Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Floor Ruined with Cement in Swansea

The owner of this Quarry tiles floor at a house in Swansea had expended much effort in its restoration and feeling exhausted decided to call in their local Tile Doctor to finish it off.

Quarry Tiles in Swansea Covered in Cement Compound Quarry Tiles in Swansea Covered in Cement Compound

I never saw the original flooring but I could see it had been covered by some sort of cement screed which had probably been used, judging by the imprints, to support large carpet tiles. I’ve come across a few floors like this, you can’t simply put carpet over a tiled surface as tiles can be slightly convex in shape and the grout lines result in dips forming in the carpet so as a result a floor levelling compound is usually applied beforehand.

After doing a cleaning sample and a test to see how stubborn the cement compound was to remove I agreed with the customer that it was possible and showing her the test results, she was happy to proceed with the work.

Quarry Tiles in Swansea Covered in Cement Compound Showing Test Clean

Removing Cement from a Quarry Tiled Floor

Before starting I took a few moisture readings with a handheld damp meter, I always recommend doing this at the start as it gives you a baseline reading that can be used to determine the floor has dried and ready for sealing later. Most old floors don’t have a damp proof membrane installed and so if the moisture readings were high I would recommend coming back to seal the floor at a warmer part of the year.

The first step was to remove all the cement compound from the surface of the tiles and then scrape as much paint and plaster off the tiles before cleaning with an undiluted mixture of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Remove and Go. This combination of two different products make a great team; Pro-Clean is a versatile, high alkaline cleaner that is used to deal with reasonably heavy soil build-up on natural stone and Tile. Remove and Go, also safe to use on natural stone and tile is specially formulated to remove old coatings including paint and old sealers.

Quarry Tiles in Swansea Removing Cement Compound

This solution was applied to the floor and, working in small sections, I scrubbed it into the tiles using a rotating scrubbing machine fitted with a nylon brush attachment; it was also scrubbed into the grout using a stiff brush. The floor was then rinsed, and the resulting cleaning slurry was vacuumed away using a wet-vax machine.

The final stage of the cleaning process was to run over the tiles with a coarse 200 grit diamond pad together with Grout Clean-up which is another Tile Doctor product that removes mineral deposits such as old grout and cement smears. After a final rinse I could see the all the cement had been removed and the Quarry tiles were looking much healthier and ready for sealing.

Quarry Tiles in Swansea With Cement Compound Removed

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry out overnight with the aid of heater fans and all doors closed to keep it warm. When I returned the next day, I retested the floor for moisture and compared the initial readings to confirm the floor was ready for sealing.

The Quarry tiles were quite porous so to seal the Quarry tiles, I eventually used eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which not only provides a protective covering but also enhances the colours of tiles especially old red quarry floor tiles.

Quarry Tiles in Swansea After Restoration

The customer was thrilled with the results of the floor and was so impressed told me she was going to recommend Tile Doctor to her friends.
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Cement Covered Quarry Tiled Floor in South Wales

Terrazzo and Quarry Tiles Restored at a Fire Damaged Church in Bath

Back in June, I had the absolute pleasure of undertaking a large scale tiled floor restoration at St. Mary’s Church in Bath. An architect who does a lot of commissions in Bath and the surrounding areas got in touch with me as they needed to restore the very weathered and worn Church flooring, which dates back to 1840.

The Church itself had suffered a lot from fire damage and the Terrazzo flooring had lost any shine due to both exposure to the smoke and, of course, a lot of wear and tear over the course of 176 years. There were also a number of missing tiles that needed to be replaced.

St Marys Church Bath Before Fire Restoration

In addition, some old carpet which was beyond repair had been pulled up to reveal some fantastic red Quarry tiles that the architect hoped could also be restored. They had discovered that some of the tiles had been removed in front of the Altar (an area of around 2.5 square metres) and cemented over due to the Altar being moved back a metre.

