Restoring old Church Steps in Gloucestershire

Tewkesbury, the town and civil parish in Gloucestershire, is famous for the Tewkesbury Abbey, a Norman abbey church dating back to the 7th century so it has a lot of history and some very old buildings. Although not one of the oldest buildings in the town I was recently called to a small church in Tewksbury to restore the Quarry tiled entrance way dating back to the 1850s. The tiles had become very heavily ingrained with pigeon droppings, paint, cement, and general dirt over the years – and they were well past due for some professional attention.

Old Quarry Tiled Church Steps Before Cleaning Tewkesbury

Deep Cleaning Dirty Quarry Tiled Steps

My first job was to scrape away all the excess pigeon droppings and paint that could be removed by hand. Once the floor was clear, I was able to cover it with a strong solution of two of our cleaning products: Tile Doctor Remove and Go and Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU. While the cleaners are similarly powerful, they serve slightly different purposes.

Remove and Go is specially designed to strip away any old sealers, synthetic finishes, adhesives, cements, and paints. It also helps to draw old ingrained stains and remove heavy grease build-up. NanoTech HBU on the other hand is a penetrating cleaner designed to work where other cleaners won’t. It does this by utilizing nano-sized particles to reach underneath tough stains, dissolve them, and lift them out. Both products are suitable for use on polished and unpolished natural stone, including Limestone, Marble, Slate, Travertine and, of course, Quarry.

The cleaning solution was left to dwell for 45 minutes and then scrubbed into the tiles using a black pad fitted to a buffing machine. I then repeated this process with the same products to clean the grout lines. When I was happy with the overall cleanliness of the tiles, I spot cleaned some particularly stubborn stains using a steam cleaner in combination with a handheld scraper and some more NanoTech HBU.

Old Quarry Tiled Church Steps During Cleaning Tewkesbury

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Entrance Way

After finishing the cleaning process, I left the tiles to dry for two days. The tiles needed a good amount of time to dry completely because the old tiles don’t have the reasonably modern benefit of a damp-proof membrane.

Upon my return to the church I checked for any damp issues, and when satisfied that there weren’t any to deal with, I proceeded to seal the tiles using four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer that enhances the natural colours in the Quarry tiles and provides the natural look, matte finish that the proprietor of the church had requested.

As you can see from the photo below, the result of the restoration was transformational. Needless to say, the parishioners will be very happy with the rejuvenated entrance way and, thanks to a highly durable sealant, the steps will be protected for the long term.

Old Quarry Tiled Church Steps During Cleaning Tewkesbury

 
 
Source: Tile and Grout Cleaning and Restoration in Gloucestershire

Restoring Chruch Floor Tiles

These beautiful Quarry tiled floors belong to a 13th century church in the heart of the old village of Frankton. I did some research on the internet and discovered that the church had gone through a major restoration in 1872 so it’s most probable the tiles date back to that time.

Victorian Floor Tile Cleaning Frankton Church

Cleaning Victorian Tiles

There were multiple quarry tiled floors that were all in need of a deep clean and seal; however there was concern that cleaning the tiles using conventional cleaning methods requiring a lot of water could result in damp permeating into the structure of the building and considering the age of the building may this could cause damage. With this in mind I ran some tests to work out an alternative and I worked out that the best alternative would be to use Acid Gel which would stay in place followed by a steam clean.

Victorian Floor Tiles Frankton Church Before Cleaning Victorian Floor Tiles Frankton Church Before Cleaning

There was quite a lot of floor to cover and I need to work in relatively small sections so it took two days to complete the cleaning. I used the method I worked out earlier applying Acid Gel, and then leaving it to dwell for ten minutes before working it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a buffing machine. The gel and resultant soil was then removed with a wet vacuum and then the section was steam cleaned to lift out any further dirt and neutralise the acid.

Victorian Floor Tiles Frankton Church During Cleaning

Sealing Victorian floor tiles

On the third day I returned to seal the floors; there are a number of sealers I could have used for this type of floor however with the building being as old as it was I wanted to ensure the tiles could breathe and any damp could rise up through the tiles. Additionally I wanted the sealer to bring out the best in the tiles so with these points in mind I sealed the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go extra which covers all these points and is the recommended sealer for Victorian and Quarry tiles.

Victorian Floor Tiles Frankton Church After Sealing Victorian Floor Tiles Frankton Church After Sealing

I think you will agree the floors now look fantastic and with the sealer to protect them they should stay this way for some time to come, although give the amount of traffic these floors receive I will be working out a maintenance plan for them.
 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning Service in Warwickshire