Saltillo Tile Cleaning and Sealing
Saltillo is also known as “Mexican tile.” This is because it is from the town of Saltillo, which is in the Coahuila area of Mexico. Unlike granite, marble, and porcelain, Saltillo tile is clay-based. This means it is a hardened, processed form of clay. It is made by pressing clay into a mold that is allowed to sit outside as it cures. Because of this it often has the footprints of the local animals—both domestic and wild—decorating it here and there. Its applications are more diverse than many other types of tile. It can be used indoors and outdoors and has a versatile look that can fit a variety of design schemes. It is porous, so it must be dealt with thoughtfully, whether your Saltillo tile is being installed, stained, or restored.
Those seeking Saltillo tile restoration in Los Angeles have the advantage of being in a climate similar to that of its place of origin. But the same care must be taken regardless of where the tile currently lives. The process of restoring Saltillo tile begins with cleaning then continues with stripping and re-staining.
The reason it’s important to clean the tile first is that a proper cleaning may make the full restoration of the tile unnecessary. However, if a full saltillo tile restoration is needed, there are a few professionals who are able to restore Saltillo tile in Los Angeles. These same pros can do the cleaning as well. Here are the steps involved.
First, vacuum the floors. It’s important to remove all dirt and loose particles. This can have a significant impact on the final result.
Second, make a solution of vinegar and water. The ratio should be one part vinegar and two parts water. Use a mop to clean the floors with this solution. You should use a towel to clean up as you progress. You should not allow the mixture to sit on top of the tiles.
Third, use a chemical stripper to further clean the tile. It should be carefully spread across the surface. Because sealant gets yellow as it ages, removing it will get Saltillo tile back to its original color. Removing the sealant will bring back the original color of the Saltillo. However, there is another benefit. If the sealant is stripped away, and you are planning on re-staining the tile, the new stain will sink into the tile much better than if it were not stripped. The stripper should sit on the top of the tile for around 20 minutes.
Fourth, the water and vinegar solution should be used to remove the chemicals from the tile. It will gently cut through the residue, leaving the tile ready for the next step. Before moving on, however, it’s important to dry the tiles with a clean, soft cloth.
Fifth, take a sponge no larger than your hand and dip it into the stain. Remove it and proceed to rub it into the Mexican tile. Use a circular motion while doing this. After the first coat has dried, you can take a look at how it came out. Depending on how satisfied you are with the product, you can add one or two more coats. However, you need to let the stain dry all the way. On the other hand, if you are happy with the color that results from the first coat, you can skip the second or third coats.
Sixth, you need to seal the newly stained tiles. For this, you will need a soft mop. Use it to spread the sealant out and across the tiles. There are several types of sealants. Some are made for Saltillo tile while others are not as effective. Be sure to choose one formulated for Saltillo or Mexican tile. Before allowing anyone to walk on the tiles, let them dry overnight.
Saltillo Tile Restoration
Saltillo tile restoration is much the same as the cleaning process. However, there are a few extra steps.
The first and perhaps most important step is cleaning the grout lines. Grout has a tendency to get darker as it gets older. The grout itself doesn’t change color, however. It’s because things get spilled on it and it is absorbent due to its porous composition. Also, everyday dirt can exacerbate the staining. Applying sealer certainly helps reduce staining, but even that wears down as the months and years go by. This is where a good cleaning can come in handy.
Second, you have to get rid of any damaged tiles. It is futile and cost inefficient to try to repair them, so they have to go. Once the damaged tiles are identified, they can be hammered out and then replaced with new ones. Hiring a professional tile company for this step can be beneficial because it is important to identify the proper matching color. A company that deals with Mexican tile will understand how the color of the potential matching tiles will evolve over time and can suggest tiles that will be most consistent with what you have in the long run.
Third, after replacing damaged tiles, you have to clean all of the tiles. This is similar to what is described above. However, you also should use acetone and water to completely clean away the residue of the cleaning materials. Use a 50/50 ratio of water and acetone.
Fourth, once the tile is totally dry, you should reseal it. This can be done using the same procedure above as well.
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