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.
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.
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.
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.
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.