Docking

 

Renovating Terracotta Floor Tiles in Norfolk

Dirty Terracotta Floor Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in Hales

How the Terracotta floor tiles at this property in the Village of Hales, Norfolk became quite so comprehensively dirty in so short a time, we will never know. We were contacted by the new owner, a lady who had become so distressed by the state of the floor in the house she had recently bought that she was seriously considering ripping up the entire area of tiling and replacing it. Remarkable particularly because the property had been restored only a couple of years ago, the kitchen and hallway being laid with new terracotta tiles.

The entire surface was deeply ingrained with soiling and the pointing lines were filthy, despite there being evidence of some kind of topical sealer having been applied at the time of installation. It quickly became obvious during testing that the sealer had been applied very sparingly and had mostly worn away, leaving a badly compromised fluid and soiling resistance with a dull and dirty finish which refused to clean up when mopped.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Hales

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tile in Hales

The tiles turned out to be made of a fairly soft terracotta which meant that we were able to deep-clean them extremely effectively using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (one part Pro-Clean to two parts water). A strong dilution was required to remove what remained of the old sealer in the less used areas and strip the surface back to the bare tile.

The Pro-Clean was left to soak into the floor for about ten minutes before being worked in using our heavy rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The resulting slurry being power rinsed and vacuumed away with our 400psi Ninja machine. All the dirt and virtually all of the old sealer was removed at this stage; the remaining patches around the edges of the area being finished by hand with a 200-grit hand-held burnishing block. The pointing lines were then cleaned by hand with neat Pro-Clean and an angled grout brush.

Finally, the deep-seated oil stains in front of the cooker were brought out using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which was left to dwell on the marks for an hour before being agitated with a diamond burnishing pad and rinsed away with the Ninja machine. The floor was then left to dry thoroughly overnight with assistance from our dehumidifier.

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tile in Hales

Owing to the softness and consequently high porosity of the substrate, we realised that it could take up to ten coats or more of our chosen sealer in order to achieve the level of shine our client had requested so that the daily mopping would be effective.

Our usual solution to enable us to complete the work in one day would be to apply a coat of penetrating Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to the tiles first, followed by up to five coats of topical sealer which would provide the finish, but because our client loved the new lighter colour of the cleaned tiles, Colour Grow was not an option as it is designed to enrich and thereby slightly darken the colour.

The solution therefore was to apply a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which, like Colour Grow, is a solvent-based penetrating sealer but doesn’t alter the colour of the material. This was followed by five coats of Seal & Go to further improve the fluid resistance and provide the mid-sheen finish required.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Hales

At the end of the job we had a very happy client whose actual words were: “thank you so much for restoring my faith in my floor!”
 
 

Renovating Terracotta Floor Tiles in Norfolk