How to Strip, Clean, and Reseal Terracotta Floors

25 April 2023
Est. Reading: 2 minutes
What's in This Guide?
Cleaning Items You'll Need.
Rotary Machine/Buffering Machine
80 or 100-grit sanding pads
Rubber gloves
Solvent stripper
Solvent impregnator sealer
Wet/Dry vacuum cleaner


Fear not, if your old terracotta tiles look worse for wear, there is no need to replace them. You can restore them to new with our step-by-step tutorial.

Terracotta tiles are popular in homes and public buildings because of their rustic, earthy appearance. However, because of the porous nature of the tiles, they need to be sealed to prevent dirt from becoming embedded in them.

Over time, you can expect the sealant to wear away in high-traffic areas and the only way to restore the terracotta is to restore it to its natural state. Which is achieved by removing the sealer and resealing it with new tile sealant.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step-by-step instructions on how to strip, clean, and reseal a terracotta floor like professionals do!

Step One: Cleaning the Terracotta Floor
Start by vacuuming the terracotta tiles to remove dust, debris, or flaking sealer.

Step Two: Sand to Score the Floor
Sand the floor to allow the solvent to penetrate the tile. You want to strip tiles to remove any old, flaky, and scratched sealer by using an 80-grit polishing pad to sand the floor. Be careful not to damage the tile surface.

Step Three: Strip with a Solvent Stripper
Apply a generous amount of solvent stripper to soak on the sealant and allow it to lift it off the tiles. You want to spread the entire floor with the solvent solution. This will get under the sealant and release it from the tile.

Step Four: Allow to Dwell
Allow the floor stripper to dwell for a good few minutes to break down the sealant. Because the solvent is a non-volatile solvent, it will not evaporate so quickly.

NB: The room should be well-ventilated.

Step Five: Buff to Strip the Floor
Then use a rotary machine to sand the floor and remove the old tile sealant. At this stage of breaking the sealant, the slurry will begin to turn milky white.

Step Six: Vacuum and Rinse to Remove the Slurry
Use a wet/dry vacuum to extract and rinse the slurry from the floor.

Step Seven: Sealing the Terracotta Tiles
Leave the terracotta tiles to dry thoroughly because the tiles must be dry before sealing. For this purpose, we often use a few air movers (or fans) to help them dry.

Now that the tiles are stripped and clean, you need to seal them with a solvent-impregnated sealer. This will protect your terracotta from water and oil stains, make them waterproof, and enhance the beauty of the tile.

Step Eight: Buff the Tiles
Finally, lightly buff the floor to give it a natural satin finish.

Final Thoughts

The terracotta floors are finished and resealed and if you followed this guide properly, we are sure you will be happy with the results - proof that a little bit of hard work has paid off.

Watch The Video

Share it with the world!