The oldest properties often have the most interesting tiled features and this Quarry Tiled Fireplace was a fine example. The customer lived in a quaint old cottage just outside the main town centre of Bedford and contacted us about restoring their fantastic Quarry tiled fireplace. While the customer knew that the cottage itself was over 200 years old, they had no idea whether or not the fireplace is an original feature.
However, it’s safe to say that the fireplace is very old in its own right, and that it had been a long time since it had experienced any kind of professional maintenance. It goes without saying that as any kind of tiles get older they will need more frequent care to keep them looking at their best. Here, the Quarry tiles desperately needed cleaning up as they were covered in old candle wax and what looked to be several years’ worth of general dirt. This had significant dulled the natural shades in the stone, leaving it looking lifeless and unappealing. The tiles would also require a fresh seal to ensure protection against muck in the future, and to help restore the colour to the stone.
Cleaning an Old Quarry Tiled Fireplace
Firstly, I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel tile cleaner, which is particularly effective on tricky areas as being in a gel form it adheres better to non-horizontal areas. It was left it to dwell on the tiles for around twenty minutes so it could penetrate into the pores and get to work lifting out and dissolving the dirt that had been trapped in there over the years . Oxy-Gel is suitable for use on a wide range of natural stone tiles, including Quarry, Travertine and Slate. In this situation it cut through and removed most of the candlewax quite easily, and softened the stubborn residue to a point where I could easily remove the rest manually with handheld scrappers.
I then left area it to dry, with an air mover installed to reduce drying time. The advantage of using a gel product is that uses a smaller amount of moisture than a standard liquid cleaner, and therefore allows the tile to dry – and to be sealed – quicker; and in this case we were able to seal the same day where-as normally we would have to wait until the next day.
Sealing an Old Quarry Tiled Fireplace
Once the tiles were completely dry, I sealed the fireplace with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that fills the pores of the stone to prevent dirt and general muck from becoming ingrained, making the tiles much easier to keep clean in the long-term.
The added benefit of Colour Grow is that – as its name suggests – it emphasises the natural colours in the stone. This was something that the Quarry fireplace was desperately in need of, and the Colour a Grow quickly got the job done!
The customer was very pleased with the finished results. The clean removed years’ worth of muck, while the fresh seal brought out the natural beauty in the Quarry tiles and, at the same time, will protect the tiles on future candle-lit evenings.