Terracotta is an enriched molded clay tile. It is hollow cast in blocks which were open to the back, like boxes, with internal compartment-like stiffeners called webbing. Webbing substantially strengthened the load-bearing capacity of the hollow blocks without greatly increasing its weight.
Terracotta floor tiles generally come in one of three types:
Handmade- these are fully handmade and normally baked in low technology settings where the emphasis is on artisan skills and less on mass production through high tech production techniques. These tiles are favoured by those trying to create a traditional feel to their project. These tiles are traditionally sealed with a combination of boiled linseed oil used as a primer, followed in due course with bees wax which when dry will produce a very hardwearing and beautifully lustrous gloss finish.
Semi extruded terracotta tiles are created using systems which are more akin to the fully extruded system but are hand finished in order to create the fully authentic look of the hand made version. Depending upon the spec and country of origin , some of these tiles actually come to you presealed and needing no further treatment. They may though be restored using techniques similar to the handmade terracotta tiles.
Extruded terracotta tiles are machine made but are given more than a nod to their traditional routes. The idea is to recreate an original but lowering the production costs to widen appeal and to bring a fairly expensive tile to the masses. Opinion is divided as to how authentic these tiles appear. Suffice it to say that with the proper installation in a wide jointed traditional manner, combined with the correct restoration using experience and high quality materials you may end up with a very attractive and traditional looking floor.
We are very experienced in the field of terracotta restoration and enjoy working with it as a flooring type.