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Terracotta & Brick Tile Care, Protection, and Cleaning


how to care for clay tile and terracotta


Terracotta & Brick is one of the Oldest Flooring Materials

Clay and brick tiles have been used for flooring for thousands of years. Terracotta pavers can add Old World charm to your home, but require special care to preserve the beauty for years. You can purchase glazed Terracotta or unglazed tiles. Unglazed terracotta is relatively inexpensive ($3.00-4.00 per sq. ft.) but you MUST use the proper sealer, wax, or oil to enhance and preserve the rich beauty of Terracotta pavers.


Unglazed Terracotta & Brick Tile & Pavers

All terracotta tiles start out as 'Unglazed' raw clay. Some types are 'Sun-Dried', like Saltillo Clay tiles from Mexico, while other types may be 'Kiln-Dried'. This process dries out the tile and hardens the surface. When raw and unglazed, these tile are as absorbent as a sponge and need some form of protection. Using one of the following methods will help bring out the rich color tones enhancing the appeal, while also making it easier to clean and maintain your floors.

Four Methods to Protect Unglazed Brick & Terracotta Tile

Clay Tile Sealers

Sealers are usually 'Topical' products that lay on the surface of the tile, enhancing the colors and providing protection agains spills. Topical sealers are not as durable as Impregnators because they are susceptible to scatches from pets, furniture, and foot traffic.
Topical sealers generally require more maintenance.
We offer Topical Acrylic Sealers in Matte Finish, Satin, and High Gloss.
Please Note: Topical Acrylic Sealers actually lay on the surface of the clay, and form a hardened coating surface, but please be aware that Topical Sealers can be damaged by furniture, traffic, pets, and other sources of abrasion. Compared to penetrating impregnators, topical sealers require more maintenance. However, with clay tiles, these acrylic topical sealers offer unique and beautiful finishes that you cannot obtain with other sealers. Topical Acrylic Sealers make it easier to clean, and offer superior stain protection.


Impregnators are 'Penetrating Sealers' that absorb deep into the clay, both enhancing color and adding Stain Protection. Because the protection lies below the surface, impregnators are not subject to the wear and abuses that Topicals must deal with. Impregnators are also more durable than topical acrylics because our impregnators are Naptha based and do not break down as easily as acrylics.

We offer several different impregnating sealers for Terracotta.

   1. First is Clear-Invisible protection that will not enhance the color.

   2. We also offer a Color Enhancer impregnator.

   3. For extra stain protection a Extra Protection Color Enhancer  

Paraffin Oils

One of the oldest methods for treating clay tiles is with the use of special oils. Oil treatments will enhance the color and also provide protection against spill and stains. Think of oil treatments for terracotta like hand rubbed wood finishes that leave a warm patina.

We offer special
 Parafin Oils for the treatment of unglazed terracotta, clay tiles, and brick. (Buy Special Order Only) Please call to order: 800-380-6881


Lastly, you can use Beeswax to treat unglazed terracotta tile floors. One of the oldest methods is first staining the tile with Bioled Linseed Oil, and polishing with Beeswax, applying dozens of coats of wax. This is of course a VERY expensive and time consuming method and fortunately, many of the modern synthetics offer a much more economical and practical approach.

For Deep Cleaning, we suggest using our HMK R155 Intensive Cleaner Concentrate

If you have questions about protecting and maintaining Terracotta and Brick surfaces, please contact us. 

Toll Free:  800-380-6881

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