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

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

100+ Year Old Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored to New in Blackwood

This Victorian tiled hallway floor, located in a property in Blackwood, South Wales, was in a bad way. It was suffering from several broken and missing tiles, and the entire floor looked like it had not experienced a good clean and fresh seal in several years. The property itself dated back to 1905, and it’s very likely that the Victorian tiles are original.

However, the property owner was very hopeful that the hallway could be rejuvenated, so he contacted me to carry out the work. Upon my first inspection of the floor, I could immediately see that a lot of tile replacements would need to be carried out.

I suggested to the customer that I repurpose the tiles that surrounded the matt well at the front of the door to use as replacements for the tiles that were broken and damaged. I would then create a new, larger matt well while using original tiles to fix the damaged areas. It’s a technique I’ve used before so I was confident it would work.

He was happy with this suggestion so I agreed to return later that week to complete the restoration.

Victorian Hallway Floor Blackwood Before Repair

Repairing and Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

My first task was to carefully remove the tiles around the exiting matt well, clean off the cement, and, in some cases, skim the thickness off some tiles so that they would position flat against the adjacent tile. Next, I proceeded to fix these replacement tiles in the areas required.

After completing these repairs, I moved on to cleaning the entire hallway. First, I manually scraped off as much of the paint and cement deposits from the surface of the tiles as possible, before cleaning the floor thoroughly with a mixed solution of three products: Tile Doctor Pro Clean, Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU Remover, and Tile Doctor Remove and Go.

Each of these products serves a different purpose. Pro Clean is reliable and powerful alkaline tile cleaner, while NanoTech HBU is a powerful cleaner which uses nano-sized particles to penetrate the pores of the tile and dissolve ingrained dirt and stains. Remove and Go strips away any old sealers, along with any of the stubborn paint and cement deposits.

The solution was left to dwell on the floor for about half an hour, before I scrubbed it into the stone by hand using a coarse black scrubbing pad. The floor was then rinsed thoroughly, before Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up was applied using a wire wool pad remove light grout smears (grout haze) and signs of efflorescence.

I then completed the grouting of the floor left it to dry for half an hour before giving it a final wipe with a sponge.

Victorian Hallway Floor Blackwood During Restoration

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

After leaving the floor to dry out overnight, I returned to the property the following morning. I ran some quick checks for moisture to see if the tiles were ready to be sealed.

Thankfully, the floor proved dry and I could proceed the applying Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This sealer works really well on Victorian tiles and provides a nice subtle sheen finish whilst providing stain resistance.

The customer had initially thought the floor could not be salvaged, but now he will be able to enjoy this fantastic original feature from years to come. It just goes to show that a bit of creativity and hard work really can make a difference.

Victorian Hallway Floor Blackwood After Restoration

Professional Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in South Wales

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