How To Fix & Seal Hand Made Terracotta

Terracotta is a natural product, so you can expect it will have colour tone variation, minor structural deficiencies such as pitting, and other marks all of which make each terracotta floor unique.

Terracotta will arrive in its natural form, which can be much paler than the sealed finish, this is due to the sealing process.
There are other ways in which you can seal terracotta please visit LTP to see other options, this guide covers the traditional way of sealing terracotta.

Teatree Handmade 20x20-left unsealed, right sealed with LTP Boiled linseed oil & Antique wax

Teatree Handmade 20×20-left unsealed, right sealed with LTP Boiled linseed oil & Antique wax

The process of laying terracotta begins with spreading out your adhesive on your primed concrete or timber floor using a notched trowel, make sure to spread out the adhesive evenly and at the same thickness. Always work in manageable areas.

Then lay the terracotta into the adhesive, be careful not to get any adhesive on the top surface of the terracotta. Allow for a 5-10mm grout joint.
Leave the adhesive to set as per the manufactures instructions.

Once the adhesive has set, apply one even coat of LTP Boiled Linseed Oil and leave for at least 4 hours before applying the second coat. (remove any excess that is on the tile after 1 hour). Apply Boiled Linseed Oil until the terracotta is fully saturated.
Allow 24 hours for the final coat to cure.

Once the final coat has hardened apply a coat of LTP Antique Wax, leave for 20-30 minutes and the buff to a shine with a stiff brush or buffing machine.

After the wax has be buffed apply the grout in with a grout float, leave for the recommended time and sponge off the residues.
Once dry, dust of any remaining residues and then apply another coat of LTP Antique wax and leave to dry overnight.

For additional protection and to give the terracotta a shine, apply 2-3 coats of LTP Ironwax Gloss.

For more information please follow our video guide.

Please note that this information is offered as general guidance only and without guarantee. Your specific circumstances may need an alternative approach. In case of doubt, any process should be tried out in an inconspicuous area before general application.

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The Devon County & Dunster Show 2016

With the temperatures still so low Spring & Summer seems a long way off, but we have already booked trade stands at two shows for this year, fingers crossed for good weather!

Mid May sees us at The Devon County Show for the first time http://www.devoncountyshow.co.uk  19th, 20th & Saturday 21st May so come and see us at Devons premier show on Avenue C.

Andy Thorne our Senior Salesman will be there on the stand to answer questions and give advice about tiles, along with various stands showing just some of our ranges and options available, including underfloor heating systems.
Andy will be joined on the stand by our sister company LTP. Experts in Cleaning, Sealing and Aftercare Solutions for all types of polished and unpolished  natural and artificial stone, paving, porcelain and ceramics.

Stoneshow

LTP Stand at the ExCeL London 2015

James Doody the newly appointed representative for the area will be attending on all 3 days.

 

Honiton ShowHoniton Show1

 

 

Our stand at the Honiton show last year.

 

 

 

Later in the year we will be attending The Dunster Show http://www.thedunstershow.co.uk  on Friday 19th August where last year our display of Terracotta and other domestic tiles generated a lot of interest with members of the public, watch this space for further details of both shows as they become available.

 

The Pictures show the lovely weather we had at last years Dunster Show something to look forward to later in the year.

Dunster Show 2015

Its all about the Terracotta.

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Teatree Handmade Terracotta 340×340

Kitchen, conservatory or living room; terracotta once fully sealed is suitable for most areas in the house. With the added benefit that terracotta retains heat better than any other tile, the floor should never feel ice-cold to the touch. If used with underfloor heating these tiles will retain the heat even when the heating has been turned off.

Teatree terracotta tiles are handmade and therefore no two tiles are alike, they will have all the characteristics of a natural product; colour tone variation, minor structural deficiencies such as pitting, and other marks all of which make each terracotta floor unique.

