What is Terracotta?
First things first, let’s answer the question of ‘what is terracotta?’ Terracotta means ‘baked earth’ in Italian and is essentially just that. It is refined mud that is shaped whilst wet, dried and then hardened in a kiln. It is the oldest type of ceramic in the world, which is why it features prominently throughout our history. So before we jump straight into floors, let’s take a little look at the history of terracotta.
The History of Terracotta
Terracotta has essentially worked its way from the top down in terms of our houses. Having started off in ancient history as a favoured roof tile. Knowing what we know now about the porosity of the stone we can only imagine that it might not have done a great job of keeping out the rain. However, at the time, it was a revelation!
Moving down the timeline and further into our homes, terracotta played a huge part in ceramics. Often used as plates, jugs and sculptures. One of the most famous uses of terracotta in history has to be the renowned ‘Terracotta Army’. The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, employed ceramic art experts to create an entire army out of terracotta to guard him in the afterlife at his final resting place. It has been said his mausoleum was guarded by 8,000 life-sized soldiers. These, however, are no longer guarding the Emperor and now stand on display in Xian.
Terracotta in the Modern World
Fast forward to the modern world and terracotta is now more commonly found under our feet. Terracotta tiles are more commonly associated with the Mediterranean home in warmer climates but with the rustic look gaining favour in Britain, we are seeing a lot more over this way too. Terracotta floor tiles give any room a warm and welcoming feel. Its beautiful red earthy hues (thanks to the iron in the clay) and rough texture bring a naturally rustic and tactile feel to the home. It is because of this you will often find them in entrance porches and living rooms.
Due to its porosity, terracotta floor tiles require frequent sealing to avoid moisture and stains seeping into the stone and causing mould. Glazed terracotta floor tiles are a solution to the porosity of the stone and provide a glass-like layer which protects the stone from stains. Unfortunately, this also has a dulling effect on the tile, which takes away some of its natural rustic charms.
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Natural vs Machine Cut
There are two methods of creating terracotta tiles and they can either be made by hand or machine cut. Each method has it’s pro’s and cons and here are just a few of the differences.
Naturally Cut Terracotta Tiles
- Each tile is unique with subtle differences seen in each example
- The edges of the tile are often uneven
- Installation can harder due to their uneven profile
- The uniqueness of the tile gives it more of a rustic feel
- The process is much more expensive
Machine Cut Terracotta Tiles
- Each tile is made with uniform precision meaning they are all the same
- The lines cut are straight
- They are easy to lay because of their uniformity
- The uniformity can make the tile lose some of its natural charms
- The process is much cheaper than hand-crafting
Despite their low porosity, terracotta tiles are hard wearing and easy to clean thanks to our fantastic KleanSTONE stone floor cleaning machines. So, as long as you care for your natural terracotta tiles with the right natural stone floor sealers, there is no better reason to have these fantastic tiles, which are steeped in history, throughout your home.
Effortlessly Beautiful Floors with KleanSTONE
Gleaming floors inspire confidence and style in any setting, whether domestic or commercial. Here at KleanSTONE, we supply advanced floor cleaning solutions to help you achieve a spotlessly clean, perfectly finished floor without the elbow grease. Our stone floor cleaners tackle spills, stains and everyday grime with ease for a healthier, happier home or work environment.
Our products extend the lifespan of your flooring with powerful, effective cleaning that is gentle enough to use every day and perfect for floors in your home or business, inside and out.
Aside from offering a range of products for stone floor cleaning, we love to share our knowledge and experience from our years helping customers succeed at extending the lifespan of your floors. Read more on the KleanSTONE Blog, explore our Help & Guides or download our range of Cleaning Guides and learn more about how to care for your natural and engineered stone floors so that they last a lifetime!
Further Reading on the KleanSTONE Blog:
- A KleanSTONE Guide To Stone Flooring
- Will A Clean Floor Bring You More Business?
- Which Floor Sealer Is Right For Me?
- Should I Seal My Outside Patio?
- Floor Sealing: The Most Important Thing You Are Not Doing
- Cleaning Quarry Tile Floors
- How To Seal Your Stone Floors
- Cleaning Quarry Tile Floors
- Is My Mop And Bucket Damaging My Stone Floor?
- How Do I Clean My Natural Stone Floor?