Sealing of traditional cotta tiles

Nicovanderm Image
08/25/2009 - 17:41

Does anyone have an idea what the sealing of traditional cotta tiles should cost per sq.m.?We have about 300sq.m of newly laid cotta tiles that we need to seal and the prices we're quoted seem steep.ThanksNico



Why not buy the DIY sealing kits from the hardware store?  We have really old cotta floors and bought 3 products, 1 to clean (very difficult job- but great results) , the other 2 to seal & protect - which we haven't done yet, although we were assured by the hardware man the process is very simple.... We bought the large 5 litre containers & from memory the cost of the 3 products (15 litre in total) was approx 120 euros.  We'll be sealing next trip to Italy.

Hi! I've joist joined and this is my first posting.I'm in the process of having an old farm building converted/extended and am paying €18/m2 to have the new floors sealed (it was €33 to have them laid, my supply), so not cheap. But only 90m2.The description is "Trattamento pavimenti in cotto, comprensivo di pullitura e trattamento con prodotti impregnanti ed idrorepellenti, la spazzolatura con spazzola al carbonio, il trattamento finale a base di cera"

It's a matter of taste I know but I personally think old tiles polished to a highly shiny surface look awful in the context or an old property. I would avoid varnishes and the like.You can buy a very good but expensive product I think its called Filo idrorepellente ? I've used it on new but old looking tiles on our kitchen window sill as I was already getting it marked by coffee cups etc. I put on 2 coats - it goes a fair way and I would estimate a floor or say 30sq metres would take about 1 hour to do and cost around 60-80 euros.Thats with 2 coats. Its almost impossible to tell the tile has been treated once its dried. 

We have recently used the Fila products which are available locally in Italy. They are not cheap. We wanted to start with our kitchen floor as our rental property was suffering from oil and water staining on that floor. We acid cleaned it first, and then used a series of three different products as recommended. They were to repel water, oil, and then a wax finish. This took a period of four days and was hard work!! That was back in April. We have had a summer of rentals and have just been back to visit our house. We were horrified that the floor was very dirty indeed. After scrubbing twice with numerous buckets of water being used, the floor is now clean of dirt but there are still lots of spot stains of oil. We are really disappointed and don't know where to go now. This was the only floor that was this dirty (quite black really). It seems that the wax finish was holding all the dirt whereas the unsealed floors were allowing it to be swept/hoovered up.

Surely if your cleaner had washed the floors as part of their cleaning of the property there would not have been  a build up of dirt and stains over such a short period. It is hardly fair to blame a product if regular cleaning is not carried out 

Wax and oil will do that ! We have slates in our Cornwall cottage and I used to lightly linseed oil them but it was not a very good idea.If I want them to look nice and clean I use milky tea mopped on then over with a dry mop ! Basically its much better to aim for a dry surface.It may be worth leaving instructions for your guests on how to care for the floor? People used to laminated wood or modern tiles might not realise that theses tiles need different treatment. 

You could try something like a nylon pan scrubber to get the oil stains lifted.I would not go for the steel ones as they are a bit too abrasive.Ive made a mark with peach juice of all things and just cannot get it shifted! Tried a weak bleach solution, scrubbed it washed it but its still there.The 2 women 'Kim and Aggie' from C4 'how clean is your house' seem to have lots of tips for stain removal - one good one was to use metal polish on ring stains on wood, it worked!! I've used mayo but the metal polish was better!Yes linseed oil and tiles not a good mixture ram!

I think the problem could be that to properly seal cotta tiles it really takes an industrial polisher. No matter how much elbow grease you use, its not going to be enough. Certainly not to cope with oil stains. Fila products are very good (maybe the best) but to give a surface that will last and be durable for a couple of years you really have to use a machine. Its not cheap to employ a professional cleaner, but in the long run it could be the best solution. (Or replace your tiles for a "glazed" product).

The main problem is that people are trying to 'shine' a material that was never meant to be shiny!!If we could accept a dry unpolished appearance to an old  floor brick it would save us much time and money.BTW after some corespondence on another forum I'd like to create a page on my website with pictures of old italian brick floors - if anyone would be interested in  contributing by sending their own pictures and info I'd be very grateful.

In one of her books Annie Hawes describes spilling olive oil on her floor by mistake.  It turned out to be the perfect finishing product!Has anyone tried that?

As an experienced tiler i have to say that cotto tiles tiles will always absorbe stains such as oil even when sealed because they are natural stone. Stripping and re-sealing is something that has to be done every year or so to keep them looking their best.