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  • Writer's pictureSophie Baylis

Tile Ideas - tips to using terracotta from Artisans of Devizes

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Used on walls and floors for centuries, terracotta tiles have never gone out of fashion. A timeless look perfect for classic and contemporary interior projects, this rustic surface solution has seen a huge surge in interest with consumers, designers and architects alike. Artisans of Devizes’ Creative Director Hamish Smith shares his expert advice on how to apply this natural material for best results, ensuring the tile’s surface remains protected and easy to maintain for many years to come.

How to clean terracotta tiles

Terracotta is easy to keep clean, as it builds up a unique patina over time so the more it is used and the longer it is installed, the more characterful it will look. To clean, just a simple vacuum is all that is required. For any spot cleaning such as muddy paw prints, a stiff-bristled brush will do the job. For any deeper cleaning, mop with minimal water. If using an antibacterial cleaning product, mist it before applying so that the liquid does not saturate the stone. Bona floor cleaner is our recommended product.

How to protect terracotta tiles from stains

To protect terracotta from staining, it should be sealed. This natural material is pretty robust but it’s not indestructible so avoid spilling hot oil or using harsh chemicals. Any marks should be viewed as part of its character and lived-in look.

How to apply sealant to terracotta tiles

We recommend a three-step sealing process using our Stone Essentials products which are designed to work across all our natural stone.

First, give the stone a deep clean with Stone Essentials Deep Clean to avoid trapping any dust or grit underneath the sealant. Next, our Stain Block Eco Sealant should be applied. A water-based impregnating sealer, it needs to be applied once before grouting and again afterwards. Lastly, wipe away any grout residue the next day and apply the final sealant stage with our Stone Shield Solution. Apply at least two coats with sufficient drying time in between and ideally up to three days will provide the best level of protection, which can be topped up every few years.

How to grout terracotta tiles

The question of whether terracotta should be grouted level is down to personal preference but we always recommend that you grout over the whole tile surface to ensure any imperfections are concealed.

How to live with terracotta

Our terracotta is typically 20 mm thick so it is highly abrasive and will never wear thin. A properly installed terracotta tile is unlikely to develop cracks other than slight shrinkage cracks that can emerge over time depending on the room it is installed in. This should be viewed as part of the aged character of the stone. Enjoy it, live with it and embrace the aging process of terracotta. It's timeless.

How to use terracotta in a bathroom

A lovely, rustic option for bathrooms for both walls and floors, terracotta is suitable for bathroom use. However, take care in wet rooms with a walk-in shower, especially where there is no underfloor heating to help it dry quickly. And yes, it is compatible with underfloor heating.

Can I use terracotta tiles outdoors?

Unfortunately, handmade terracotta tiles are not suitable for outdoor use, as it is not dense enough to cope with harsh frost.

About Artisans of Devizes…Artisans of Devizes was founded in 1989, with nothing more than a sparse workshop, a handful of craft skills and an admiration for the infinite variety and beauty of natural stone and handmade tiles. Over the last 30 years, we have grown steadily to become one of the UK’s leading stone and tile companies.

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