Using Terracotta Tiles
1. Can I use terracotta tiles outdoors?
Yes, Our Stoneware range is frost proof, it is anti slip, UV damage protected, made to withstand heavy usage and foot traffic and furthermore NEVER needs sealing, for future maintenance, just clean down.
To use our Handmade and Traditional ranges outside they must be laid on a good solid screed or mortar base and sealed with our Mattstone or Colour Enhancer sealer or similar. Ensure they are laid with the necessary angled run off to stop water settling on the surface. A sheltered area will be better than an exposed area because they are not guaranteed frost proof as they are a natural product but have a high frost resistance and have been widely used by past customers for outside use. Please note a final sealer can be applied after laying to protect against stains and oil spills. Our machine made ranges are NOT suitable for exterior use.
2. Do all terracotta tiles need sealing?
Yes, apart from our Stoneware range. With all terracotta tiles they need sealing for interior and exterior use to protect against staining from dirt and spills. We sell all the sealers you will need which are easily applied with brush or paint pad.
3. How do I achieve a Light finish or a darker antique look?
For a light finish you need to seal the tiles with a clear wax or sealer, you can choose a Matt, Satin or Gloss finish. To achieve an antique darker finish you can use boiled linseed oil or a stone oil which darkens the terracotta then seal with either a clear sealer or a clear wax or to darken further an antique wax. We sell all these products.
There are two basic methods for laying our terracotta tiles, depending on which series are to be laid and the surface area. We advise a minimum of 10 mm joint between the pieces when laying, since terracotta is a natural material it may have irregular edges and may contract due to moisture and temperature changes.
The product used in these joints should not contain pigments as these can penetrate the terracotta tiles and stain them.
|LAYING WITH A "THICK SET COATING"
If the area to be laid on is irregular, it has to be levelled. For this a layer of more than 5 mm. of mortar/adhesive must be used, terracotta tiles are then fixed directly, and this is known as "THICK SET COATING". The inconvenience of laying by this method is that you must wait for both the mortar and the terracotta to be completely dry before sealant treatment can be started.
|LAYING WITH A "THIN SET COATING"
If the area to be laid has an even and sufficiently levelled surface terracotta tiles can be fixed using a coating of approx. 5 mm. of adhesive, which is known as a "THIN COATING". This method allows quick drying and the product doesn’t have to be wet during the fixing. This means that the appearance of efflorescences is avoided and treatment can be started earlier.
If using oils as a pre-sealer to darken the tiles always apply the oil first, and allow to dry before grouting. This will help stop the grout from impregnating and staining the terracotta and makes it easier to clean off the excess grout. If you are not using oil put at least a couple of coats of sealer on before grouting for the above reasons.
Grouting can also be done after sealing, with a final coat of sealer applied once dry to cover grout lines as well to protect against dirt ingression.
Clean grout marks off any tiles with Cement Residue Remover (if required)
When you seal your terracotta is a personal choice, it can either be done as you lay your tiles or once laying is completed.
All tiles must be clean and dry before sealing otherwise you may seal in dirt or moisture which will impair the final appearance. The process of sealing should be kept meticulously clean and all materials including brushes, paint pads and cloths etc. should be new and unused. The drying times recommended by manufacturers may be altered by the actual site conditions (heat, humidity, ventilation etc.). Please refer to the manufacturers’ guidelines on drying times for each product.
Living Terracotta recommends that traffic across a newly sealed floor is kept to a minimum for the first week as sealants can take a few days to fully oxidise and may not be fully effective during this time.
NB Some of our Stoneware terracotta tiles can take an impregnating sealer to give extra protection against spills and scuffs. Any pre-sealed tiles don't need sealing while laying.
The first coats of sealant or primer are used as a protection against the grout, an unsealed terracotta is very porous and any grout on an unsealed surface will absorb into the terracotta.
We recommend that a number of sample tiles are tested for porosity, which will give an indication of the amount of sealer the tiles will require. The tiles will readily absorb the first coat of sealant and as a rough guide you should expect to use up to 70% of the sealant on the first coat.
Once grouted final coats can be applied covering grout lines as well for complete protection.
Visit our Blog for lots of articles and tips on laying and sealing your terracotta.
Return to our website to order your tiles and sealers or contact us if you do not see what you want as we have stock being added all the time.