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Outdoor Terracotta Floor: Types and Characteristics

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When building a house with outdoor space, or during a renovation phase, terracotta flooring for exteriors is a material to consider for many different reasons.

Aesthetically pleasing, it gives the property the typical charm of Tuscan farmhouses, and it is easy to clean.

It is also slip-resistant and mold-resistant. In addition, this material offers the possibility of being a driveway, so it is ideal for large spaces where cars transit, such as panoramic terraces with parking.

We at Biemme Restauri are experts in farmhouse renovations in Tuscany so we work almost daily with this excellent material. Let's see together what the characteristics and advantages of terracotta flooring for exteriors are.


Characteristics of Terracotta for Exteriors

Terracotta is an ancient material, still produced in kilns according to traditional methods. Tuscany is a place known for its excellence in the production of this material, which is why even today in the area of Impruneta and in the vicinity of Florence there is a number of active kilns that produce the famous "Tuscan terracotta."

In Tuscan workshops, ancient craftsmanship is still active, where the famous Tuscan red terracotta floors come to life. Handcrafted, handmade and truly beautiful.

The typical color of these floors comes precisely from the clays of Tuscan origin: red clay, with a high iron content, and pinkish clay, with its warmer hue.

Although it is a very ancient material, since people have always used earth and fire to produce its own furnishings, today outdoor terracotta offers modern and truly useful features.

The main characteristics of terracotta for exteriors produced today include:

• resistance,

• antifreeze,

• non-slip,

• anti-mold,

• anti-moss,

• drivable.

This material not only gives warmth, beauty, and charm to rooms, but also offers really important features for experiencing outdoor spaces to the fullest.

Quality, handmade natural terracotta is composed of only water and clay and is fired very slowly. This process makes it possible to obtain tiles that are very resistant to all weather conditions.

Outdoor terracotta flooring fears neither heat nor frost, it resists well to temperature changes, as well as mechanical stress, thanks to its elasticity and porosity, through which it breathes.

Terracotta for Exteriors Carriageable

As we have seen, one of the characteristics of outdoor terracotta is precisely the fact that it is a driveable material.

This aspect is of paramount importance when using it to pave outdoor spaces used for car transit. Think even of a parking lot outside someone's home nestled in the countryside, it would be a shame to have to resort to paving with materials that may not be in harmony with the surrounding context.

Terracotta for driveway exteriors comes to our aid precisely in this aspect since, being a very durable material, it is able to accommodate the weight and transit of cars without any problem while offering that touch of "colonial" style to the entire property.

In fact, terracotta for outdoor driveways is guaranteed to withstand the stresses and weight of cars.

Thanks to its physical-technical characteristics it can be installed in any outdoor space offering great stability resistance.

How to Recognize a Quality Outdoor Terracotta Floor?

When renovating a farmhouse or paving the outdoor spaces of your home, it is important to choose a quality terracotta floor.

When choosing an outdoor terracotta floor, the first one is really to lean toward an industrial product or a handmade product. In fact, recognizing a quality outdoor terracotta floor means recognizing all the typical characteristics of handcrafted terracotta.

When we are in front of an industrial terracotta floor we will certainly notice some characteristics that makes it look standardised, one piece equal to another. For example, homogeneous color and a perfectly smooth surface are aspects that lead us back to a product that is definitely industrial.

Handcrafted terracotta, on the other hand, is a great quality product that naturally lends itself to outdoor spaces, indeed, among all building materials, it is the one that adapts best to outdoor spaces, in a natural way without the need for chemical treatments.

Therefore, to recognize a Quality Outdoor Terracotta Floor, we will need to look for the typical and natural characteristics of handcrafted terracotta:

• porous surface,

• color not always homogeneous,

• slight differences between the various tiles,

• check the underside for the presence of the handmade striations (different from industrial molds),

• price above 10€ per square meter.

These features ensure that we are dealing with a quality product, ideal for outdoor spaces, as it is naturally durable, frostproof and non-slip.

How to Clean Outdoor Terracotta Flooring

The Outdoor Terracotta Floor as we have seen is a very durable material, but since it is a 100% natural material, it should be taken care of with proper maintenance.

Some of the most common problems that can occur on an outdoor terracotta floor are due to contact with water and moisture, so there may be a slight white or green sheen on the surface.

It is important to remember that before cleaning a terracotta floor, it must have been laid for at least 3 months.

Let's now see how to clean an outdoor terracotta floor as needed.

Cleaning Outdoor Terracotta Floor with Natural Products

In the case of an untreated outdoor terracotta floor, we recommend that you use natural products for its maintenance and cleaning.

Since untreated terracotta is a porous paste floor (which therefore absorbs a lot), the ideal choice in this case is to use a nonaggressive solution for routine cleaning:

• water;

• white wine vinegar,

• dish soap.