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Teatree Handmade Terracotta 340×340

The terracotta will come in its natural form, and so before sealing the tiles it is advisable to rub them down with an cloth to clear them of dust and any possible chipped edges. Seal with LTP Boiled Linseed Oil, not only does this intensify the colour, but as the Boiled Linseed Oil cures it hardens within the pores of the terracotta giving the floor extra mechanical strength.

Finally apply two coats of LTP Antique Wax, this aids in protecting the surface of the terracotta as well as giving the terracotta and grout a little more depth and colour.
The first coat should be applied before grouting to aid grout removal, and then a final coat after the grout has dried. This then protects the grout from staining.

If you require a more uniform terracotta you can opt for the Jose sempre machine-made terracotta.

These tiles have straight edges and each tile is very similar in size shape and thickness, so they will look very different from their handmade counter parts.
Furthermore, rather than using boiled linseed oil, you can seal them with LTP Mattstone to keep the terracotta looking as close to its natural form as possible whilst also protecting the terracotta from staining.

Jose sempre 20 x 20 c

Jose Sempre Machine made 200×200, Sealed with LTP Mattstone & LTP Clear Wax

The Handmade teatree tiles have been sealed with 3-4 coats of LTP Boiled Linseed Oil and 2 coats of LTP Antique Wax.
A sealing guide is as follows;

Once tiles have been layed in to a full bed of adhesive but before they have been grouted they will need a generous coat of LTP Boiled Linseed Oil applied with a paint brush.
The Oil is designed to soak into the tile and fill the pores from within, the oil then hardens within the pores.
Remove any excess that remains on the surface of the tile after 30 mins, and leave for 8-12 hours and then repeat.

200×200 terracotta should need approx 2-3 coats.
340×340 terracotta should need approx 3-4 coats.

After the final coat of linseed oil leave for 24 hours before waxing.
NB: Used Boiled Linseed Oil cloths can be a fire risk, dispose of any soiled cloths as per instructions on bottle.

Apply as generous coat of LTP Antique Wax with a micro fibre cloth and leave for 15 minutes , then buff well using a soft brush or buffing machine. Leave for one hour before grouting.

When the grouting has fully dried, apply a final coat of antique wax over the tile and the grout joints, rub in with a fluff-free cloth and buff.
Protect from water for 24 hours and do not wash surfaces for at least three days.

Handmade Terracotta in the process of being sealed

Handmade Terracotta in the process of being sealed

Finally, to ensure you get the best from your terracotta floor, use LTP waxwash aftercare for routine maintenance, this not only cleans the floor, but protects the sealer at the same time.

Please note that this information is offered as general guidance only and without guarantee. Your specific circumstances may need an alternative approach. In case of doubt, any process should be tried out in an inconspicuous area before general application.

 

Understanding Slate

Brazilian Black Slate

Brazilian Black Slate

In our showroom in wellington, somerset. We have noticed an increase in customers wanting to know the ins and outs of slate and the process in how they are made and what the different finishes before being sealed really mean.

We are finding that the most popular slate at the moment is Brazilian.

Available in grey/greenish and black often used for Wet-Rooms both on the wall and floorDSC_1075 and available from stock in sizes of 900×900, 900×600, 600×600 and 300×300 though other sizes are avalible to order.

Slate

Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock.  Foliation is caused by strong compression causing fine grained clay flakes to regrow in planes perpendicular to the compression. When expertly “cut” by striking parallel to the foliation, with a specialized tool in the quarry, many slates will form smooth flat sheets of stone which have long been used for roofing and floor tiles and other purposes.

Because slate was formed in low heat and pressure, compared to a number of other metamorphic rocks, some fossils can be found in slate, sometimes even microscopic remains of delicate organisms.

Slate that comes from the UK, China, Spain or Canada are produced by metamorphism. These seams can contain twists produced by geological activity.

