Restoring a saltillo tile or terra cotta tile floor: Tips from Rustico

We receive phone calls on a daily basis that ask this question: How do I make my saltillo tile floor or terra cotta tile floor look new again? This is a loaded question!

The process for restoring a Mexican tile floor may be as simple as using a good cleaner and scrubbing grime away from grout lines. It may be as complex as hiring a flooring restoration professional who uses big, loud equipment. Regardless of the effort, there are some easy DIY things that homeowners can do to make a BIG impact on freshening up these beautiful clay floors.

First, scrub grout lines. Grout typically darkens in color (inconsistently and spotty) as it ages because it absorbs dirt, debris, and things spilled on it. Even if your grout is or has been sealed, sealer wears off over time. By using a good cleaner and scrubbing brush, you'll be amazed at how much simply cleaning grout will impact the entire spansih tile floor.

Secondly, replace any damaged tiles. Any saltillo tiles that have been cracked in half or severely chipped can be hammered out and replaced. A company like us, Rustico Tile and Stone, is good at identifying these clay floor tiles and replacing them with good matching terracotta tiles. Tiles that may just have small chips are part of the rustic decor and charm of authentic terracotta tile floors.

Thirdly, clean your tile! In a similar way as cleaning the grout lines, the tile needs to be cleaned as well.

Once you've done these things, if you're happy with your floor you have 2 more steps to go. After all of the cleaning processes, it's advised that you mop wash your floor several times with a 50/50 mixture of acetone and water. It's imperative that any residual cleaner be washed from the clay tiles. The acetone has a very high evaporation rate and will help dry out the floor.

Last step! When the floor is COMPLETELY dry, reseal everything. This includes the old tile, any new tiles that may have been installed and your grout. In areas where food/drinks are consumed, consider applying extra sealer in the grout lines.

That's what homeowners can do themselves without paying a fortune for basic cleaning. Of course in some instances, it's best to hire a professional to tackle difficult floors!

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