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.




Handmade Teatree terracotta 34cm x 34cm

Handmade Teatree terracotta 34cm x 34cm


As  sales director of Wellington Tile, one of the west country’s most established Tile Showrooms, Mark Atkins is well qualified to comment on trends in the market for floor tiles. What he has noticed is an interesting increase in demand for a tile that was last popular 20 years ago.

“Five years ago it was all travertine and stone, but recently the trend has moved back to Terracotta which was last at its most popular in the 1990’s.”

Over the past decade stone, especially travertine has made such an impact in interior design that despite its obvious attraction, home owners are beginning to look around for something different.

For those who like a machine made tile, porcelain with its durability and ease of maintenance is the obvious choice, however when it comes to a natural tile finish, terracotta is back in favour.

With its natural warm tones and depth of colour, terracotta flooring  not only works well both in modern and tradition settings, but it also has some practical benefits:

The  natural insulating qualities of this baked earth tile , makes it the ideal surface to place over underfloor heating systems: Terracotta retains and releases warmth in a most efficient manner.

“Our business was founded in 1980 as an importer and distributor of terracotta and now that we are re stocking our warehouses with the same tile a generation later, is rather pleasing “ .

Teatree terracotta looks aged and full of rustic character from the first day of laying once sealed. These tiles are entirely handmade, therefore no two tiles are the same.

This terracotta has all the characteristics associated with a handmade tile – beautiful colour tone variation, minor structural deficiencies such as pitting, nooks and crannies on surface and edge, together with the advantage of the clay being able to retain heat. This floor will never be ice cold to the touch. Stated sizes are nominal and imprecise and there can be different porosity within a batch.


Fixing & Sealing Guidelines

PRIOR TO FIXING – Please inspect the tiles as soon as they arrive. This will give you a chance to rub down any chipped edges with a emery cloth. Make sure the sub floor is sound, level, free from dust and paint etc.

FIXING – Lay tiles into a flexible floor tile adhesive, it is important that sufficient adhesive is used to enable the tiles to be well ‘bedded’ without hollows beneath. If tiling onto a wooden floor, the floor has to be sound with no flexing. If there is any movement we recommend overboarding with either 18mm plywood or specific backer boards. Flexible adhesives and grouts must be used along with the correct board fixings as per manufacturers instructions. Once the adhesive has set clean the surface of the tile using a dry white emulsifying pad and wipe with a dry micro fibre cloth to remove any loose matter and dust.

FIRST STAGE SEALING – Apply a generous coat of LTP Boiled Linseed Oil with a paint brush, the oil is designed to soak into the tile, thus filling the pores from within. The oil then hardens within the pores, remove any excess that has not absorbed after 30 minutes. Leave for a minimum of four hours and repeat.

Rough Guide – 

20 x 20 cm = 2 to 3 coats

34 x 34 cm = 3 to 4 coats

Leave 24 hours after the final application of Boiled Linseed Oil, remember to remove any unabsorbed Oil after 30 Mins.  NB: Used Boiled Linseed Oil cloths can be a fire risk, dispose of any soiled cloths as per instructions on bottle.

Apply a 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.

Grouting – After at least one hour after waxing grout in the joints and sponge off residues. After allowing the floor to dry (Approx 30 minutes), dust off any residual grout from the surface, making sure that all grouting smears have been removed and then leave to dry for a couple of hours.

Final Sealing Stage – When the grout has cured/dried apply a final coat of LTP Antique Wax over the tile and grout joints, rubb in a with a fluff-free cloth and buff with a soft brush or buffing machine. Protect from water for 24 hours and do not wash surfaces for at least three days.

Close up of Teatree Terracotta 200 x 200 x 20mm once sealed

Close up of Teatree Terracotta 200 x 200 x 20mm once sealed

General Maintenance – Do not wash your floor with detergents or bleach as these will strip the waxes, for best results maintain with LTP Waxwash for general cleaning and maintenance once a week.

The foregoing advice, whilst given in good faith and from experience gained in various installation situations is for guidance purposes only. If in doubt at any stage of floor laying, experiment before proceeding further or seek further advice. Neither the supplier nor the manufacturers will be liable for any dissatisfaction resulting from these instructions nor will they in any circumstances accept responsibility for any damaged or incorrect tiles once they have been fixed.



DT DISPLAY final look

Customers in our showroom often ask “Can I tile myself or do I need to employ a tiler?” 

If you have time, patience & some DIY skills then tiling is a job which can be done by the customer.need to employ a tiler?”

Listed below are some helpful hints to DIY tile fitting.

Planning and preparation is key.

First make sure you know your floor substrate and the correct preparation required prior to tiling.

All surfaces, including existing tiles, must be clean, firm, dry, free from dust, dirt, oil and grease, and strong enough to support the weight of the tiles and the adhesive. When tiling on to timber floors the surface should be prepared to provide a rigid and secure base without any deflection.

Some Questions to ask

Q:What is my floor substrate?

A: Useful link: ( 

Q:Is it suitable to tile straight on to?

A: Most substrates can be tiled onto but will need different preparations (

Q:Can I tile on top of existing tiles?

A: Yes provided they are soundly fitted to the floor and you prepare the (surface correctly

Q:Can I have underfloor heating under tiles?

A: Underfloor heating system are available to go under most floor surfaces for further details email:


Q:How many square metres do I require?