Brazilian slate is actually a sedimentary rock or mudstone, with significantly different properties. It cleaves very cleanly, and all rock deposits are naturally very flat. This gives a very consistent appearance.

Slate can be Hand split or calibrated,  Honed or Riven.

Honed slate is when the surface of the slate has been ground to a smooth, flat, consistent surface. It also means, in the case of normally shiny stones such as granite or marble, that the polish or shine has been removed leaving a matte (unpolished) surface.

Riven Slate is a natural cleft face of stone, achieved by splitting blocks of stone along natural laminations, formed by strong compression of fine grains forced to grow perpendicular to the compression. Here is a link to a video to see hand splitting being done. Hand Splitting slate.

Calibrated slate is machined on the underside to give a consistent thickness making it uniform in depth.

We recommend cleaning, sealing and maintaining with LTP Products, and the link here will help you identify what surface you have, what finish you would like to achieve and what sealers you will need.

Different methods of sealing can achieve different looks.

honed_brazilian_grey_slate_600x300_x_10-01-70265120302

Cleaning tips for slate wall and floor tiles

When is sealing or deep cleaning required?

  • As an important stage in the installation process of wall and floor tiles.
  • Where poorly maintained slate floors need a top up seal.
  • When restoring slate wall or floor tiles.
  • For routine cleaning of unsealed external patios and paved areas.

Why would newly installed wall or floor tiles require intensive cleaning?

Keeping slate wall and floor tiles scrupulously clean before and during the fixing process, is vitally important.

Intensive cleaning of slate floors and walls before application of the correct protective sealing product will make sure the result does not disappoint. Installing slate flooring and worktops by nature creates grit, dirt and adhesive residues. Ensuring that a vacuum is used (being careful not to scratch the surface) to remove loose dirt from your new slate floor or worktop will not address stains and residue marks.

Simply washing slate flooring in water will not be effective in removing ingrained marks or adhesive. Using standard household cleaning products that often contain bleach is likely to damage the surface of your newly installed natural stone floor or wall. You should make sure that the correct cleaning product is used for the slate being installed. Need more information about surfaces? Visit our identify your surface selector.

Sealing of slate guide can be downloaded here: LTP application guide.

Please note that this information is offered as general guidance only and without guarantee. Your specific circumstances may need an alternative approach. In case of doubt, any process should be tried out in an inconspicuous area before general application.

 

Understanding Natural Stone

LIMESTONE, MARBLE AND TRAVERTINE.

In our showroom in wellington, somerset. We have noticed an increase in customers wanting to know the ins and outs of these natural stones and the process in how they are made and what the different finishes before being sealed really mean.

Limestone

Olive Flagstone

Olive Limestone Flagstone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite and the consolidation of sediments, and other organic matter. Each limestone exhibits its own characteristic colours and markings, and can vary in density. Some limestones also have a similar appearance to marble and can often lead to mis-classification.

Some degree of edge chipping should be expected along with occasional surface pitting, fossilized shells, fissures, mineral striations and resin fill.

Limestone is an acid-sensitive material and so care should be taken to use the correct products when cleaning.

Marble 

Marble

Marble is defined as Limestone which has been subjected to metamorphism.

When limestone is exposed to high temperatures and pressures, Marble forms under such conditions because the calcite forming the limestone recrystallises forming a denser rock consisting of roughly equigranular calcite crystals.

This process leads to a dense, closed surface although some material may have slight open veining or surface pitting. Marble is a very dense stone that readily lends itself to a polish but is also available in Honed and tumbled finishes.

Travertine 

 

 

Travertine It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave. In the latter, it can form stalactites, stalagmites, and other speleothems. It is frequently used in Italy and elsewhere as a building material.

After cutting the travertine is either filled with a colour matched filler or resin, or left unfilled and form voids.

Generally voids are only left unfilled in tumbled or brushed finished, where these voids are filled during the grouting process. Although filling the voids gives a smoother surface, through general usage some small areas of fill may dislodge or previously unexposed holes may become visible. This is not unusual and the holes should be re-filled with a suitable filler or grout.

