The owner of this property in Bedford was convinced little could be done to restore the appearance of these Kitchen Quarry tiles at the best thing to do would be to cover them up, however as the building was Grade II listed thought it would be best to get a professional opinion first and I was asked to take a look.
I went over to survey the floor and could see that over the years pits had developed in the surface of the tile which had trapped dirt resulting in black staining. In my analysis I thought we could certainly improve their appearance but hesitated at promising the world as even I had not seen a quarry tile this badly damaged. However the client was happy with the quotation and the request was `Do what you can!`
Cleaning Grubby 200-Year-Old Kitchen Quarry Tiles
I could see this floor was going to be a challenge so after protecting all the skirting boards, kitchen units and appliances I set about soaking the tiles in a strong cocktail of Tile Doctor Remove and Go with Nanotech HBU, HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up so quite appropriate I thought.
The next step was to run over the tiles with a set of burnishing pads of different grades which are encrusted with industrial diamonds. It took more than one attempt at this process but the abrasive pads had the desired effect and eventually revealed the beautiful quarry flooring below. The pads are effective on the tiles but the grout sits a little lower and so to reach these a stiff brush was scrubbed into the grout by hand where needed.
To remove the dirt that was released from the cleaning process and further clean the tiles I used an extraction tool that’s powered from a large compressor that sits in my van. This forces hot water under pressure onto the tiled floor whilst simultaneously extracting the dirty water back to a separate tank using a vacuum. It’s an amazing tool that is very effective however you do need to have the van parked close the house due to a limitation on the hose lengths.
With the tiles now clean and rinsed with water the floor was dried as much as possible with a wet vacuum and left to dry for a couple of days.
Sealing 200-Year-Old Kitchen Quarry Tiles
On my return I first tested the floor with a damp meter to ensure it was dry; all was well so I able to move onto applying a sealer that would further enhance the appearance of the Quarry tiles and add protection.
Given the age of this floor I decided to use a modern fully breathable product and selected Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal which work by occupying the pores of the tile, improving colour, and preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there.
The client was in fact over the moon with the results and given the floor was 200 years old I even impressed myself. For me, even after having done this work for over 30 years it still provided a sense of achievement, a perfect combination of experience coupled with modern chemicals, machinery and working methods.