This was a very interesting job at a house in the town of Langford in Bedfordshire which used to be an old butchers shop which had been converted for residential use. One aspect of the butcher’s shop that my client wanted to keep for the new house was an extremely worn and dirty Quarry tiled floor. The floor had experienced a high amount of traffic in the past, evidenced by the fact that in some areas the top layer of the tiles had been lost and to make matters worse the floor had been covered in a layer of concrete paint which would need removing.
Although the floor had fallen into a serious state of neglect, I was confident that with the right products and techniques I would be able to restore the appearance of the tiles.
Cleaning Old Quarry tiles
My first step in the restoration was to apply a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a high alkaline cleaner, to the floor, leaving it to dwell for roughly twenty minutes. I then agitated the solution into the tile using a combination of scrubbing pads and brushes, in an attempt to remove as much of the dirt and muck as possible. This served more as an initial rinse to prepare the floor for a much deeper clean later on in the process.
Having rinsed the tiles, I installed air movers to help the floor dry quickly. This allowed me to see which areas of the floor required some more specific cleaning attention. The next step was to give the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Tile and Grout Clean-Up. This step was necessary to tackle the salt deposits which were coming up through the tile and grout; this process is more commonly known as efflorescence and is usually due to a lack of damp proofing under the floor which is not surprising given the age of the floor.
I soon realised that the tiles were still partly shielded by a plastic covering which had been in place for upwards of forty years. I used a steamer to loosen the covering to the point that I could then remove it by hand. Once all of the Quarry tiles were finally exposed I came across a lot of stubborn marks along and, unsurprisingly, decade’s worth of dirt. To give the tiles a thorough clean I used Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU which stands for Heavy Build-Up cleaner. As the name suggests, this is a product which uses tiny abrasive particles to penetrate deep into the pores of the tile to lift out the dirt normal cleaning products simply can’t reach, enabling the removal of tough dirt and stains.
Sealing Quarry tiles
After completing the clean I left the house for several days to allow the floor to dry assisted by a number of air movers and dehumidifiers that I left at the property to speed up the drying process. When I returned to the house, I ran damp tests to double check that the tiles were completely dry. This was important as any excess moisture has the potential to damage the performance of the sealer.
To seal the floor I used a combination of Tile Doctor Colour Grow (one coat) and Seal & Go (six coats). This provided a robust surface seal and also accentuated the natural shades in the Quarry tiles.
As you can see from the photographs, although not perfect due to its history, this was quite a transformation and I was happy to bring yet another old floor full of character back into daily use; original features are also very popular these days so I’m sure this has added a lot of value to the property.