There are three grades of Travertine, so keep this in mind when buying online.

Grade 1 or Premium Grade, Grade 2 or Standard and Grade 3 or commercial.

For more information on this see this post.

Travertine tiles may requite additional adhesive to be applied to the rear of the tile in order to fill any larger voids.

Limestone, Marble and Travertine are all porous and require sealing. Different methods of sealing can achieve different looks.

We recommend cleaning, sealing and maintaining with LTP Products, and the link here will help you identify what surface you have, what finish you would like to achieve and what sealers you will need.

Cleaning tips for natural stone wall and floor tiles

When is intensive stone or deep cleaning required?

  • As an important stage in the installation process of wall and floor tiles.
  • Where poorly maintained natural stone floor tiles need a top up seal.
  • When restoring natural stone wall or floor tiles.
  • For routine cleaning of unsealed external patios and paved areas.

Why would newly installed wall or floor tiles require intensive cleaning?

Keeping natural stone wall and floor tiles scrupulously clean before and during the fixing process, is vitally important.

Intensive cleaning of stone floors and walls before application of the correct protective sealing product will make sure the result does not disappoint. Installing stone flooring and worktops by nature creates grit, dirt and adhesive residues. Ensuring that a vacuum is used (being careful not to scratch the surface) to remove loose dirt from your new stone floor or worktop will not address stains and residue marks.

Simply washing stone flooring in water will not be effective in removing ingrained marks or adhesive. Using standard household cleaning products that often contain bleach is likely to damage the surface of your newly installed natural stone floor or wall. You should make sure that the correct cleaning product is used for the natural stone material being installed. Need more information about surfaces? Visit our identify your surface selector.

Sealing of Natural Stone guide can be downloaded here: LTP application guide.

Sealing of polished Natural stone can be downloaded here: LTP application guide.

The different finishes available as described above are explained in more detail here;

Honed- A smooth but not polished finish to the face of the stone, edges are either straight or bevelled which gives a contemporary yet classic look. Formed by the surface of the stone being ground to a smooth, flat, consistent surface.  For normally shiny stones such as granite or marble, the polish or shine has been removed leaving a matte (unpolished) surface.

Polished- A highly reflective, gloss finish to the surface of the stone with either straight or bevelled edges. Formed when honed limestone is further worked by polishing pads to create a reflective, glass like sheen.

Tumbled- A method of ageing stone, in which the tiles are “tumbled” to give them a rounded, antique edge-finish. On certain stones this may also leave the surface more open and slightly textured.

Brushed- A method of finishing stone which gives a slight surface texture and can give a subtle softened edge. The effect of brushing and the edge finish can differ depending on the type of stone. Created by working the surface to a patina that softly texturises the stone.

Please note that this information is offered as general guidance only and without guarantee. Your specific circumstances may need an alternative approach. In case of doubt, any process should be tried out in an inconspicuous area before general application.

 

 

How Do I Keep My Grout Clean?

Why does grout discolour and become dirty?

Most grout used in domestic situations such as bathrooms and kitchens is water-resistant and not water proof. This means that while your tiles may repel moisture your grout can often absorb it. When mopping dirt off the surface of tiles it is the moisture carrying dirt particles that absorbs into the grout causing it to discolour. In wet areas such as showers or wet rooms it is possible to get a build up of soaps, moisture and sebum within grouting. If not cleaned properly this will stay within the grout and encourage mould spores and mildew to grow.

Approaches to cleaning grout

There are many ways that people choose to tackle issues of mould growth, mildew and dirty grout between wall, floor and surface tiles. Household chlorine based bleach; baking soda and vinegar are three common approaches.

