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Everything you need to know about terracotta tiles

Image of Marlborough Terracotta Picket from Artisans of Devizes

Everything you need to know about terracotta tiles

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. Hamish Smith, Creative Director at Artisans of Devizes, 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, simply vacuum. For spot cleaning marks such as muddy paw prints, a stiff-bristled brush will do the job. And for 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. We recommend Bona floor cleaner.

Image of Marlborough Terracotta Parquet from Artisans of Devizes
Image: Marlborough Terracotta Parquet, Artisans of Devizes.
How to protect terracotta tiles from stains

Terracotta should be sealed to protect it from staining. This natural material is pretty robust but it’s not indestructible, so avoid spilling hot oil or using harsh chemicals. Though, 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, apply our Stain Block Eco Sealant. Apply a water-based impregnating sealer 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 – ideally up to three days. For the best protection, top up the coats every few years.

Image of Antique Burgundy Terracotta from Artisans of Devizes
Image: Antique Burgundy Terracotta, Artisans of Devizes.
How to grout terracotta tiles

It is a matter of personal preference as to whether terracotta should be grouted level. But we always recommend you grout over the whole tile surface to ensure you conceal any imperfections.

How to live with terracotta

Our terracotta is typically 20mm 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. But you should view this as part of the aged character of the stone. Enjoy it, live with it and embrace the ageing process of terracotta. It’s timeless.

How to use terracotta in a bathroom

Terracotta is suitable for bathrooms and makes a lovely, rustic option for both walls and floors. 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, our handmade terracotta tiles are not suitable for outdoor use, as it is not dense enough to cope with harsh frost.

Image of Antique Burgundy Terracotta from Artisans of Devizes
Image: Antique Burgundy Terracotta, Artisans of Devizes.

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, it has grown steadily to become one of the UK’s leading stone and tile companies.

Featured image: Marlborough Terracotta Picket tiles from Artisans of Devizes.

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