Join our newsletter Name: Your Email Address Contact me with news and offers from other Future brands Thank you for signing up to Realhomes. Beautifully rustic terracotta is a great choice for rural and period properties, and has a lovely, textured and warm feel underfoot. Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Terracotta refers to a type of ceramic pottery, which is made using the kiln firing technique.
Made from red clay, terracotta is characterised by its natural, unglazed finish. When terracotta is used to make floor tiles, this can lead to problems over time, including staining and mould, because the unglazed finish leaves the material porous.
If, after 15 minutes, the water has soaked into the floor, the tiles will need to be impregnated with boiled linseed oil. As these tiles have been laid on top of a damp-proof membrane it’s safe to apply a floor sealer that will merely require sweeping or vacuuming to prevent dirt and grit becoming ingrained.
An occasional wipe with a damp mop will freshen up the finish – check every year whether your tiles are becoming porous again.
Use a solution of 25 per cent stone floor cleaner in a bucket of warm water.
I left the floor for three days, putting down dust sheets to protect it from spills. Boiled linseed oil is the traditional finish for these unglazed tiles and gives a soft sheen.
Wait for about 20 minutes and check whether there are pools of linseed oil lying on the surface. When you’ve finished wipe the brush on a rag to take off as much oil as possible and clean with white spirit. If this is allowed to remain it will congeal, stay sticky and attract dirt and dust. Wait at least 24 hours before applying a protective coat of stone floor sealer using a brush. The choice of a colour enhancer seal brings out the warm clay tones. After eight hours, test whether the tiles are still porous by spilling a few drops of water on to the floor.
The finish will be water and grease resistant, but still take the time to wipe up food and drink spills as they occur. Carry out a water droplet test once a year and reapply boiled linseed oil if necessary.