Tile Doctor were appointed to restore a 1930’s Terrazzo hallway floor in Cardiff which was deeply ingrained with dirt after being covered with carpet for many years. Rather than coving the floor with carpet again the owner had decided it was time to have it restored having had our services recommended by a previous client.
After surveying the floor, I could see the carpet had been down so long you could see its pattern in the Terrazzo. I could see there was a large amount of ingrained dirt in the floor that would need to be flushed out which meant several cleans would probably be required. There were numerous cracks in the floor and in one area near a wall the Terrazzo had broken up and turned to rubble.
Unfortunately, there was little that could be done to repair this, so we agreed to back fill it with cement and the owner planned to cover it with a timber boxing and then paint.
Cleaning and Repairing a Terrazzo Tiled Hallway Floor
To get the Terrazzo looking its best I planned to remove the dirt and restore the surface by burnishing the floor with a six-stage diamond polishing process. This would involve applying Tile Doctor burnishing pads of differing grits ranging from very coarse to very fine, rinsing between each pad to extract the soiling.
To start I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to dwell and soak into Terrazzo for a short time so it could get to work digesting and breaking down the dirt. The first pad was then applied which was a very coarse 100-grit pad using the Pro-Clean for lubrication. The combination of the two lifted out the dirt from the heavily soiled pores of the Terrazzo where it could be extracted from the surface with a wet vacuum.
This process was repeated working through each of the six different burnishing pads, rinsing the floor along the way and extracting the soil after each pad. It was an arduous task, but it was rewarding to see the floor slowly come back to life.
With the floor clean the next stage was to make repairs to the various cracks. Terrazzo is poured onto the floor in one go and then polished to leave a unique and hardwearing surface, so you can’t simply replace a tile or cut out a section. What you can do however is to fill the crack with a resin or flexible grout colour matched to the unique colours in the floor. Once the whole floor had been sealed the crack should be difficult to spot.
Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Hallway Floor
The next step would be to seal and protect the floor however it needed to be fully dry first, so it was left to dry for twenty-four hours and when I returned this was confirmed by taking several moisture readings with a damp meter.
The sealer of choice for this floor was Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a fully breathable impregnating sealer which also enhances the colour of the stone chippings in the Terrazzo. This sealer is an impregnator that works by soaking into the pores of the floor rather than sittings on the surface, thus protecting it from ingrained dirt. Hallways are by their very nature a high traffic area so this should provide adequate protection and keep the floor in good condition for a long period of time.
Colour Grow is however a matt finish and my client had requested a very high sheen finish. So, after leaving the sealer to dry for 24 hours I returned to apply a further product called Tile Doctor Shine Powder which is a crystalline powder that is worked into the floor using a white buffer pad running at slow speed.
The client was delighted with the newly restored floor, as you can see from the pictures it looked so much fresher and of course free of dirt, not bad for a 90-year-old floor. For the aftercare of polished Terrazzo, I recommend Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is compatible with the sealer and will help maintain the patina.