350-Year Old Original Quarry Tiles Salvaged and Restored in Ringstead

It’s not every day that I get to work on a 350-year old property, however, not too long I was contacted by a client who was in the process of renovating one in the village of Ringstead, complete with an original Quarry tiled floor.

Quarry tiles before cleaning Ringstead

After removing the old flooring in the property, the client had discovered a broken-up screed of concrete covering the original tiles, the remnants of which can be seen in the photos below. He proceeded to manually scrape the screed off over the course of several days – successfully removing about 60 per cent of it – but found there to be many stubborn areas and instances where the tiles were badly cracked and would need replacing.

As a passionate renovator, the client treats restoring old properties as a labour of love, and only recruits professional help when he really needs it, so it was a real compliment to be consulted to see if the floor was salvageable. I’ve worked on floors in an equally bad state before so I was confident it could be restored, I provided a quote which was accepted and a date was agreed to start the work.

Cleaning 350-Year Old Quarry Tiles

Upon arriving at the property, my first course of action was to run my rotary machine, fitted with a dry concrete cleaning brush, over the entire area to remove dust and etch the area to allow the cleaning products to permeate the surface of the screed. I then vacuumed the area thoroughly before applying Tile Doctor Acid Gel across the entire area.

Quarry tiles before cleaning Ringstead

Acid Gel is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form which helps to remove inherent grout haze, efflorescence and other stubborn staining. The product was left to dwell for 20 minutes, before I repeated the action with the concrete cleaning brush to work the product into the tiles. Acid Gel was left on for a further 10 minutes and agitated with handheld brushes to clean the stone. Following this, the resulting cleaning slurry was removed with a wet-vac machine.

To complete the cleaning process, I used a long handled scraper to score along the top of the remaining concrete and break it down by applying Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is essentially the liquid version of Acid Gel. I carried out this action twice to ensure the removal of all the concrete.

Quarry tiles after cleaning Ringstead

Sealing 350-Year Old Quarry Tiles

The floor was then allowed to dry for 4 days; properties of this age have no damp proof membrane to the this provided time to allow excess moisture to evaporate following the cleaning.

Returning to the property, I ran some quick deal tests to check that the Quarry tiles were ready to sealed. Once I was satisfied with the condition of the floor I proceeded to apply two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, our impregnating, breathable sealant which offers provides robust protection and enhances the natural reddish shades in the Quarry.

Quarry tiles after sealing Ringstead

The client was very pleased with the results. Our work has helped him massively along the way to the complete renovation of this great property. His long-term plan is to keep the Quarry tiled floor as it is, however when he encloses the area under the stairs he will use the tiles from that area to replace cracked and damaged tiles that are in the centre of the room. If more tiles he intends to source them from a reclamation yard.

Quarry tiles after sealing Ringstead

 
 

Professional Restoration on a antique Quarry Tiled Floor in Northamptonshire

Cleaning and Sealing Quarry Tiles with Damp Issues in Thrapston

This property was situated only a few hundred yards from the River Nene in Thrapston, near Kettering in Northamptonshire. And, while it is certainly nice to live next to a river, it can cause long running damp issues for certain properties, as was the case with several houses along this road. I was particularly aware of this, having treated a floor in a similar area of the town.

This client had recently uncovered a Quarry tiled floor which had remained hidden under Linoleum for a long time. She wanted professional help and advice on restoring the floor back to looking its best, and was especially aware that it was marked by white patches of efflorescence (mineral salts).

Quarry Tile Before Cleaning Thrapston Quarry Tile Before Cleaning Thrapston

I explained to the client that the damp issues can never be completely rectified without building work being undertaken to install a damp proof membrane. Unfortunately, this is a very expensive process. Nonetheless, the following is an account of the results which can be achieved with badly stained Quarry tiles using professional methods and products.

Cleaning a stained Quarry tiled floor

I arranged a date to do the work on my return the first stage in the floor restoration was to give the tiles a deep clean. This was done with a high alkaline cleaner known as Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is applied to the floor and left to dwell for a short period, before being agitated with black stripping pad fitted to a rotary floor buffing machine. This strips away any old sealer and lifts away trapped dirt. The soiled solution was then rinsed away using clean water, and the resulting slurry was soaked up using a wet vacuum.

Quarry Tile Before Cleaning Thrapston

Following this I gave the floor an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up in order to neutralise the mineral salts. Then, to draw the contaminants completely out of the tiles – and to assist with the cleaning process – I applied the heat of a steamer.

