SALTILLO TILE

Our safe and effective cleaning & sealing service for saltillo won’t over-sand the clay causing damage to the surface. Proper knowledge how to treat saltillo is important due to its soft and porous nature. Sealing saltillo is especially important as the types of sealer used vary from inside to outside surfaces.

Oil stains in Saltillo appear as dark spots and when oil sealed help to camouflage. When Saltillo tile started to become a common floor covering, shiny topcoat sealersDesigned to lay on top of the stone and change appearance ranging from a low to high shine. Prevents liquids from soaking into the stone. This type of sealer is prone to scratching, dulling and peeling. Regular maintenance is required to keep the sealer intact and looking good. were applied to give the tiles a shiny appearance as well as being sealed. Generally, a clear coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. will not darken the tiles. Saltillo tile is a very delicate floor covering. Even during installation, it can be permanently discolored, losing it ability to be restored.

Restorability is the ability to bring the floor back to a condition at a certain point in time. Loss of restorability is any permanent damage that can not be repaired.

CLEANING

The Power Clean method for cleaning Saltillo will vary depending on the current condition of the tile and how well it has been maintained. We have the knowledge to use the correct abrasives to clean the Saltillo but not damage the clay. These are general methods, and results will vary.

New Saltillo: A very light custom abrasiveA substance used to sand, scour, scrub, smooth or polish by removal of the original material. The amount of material removed is determined by the size of the abrasive particles used (ie: grit) Sandpaper, scouring powders & steel wool are examples of abrasives. process is used. Slurry removal is through a powerful truck-mounted machineHigh pressure water and vacuum system designed to apply and remove a large amount of hot water rapidly and efficiently. Purchased as a carpet cleaning machine, we have adapted it for stone cleaning. Used as a highly and much more effective replacement for mop buckets and shop vacs. for a very thorough cleaning step.

Older Saltillo previously sealed with a penetrating sealer only: We will scrub and lightly sand the surface of the tile safely using appropriate grit strength. The cleaning solution is aggressive and will remove as much discoloring and staining as possible. Truck mounted equipment will wash away all the slurries generated during the abrasiveA substance used to sand, scour, scrub, smooth or polish by removal of the original material. The amount of material removed is determined by the size of the abrasive particles used (ie: grit) Sandpaper, scouring powders & steel wool are examples of abrasives. process.

Older Saltillo previously sealed with a topcoat sealer: The abrasives used will depend on the condition of the existing coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface., whether it is intact, or breaking down exposing the clay or showing deterioration of the clay. In some cases, the coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. may need to be stripped off as best possible and then recoated. If the clay has eroded in areas, the discoloring can generally be improved after a good clean and re-coat, but not erased.

Saltillo showing efflorescence (minerals leeching up to the surface) along edges.

The patch on the right shows where layers of clay have eroded away.

SEALING

Penetrating Sealers

Penetrating sealers are clear and soak into the clay with no change to appearance. They help keep moisture from soaking in, but keep in mind Saltillo is clay and clay is absorbent. Staining and discoloring will still eventually occur but to a lesser degree than unsealed Saltillo.

Penetrating sealers mixed with enhancer will darken & enrich the Saltillo but won’t add any shine. Think of it as moisturizing the clay. Penetrating sealers help to prevent water erosion and staining but Saltillo is so porous even after being sealed it can still be discolored.

Before: Unsealed Saltillo walkway in Phoenix-Scottsdale area.

After: Same walkway with an enhancing penetrating sealer.

Topcoat Sealers

Topcoat/Surface sealer will always impart some shine ranging from semi-gloss to high gloss. First, we apply a large molecule chemical resistant sealer. This soaks into the tile as much as possible to prevent water penetration and stains. We then apply several coats of acrylic sealer that is chemically sensitive. This becomes a working surface as long as it is cleaned properly and recoated before the sealer it is broken through and the tile is exposed. It is important that topcoat sealersDesigned to lay on top of the stone and change appearance ranging from a low to high shine. Prevents liquids from soaking into the stone. This type of sealer is prone to scratching, dulling and peeling. Regular maintenance is required to keep the sealer intact and looking good. are maintained properly or they will lose restorability. In some cases the coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. may need to be stripped. Stripping is removing as much of the coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. as possible and makes restoration more difficult as well as adding expense to the project.

**Important to note that topcoat/surface sealers do not last as long outside due to heat, sun, and water exposure. Maintaining the coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. is the best way to protect the clay tiles from erosion.

Before: Previously coated Saltillo cleaned with just enough abrasiveA substance used to sand, scour, scrub, smooth or polish by removal of the original material. The amount of material removed is determined by the size of the abrasive particles used (ie: grit) Sandpaper, scouring powders & steel wool are examples of abrasives. value to leave the existing coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. intact and prepare for re-coat.

After: A smooth glossy coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. brings this Saltillo back to life.

Before: A poorly maintained Saltillo patio, coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. has worn away exposing the clay to damage and staining. This patio needed to be stripped removing as much of the old coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. as possible.

After: After stripping remaining coatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are overapplied, causing a buildup on the surface. and re-coating w/sealer. Although the Saltillo looks much better, the spots where layers of clay have been worn are still visible.