How To Clean Outdoor Terracotta Tiles

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Fragment Brick - Terracotta and Bianco - Gloss - Subway Tiles - Stone3 Brisbane
Textured terracotta tiles are a hallmark of timeless design, evoking scenes of a Mediterranean coastal home or warm Spanish Revival architecture. Incorporating them into your outdoor flooring is the fast track to bringing holiday style to your alfresco areas. But while their natural, unglazed finish creates a beautiful texture underfoot, it leaves the material porous and leads to stains and mould over time.

Made from red clay, terracotta tiles have been around for thousands of years and, as such, are ripe for restoration. If your outdoor tiles are becoming discoloured or beginning to look worse for wear, there are a variety of ways to clean them. To restore your tiles to their original glory, follow these steps to cleaning your outdoor terracotta tiles.

1. Clear Away Dirt

Before you begin the restoration process it’s important to remove dirt and other debris from your tiles. Wipe all areas with a wet mop, using a solution of 25% stone floor cleaner in a bucket of warm water. Ensure you clean the entire surface, as this solution can slightly alter the appearance. Next, scrub the floor until all stains are removed, and then use a towel to dry the surface of your tiles.

2. Prepare The Tiles For Oiling

The next step is to apply the finishing oil, but it’s vitally important the tiles are completely dry beforehand. We recommend waiting at least 24 hours before moving onto the next step. To protect your flooring from spills or dust settling in the grouting in the meantime, you can cover the tiles with dust sheets.

3. Use A Paintbrush To Apply Oil

The next move is to apply boiled linseed oil with a paintbrush across the floor. This is a traditional finish for unglazed terracotta tiles, as it creates a gorgeous soft sheen while sealing the tiles. Top tip: Help the oil be absorbed by leaving the can of oil in a warm spot overnight, or choose a hot, dry day to apply the finish.

4. Remove Excess Oil

Once you’ve layered the first coat, ensure there aren’t any pools of oil hovering on the surface. If you discover excess oil, you can either redistribute the liquid with your paintbrush or use a dry rag to dab and soak up the remaining boiled linseed oil.

5. Apply A Second Coat

Now that your excess oil is removed, you need to wait approximately eight hours before you apply the second coat of the finish. Yes, patience is key when it comes to restoring your terracotta tiles. Once enough time has passed and the first layer is dry, apply the second coat in the same manner as before, liberally covering the entire surface.

6. Seal With A Protective Coat

The final step in the restoration process is applying the protective coat, which is a stone floor sealer. After laying the second coat of oil, wait a full day before applying the oil-based stone floor sealer. Once restored, continue to take care of your terracotta tiles throughout the year by immediately clearing away spills and sweeping regularly to remove dirt from grouting.

If you need more tips on caring for your tiles, please don’t hesitate to give the knowledgeable team at Stone3 a call.