Polishing Terrazzo

Restoration of a 1930s Terrazzo Hallway Floor in Cardiff

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.

Terrazzo Hallway Floor Before Restoration Cardiff

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.

Terrazzo Hallway Floor Before Restoration Cardiff

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.

Terrazzo Hallway Floor During Restoration Cardiff

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.

Terrazzo Hallway Floor During Restoration Cardiff

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.

Terrazzo Hallway Floor After Restoration Cardiff

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.

Terrazzo Hallway Floor After Restoration Cardiff

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.

 

Professional Restoration of a Terrazzo Tiled Hallway in Southeast Wales

Renovating an 1890’s Terrazzo Floor at a Church Vestry in Penarth

Detailed below is a fine example of what can be achieved restoring old Terrazzo flooring. The work took place earlier this year in the Kitchen of a Church Vestry in Penarth where the floor dated back to the Victorian 1890’s. Penarth is the wealthiest seaside resort in the Cardiff area and the second largest town in the Vale of Glamorgan, next only to the nearby Barry.

Terrazzo Tiled Floor During Cleaning Church Vestry Penarth

During the Victorian era Penarth was a popular holiday destination, known nationally as “The Garden by the Sea” and was often packed by visitors from the Midlands and the West Country. Along with the day trippers from the South Wales valleys, mostly arriving by train. Today, the town, with its traditional seafront, continues to be a regular summer holiday venue but with fewer visitors.

The client wanted a deep clean and shine finish, the floor had never been cleaned properly and as you can imagine it had a lot of footfall over the years and it really needed doing professionally. I visited to look first and carried out a small test clean to see how it would come up. Satisfied with this they were happy to accept my quote and we booked to return the following month.

Cleaning a Terrazzo Tiled Vestry Floor

With the aid of a rotary floor buffer I started the cleaning process with the application of a coarse 50-grit pad. The pad was run over the floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean for lubrication. Pro-Clean is a concentrated, multi-purpose alkaline cleaner, which strips and degreases the floor. It is first left to dwell for 10 minutes or so and then agitated with the machine. Applied with the pad it cuts through old sealers, coatings, and of course ingrained dirt.

This process generates a lot of soil which is rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. This was then followed by repeating the process with a 100 and then 200-grit pad. The area was given a thorough rinse with water and then dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum.

Terrazzo Tiled Floor During Cleaning Church Vestry Penarth Terrazzo Tiled Floor During Cleaning Church Vestry Penarth

Some repairs were then carried out at the edges of the Terrazzo floor which involved sympathetically filling with cement. Once this had hardened the floor was treated to a burnish using finer grits of Tile Doctor burnishing pads ranging from 400, 800 and 1500 grits rinsing and extracting with water after each one.

Terrazzo Tiled Floor During Cleaning Church Vestry Penarth Terrazzo Tiled Floor During Cleaning Church Vestry Penarth

After a final rinse, the floor was dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum and then left to dry off fully overnight, we would return the following day to carry out the sealing.

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Vestry Floor

The next day I was concerned the floor might not be dry enough after using so much water to clean it previously so before applying the sealer I checked the moisture levels with a damp meter. The readings were within tolerance however my next step was to give the Terrazzo a further polish with a 3000-git pad which is applied dry so would further dry the floor and bring up the surface appearance.

The last task was to seal the floor and for this we selected to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is a colour intensifying impregnating sealer which soaks into the pores of the stone and provide durable stain protection. This product will cope well with the needs of a kitchen and is fully breathable which is important when choosing a sealer for old floors which do not have a damp proof membrane installed.

Two coats of colour grow were applied to the Terrazzo, allowing about thirty minutes drying time before applying the next. After the second coat had dried the floor was treated to an application of Tile Doctor Shine Powder which is buffed into the floor using the rotary machine to achieve a super durable and deep lustre to the floor.

Terrazzo Tiled Floor After Cleaning Church Vestry Penarth Terrazzo Tiled Floor After Cleaning Church Vestry Penarth

The Terrazzo responded very well to the treatment and the sealers applied will ensure it keeps its appearance for many years to come.

 

Professional Restoration of a Terrazzo Tiled Vestry Floor in South East Wales

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