To complete the cleaning process the floor was rinsed down again which was again was removed with a wet vacuum which extracted as much water from the floor as possible. I then installed a powerful industrial dehumidifier and allowed two weeks for the floor to dry completely. However, I was aware that given the extent of the damp issues that this might not, in fact, be long enough.

Upon my return to the house, I took further damp meter readings to discover that the floor was indeed still damp. I suggested that the best course of action in this scenario was for my client to carry out daily mopping with a mild acid solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up for a period of three weeks to help tackle the inherent salt issues that had been present for many years.

Sealing a Quarry tiled floor

After the three weeks had passed, I was able to apply just a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a breathable impregnating sealer that allows for effective moisture vapour transmission. It also contains colour intensifying properties to help enhance the natural shades in the Quarry stone.

Quarry Tile After Cleaning Thrapston Quarry Tile After Cleaning Thrapston

The client also purchased some Colour Grow sealer for her to apply herself later in the Spring, as the floors were still too damp for the two to three coats that I would normally apply.

The photographs show what can be achieved with Quarry tiles suffering from inherent damp issues. Although they may still look slightly patchy, rest assured that by the Spring they will have dried out sufficiently enough to apply more sealant – this will achieve the desired finish.
 
 

Dealing with Damp and Stained Quarry Tiles in Northamptonshire

Cracked Limestone Conservatory Floor Restored in Grafton Underwood

Here is a job I completed late last year in the charming tranquil village of Grafton UnderwoodFlagstone tiled Living Room which you will find I have written about previously.

This second floor was Polished Limestone that had been laid in their conservatory. The floor was not only was in dire need of a thorough clean and fresh seal, but was also suffering from cracks in some areas.

Limestone Tiled Conservatory Grafton Underwood Before Cleaning Limestone Tiled Conservatory Grafton Underwood Before Cleaning

Repairing a Limestone tiled conservatory

My first task was to address the multiple cracks in the floor, which I repaired by filling with a colour matching filler.

Limestone Tiled Conservatory Grafton Underwood Before Cleaning
I also managed to remove some displeasing rust marks ruining the appearance of the floor by using Tile Doctor Rust Away. Rust Away is used to remove embedded rust stains on any type of Stone or Clay-based tile.

Limestone Tiled Conservatory Grafton Underwood Before Cleaning Limestone Tiled Conservatory Grafton Underwood After Polishing

Cleaning a Limestone tiled conservatory

I then gave the conservatory floor a thorough clean, focusing first on the grout with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, a high alkaline cleaner that’s safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout.

The Limestone tiles were then cleaned and re-polished with Tile Doctor Diamond encrusted burnishing pads. I started with the Coarse burnishing pad to remove dirt and old sealer before moving through the other pads from Medium to Fine, stopping to lubricate and rinsing the area with a little water after burnishing with each pad.

Sealing a Limestone tiled conservatory

After completing the clean, I left the conservatory to dry fully overnight. Upon my return to the house the next day, I ran damp tests to confirm the floor was dry enough to take the sealant, and then proceeded to seal the tiles with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

Limestone Tiled Conservatory Grafton Underwood After Polishing Limestone Tiled Conservatory Grafton Underwood After Polishing

Colour Grow is a sealant which offers a robust surface seal, while also enhancing the natural colours in the stone. It also offers an aesthetically pleasing matte finish, which is exactly what my client had requested. My client also left the following message on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

Everything carried out when promised and with due consideration and explanation. Likely to have more work done next year.

Repairing, Cleaning and Polishing Limestone Conservatory Tiles in Northamptonshire

Stripping and Resealing a Flagstone Tiled Living Room in Grafton Underwood

This property was situated in the tiny, yet picturesque village of Grafton Underwood in Kettering, Northamptonshire. The village has only a population numbering a few hundred and, interestingly enough, is the childhood home of the famous ‘Bridget Jones’ character. I have previously worked on a number of floors in Grafton Underwood, and on this particular occasion I was called to complete the job through a recommendation – which is always welcome!

This particular customer had two floors that needed re-finishing; the first was a polished Limestone tiled conservatory (which I will cover in a separate post as the process was different) and the second a Flagstone tiled living room; so on a rather dull day in November, I began my work.

Stripping a Flagstone tiled floor

The sealer on the Flagstone tiled living room had failed in certain places, resulting in the floor becoming difficult to clean due to dirt becoming ingrained in the stone. The decline in the sealer is not uncommon, as they do wear down over time – especially in an area of high traffic like a living room. To resolve this issue, the old surface seal needed to be stripped back and re-sealed.