St Marys Church Bath Before Fire Restoration

Fully restoring both large areas of tiled flooring would take time however with numerous contractors and trades also working in the building at the same time I completed the work in stages over a period of two months.

Cleaning and Sealing Terrazzo Tiles

To begin, I took moisture readings over all areas due to be worked on. In some places, the levels of moisture were high for two reasons: first, a significant amount of water had been used to quell the fire, and second the red Quarry tiles had been laid with no damp proof membrane due to the age of the building.

Next, I liaised with the architect to decide what tile and pattern would be best to replace the cement area in order to compliment the surrounding red tiles. We decided on a similar shape and colour from original style. I then removed the cement, re-cemented and tiled the area accordingly. Following this, I removed the badly damaged Terrazzo tiles and replaced them with spare replica tiles that the architect had leftover from previous projects.

St Marys Church Bath Before Fire Restoration

My method for restoring the Terrazzo tiles was to use the Tile Doctor four pad burnishing system, applying each diamond encrusted pad in turn – from Coarse to Very Fine – to clean and polish the stone. I then sealed the tiles with an impregnating sealer known as Tile Doctor Colour Grow which enhances the natural colours in the stone. Finally, I went over the tiles again with the Very Fine burnishing pad to refine the shine. Needless to say, I checked for moisture before sealing, and thankfully the floor proved dry.

St Marys Church Bath During Fire Restoration

Cleaning and Sealing Red Quarry Tiles

In some areas, the red Quarry tiles had glue on them from the carpet being stuck down for many years. I manually scraped off the large, tough glue residues, and once this had been done, I used Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Tile Doctor Pro Clean to soften and break down any particularly stubborn glue deposits. After rinsing the floor, I went over it again with the Coarse grit burnishing pad to give the surface a really good clean. The remaining Quarry tiles were cleaned by using the same Coarse grit pad. using water to lubricate the process and rinsing periodically as I worked.

St Marys Church Bath During Fire Restoration

Having cleaned the tiles, I left the Church for a week to allow the builders and other trades to finish their work. Upon my return, I ran some damp tests to and found the readings were sky high, meaning sealing was not an option at this time. I discussed this issue with the architect and we decided to carry on with the completion in a month, leaving the floor enough time to dry out and for any other building work to be completed. By that time, the heating system would have also been installed and would work to help the floor to dry out quicker.

A month passed, and I returned to seal the Quarry tiles. However, before doing so I noticed efflorescence in some areas and neutralised it using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. I then left the floor a further two days to dry, by which time the Acid Gel had successfully removed all traces of efflorescence. To my satisfaction, the moisture readings I took upon my return were low, meaning the tiles were ready to be sealed.

St Marys Church Bath After Fire Restoration

To seal the tiles, I applied several costs of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which helps protects with no damp proof membrane, follows by a few coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a sealer which prices a nice satin shine finish. This really enhanced the old fire red pigment in the tiles.

St Marys Church Bath After Fire Restoration

While it was a long and difficult process to fully restore both sets of tiles, the outcome was very much worth the wait. Looking at the before and after photographs, it’s easy to see why the architect, priest and the parishioners were absolutely delighted with the results. I’m also really pleased to have contributed to the restoration and continued conservation of this wonderful building.
 
 

Fire Damaged 176-Year Old Terrazzo and Quarry Tiled Floors Retorted at Bath Church

Quarry and Victorian Tiles Repaired, Cleaned and Sealed in Swansea

The owner of this property in Swansea contacted me recently about a two-part job that would involve the restoration of both a Quarry tiled hallway and a Victorian tiled lobby. The property itself dates back to 1918 – making it nearly a century old – and its safe to assume that both sets of tiles are of a similar age. As you can see from the photographs, they had certainly had absorbed a lot of wear and tear over the years, and as these tiles get older it becomes in increasingly difficult to maintain their appearance.

Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Hallway

A number of the Quarry tiles had at some point in the past been removed to allow the installation of electrical cables below ground, with an unsightly layer of cement left in their place. At a later point I would need to replace these tiles, but initially I needed to remove the old cement, along with any old sealer remaining on the floor by applying and scrubbing in Tile Doctor Remove & Go.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Swansea

Next, I applied an undiluted solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, our effective alkaline tile cleaner, to break down and remove the ingrained dirt. I then rinsed with clean water, and removed the resulting slurry with a wet vacuum. With the floor freshly cleaned, I proceeded to retile the area where tiles were missing.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Lobby

The Victorian tiles in the porch/lobby room area were adjoined to the Quarry tiles. In this area there were several loose tiles, and I opted to recement and regrout them before beginning a clean.

Following this the tiles were treated to a thorough clean in a similar fashion to that provided to the Quarry tiles, however, in this case I mixed Remove and Go and Pro Clean to form a powerful cleaning solution. This was applied to the floor, left to dwell for a short period, and then scrubbed into the tiles, quickly bringing them back to life. I then lightly steamed cleaned the floor with a Karcher tool to eliminate or neutralise any chemicals that remained.

Victorian-Tiled-Lobby-Floor-During-Restoration-Swansea-114646

Sealing Quarry and Victorian Tiles

I left the two sets of tiles to dry out fully overnight. Upon my return to the property, I ran damp tests to confirm that the floors were ready to be sealed. The customer had asked for a satin finish on both floors, so I decided to use Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This topical sealer provides a durable sheen seal, and is a cost-effective option for Quarry and Victorian tiles. I applied seven coats of Seal and Go in total across both sets of tiles.

Quarry-Tiled-Floor-After-Restoration-Swansea-112352 Victorian-Tiled-Lobby-Floor-After-Restoration-Swansea-112433

The customer and myself were delighted with the results. In the space of just a couple of days these classic tiles have been brought been completely revitalised, and thanks to the application of a fresh sealer will be easier for the customer to keep clean going forward.
 
 

Restoration of an Old Quarry Tiled Hallway and Victorian Tiled Lobby in South Wales

Badly Stained Quarry Tiles Deep Cleaned and Sealed in Splott

These Quarry tiles at a house in Splott, a small town not too far from the city of Cardiff, had certainly endured a hammering after what appeared to be recent decoration in the room. The tiles were heavily soiled, with sand and cement mixed up and splattered across the floor, along with deep paint and plaster stains.

Quarry Tiles Before Restoration in Splott Cardiff

Quarry Tiles Before Restoration in Splott Cardiff

The customer had already scraped off as much of the cement and other stubborn stains off – as much as they could, at least. Quarry may be typically hard wearing, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any easier to clean when it gets into a bad way. Eager to find a solution to the problem, the customer found Tile Doctor via the Internet, and not long after we arranged for me to come down to the property to see what could be done.

Quarry Tiles Before Restoration in Splott Cardiff Quarry Tiles Before Restoration in Splott Cardiff
Quarry Tiles Before Restoration in Splott Cardiff

Upon arriving at the property and giving the tiles an initial inspection, I explained that not all stains and marks will come off or out of the tiles, as some staining is simply permanent. Nonetheless, the customer indicated they would be satisfied with any improvement made to the condition of the floor. Having restored tiles similar to these before, I knew that the results could still come off very well using the right methods and products.

Cleaning a Stained Quarry Tiled Floor

To begin I mixed a strong solution of Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU and Pro Clean, a combination of two different cleaners. Pro Clean is a versatile, high alkaline cleaner that is used to deal with reasonably heavy soil build-up on natural stone floors. It also contains stripping properties that allow it to start breaking down any old sealers when left to dwell on the tiles. NanoTech HBU takes the cleaning process a step further: it is specially formulated to use nano-sized cleaning particles to reach dirt and stains deeply ingrained in the stone, before dissolving and lifting them out.

This solution was applied to the floor and, working in small sections, I scrubbed it into the tiles using a rotating scrubbing machine fitted with a nylon brush attachment. The floor was then rinsed, and the resulting cleaning slurry was vacuumed away using a wet-vax machine.

