Hi - first time poster! I know there's a few

Marzipan71 Image
02/11/2020 - 05:25

Hi - first time poster! I know there's a few threads on here already about terracotta (cotto) tiles but we're in need of some advice for a specific situation and was hoping someone out there could help us. We're a year and a bit into a renovation of a 'modern rustic' (did I invent that genre?) 25 year old property, with the work being done by a renovation company. Half of the house has existing cotto tiles, which hadn't been shown much love, and in the other half, we've replaced floorboards with cotto tiles. Tiles are all bought and about to be laid so we are committed to them. Now, our geometre (and this is a common theme it seems) has suddenly remembered to mention that we need to pay for finishing etc to the cotto, and has recommended wax. Thanks to the various threads on here, I don't think wax is a good choice for us - the house is not old, and I don't want the hassle of maintenance. So here's where we are - the geometre is going to clean all the tiles (removing old wax etc from the existing tiles in half the house, and cleaning off building gunk from the other newly laid tiles), and then apply the water sealer. All good so far. We're in discussion with them - read, trying to persuade them - regarding the wax v acrylic finishing/ sealing. My reading (and I'm no expert!) is that following the application of the water sealer, we will need to apply just one synthetic product - and my question is: what are our options? Some products I've seen reference to on here that are available in Italy are the Geal products, the Fila products, or Nord Resine's Nordcotto per Interni. I've done some research on renovating cotto in the UK and came across the product from Tile Doctor called Seal and Go Sealer. This seems to be the kind of product we need at this stage - the website says 'A specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish eliminating conventional two-step methods. May also be used as a pre-grouting sealer. Allows moisture vapour transmission and is not affected by ultra-violet light'....they also do a version ('Extra') that can be used if efflorescence is a risk, which it is with us as we have no waterproof membrane between the concrete and the cotto. Alas, of course, this is a UK product and we need many, many litres (300 sq m house) - so can someone help 1. confirm we only need to apply an acrylic/ synthetic sealer once the geometre has done his cleaning and water sealer thing (sorry for the lack of technical terminology!); and 2. the product which is most similar to the Tile Doctor product available in Italy, either online or from Leroy Merlin or similar. Thanks for reading this far and I hope the answers anyone can provide will help other brave souls going through this interesting experience here in Italy! Ciao ciao!



Hello Marzipan.

Despite a long post the answer is short. 

A second water based sealer, in my opinion, would be sufficient. 

The first coat penetrates but as the tile is made from natural materials it probably won't be even, some tiles will take more seal than others. A second coat will make it look even.

Get a short pile roller and a dip tray which will make coverage even.

Next, if the old and new tiles are the same size and are going into the same area, mix them all up to get a random pattern rather than have part one shade and anther part a different shade. 


Re your maintenance comment. It's a floor, it will need maintenance. It's the most used surface in the house.

I'm a resin Flooring contractor. 

Thanks Taranis - yes, apologies for the long post but thought it worth setting the context.

Interesting suggestion - I'd read that the waterproof sealant didn't leave the cotto impermeable or resistant to oils in particular - and since we use a lot of olive oil in the kitchen, this could be an issue. Do you think its wise to wax or use a resin finish in the kitchen for instance? In the bedrooms etc its probably less of a risk of course (although I do take the point about cosmetics sometimes).

Does the water based sealer leave any kind of finish - i.e., a shiny or matt finish - or does it leave the cotto looking as it does 'out of the box'? 

Thanks again for your helpful reply!

With any seal/wax coat the tiles will never look like they're out of the box. Big difference is they'll look darker once sealed.

The more seal you put on the shinier it will look. Once you have the correct amount it should have a silk finish, make sure you give it time to dry before making the choice on next coat or not. Best bet is to put tight coats on till you achieve the look you want. I can't say how the seals you've spoken about will look as I have never used them. I would go for a water based polyurethane. 

Don't worry about doing it yourself, the seal will be easy to use. Start in a corner or a cupboard First so you get used to it. When done it should resist oil spillages. 


Lastly, if you use a wax at any time every subsequent coat will need to be wax. No seal will stick to wax.