stripping terrazzo tile and sealing it
by IRA HOROWITZ
(EL PASO, TEXAS)
We have multiple Mexican terrazzo tiles in our kitchen and adjoining rooms.
It's been covered with wax for over 20 years./ We just stripped the wax off with Zep and 3M stripper and the floors went from a dark brown to their original reddish rose color.
They look beautiful again. We are sealing it with 3-4 coats of a sealer and the tiles look great.
Do we need to apply polish over the sealer? There are just two adults in the house but we have 6 large rescue dogs (house dogs all 60-80lbs).
Thank you in advance for your attention.
Ira A. Horowitz
I think the tiles may be Saltillo tile from Saltillo, Mexico. I've never heard of terrazzo from Mexico.
Also, Saltillo tiles are a reddish clay tile. I could be wrong, but that's what I think you have from your description. A picture always helps.
It sounds like it was a lot of work stripping the coating off. Now you have the raw look of the Saltillo, which I'm sure looks great.
You don't have to apply a coating (not a polish), which most likely would be an acrylic, but you will not have a glossy look.
If you did apply a coating, it will give off a shiny look and be easier to mop. But, applying a coating comes with some costs.
You will want to keep records of exactly what you used to coat the Saltillo tiles with, because when it begins to deteriorate, and you want to re-coat, you may be able to just clean and then re-coat.
The problem I run into is people don't know what the coating was and then we have to strip the coating off, just like you did.
Sometimes this can be a very costly and an intoxicating exercise, which if I do them, I charge quite a bit.
If you left the Saltillo tile in it's raw state, and just used the penetrating sealer, then all you have to do in the future is clean and re-coat. No stripping involved.
The choice is up to you as both look great, it's just a matter of your taste.
If you decide on going with the coating, the coating I've had good luck with is Aqua Mix Low Sheen Sealer/Coating.
To re-apply, all you have to do is thoroughly clean the Saltillo and re-apply, with not stripping.
With dog traffic I'm not sure how long the coating will hold up. Also, with dog traffic, I'm not sure how much the raw Saltillo will scratch. Your call on how you want to proceed.
I hope this explanation helps you with your project.