Flagstone Sitting Room Grafton Underwood Before Cleaning

To remove what was left of the old sealer, I applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and scrubbed it into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with black stripping pads. I then gave the floor an initial rinse, before paying special attention to scrubbing the stubborn spots, making sure all of the sealer was removed.

I then gave the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up in order to remove grout haze and other mineral deposits which were evident. Due to its acidic properties, you have to be very careful with this product on any type of stone, so I didn’t let it dwell for too long and made sure the floor was thoroughly rinsed down afterwards, with all solutions extracted using a wet-vac machine.

Sealing a Flagstone tiled floor

The floor was left to dry for more than 24 hours, before I returned to re-seal it using Tile Doctor Seal & Go. This product provides both a stain resistant surface seal and the durable low-sheen finish requested by my client. Seal & Go is suitable for use on internal unsealed, porous surfaces.

Flagstone Sitting Room Grafton Underwood After Cleaning

I guess the photographs don’t really do the transformation justice however the freshly re-sealed Flagstone living room certainly brightened up what was a very dreary autumn day!
 
 

Flagstone Floor Maintenance in Northamptonshire

Restoring a Victorian Quarry Tiled Hallway in Finedon

The following photos are from a property in Finedon, Wellingborough where like so many of my customers it seems the owner was in the middle of a full property restoration which included plans to bring the original Victorian hallway Quarry tiles back to life. Tile Doctor restores hundreds of Victorian floors across the UK every year so she gave us a call. I came round to take a look at the tiles and could see that the floor had been covered with Linoleum for many years which had been fixed with adhesive we was still evident on the tiles along with old wax based sealers which would need to be stripped off. In general the floor was now looking very dull and uncared for.

Victorian Quarry Tiled Floor Finedon Before

Cleaning Victorian Quarry Tiles

To remove the glue and restore the tiles a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was left to soak into the pores of the tile for twenty minutes before being brushed in with a rotary machine fitted with a black stripping pad. Once done the floor was rinsed down thoroughly with water and the remaining solution removed with a wet vacuum, this revealed a few areas that needed re-treating so the whole process was repeated until I was happy that the glue and old sealers were gone and the tile and grout was as clean as I could get it. This process took up much of the day and after using the wet vacuum again to get the floor as dry as possible I left a couple of fan dryers in place to assist with the drying.

Sealing Victorian Quarry Tiles

The floor was left for a few days so it could dry out thoroughly and then checked for dampness and remaining staining, the floor was dry but there were a few areas that needed further attention which were spot treated and then dried out with a hand drier. To protect it and make it easier to clean in the future the floor was then sealed by applying a number of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Gof which added a nice light sheen finish to the look of the tile.

Victorian Quarry Tiled Floor Finedon After

 
 

Victorian Quarry Tile Restoration in Finedon, Northamptonshire

Cleaning up newly installed Grout in Titchmarsh

This customer from Titchmarsh near Kettering was unhappy that the Porcelain floor tiles that were installed in her kitchen six months prior were proving difficult to clean and that the grout line had turned from a grey to black and whatever she tried she just could not keep this floor clean. On inspection I soon discovered that no or very little sealer had been applied to the Porcelain which is not unusual as most Porcelain does not require a sealer however Micro Porous Porcelain does and she should have been advised by the shop that sold her the tiles that this was the case. A quote was given which she was happy with and I returned the following week to sort the problem out.

Deep Cleaning Porcelain Tile and Grout

To protect the kitchen units I covered them in a plastic and then moved onto to deep cleaning the tiles with a dilution of Tile doctor Pro Clean which was applied and left to soak in for a while before hand scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees with stiff brushes. This did made an improvement but something stronger was required to get the grout looking better so it was back down to the floor with hand brushes again but this time I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is an acid that can remove grout smears and mineral deposits, in the end I actually used two litres of Grout Clean-Up to restore the grout to about 95% of its correct appearance and once done I gave the floor a thorough wash down to remove any trace of product.

Dirty Grout in Titchmarsh Kitchen During Cleaning

Sealing Porcelain Tile and Grout

This grout should have been correctly sealed from day one and luckily for the client it came up to her satisfaction otherwise the only other option would have been to use a Grout Colourant which would have been more costly but cheaper than replacing the grout altogether. Had the grout been much older this may have been the best option as I suspect the result from cleaning would have been less effective. The last step was to seal the tiles and grout using Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural look sealer that provides maximum stain protection and is recommended for use in kitchens. Before leaving I gave the client written instructions on maintenance which she found very helpful.

Dirty Grout in Titchmarsh Kitchen After Cleaning

 
 

Cleaning and Sealing Porcelain Tile and Grout in a Northamptonshire Kitchen