While these methods can prove effective for cleaning glazed ceramic tiles, there are a number of issues that can make them inappropriate for use with natural stone and tiles. General-purpose chlorine bleach cleaners can damage the stone or the protective sealer applied to the surface. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on acid-sensitive stones such as limestone, marble and terrazzo as these may etch the stone surface and damage the polish or sealer.

Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. This can also apply to glazed tiles. Hydrogen peroxide cleaners can also be mildly corrosive. They give short-term cleaning benefits with limited effectiveness on fungal spores, making them poor at preventing re contamination. Baking soda is a great option with fewer disadvantages. However it can often prove ineffective in tackling stubborn stains and often requires excessive scrubbing to deliver results. In all cases the use of highly abrasive cleaning tools such as wire wool should be avoided, as these will scratch the surface. Ensure you use an appropriate abrasive cleaning pad designed for natural stone.

Tips for cleaning grout between tiles

To clean dirty grouting on floors and walls we recommend the use of LTP Grimex.

LTP GRIMEX

An intensive grease and grime cleaner suitable for intensive cleaning of grout between glazed ceramic or porcelain tiles or unglazed natural stone. LTP Grimex is also excellent for renovating old quarry tiles, terracotta, slate, stone, marble and stone fireplaces.

Please note: LTP Grimex will not damage natural stone surfaces if used correctly. It does however breakdown protective layers of sealer and waxes on the surface. It is therefore recommended that the product be tested on a small inconspicuous area before general application. Natural stone tiles should also be resealed after use. Glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles are not affected. Please contact our technical helpline for further advice and assistance.

Grout cleaning tips for mould growth and mildew

Grout is porous and absorbs water, especially in humid places like the bathroom. As a result, fungi such as mildew can often be found growing between tiles, in the grout. Removing unsightly mould growth and mildew stains can prove a difficult challenge. 

LTP MOULDEX

Formulated to cling to grout and remove mould spores, fungus, algae and moss from grouting, silicone seals and other damp places. LTP Mouldex has antibacterial properties that help to prevent re-growth. LTP Mouldex a 500ml trigger spray ideal for use on bathroom and kitchen wall tiles but can also be used to tackle small areas of floor grout.

When Grout Cleaning Tips Don’t Work

If all your grout cleaning attempts fail, it is time to remove the grout. This doesn’t automatically mean redoing the entire grouted area. If the stain only affects a small area, try removing just the small section affected by the mould growth or stain. For a shallow stain, use a hand-held rotary tool or mini sander to remove just the top layer of the grout. Take care not to damage your tiles. Re-seal the grout to give future protection. A deeper stain means more of the material will need removing. Removing such a stain may need a fresh coat of grout altogether.

The most important tip of all – Protect your grout!

Whether tackling mould growth, mildew, stubborn stains or ingrained grime, grout cleaning is not the most pleasant housekeeping job to perform. Most people avoid it as long as possible, which exacerbates the problem.

So the very best tip we can give is to make sure that you protect you grout and stone surfaces when they are installed and after intensive cleaning. Maintain your tile and stone surfaces regularly. Always make sure that you top up the protection to your grout after cleaning.

LTP Grout Protection

LTP offer two grout protection options:

LTP GROUT PROTECTOR – 1L 

Recommend for sealing newly laid grout. LTP Grout Protector is a colourless barrier suitable for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Helps protect absorbent, porous grout joints from water, dirt, oil, grease, sebum and limescale. Ideal for use on newly laid glazed ceramic wall and floor tiles where in normal conditions unprotected grout joints quickly become dirty. This product is also ideal for sealing grout between natural stone tiles that have been sealed prior to being laid.

LTP GROUT & TILE PROTECTOR
– 600ML AEROSOL SPRAY

This product is an easy use as a top-up coat. Helps protect natural stone and all other types of masonry surface. Provides a colourless barrier that helps to protect porous wall and floor grout joints from penetration by water, dirt, oil, grease and limescale. Treated surfaces are easier to keep clean and repel dirt and grime. Ideal for use in wet rooms and shower enclosures as a top up protection for grout after intensive cleaning.

