How To – Look After Your Terracotta Floor.

Terracotta-Floor

Terracotta floors, look great don’t they, give your home a mediterranean look and are cool in the summer.

As good as they look, they can be tricky to keep looking like new. Well sit back and grab a cuppa and I will give you some hints and tips to make it easier.

First step is to vacuum or sweep the floor before you begin.

1. Cleaning

For just regular maintenance cleaning see our maintenance section (No.3 below).

To give the floor a thorough, deep clean and to remove old layers of old layers of HG Terracotta Shine Seal, we would recommend using HG Terracotta Remover.

HG Terracotta Remover should remove most other water-based polishes or waxes – however we cannot guarantee that it will remove all other manufacturers products.
For the removal of stubborn dirt dilute 1:5 with water. For the removal of polishes or wax use undiluted.
Apply to the floor with a mop and leave to work for several minutes. If necessary scrub the floor. Then mop up with a mop or cloth.
Coverage: 10 to 15 m² per litre undiluted or 30 – 50 m² per litre diluted.

a) Removing cement, plaster, builders dust, grout residue/film use: HG Cement Grout Film Remover (HG Extra).
Dilute with water a solution of 1:4 is used. Apply liberally and spread over the floor covering no more than 10-15 m² at a time. Leave to work for 15-20 minutes, keeping the floor wet.
Scrub thoroughly with a pad or a stiff scrubbing brush and mop up. Rinse well (2-3 times) with water.
Coverage: 1 litre for 20-50 m².

b) Removing stubborn cement, grout, white bloom, salt deposits (efflorescence*) and mortar use: HG Cement, Mortar and Efflorescence Remover.
*Efflorescence is caused by soluble salts transferred by water, being drawn towards a drying surface by the movement of water. At the surface the water responsible for the transportation of the salts evaporates leaving behind the salts as a surface deposit.
Depending on the degree of residues dilute 1:4 to 1:10 with water. Apply and spread with a scrubbing brush or pad.
Leave to work for a couple of minutes. Scrub thoroughly till clean then rinse off with plenty of water. Repeat if necessary.
1 litre approx. 20 to 40 m².

c) Removing surface Oil and Grease Stains use: HG Spot Stain Remover
First mix by shaking the bottle before. Can be used concentrated on severe staining, otherwise dilute 1:5 with warm water, apply and spread over the area.
Use a scrubbing pad or brush. Scrub and leave to work for 5-10 minutes. When staining has been loosened, mop up and rinse off thoroughly with plenty of clean water. Treatment may need to be repeated.

d) For Oil and Grease Stains on porous Terracotta use HG Oil and Grease Absorber
Stir well. Use a palette knife or spoon and apply approximately 1/2 cm thick coating to the stain.
Apply around the edges of the stain moving towards the middle. Wait for at least 4 hours, until it has dried completely into an easily removable ‘cake’.

e) Removing Floor Glue Residues use: HG Floor Glue Remover
Extensive remements must first be perforated using a pricking roller or a similar tool. Remover must be able to penetrate very well into the glue layer to be effective.
Remaining glue should be well covered using a brush. After 10-15 minutes scrape off the glue using a filling knife.
Repeat the treatment, if necessary allowing longer to work.
Finally rinse the surface with water and allow it to dry.
Coverage: 0.5 – 1 litre per m²

2. Sealing
Once the floor has been cleaned we recommend checking to see if the floor requires sealing. Carry out a porosity test to see if the tiles are porous.
Use a tablespoon of water on the tile. If after 5-10 minutes none of the water has been absorbed into the surface the surface is sealed (not porous) and you can skip to step no. 3 – Finishing.
If however the water is absorbed into the surface of the tile we would recommend using HG Impregnating Sealer to seal.
This will make the tile non-porous making the tile impervious to water and water-based staining.
Rinse the floor with a lot of warm water (after cleaning) and leave to dry for 3 days before sealing (floor must be completely dry).

Use HG Tile Impregnating Protector to seal and protect.

Use neat, evenly, in one direction with our Superfine Roller or a Non-Fluffy Cloth. After a maximum of 5 minutes HG Impregnator is drawn into the surface. Remove any excess immediately after this 5 minutes with a dry cloth, dampened if necessary with white spirit. If the Impregnator is fully absorbed and no surplus is required to be wiped off, a second/third treatment may be needed until the Impregnator is no longer absorbed.
After treatment the surface should retain a matt appearance. Allow 2 hours before applying a second or more coats depending on porosity. After approx. 4 hours the surface can be walked upon.
Coverage approx. 8-10 m² per litre. 5 m² for 2 coats.

3. Finishing

Then it is all about the finish you prefer. You have four choices.

a) If you are happy with the colour and matt finish after sealing you can just use HG Terracotta Clean and Shine as a regular maintenance product.
Use diluted as necessary: 100ml (1 cup) to 5 litres (1/2 bucket) of warm water for cleaning floors. Increase strength if floor requires it.
Scrub or mop the floor as necessary. Smooth tiles can usually be mopped clean but it may be advisable to scrub tiles with a rustic surface.
Wring the mop in a separate bucket of clean water to avoid soiling the solution. The water can be changed as it becomes dirty. This save wasting the clean solution.
Do not rinse the floor after cleaning because you will remove the shine compounds left by the product. Allow to dry naturally.

b) Or use HG Terracotta Shine Seal to give a shine/gloss and a protective coating.
Use neat. Do not pour directly onto the floor. Apply with either a Non-Fluffy Cloth (perhaps wrapped around a floor mop), a Mohair Paint Roller. (not foam or wool) or with a wax-applicator moistened with HG Terracotta Shine Seal. Apply thinly and evenly in one direction. Several thinly applied coats are better than one thick coat.
Allow to dry for at least 45 minutes before applying the next coat to achieve a smooth shining finish. The floor can be walked on after approximately 3 hours. After 3 days the product is completely hardened.
The stain resistance of the floor can also be increased by applying additional coats.
Coverage: 20-25 m² per litre.

c) Or you if you prefer a wax to enhance, deepen or change the colour of the terracotta and give a rich shine you can use HG Terracotta Wax available in two colours.
Should be applied at surrounding temperatures of above 15 degrees celsius. Apply at 20 degrees celsius (warm by immersing the bottle in warm water, pouring it into a bucket and stirring thoroughly) with a soft brush evenly across the tiles and grout joints. Max 2 m² at a time.
Wax should then be rubbed in thoroughly and polished with a cloth or buffing machine.
Coverage: 2.5 – 10 m² per litre.

After application, wax should be left for at least two weeks (to cure).
Clean the floor with HG Terracotta Remover to ensure good adhesion with the wax. Allow to dry thoroughly (3 days).
Do not shake before use. Apply with a clean, damp, Non-Fluffy Cloth wrapped around a floor mop.
Pour a little onto floor as well as onto cloth and apply evenly and thinly in one direction. Do not rub in or polish.
Coverage:25-40 m² per litre.

4. Maintenance

Whether you decide to use HG Terracotta Shine Seal, or HG Terracotta Wax we recommend HG Terracotta Clean and Shine as a maintenance cleaner.
Depending on traffic we would periodically recommend using HG Terracotta Remover to remove all the old layers of wax or shine seal and start a fresh.

Well, I hope that gives you some help on the maintenance of your Terracotta floor, sorry it’s a bit wordy but it will keep your Terracotta floor looking like it was put down yesterday.

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