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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.