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Linseed Oil On Terracotta

Discussion in 'Tile Cleaning & Restoration' started by Andrew Coote, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Andrew Coote

    Andrew Coote Junior Contributor

    Been repairing a customers terracotta kitchen floor today - not so much tiles as 18 inch square inch thick slabs some of the roughest (largest variations of edges) tiles I have used. Anyway the cracked tiles removed, concrete sub-floor repaired and new tiles laid. Going to seal and grout later this week.

    That was an education - never worked with anything like it before!

    Anyway - point of posting is that a builder used too much linseed oil in one area when previously sealing tiles. Been trying to remove resulting stains with some FilaSolv stripper (allegedly removes linseed oil as well as wax) - neat and scrubbed as per manufacturers instructions - still got linseed oil. did think paint stripper might work, but this is outside my experience and need some advice.

    Can anyone help?
  2. DavidCarr

    DavidCarr Tiling Forum Admin Staff Member

    Hi Andy,

    Linseed once oxidised is pretty much the hardest thing to remove from terracotta as it welds itself into the pores of the tile. You could try using something like Lithofin Kf tile restorer mixed with water and blended with talc to form a paste. Apply the paste of the problem area and cover with cling film, allow to the poultice to work for a few hours to see if it cuts through the oil.

    I would only use this if the oil is thick and needs to be chemically burnt out of the tile, which a caustic chemical like tile restorer will do. A non-caustic, non-bleaching alternative would be universeal power clean or extreme clean mixed the same way.

    Ensure the tile is very well rinsed afterward.

    Failing this you'll need a 'real' paint stripping product which still uses methyl chloride (nitromors no longer has this). You would need to look somewhere like http://www.stripperspaintremovers.com/product_chart.htm
    Sussex Tiler and Andrew Coote like this.
  3. Kendo

    Kendo Junior Contributor

    Vinegar works, you have to let it work for ten to fifteen mins and then clean off with slightly soapy water and then wipe dry- don't let it dry naturally.
    I've heard that steam cleaning can work, again you need to dry with an old dish towel or similar.

    I'd try this in a corner first and you may have to do it a few times.
    Andrew Coote likes this.
  4. Andrew Coote

    Andrew Coote Junior Contributor

    Many thanks to you both. I explained originally to the customer that we may have to try a few solutions and he was very relaxed about it all. The kitchen floor area is about 20 sq m and the affected tiles cover about 4 sq m. I will let you know how it goes.
  5. DavidCarr

    DavidCarr Tiling Forum Admin Staff Member

    Any time Andrew, as Ken also mentioned steam may work. Might be worth hiring a dry stream machine for the day, ideally an industrial one to ensure the correct heat and amount of steam required.
    Andrew Coote likes this.
  6. Andrew Coote

    Andrew Coote Junior Contributor

    I must admit the steam idea sounds attractive. My wife bought a hand held steamer a couple of years ago. After a couple attempts at removing carpet stains failed (we have 3 dogs) the machine has been unused in the garage. The moral of that story is that you do need some instrruction on using it to get the best - it nearly always involves hard work, patience and perseverance! I guess that applies with all heavy duty cleaning. I will check with my local tool hire shop for an industrial strength steamer.
  7. GallacherTiling

    GallacherTiling Junior Contributor

    Curious about the outcome of this one, keep us posted Andy and top advice above. ;)

    Havent had the pleasure of working with proper wavy all over the shop Terracotta for quite some time. :(

    Are there Taco pieces in the floor Andy? get some pics up too mate ;)
    AMA Tiling and Andrew Coote like this.
  8. ray

    ray Superb Contributor

    the best way to remove this is with celose thinner wipe on wipe off .but this is hiley flamble open all windows switch off electric try not breath in use a face mask and gloves this will clean and dry in seconds.
    Andrew Coote likes this.
  9. Andrew Coote

    Andrew Coote Junior Contributor

    Yes there are ceramic tacos sporadically across the floor. The tiles are unbelieveably rough - it was impossible to place replacement tiles without lippage - I am going to have to be generous with the grout - some gaps were less than 3mm too (with some gaps over 10mm...)! However - the customer laid the tiles himself (so I have not been too critical) these are difficult enough to lay - but for a novice it must have been very frustrating.

    I am popping back tomorrow afternoon to seal and grout the repaired tiles - classic mistake of tiling too quick on new concrete when kitchen extended - row of 8 tiles had cracked. However customer has other properties which need tiling work so doing the best I can for him.

    Will also take some cellulose thinner and try!
    AMA Tiling likes this.
  10. ray

    ray Superb Contributor

    buy your cellulose thinners from a car spares shop this will be strong the ones they sell in diy shops are watered down use with cloath wipe over with cellulose wait a few seconds the oil will skin up wipe off with clean cloath.o_O try not to get stoned
  11. Andrew Coote

    Andrew Coote Junior Contributor

    First off thanks to everyone above - no time for shopping so I grabbed everything I had to try - Vinegar, cellulose thinner and a hand held steamer.

    terracotta tiles coated with linseed oil 002.JPG The before pic. Note dark stains from badly applied linseed oil.

    terracotta tiles coated with linseed oil 005.JPG The after pic - tested hand held steamer and a scrubbing brush - linseed oil started coming off a dream. Need to hire proper commercial steamer though - about 15 sq m needs steaming!

    Vinegar - not enough left in bottle to test effectively. Thinners - omg the fumes!

    I must admit that I have never used Lithofin products - so no idea how good they are. But Davids reply did give a lot of food for thought in the future - making a paste from any proprietory terracotta oil remover and talc (havent owned any talc since I did scuba diving 17 years ago!) and the cling film sounds like the scientific method of making the chemicals work more effectively and not just evaporating.

    Truth to tell with each problem it is trial and error, and customer was very happy to see how their problem could be solved. Quite apart from being very happy about how their cracked tiles had been replaced.
  12. DavidCarr

    DavidCarr Tiling Forum Admin Staff Member

    Looks like like spirit wax applied over the oil, something selwax or borne traffic wax. A xylene or kerosene based stripper, or even soya bean oil mixed orange terpenes would have worked well on that.
  13. Andrew Coote

    Andrew Coote Junior Contributor

    Yes - it was Traffic wax - bright orange in a tin about 40 years old!
  14. DavidCarr

    DavidCarr Tiling Forum Admin Staff Member

    Universeal do product called prostrip which is xylene based that should do the trick.
  15. Andrew Coote

    Andrew Coote Junior Contributor

    I might grab a tin to keep in stock - spewnt too much time this week stripping wax off stone floors! Cheers David.
    DavidCarr likes this.
  16. Sussex Tiler

    Sussex Tiler Tiling Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Is this a recent change Dave, I used some for this very purpose last year?
  17. DavidCarr

    DavidCarr Tiling Forum Admin Staff Member

    For around a year they've removed the methyl chloride the new stuff is now green and has no balls to it.
    amir patwa and Sussex Tiler like this.
  18. amir patwa

    amir patwa Serious Contributor

    We sell a stripper PCS 200 which will dissolve any thing even carpet!
  19. Jason - Universeal Sealants

    Jason - Universeal Sealants Tiling Products Support

    Thanks Dave, we recently changed the special remover formula "Pro-Strip" to a New Eco Gel formula, it's a soluble solvent blend that has an extended open time of up to 6 hrs and can be washed off with just clean water, no need for an alkaline cleaner like traditional solvent based products. This new formula is a very effective stripper for use with hard to remove coatings, i.e P.U's, Acrylics, Epoxies and Oxidised Oils, etc.
    AMA Tiling and DavidCarr like this.

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