Terracotta tiles

Discussion in 'Floors, Stairs and Lofts' started by LizzyG, 18 Apr 2004.

  1. LizzyG

    LizzyG

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    Hi,

    We live in an Edwardian terrace and have the original terracotta tiles on the hall floor. How do we bring them up like new again? What is best to use for cleaning them, and what sort of polish do you recommend? The tiles are in a pattern, with browns, cream and blue, so can't really use a coloured polish.

    Oh they might actually be quarry tiles? I'm not sure! Flooring novice, thats me LOL!
     
  2. David P

    David P

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    lizzy are they the ones that are cut to an almost islamic looking repeat pattern?
    if so they are probably porcelain and are fairly immune to almost everything - try solvents and then detergents to get rid of old dirt probably trapped in an ancient layer of wax. sometimes they can go dull with abbrasion you can sort this with a wire brush or if really bad some fine wet and dry paper used wet.
     
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  4. David P

    David P

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    nearly forgot - to polish them?
    why bother? clear wax will do it but you will have to keep it up.

    i'd just wash them with washing up liquid and hot water. a good tip is to make the last rinse soapy and let it dry - then buff them up
     
  5. LizzyG

    LizzyG

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    Thanks for your reply, I've since found out they are 'encaustic' tiles, if that means anything?
     
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  7. David P

    David P

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    Lizzy. I know encaustic as an art term that means using pigments in wax with heat to make paintings - but have discovered that it has a specific meaning in ceramics, to quote the OED "(of bricks and tiles) inlaid with differently coloured clays burnt in."
    this probably means that the tiles are body coloured ceramic, probably porcelain because it is white to begin with and therefore gives better brighter colours.
    If this is the case you need not be too sheepish with how you deal with them - porcelain for floortiles is very resilient stuff. just bear in mind that they probably have years of dried in wax and grime on them. anything you do to remove it probably wont hurt the tiles, short of using very coarse abrasives.
     
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