My next concern was the grout, which was afflicted by stubborn cement marks. I opted to remove these firstly by carefully applying Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, an acid-based cleaner. Some cement marks remained despite the application, and so I attempted to manually scrape and chisel them away. While I had some good success, as mentioned not all cement stains can be removed, especially if they have been there for a long time. Some old cement mixture is as hard as flint!

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry following the clean and came back two days later to seal the tiles, checking first that they were dry by taking multiple readings with the damp meter, and comparing them with earlier results.

The test results came back fine, so I started with the lengthy task of applying eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealer. Having sealed similar floors with Seal and Go before I knew the results would be very desirable, with the deep natural colours in the stone being enhanced by the product. Seal and Go is my preferred sealer for Quarry tiles as it helps disguise some permanent marks and adds a durable satin shine finish.

Quarry Tiles After Restoration in Splott Cardiff

Quarry Tiles After Restoration in Splott Cardiff

While unfortunately a stained floor like this will never be able to look good as new, the results I managed to achieve were very pleasing. Certainly there was no evidence left of recent decoration, with the vast majority of the stains and marks no longer damaging the appearance of the tiles. The fresh seal has really brought out the red and black checked pattern in the floor. Needless to say the customer’s expectations were exceeded!

Quarry Tiles After Restoration in Splott Cardiff Quarry Tiles After Restoration in Splott Cardiff
Quarry Tiles After Restoration in Splott Cardiff

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for a Badly Stained and Soiled Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration in South Wales

110 Year Old Quarry Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Merthyr Tydfil

The pictures below were taken at a house in the town of Merthyr Tydfil, which is located not too far north of Cardiff. My client was keen to keep her very old Quarry tiled floor – which dated back to 1905 – intact. The floor had understandably seen a large amount of traffic in its lifetime, and was now in dire need of a professional restoration, including a thorough clean and seal.

Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil before cleaning Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil before cleaning

First, I completed a survey of the area and provided my client with a quote. After completing many similar jobs in the past, I generally have a good idea of what the final result will look like. I passed on some images of a final result to my client, who was happy for me to begin my work.

Cleaning a Quarry tiled floor

On the first day, my first task was to take run some damp tests which were fine; it’s always good to know up front if there are likely to be any damp issues. Next I covered the floor with water to take the surface suction out and waited fifteen minutes before applying a cocktail of Tile Doctor NanoTech Heavy Build-Up cleaner mixed with Pro-Clean and Grout clean-up covering the whole floor. I then immediately starting to work the solution into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a coarse black pad. The solution was then rinsed off with water which was then extracted with a wet vacuum as I worked. For stubborn areas I applied more of the previously mixed solution scrubbed into the floor with coarse wire wool by hand followed by further rinsing with water.

Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil after cleaning Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil after cleaning

Each of the products used serves a particular purpose. Pro-Clean is a strong high-alkaline cleaner for natural stone, while NanoTech HBU is a particularly powerful cleaner that uses nano-sized particles to penetrate deep into the stone to get underneath and lift out ingrained dirt and stains. Grout Clean-Up, as the name implies, is a product for resolving grout related problems such as removing grout smears from tile surfaces aka grout haze.

Sealing a Quarry tiled floor

After completing the clean I left the house for 48 hours, to leave enough time for the floor to dry completely in preparation for sealing. Upon my arrival back at the house I conducted some more damp tests to check that the floor was dry enough to seal using the previous readings as a benchmark. The results indicated that I was fine to proceed with the seal, so I applied a total of eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go for durable protection. This was the product I recommended to my client as she wanted a nice, soft shine for her surface seal.

Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil after sealing Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil after sealing

As you can see from the photos, the desired result was achieved to a high standard and needless to say my client was delighted with the transformation.
 
