Terracotta is a beautiful and unique natural material that adds warmth and character to any space. To preserve its charm and protect it from stains and damage, proper sealing is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about sealing terracotta, from pre-sealing to maintenance. Let’s dive in!
Terracotta can be highly porous, making pre-sealing a valuable step to enhance its resilience and longevity. Spirit Pre Seal acts as a complement to the final seal, providing added water resistance. Additionally, it acts as a grout release, making grouting easier and resulting in higher-quality grout joints and a superior overall finish. Terracotta tiles can be dip-sealed, sprayed, or treated with a lambswool applicator. Only one coat is necessary, and Spirit Pre Seal cures within 24 hours.
Using Spirit Pre Seal as a Grout Release
Before grouting, you can apply a coat of Spirit Pre Seal to the face of your already laid terracotta. The following day, grouting your terracotta tiles becomes a breeze, thanks to the pre-sealing process.
Initial Cleaning and Grout Haze Removal
After the terracotta has been laid, grouted, and washed, a grout residue or haze may be left behind. To prepare the terracotta for sealing, follow these steps:
- Wait for Adequate Drying: Allow the grout to harden for 3-4 days before attempting to remove the grout haze. This waiting period ensures the grout has sufficiently dried.
- Protect the Area: During this timeframe, ensure the floor and walls are protected from any other work being done by other trades, as they may need to work over or near your freshly laid terracotta.
- Prepare Cleaning Solutions: Gather the necessary materials, including Spirit Phosphoric Acid, Spirit Neutral Cleaner, Spirit Doodlebug, a bucket, broom, and mop. Spirit Safe Acid can also be used for grout haze removal.
- Dilute and Apply the Solution: Dilute 10 parts clean water to 1 part Spirit Phosphoric Acid or Spirit Safe Acid in a bucket. Apply the solution to the area that needs cleaning, ensuring even distribution.
- Scrub the Area: Use a Spirit Doodlebug with a multi-directional head attached to a broom handle to scrub the surface in hard-to-reach areas.
- Rinse the Floor: Remove the solution with a dense mop and rinse the floor with Spirit Neutral Cleaner diluted with 20 parts clean water to 1 part cleaner. A wet/dry vacuum can efficiently remove the dirty water.
- Dry the Area: If necessary, rinse the area with clean water and let it dry completely before proceeding to the sealing stage.
For the ultimate protection of terracotta, a breathable penetrating sealer is recommended. Conduct a test on a spare piece of tile before sealing the entire surface. For sealing terracotta, you have multiple options:
- Spirit Premium Seal: The best choice for optimal protection and longevity.
- Spirit NPS: An excellent alternative to Premium Seal, offering excellent protection.
- Spirit Water Based Premium Seal: Ideal for terracotta, though it penetrates less deeply into dense surfaces.
- Prepare Materials: For sealing, gather your sealer, Spirit Microfibre Applicator, clean white rags, gloves, respirator, and a solvent suitable tray (for solvent-based sealers).
- Apply Two Coats: Apply two coats of the sealer, allowing approximately 1 hour of drying time between coats. Follow the directions on the product’s label closely for best results.
Maintenance & Re-Sealing
Terracotta can be cleaned regularly using Spirit Neutral Cleaner. If needed, the tiles can be cleaned periodically (every 6-12 months) depending on traffic and wear. For more thorough cleaning, Spirit HDC or Spirit Bright As can be used to remove tough stains and grime without harming the terracotta.
To ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the sealer, it’s crucial to re-seal as needed. Factors that influence the frequency of re-sealing include the level of traffic and the location of the terracotta surface. By following the guidelines provided in this guide and using Spirit Sealers’ premium quality products, you can ensure your terracotta surfaces remain protected and beautiful for years to come.
Remember, Spirit Sealers always recommends conducting a test before sealing any surface and encourages you to contact us for more technical information. Trust Spirit Sealers for all your terracotta sealing needs, and experience the timeless allure and durability of this exceptional natural material.