Terra-cotta tiles, like ceramic tiles, are created by firing clay in a kiln. However, terra cotta is left its natural color, while ceramic is typically treated with a glaze coat that makes it impervious to soil and liquids. Terra-cotta tiles, usually 6 inches square, are reddish-brown. One variety of terra-cotta tiles is used in kitchens because it is given a slip-resistant surface. To apply lasting coverage to terra-cotta floor tiles, the floor must be thoroughly cleaned and correctly primed, painted and coated.
Things You'll Need
- Distilled or purified water
- Trisodium phosphate cleaning solution
- Cleaning brush
- Wet/dry vacuum
- Acrylic masonry primer
- Paintbrush or roller
- Urethane or polyurethane finish
Thoroughly clean the tile. There may be mineral residue, grease, or other dirt trapped in the porous tiles. Scrub the tiles with a brush and distilled or purified water, to avoid adding mineral residue from tap water. If necessary, use a trisodium phosphate cleaner according to manufacturer directions. Avoid the use of abrasive cleaning methods or materials like strong acids, high-pressure water, or metal-bristled brushes.
Dry the tile using a wet/dry vacuum.
Apply an acrylic masonry primer to protect the finish. Several paint companies offer a variety of masonry primers. Use a roller or brush, and apply the primer according to manufacturer directions.
Allow the primer to dry completely.
Apply a semigloss or high gloss acrylic or latex paint. Follow manufacturer directions.
Let the paint dry for two to three days, then coat the floor tiles with clear, non-yellowing, water-based urethane or polyurethane.
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure the room is properly ventilated throughout the cleaning, priming, painting, and coating processes.
- Tile surfaces without any sort of slip-resistant surfacing can be extremely slippery, particularly when wet.
- "Professional Management of Housekeeping Operations"; Thomas J. A. Jones; 2008
- National Park Service: Dangers of Abrasive Cleaning to Historic Buildings
- "Black & Decker Complete Home Repair"; Editors of Creative Publishing International; 2008
- "Decorative Paint Finishes for the Home"; Andy Jones; 1996
- Housepainting 101: Choosing the Right Primer
- Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
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