Terra-Cotta

Terra-cotta

The word Terra-Cotta comes from Italian terra, ’earth’, and cotta, ’cooked’ - a hard-baked, brownish red earthen ware, often glazed and colored. Terra-Cotta is often referred to as Saltillo tile, quarry tile, Spanish tile, or Mexican tile. Terra-Cotta is usually hand-made and varies in color, texture and appearance. It may come prefinished or require application of various types of sealers or coatings on site to provide a wearing surface. Terra Cotta's natural, warm colors and durability make it a popular choice for informal rooms, such as the kitchen and sunroom. May crumble or show wear quickly unless sealed and laid on water proof layer. Terra Cotta should never be installed in a high-traffic area.

"Mexican Tile" is a type of terra cotta (terracotta) tile. However, it has its own unique characteristics that requires a separate page.

Even a properly sealed Terra Cotta floor eventually acquires layers of soil from foot traffic and frequent spills. Where the sealer has worn away or was never applied, the porous tile holds the dirt deeper than normal household cleaners and mops can reach. Dirt and stains are ground into waxes and acrylic coatings. The one big downside to Terra-Cotta tiles is that they have no glaze on the surface and can soil deeply dirt very quickly. The answe,r of course, is to seal them. Terracotta tiles are the most problematic to seal. Wax sealants tend to discolor to a darker shade and the wax or floor finish will scratch and powder off - leaving quite a mess!

Fortunately terra cotta can be cleaned with StoneTech™ Professional's All Purpose Cleaner, Klenzall or Revitalizer without altering its natural tone or texture. Years of soil can be dissolved and vacuumed away. Old finishes are more of a problem, especially if a petroleum based coating was applied.

Care & Maintenance of Terra-Cotta:

READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS AND PRODUCT LABELS COMPLETELY BEFORE USING. Pretest in an inconspicuous area prior to application to determine if the desired results will be achieved and that the stone is not adversely affected.

Restorative Cleaning:
Depending on the type of soil, stain or other foreign matter present, select one or more of the following options:

  • For stripping off any existing topical acrylic, urethane, epoxy, heavy wax coatings and epoxy grout haze:
    1. Mask off and protect any baseboards or adjacent areas to avoid splashing and overspray onto surfaces not intended to be treated.
    2. Sweep or dust mop loose dirt and debris.
    3. For heavy, hard to remove coatings, use StoneTech Professional™ Heavy Duty Coating Stripper as is.
    4. For softer coatings, dilute Heavy Duty Coating Stripper with clean water up to a 1 to 1 solution.
    5. Apply an even coat using a chemical-resistant paint brush, roller or deck brush.
    6. Allow stripper to dwell for 20 minutes to 2 hours or as long as needed to soften coating.
    7. Heavy Duty Coating Stripper will remain active for up to 24 hours.
    8. Agitate well using a stiff nylon bristle scrub brush, stiff bristle push broom or a weighted floor machine at 110 lbs., 175 rpm, fitted with a scrub brush attachment.
    9. Rinse well with clean water and mop, sponge or wet vacuum to remove the remaining cleaning solution.
    10. A hard surface extraction wand and portable or truck mounted extraction machine may be used.
    11. Repeat the rinsing and wet vacuum process to insure that all dirt, soil and cleaner residue have been removed
  • For cleaning of grease, oil, dirt, dry soil and soap scum:
    1. Sweep or dust mop loose dirt and debris.
    2. Mask off and protect any baseboards or adjacent areas to avoid splashing and overspray onto surfaces not intended to be treated.
    3. Strip off all topical finishes such as waxes and coatings.
    4. Prepare a solution of StoneTech Professional™ KlenzAll™ mixed with warm or hot water as suggested below:
      • Medium Duty Usage — Mix 1 part KlenzAll™ to 4 parts of water.
      • Heavy Duty Usage — Mix 1 part KlenzAll™ to 2 parts of water.
    5. Apply KlenzAll™ using a low-pressure chemical-resistant sprayer, sponge or mop.
    6. Agitate well using a stiff nylon bristle scrub brush, grout brush, stiff bristle push broom or a weighted floor machine at 110 lbs.-140 lbs., 175 rpm, fitted with a scrub brush attachment.
    7. Rinse well with clean water and mop, sponge or wet vacuum to remove the remaining cleaning solution. A hard surface extraction wand and portable or truck mounted extraction machine may be used.
    8. Repeat the rinsing and wet vacuum process to insure that all dirt, soil and cleaner residue have been removed.
  • To remove deep or stubborn oil stains not completely removed by KlenzAll™, let the surface dry and use StoneTech Professional™ Oil Stain Remover:
    1. Apply a ¼ inch thick coat of Oil Stain Remover to the oil stained area.
    2. Insure that Oil Stain Remover covers an area 1” to 2” beyond the stained area for the purpose of containment.
    3. Allow 2-3 days for the Oil Stain Remover to dry to a powder.
    4. Sweep and wipe up dried powder and evaluate the stained area for removal.
    5. Repeat process if needed.
    6. Remove any remaining Oil Stain Remover using mineral spirits.
  • For removal of efflorescence, grout haze, salts, mineral deposits and all other calcium-based stains (acidic cleaning):
    1. Test in an inconspicuous area, as some materials are acid sensitive and may etchwhen acidic cleaners like StoneTech Professional™ Restore™ are applied.
    2. Mask off and protect any baseboards or adjacent areas to avoid splashing and overspray onto surfaces not intended to be treated. Restore™ may damage stainless steel and other metals
    3. Sweep or dust mop loose dirt and debris.
    4. Strip off all wax, acrylic, urethane and all topical finishes.
    5. Prepare a solution of Restore™ mixed with warm or hot water as suggested below:
      • Medium Duty Usage — Mix 1 part of Restore™ to 4 parts of water.
      • Heavy Duty Usage — Mix 1 part of Restore™ to 1 part of water.
    6. Liberally apply using a low-pressure chemical-resistant sprayer, sponge or mop.
    7. Agitate well using a stiff nylon bristle scrub brush, grout brush, stiff bristle push broom or a weighted floor machine at 110 lbs.-140 lbs., 175 rpm, fitted with a scrub brush attachment.
    8. Rinse well with clean water and mop, sponge or wet vacuum to remove the remaining cleaning solution. A hard surface extraction wand and portable or truck mounted extraction machine may be used.
    9. Thoroughly rinse all metal surfaces.
  • Sealing & Protecting:
    1. Clay surfaces must be sealed to prevent or minimize staining.
    2. Leaving clay surfaces unsealed may greatly hinder the complete removal of stains in the future.
    3. The following suggestions are for impregnating the surface and will allow the surface to breathe.
    4. Allow new installations to cure for 72 hours prior to applying sealer.
    • For a natural looking protector on interior and exterior surfaces (maximum protection, water and oil repellency):
      1. Sweep or vacuum all dust, dirt and debris