Why Do I Need To Seal My Floor Or Wall Tiles?

Here at Wellington Tile we quite often get asked, why do i need to seal natural stone?  Natural stone like Terracotta, Slate, Polished Porcelain & Quarry Tiles ect.

Well its because they are Naturally porous, and if left unsealed every piece of dirt and grime will be absorbed by your natural stone, giving you a really big clean up job, to prevent this from happening we would definitely recommend sealing them.

 There are essentially three aims when sealing a tile.

  • Stain Prevention
  • Surface Protection
  • Surface Enhancement

It is not always possible or indeed necessary to achieve all the aims, however stain prevention tends to be the overriding aim.

To achieve these aims there is the choice of two types of sealers

These will either be spirit based or water based.

These two types of sealers can be used independently or together depending on the type of surface being sealed and depending on the type of finish required:

Essentially there are three types of finish:

The first two are achieved with impregnating sealers, and the third with Surface sealers

 Impregnating Sealers:

Unsealed, most natural tiles are absorbent to some degree or other, just  pour a tea

Natural stone protected with LTP Mattstone

spoon of water on to an unsealed tile and observe how quickly the water is absorbed. English Limestone, Sandstone, Marble  and Terracotta tend to be the most absorbent and denser surfaces such as Granite and basalt? Much less absorbent, Travertine and Slate sit somewhere in the middle.

Full bodied Porcelain and Quarry Tiles may seem highly vitrified, but they can still be absorbent. On the whole the cheaper the tile here, the more absorbent it is likely to be..

 Tiles have small pin-holes and open fissures as part of its natural texture. This texture will tend to accumulate grit and stains as part of the natural wearing process and unless they are impregnated will cause the floor to stain.of water on to an unsealed tile and

An impregnating sealer will have a carrier, often white spirit and a sealer within it. Once absorbed the carrier evaporates leaving the sealer in situ protecting the tile just below the surface

Depending on the porosity of the tile, a second or third coat of sealer may be needed.

In some cases a secondary seal is required to protect the surface of the tile, or to give the surface a gloss or satin finish.

Impregnating sealers are absorbed into the tile sealing it just below the surface, they tend not to alter the characteristic of the tile and whilst they offer mechanical strength to a tile and in some cases ..colour enhancement.., they will not offer surface protection.

 Surface sealers

 To achieve surface protection and a different finish to the tile , a surface sealer is used, these will provide the tile with a gloss or satin finish. In this case clearly the natural look of the tile is being altered.

As a general rule surface sealers tend to be water based, rather than spirit based and

Apply LTP Glaze Protector

depending on the nature of the surface being sealed can be used on their own or in conjunction with an impregnating sealer.

 

Advantages and disadvantages of Spirit Based & Water Based Sealers

Spirit based and water based sealers now perform equally well provided you purchase a water based sealer rather than a water based water repellent.

In our experience whilst water based impregnating sealers are becoming more widely used for environmental reasons, spirit based sealers are still much more popular for the simple reason: they are easier to apply.  Spirit is a better carrier than water, so spirit based sealers transport the sealer deeper into a tile.

However, as with paints the trend is away from solvent/spirit based products to waterbased sealers.

Another reason for considering waterbased sealers is they have much less odour than spirit based sealers.

External Use:  Swimmimg Pool surrounds: Wet Rooms:

In most circumstances impregnating sealers will be breathable allowing use in wet area’s and outside.

This is not always the case with surface sealers:

Whether they are polyurethane varnishes or waterbased;  surface sealers are not breathable and should not be specified for wet area’s or externally.

And finally

 Everything above applies to grout joints as well as tiles. So remember to seal the grouting as well to achieve a perfect durable finish for your tiled surface with LTP Grout & Tile Protector.

LTP 600ml Grout & Tile Protector Aerosol