Bringing Life Back to Your Timeless Terracotta Floor: A Step-by-Step Guide
Bringing a century old terracotta floor back to life is an achievable task, even for those who don’t consider themselves the handiest of sort. Thankfully you don’t need special skills to get an old terracotta floor packed with character and shine. With the proper preparation and polishing, these rustic yet elegant floors can look great in any home.
Before you get to the polishing part however, dirt, wax buildup and any existing sealant need to be stripped away, as this will prevent your sealant from performing as intended and ultimately cause it to yellow over time. Start by testing to see if the floor has been sealed or not. Simply splash some water on the tiles and if water beads up and stays in one spot, then the sealant is still intact. If not, then stripping the existing finish, down to the bare tiles is necessary.
Multi-surface stripper will effectively remove old wax and synthetic-based floor polish when the sealant is still effective. Mix the stripper in the concentration indicated on the directions, and spread it on the floor using a fiber mop. Leave it to settle for as long as 30 minutes, scrubbing at any spots where sealant peels off to loosen it.
Once the stripper has been rinsed off with warm and then cold water, use a shop vacuum to ensure that no residue is left behind. At this point you can use a tile and grouts cleaner, designed specifically for terracotta, to clean up discolored or stained spots using a grout brush. Do this for all the tiles and thoroughly rinse the cleaner off – particularly in those areas where the grout is embedded – before using the shop vacuum again.
If the tiles have been stripped down to bare, you’ll need to give them a light sanding in order to ensure that the sealant and polish properly adhere. Once you have vacuumed up the dust, sealant is ready to be applied. Go with a high-gloss finish and use a generous, thick layer of sealant first. Wait for two hours to let it dry and use a power buffer and soft buffing pads to bring out the shine.
Following the same timing of two hours of drying time, apply the second coat and buff once again. For ongoing maintenance, use the power buffer twice a week for halls and doorways and regularly for the entire floor for that freshly polished look. Under no circumstance should you use paste wax, urethane sealers or other Polish formulas as this will cause yellowing over time.
With these easy steps, you can bring an old terracotta floor back to life, restoring that beautiful classic character and shine it has been missing. It may take some effort, but the end result will be well worth it.