      2. Mask off and protect any baseboards or adjacent areas to avoid splashing and overspray onto surfaces not intended to be treated.
      3. Ensure that surface is clean and residue-free.
      4. StoneTech Professional™ BulletProof™ Stone Sealer may be applied to damp surfaces one hour after standing water has been removed.
      5. Liberally apply an even coat of sealer using a low-pressure chemical-resistant sprayer, roller or brush.
      6. Allow sealer to penetrate the surface for 20-30 minutes.
      7. During this time, distribute excess over entire area to insure even penetration.
      8. Wipe off any remaining sealer prior to drying on the surface.
      9. A second coat may be needed for porous, absorbent surfaces and should be applied 30-40 minutes after initial application as directed in steps 5-6.
      10. A minimum of 30 minutes after final application, wipe entire surface with a towel dampened with sealer to remove any residue and excess sealer, if needed.
      11. A full cure is achieved after 24-72 hours; foot traffic may begin in 6-8 hours.
      12. Cover with red rosin paper, if foot traffic must resume before the recommended time periods have passed.
      13. Expected coverage is 600-800 sq. ft. per gallon.
      14. Re-application of BulletProof™ Stone Sealer:
        • A 3-5 year re-application is needed for interior surfaces.
        • A 1-3 year re-application is needed for exterior surfaces.
    • For a natural looking protector on exterior surfaces:
      1. Sweep or vacuum all dust, dirt and debris.
      2. Mask off and protect any baseboards or adjacent areas to avoid splashing and overspray onto surfaces not intended to be treated.
      3. Insure that surface is clean and residue-free.
      4. Apply an even coat of Heavy-Duty Exterior Stone and Masonry Sealer using a low-pressure chemical-resistant sprayer, roller or brush. Do not over apply. Do not allow to puddle or dry on the surface.
      5. Completely wipe up any sealer not absorbed into the tile or brick using a clean dry absorbent towel within 5 minutes of application.
      6. After one hour, test for water repellency using water droplets. If water is absorbed, apply a second coat as directed in steps 4-6.
      7. A full cure is achieved after 24-72 hours; foot traffic may begin in 6-8 hours.
      8. Cover with red rosin paper, if foot traffic must resume before the recommended time periods have passed.
    • For a color enhancing, impregnating (non-topical) protector on interior and exterior surfaces (heavy duty protection, water and oil repellency):
      1. Sweep or vacuum all dust, dirt and debris.
      2. Mask off and protect any baseboards or adjacent areas to avoid splashing and overspray onto surfaces not intended to be treated.
      3. Insure that surface is clean, dry and residue-free.
      4. Liberally apply an even coat of StoneTech Professional™ Enhancer Pro™ using a low-pressure solvent-resistant sprayer, roller or brush.
      5. Allow to penetrate the surface for 15-30 minutes; denser material may require maximum time for enhancer to penetrate.
      6. During this time, distribute excess over entire area to insure even penetration. Completely wipe surface dry.
      7. DO NOT ALLOW ENHANCER PRO™ TO DRY COMPLETELY ON SURFACE! Failure to remove enhancer from the surface may result in a film or residue that may need to be mechanically removed.
      8. A second coat is recommended for porous, absorbent surfaces or if a darker appearance is required and should be applied one hour after initial application as directed in steps 4-6.
      9. A full cure is achieved after 24-72 hours; foot traffic may begin in 6-8 hours.
      10. Cover with red rosin paper, if foot traffic must resume before the recommended time periods have passed.
      11. Expected coverage is 200-400 sq. ft. per gallon.
      12. Re-application of Enhancer Pro™: A 3-5 year re-application is needed for interior or exterior surfaces.
  • Maintenance Cleaning:
    1. Highly alkaline, acidic, ammoniated, abrasive cleaners and/or bleach may break down the sealer, adversely affecting repellency and may not be good for the surface. Use a neutral cleaner specially formulated for clay surfaces.
    2. Sweep or dust mop loose dirt and debris.
    3. Prepare a solution of StoneTech Professional™ Revitalizer™ concentrate mixed with warm or hot water as suggested below:
      • Light Duty Usage — 1 part Revitalizer™ to 4 parts water
      • Medium Duty Usage/Spray Refill — 1 part Revitalizer™ to 1 part water.
    4. Apply the Revitalizer™ solution using a low-pressure chemical-resistant sprayer, mop, sponge or automatic scrubbing machine.
    5. No rinsing needed.
    6. Or use Revitalizer™ in a ready-to-use sprayer.
    7. For routine maintenance cleaning, use StoneTech Professional™ All Purpose Stone & Tile Cleaner.

Products to Clean, Maintain, Protect and Seal Terra-Cotta Tile:

Information on Stone Tile Care:

Print