Here are the 3 steps to clean the untreated terracotta floor with natural products:

1. Preemptively sweep the surface to be treated.

2. Mix half a glass of white wine vinegar in two litres of water and dissolve some dish soap flakes inside.

3. Do not use the resulting solution directly on the terracotta but apply to a cloth that you will use to wipe the surface to be cleaned.

Removing Stains from Outdoor Terracotta Floors with Gentle Products

In case of stains, cleaning the outdoor terracotta floor with natural products may not be enough, but it is possible to maintain it with gentle products.

In fact, it is important not to use a harsh cleaner because it may alter the natural shine of this material.

Here are the 3 steps to remove stains from terracotta floors with gentle products:

1. Dry the stain with paper,

2. Treat the area with baking soda (rub in a circular fashion and leave on),

3. Remove the baking soda with a wet rag.

Now your outdoor terracotta floor will look as good as new and always beautiful.

Outdoor Terracotta Tiles

Outdoor Terracotta Tiles may differ depending on the type of use.

For example, in the case of exterior driveway paving, terracotta bricks will be used, as they are much more durable than classic "flat tiles," or outdoor tiles.

So we can divide Outdoor Terracotta into 2 Types:

1. terracotta bricks,

2. terracotta tiles.

Terracotta bricks, as previously mentioned, are those used for driveway floors. They are 3 to 6 centimeters thick and generally parallelepiped in shape. They are therefore less versatile than the smaller terracotta tiles but offer resistance even to the passage of heavy vehicles.

Outdoor terracotta tiles, on the other hand, are available in a wide range of cuts and sizes.

Main shapes of Outdoor Terracotta Tiles:

• diamond-shaped,

• striped, rhomboidal,

• octagonal,

• rectangular.

They can also be individually mixed and arranged to create an artistic mosaic.

Laying Terracotta Floors

The laying of terracotta floors must be done by qualified personnel in order to ensure an optimal final performance.

We at Biemme Restauri have a long history of laying terracotta floors. Being located in Tuscany, this material is in fact a material of excellence widely used in restorations and renovations.

Before talking about the types of laying of terracotta floors we want to make a general clarification, it is good to distinguish whether the laying should be done indoors or outdoors.

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How to Lay Terracotta Outside?

Outdoors, terracotta should be glued with flex-type cement glues and C2TE S1 classification. In this type of laying, the use of glue is necessary because it is waterproof and performs a function not only of attaching but above all insulating, keeping the terracotta dry at all times

How is terracotta to be laid indoors?

When laying terracotta indoors it may be useful to use cement glue if you want to lay a terracotta floor over an old ceramic or stoneware floor, or if the floor is to be driveway. Otherwise, we recommend the use of limestone, which has always been used in construction and is ideal in the case of a heated floor.

Laying Patterns Terracotta Floors

Schemi di Posa Pavimenti in Cotto

Laying patterns for terracotta floors can be many, from the most classic to the most whimsical.

Let's look at the main types of laying patterns:

• straight laying;

• diagonal laying;

• running laying;

• herringbone laying.

Laying Herringbone Terracotta

Herringbone terracotta laying gives the room a sense of pleasant harmony and sophistication.

It is one of the most popular laying patterns among those who choose terracotta, partly because it is reminiscent of ancient architecture.

As well as all terracotta floor laying patterns, herringbone terracotta follows a specific pattern. Let's see how to achieve it. The terracotta tiles with respect to the walls can be laid diagonally or in parallel. In case a parallel arrangement is used, the laying is called "head on." Generally, in the case of herringbone, you start laying from the center of the room.

One traces the centerline between two opposing walls and lays the first herringbone making sure that the vertex generated by the pair of tiles is positioned on the traced line. At this point you proceed by continuing on the two sides.

Cost of Laying Terracotta Floor

The cost of laying a terracotta floor is a price that can vary.

As we saw in the article there are various types of materials and different laying patterns. As well as different environments in which to install the floor, in the case of outdoor driveway flooring we have seen how it is necessary to use glue instead of lime.

All this determines the cost of laying a terracotta floor per square meter. In principle we can indicate as only cost for labor about 25€ per square meter plus VAT.

Prices for Exterior Terracotta Flooring for

The figure for outdoor terracotta flooring prices also varies because it depends on the quality and characteristics.

Handcrafted artifacts have higher prices than industrial ones. Wanting to generalize we can say that a handcrafted outdoor terracotta floor is priced above 10€ per square meter, generally it is around 30€ per square meter.


How to recognize a quality outdoor terracotta floor tile?

A quality outdoor terracotta floor can be recognized by observing aspects such as: uneven color, porous surface, slight differences between one tile and another given by handwork.

How to clean outdoor terracotta floors?

How much does a terracotta floor cost?

Do you want to create an outdoor terracotta floor in Tuscany?

Contact us Without Commitment for a Free Estimate.

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