A: By measuring the room dimensions and sending them to we will calculate your requirements and will include a suggested 10% cutting allowance or try our tile calculator

Q:Will I need expansion joints?

A:normally around the edge of the room it is good practice. (

Q:What tools will I need

A: Notched Trowel, Grout Float, Hydro Sponge, Spacers,  Cutter, and for natural stone tiles additional: Cleaning & sealing kits 

Now you are ready make sure you have the correct tiles,tools, adhesive and grout ready for your job.


Find the centre point of the room and section into quarters.

Work one quarter at a time, if possible lay your tiles out without adhesive first to check the finished effect and to arrange the cuts at the edge of the room.

You would normally lay from different boxes to avoid shade variation rather than one box at a time.

Spread the adhesive evenly using a notch trowel or spreader. Laying Adhesive still(08-01-2014 15-12) JPEGPlace the tile in position, giving it a slight twist to bed in to the adhesive. Continue laying your tiles leaving a grout joint of your choice (NEVER butt joint). 

Helpful tip: spread a thin layer of adhesive on the back of the tiles as well to achieve perfect bond.

Check from time to time that your tiles are level (by using a spirit level) and that there are no hollows under the tiles.

Lay the quarters until all that is left are the cuts around the Tiling still 2 (08-01-2014 14-54) JPEGedges of the room.

Clean the tiles regularly to avoid adhesive remaining on the tiles and remove excess adhesive in the joints.

It is recommend to leave the tiles for 24 hours before cutting and laying the edge tiles.


Allow the adhesive to dry (cure) before grouting.

If the tiles require sealing such as natural stone, terracottapolished porcelain & slate then applying 1st coat of sealer before grouting- this not only helps ensure the grout does not stain the tile, but it also helps with the cleaning of the excess grout.

Grouting still 2 (08-01-2014 15-01) JPEG

Using your grout float apply enough grout as you can effectively work with.

Press the grout into the joints (in a diagonal direction) to an even level with the tile. Remove the excess from the tile with the grout float.

Washing Grout Still (08-01-2014 15-23) JPEG

Wait for the grout to stiffen then using a damp sponge work across the joints being careful not to drag the grout out of the joints. Clean as you work checking the grout joints are full and smoothly finished.

Useful link ( 

Leave for the entire floor to cure. Grout residue (hazing) can be removed with LTP Grout St Remover (on the appropriate tiles).


The foregoing advice, whilst given in good faith and from experience gained in various installation situations is for guidance purposes only. If in doubt at any stage of floor laying, experiment before proceeding further or seek further advice. Neither the supplier nor the manufacturers will be liable for any dissatisfaction resulting from these instructions nor will they in any circumstances accept responsibility for any damaged or incorrect tiles once they have been fixed.



Terracotta Wall and Floor Tiles

Terracotta Wall and Floor Tiles  

Terracotta tiles, from the Latin terra cotta meaning baked earth are just that:

Examples of terracotta floors

Terracotta is a traditional, authentic flooring tiles that possess a warmth, a charm and a character, often missing from more contemporary factory produced alternatives .

Spain and Mexico tend to be the main sources of terracotta floor tiles sold in the UK, however it is possible to buy terracotta from a range of other countries such as China, Vietman, Iran  and India.

Terracotta tiles as a flooring was a popular choice in the 1980’s and 1990’s in the UK as the unsophisticated warm finish it offered complemented the design requirements of the time which tended to focus on rustic, farmhouse/cottage style kitchens and barn conversions.

Since then the fashion and demand for natural tiles has shifted towards stone and travertine, however the demand for terracotta floor tiles still remains solid in more rural locations especially for barn conversions.

Terracotta tiles fall into one of two categories: Machine made terracotta tiles and Handmade terracotta tiles.

Machine Made Terracotta Floor Tiles

Our Jose Sempre range of Machine Made terracotta tile tends to be  a more highly fired, disciplined, more vitrified tile similar to a quarry tiles, yet still possessing warmth and charm. A mellow sandy coloured terracotta tile, the tones varying from pale seinna to burnt amber.  The smooth and manicured look fits well in any location and works well in contemporary settings.

Jose Sempre terracotta floor tile example

Hand-made and Semi Hand-made Terracotta Floor Tiles

Our range of Handmade or semi hand-made terracotta tiles are much more varied and rustic in appearance and are formed by pressing raw clay into molds: this produces a durable but low density tile.  Handmade terracotta tiles act as excellent insulators underfoot and are  especially suitable for use in conjunction with underfloor heating systems.

Hand-made terracotta tends to be either a honey/beige in colour or a rich leather red colour. In addition some tiles can be almost salmon pink in appearance.This terracotta tile shows all the characteristics associated with a handmade terracotta tile:  attractive colour, tone variation, minor structural deficiencies such as pitting, nooks and crannies on the surface and edges of the tile.

A kitchen floor laid with terracotta tiles

Do I Have to Seal Terracotta (Terra cotta) Tiles?

As with all natural tiles and grouting, sealing and maintenance is very important. In order to get the best out of your terracotta floor tiles it is vital to consider the sealing options and then to follow the prescribed maintenance regime as this will not only ensure that the natural character of the floor is fully enhanced, but also with correct maintenance the floor will continue to look at its best for many years.

For further information  on Cleaning, Sealing and Maintaining Terracotta (Traditional Method) please visit LTP