Our recommendations for laying and trating you terracotta

The Ceipo terracotta is produced with filtered clay, so our pieces are free from any lumps or pebbles. When the terracotta is wet and consequently any lumps absorb water and increasing its volume due to the chipping or flaking, more or less large, that are often present on the surface of the terracotta.
Our production has a firing tunnel kilns which guarantees an excellent and uniform baking of the clay, which increases the resistance to frost and ensures our terracotta a worry-free laying outdoors (FROST RESISTANCE, TEST REPORT EN ISO 10545).
Despite Ceipo devote all the attention necessary to create a product which is as accurate in size and flatness of the pieces, this is always a hand made terracotta tile, so each piece is unique and different from the others, you should not expect to lay a handmade terracotta tile in the same way as any piece produced by industrial method.

The laying of the terracotta can be carried out with many patterns also by mixing different formats, using the old "semolone" method (a mixture of sand and cement screed, dusted with wet cement) or by using the adhesive, more reliable and simple.
Especially we do not recommend the "semolone" method for large formats or thickness of less than 2.5 cm. This is because if not performed in a state of art manner, can cause uneven filling and adhesion of the terracotta screed resulting in breakage of parts when walked on.
For laying outdoors we recommend that you keep the correct slope to prevent water stagnation. A step that is often overlooked and is actually critical to the ultimate success of a beautiful floor, is the phase of grouting. The joint can be made using the old method with fine sand mixed with cement or mortar with premixed coloured mortars. The terracotta is a material that is highly porous and absorbent so if the necessary precautions are not used, it may happen that the grout penetrates deeply and when dry you can not remove it and restore the brick to its natural colour. Our first tip is to soak the terracotta saturating it to avoid drying out the grout thus making it brittle.
Prepare the grout with the right density water / dust with a low speed drill mixer to avoid too liquid putty that tends to crack when dry and too thick a putty does not get well deep into the joints.
Spread the grout on the floor and push it manually within the joints with a trowel, once you reach the proper hardness, remove the grout out of the joints scraping the terracotta with a trowel and remove any residue with a sponge, even a rough one to better scratch, and water.
After completion the surface of terracotta will appear slightly opaque by the putty. In the case of pre-mixed putty which hardens more rapidly, you need a quicker cleaning phase, it is sometimes advisable to carry out the removal of the putty by hand during the grouting process. The corners of each piece should not stay covered with putty.
Before you begin to grout a terracotta floor you can make a pre-waterproofing treatment given in a uniform and light manner, which reduces the absorption of the grout. The pre-treatment if done badly will affect all subsequent stages so if you want to do it (it is not necessary) the advice is to pre-treat the floor by the same professional who will make the final treatment. The choice of the colour of the joint is very important for the chromatic effect to be obtained, just for the so-called "dirt effect" putty. It is recommended to pay particular attention to dark putty and washing after the joint is done, a black stucco give a red-ish colour to the terracotta , a grey putty will give a much more tenuous colour.
Once the grout has dried, the floor should be washed with water and acid (muriatic acid 1/4 diluted in water) by means of mono rotating brushes that rub the terracotta and clean it more thoroughly, can be passed several times, but being careful not to wear the surface. Rinse with plenty of water and suction any fluids.
Only if the floor is completely dry (10 - 20 days) proceed to any treatment.

The processing is necessary for all floors laid indoors, it prevents stains, it makes by far cleaning and maintenance easier and prevents wear. Today, there are treatments that in the past were not there and, if done by professionals, delete the legend that terracotta is tiring to clean and gets dirty easily. Outside we do not recommend any treatment because it can block the transpiration of terracotta and facilitate damage from frost.
The floor after washing should be the colour of the brick, free of stains or residues of construction (stucco or cement) or the washing was not performed well or there are pre-existing problems. Begin treatment only with a clean and dry floor. Treating a dirty floor increases the visibility of dirt and to remove it you must first remove all the treatment, rinse and treat again.
Stains or residues of construction are removed by washing more aggressive, alkalis, solvents.
The products used for the treatment can be solvent-based or water-based, for an excellent treatment also need 7/8 hands of different products, waterproofing, decoration and protection. The first treatment after installation is the most important for the life of the terracotta and is made only once.
The treatments may be natural or toning, ranging from transparent to white or black, ageing, shiny or opaque. Before carrying out the work, it is always best to ask the professional some treated samples to choose the colour.
A "do it yourself" treatment must be made with products recommended by us, and accepting the final effect, treating a floor by hand will give a result very different from that machine made by professionals, both as a result and quality.

The term efflorescence means the migration to the surface of the terracotta of salts, transported in solution by water, when the terracotta dries, it crystallizes changing itself in white fluff. Efflorescence originate from the terracotta itself, from the ground, from the concrete, polluted rain, or by poorly executed acid washes .
Outdoor, saltpetre is normally an early phenomenon of terracotta, this fades with time or can be washed with water.
In the case of the floor, efflorescence disappear after washing with acid and water. If you have a poorly executed pretreatment before grouting (excessive amounts of waterproofing or uneven application) the acid fails to act in depth and you will need to first use products to remove the treatment (alkaline or solvent) and then wash the floor . Washing with acid should be rinsed thoroughly with water otherwise it can return to the surface residues of acid salts.
For vertical walls it is necessary to isolate the terracotta from moisture standard waterproofing membranes are adequate.
If with the terracotta you want to make a roof then it is extremely important to pay attention to the saltpetre, you should choose the right brick for this type of application. If the material already has white spots before laying then immerse the pieces with diluted acid, rinse with water and lay the tiles.
In any case use waterproofing products (towels, etc.) to separate the brick from and concrete to prevent rain on the floor that is not yet covered.
Ceipo produces a type of terracotta that if used correctly will not develop saltpetre.
The only solutions to remove the saltpetre from the ceiling are:
- use non-runny acid gels, this is a very difficult and not very effective remedy
- sandblasting tiles, this remedy is decisive against efflorescence but totally changes the appearance of the tiles.