terra cotta tile flooring
Terra Cotta Tile Floors
Terra-cotta, which is Italian for "cooked earth," is actually
semi-cooked. Terra cotta tile is made from raw clay and is usually unglazed. The colors
range from natural earthtones such as gray and brownish yellow to various shades of red.
When used indoors, terra cotta tile floors can be left raw, but more often, terra cotta
is finished with a top coat sealer. Some terra-cotta tiles are purported to be waterproof.
To the contrary, all raw clay tiles are like sponges when it comes to soaking up water.
Terra cotta tiles are however beautiful, and they lend an informal and somewhat rustic
or even southwestern air to residential floors. As a raw product, it is always recommended
that this type of flooring be 'sealed' after installation. This process can either
make or break your tile job. A qualified clay tile contractor having a thorough knowledge
of the different sealers available as well as their application instructions should be used.
A frequent complaint often heard by customers is regarding a 'cloudy' haze on their floor
shortly after the installer leaves.
Most times this has to do with the type of sealer used as well as not waiting long enough
for the floor to properly cure or dry. Clay tile, being very porous, will 'wick' the
moisture from the thinset bed. This moisture will eventually dissipate over time (a few days at most)
through the surface of the tile. If sealed too soon, this moisture becomes trapped
between the surface and coats of sealer and will generally cause a clouding effect on
the surface of your new floor. It may or may not lessen over time, so beware.
Otherwise, enjoy your new floor. Keep in mind that these tiles come in a variety of sizes
as well as shapes. You can also find pre-sealed tile that will make the job almost fool-proof.
As well, stains that come in an array of colors can be used during installation to give your
new floor that truly custom look.
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