 

Very old Quarry tiled floor restored and transformed in South Wales

Quarry and Terrazzo floors restored near Caerphilly Castle

The owner of this residence near Caerphilly Castle had discovered a 150x150mm red Quarry tiled floor in the kitchen which dated back to before 1900 and had unfortunately been tiled over by a previous owner. Keen on restoring such an original feature the owner set about removing the tiles on top using a chisel and scraping off the adhesive, it was at this point we got the call to assist.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration near Caerphilly Castle

Restoring a Quarry Tiled Floor

Before proceeding my first job is to always check the moisture levels, many of these old floors have no damp proof membrane so without taking a base reading it’s tricky to know if the floor has thoroughly dried later. The kitchen was being replaced and the old kitchen had been removed so I was able to work on the restoration before the new one had been installed making the task easier.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration near Caerphilly Castle

To clean the floor I realised I would need a strong cleaning solution to get these old Quarry tiles clean so I diluted Tile Doctor Pro-Clean 50:50 with Heavy Build-up Remover or Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU as we like to call it. This was applied to a wet floor and scrubbed in using a scrubbing machine fitted with a coarse back pad running on slow speed. I rinsed the floor every so often so I could see the difference and discovered my choice of cleaning product has proved to be effective and fast. Before long I was happy to rinse away the now soiled cleaning solution satisfied that I could not improve the tiles any further with more cleaning.

Quarry Tiled Floor During Restoration near Caerphilly Castle

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry for 24h hours before returning to seal the tiles. On my return I checked the moisture levels and there were some high readings so using a heat gun I applied some gentle heat to the tiles allowing them to cool before checking again. This did the trick and the second reading was much better so I proceeded to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which I find works well on quarry tiles. The quarry tiles were quite worn and very porous and as result needed at nine coats of sealer before they were fully sealed. I do find multiple of coats of sealer works well on floors of this condition as it helped to hide the imperfections and marks caused by the chisel and scrapper.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration near Caerphilly Castle

The owners were delighted with the results and asked me to come back and restore their terrazzo hallway floor which will be subject to another post.
 
 

Quarry Tiled floor restored in South Wales

Cleaning Old Red Quarry Tiles in Treharris

This Red Quarry Tiled floor had been laid when the house was built back in 1910 so it was over 100 years old and had years of wear and tear to show for it including old cement and paint from some decorating work that had been done some years prior. The house was located in the town of Treharris just outside of Cardiff and being an original feature of the house the owner wanted it looking as good as it could be.

Red Quarry Tiles Floor in Treharris Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor

I first checked for any moisture as these old floors were often laid without damp proofing and a damp floor can impact sealing later. Fortunately the reading was nice and dry, I then set about carefully scrapping off as much old paint and cement as possible. I then swept up as much of the dust as I could and caught the rest with a hoover.

The next step was to cover the whole floor in Tile Doctor Remove and Go mixed with a little NanoTech Ultra Clean which basically adds tiny abrasive particles to a powerful coatings remover. I left this on to soak into the tile for about an hour knowing that using this combination would not only remove any old surface coatings such as sealers it would also clean the floor as well. The solution was then worked into the floor using a rotating scrubbing brush attachment on a floor machine effectively letting the machinery do all the hard work. The floor was then rinsed twice with clean water which was then removed using a wet vacuum.

Red Quarry Tiles Floor in Treharris Scrubbed

It was clear at this point that the cement I could see on the surface of the tile was basically grout from an appalling tiling job when the floor was laid 100 years earlier. Fortunately Tile Doctor has a solution for that problem called Grout Remove and Go which is an acid based product that will remove grout and mineral deposits such as efflorescence. Being an acid I had to be careful so it was applied to the tile working one square metre at a time cleaning and scraping as I went along. After each section the floor was given a good rinsing again using the wet vacuum to remove the liquids from the floor. The last step of the cleaning process which I always do for Quarry and Victorian floor tiles was to finish off the rinsing process with a steam clean which brings out any remaining dirt and brings the tile back to its raw state.

Red Quarry Tiles Floor in Treharris Cleaning

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

I cleaned the floor on the Friday and then left it to try for two days coming back on the Sunday to damp test the floor once again to ensure it was ready for sealing. The moisture reading was fine for sealing and as the customer had asked for a mild shine finish I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which brought out the black and red colours in the tile back to life.

Red Quarry Tiles Floor in Treharris Sealed

 
 

Old Quarry Tiled floor restored in South Wales

Kitchen Quarry Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in Cardiff

This Quarry Tiled Kitchen floor had been laid in 2000 which is relatively recent compared to some of the floors I’m asked to deal with, the tiles are 150 x 150 mm Quarry tiles with a mixture of colours. A customer in Cardiff said that the Quarry tiles has been sealed by the tiler however it wasn’t long after it was completed that the before became very grubby looking. You can see this for yourself in the photograph below where you should be able to make out the ingrained dirt and discoloured tile grout.

Grubby Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Cardiff Before Cleaning

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

I set about cleaning the floor with undiluted Tile Doctor Remove and Go mixed 3 to 1 with NanoTech UltraClean which adds tiny abrasive particles to a strong coatings remove; this mixture not only removes any previous sealers but also deep cleans the tiles and brings the grout back to its original colour. I used a rotary machine with a disc shaped scrubbing brush attachment disc which really gets into the dirt. The soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum, stubborn areas retreated and then the floor was rinsed until all the cleaning solution had been removed.

Grubby Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Cardiff During Cleaning

Sealing a Quarry Floor Sealing

The floor was left to dry for 24 hours and I came back later to seal it. Before sealing I used a hand held damp meter to verify the floor had dried. I had previously discussed the choice of sealer with the customer to establish how they wanted the floor to look and selected Tile Doctor Seal and Go for its satin shine.

Grubby Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Cardiff During Sealing

I went on to seal the tiles with two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go using a water test to verify I had applied the right amount of sealer and that liquids were being repelled from the surface of the tile as opposed being absorbed.

Grubby Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Cardiff After Cleaning and Sealing

The floor cleaned up really well especially after sealing which brought the colours in the tile back to life; the customers were delighted with the results.
 
 

Quarry Tiled floor restored in South Wales

Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor Restored in Cardiff

This Red and Black Quarry tiled floor was discovered underneath a laminate floor in the hallway of a house built in Cardiff around 1910. The customer was keen to restore it as an original feature and I was confident that despite the damaged tiles, cement and paint we would be able to do so.

Quarry Tiles Before Restoration in Cardiff

Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor

The area around the doorway was in the worst condition and unfortunately those tiles were beyond rescue and needed to be replaced which wasn’t a problem as with a bit of research you can usually find what you need.

The next step was to carefully scrape as much cement and old paint off the tile surface as possible by hand and remove the waste; I also tested the floor at this point for dampness at the doorways as its good to know if there are any damp problems that may require additional attention. I then applied undiluted Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the whole floor with a brush agitating as I went, it was left it on for about an hour to break down any old sealers and coatings before being rinsed off with clean water twice which was then hovered up with a wet vacuum.

The next stage was to remove the cement using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which being an acid based products starts to work as soon as it’s applied to the tile, this was worked in using a small hand held scrubbing brush before being given a good rinse down with clean water.

The last step of the cleaning process was to steam clean the tiles to open up the pores and ensure that no trace of cleaning agents was left behind that could upset the sealer.

Quarry Tiles After Restoration in Cardiff

Sealing a Quarry Floor Sealing

The floor was left to dry for two days before and I came back the next day to seal it. Before sealing however I wanted to be use it had dried out sufficiently so I tested it again use a Stanley hand held meter, the previous reading I took proved to be a useful benchmark. Sealing was done using two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which really brought the floor back to life and lifted the lovely colours in the tile. Needless to say the customer was delighted with the restoration of the floor.
 
 

Quarry Tiled floor restored in South Wales