quarry tiles

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

Colour Restored to a Faded Black and Red Quarry Tiled Floor in Welton

There are numerous factors that can contribute to a Quarry tiled floor looking worse for wear, including lack of sealer, dampness issues, and the wrong type of cleaning products. Unfortunately, this black and red Quarry tiled floor was suffering from a combination of all three: there was no sealer evident to protect against dirt and stains, and dampness in the sub-floor had caused the tiles to fade in colour and shine. The red tiles especially had faded so much that they appeared almost white.

Black and Red Quarry Tiles Welton Before Cleaning
The property owner, who lives in the town of Welton, near Daventry in Northamptonshire, was desperate to have the floor professionally restored as her efforts to clean the tiles with run-of-the-mill household products had gone unrewarded. To ensure the appearance of Quarry tiles in this high traffic area of the house, I would need to provide a deep clean and a robust, impregnating seal to prevent future damage.

Cleaning a Dirty Black and Red Quarry Tiled Floor

As is the case with most types of tiled floor in this condition, I deep cleaned this floor using our powerful alkaline cleaner, stripper, degreaser, Tile Doctor Pro Clean. The cleaning method involved spreading strong dilution of Pro Clean evenly across the floor and leaving it to dwell for a short period. This allows it to seep into the tile to help lift out and dissolve ingrained dirt.

I then agitated the solution with a scrubbing pad fitted to my rotary machine to ensure all layers of muck were removed, and then thoroughly rinsed the floor to remove the excess cleaning chemicals.

Sealing a Black and Red Quarry Tiled a Floor

Since the floor was suffering from particularly prevalent damp issues, I left it to dry for ten days (usually 24 hours will suffice) before I returned to the property to commence the sealing process. Arriving back at the property a week and a half later, I immediately took several damp meter readings to ensure the floor was dry enough for a sealant to be applied. This is incredibly important: the slightest quantity of outstanding moisture can cloud the sealant and damage its performance.

Thankfully the ten days had given the floor ample time to dry fully, and I went ahead with applying two coats of Tile Doctor’s impregnating, colour enhancing sealant called Colour Grow. As you can see from the second photo, the sealant really bought the depth of colour back to the floor, making it look very pleasing to the eye. The customer was especially pleased that the red tiles actually look red again!

Black and Red Quarry Tiles Welton After Cleaning

Professional Restoration of a Faded and Dirty Black and Red Quarry Tiled Floor in Welton, Northamptonshire

Extremely Dirty and Damp Quarry Tiled Floor Restored in Higham Ferrers

This red Quarry tiled floor was in the dining room of a house in the East Northamptonshire market town of Higham Ferrers. Despite being an original feature of the property, the floor had never been taken care of and looked to be completely beyond salvation and what must be the worst condition I have seen in a long time.

Red Quarry Tiles Higham Ferrers Northants Before
When I first inspected the floor it became very quickly clear that it was suffering from severe damp problems, covering roughly two thirds of the entire surface area. I took damp meter readings and discovered that the floor was saturated as there was no damp proof course installed. This problem was compounded by staining from the glue residue used to hold down the linoleum which previously covered the tiles. But while some floors look beyond salvation, I was certain I could restore this one to an acceptable appearance.

A hallway in the property had the same Quarry tiles, but these had been painted with a red tile paint at some point in the past, which itself had worn off in the main traffic areas. These tiles had no damp problems and so it would just be a case of removing the rest of the paint and providing a thorough cleaning before sealing.

Red Quarry Tiles Higham Ferrers Northants Before
The customer was also keen that the dining room be restored as near as possible to the hallway tiles to try and achieve a uniform finish. I did inform the customer that due to the vast difference in condition this would be a challenge but I would do my best. A quote was given and work was booked in at the customer’s convenience.

Cleaning Extremely Dirty Quarry Tiles

Before beginning the restoration, I carried out a patch test to see which products would achieve the best results on the tiles. After vacuuming and mopping the floor to remove the immediate layers of muck, I decided my best course of action would be to use the heavy duty stripper, Tile Doctor Remove & Go.

Working in four separate sections, I applied the product then scrubbed it using a black stripping pad to a rotary machine. Remove & Go is designed to break down old sealers, paints and glues, making it an ideal product for use in this particular situation. This area was then rinsed off with a wet-vac machine and the process was repeated on the rest of the floor.

I then inspected the floor and noticed a few shiny patches where the old sealer hadn’t been fully removed, so I tackled these stubborn areas by hand with a second application of Remove & Go. A final rinse was given to the whole floor to make sure no excess cleaning products remained.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

After completing the cleaning process and removing as much water as possible using a wet vacuum, I installed a dehumidifier and left the tiles to dry for an entire month. Upon my return to the property I took damp meter readings to ensure the tiles were fully dry prior to the application of the sealer. This is crucial as excess moisture can cloud the sealer, rendering it less effective at protecting the stone.

I opted to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the floor primarily because is fully breathable and therefore ideal for floors that are prone to damp problems. It has the added bonus of being a colour intensifying sealer that really enhanced the natural reddish shades in the Quarry.

Red Quarry Tiles Higham Ferrers Northants After
As the pictures show, there was a vast improvement in the floor and the customer was pleased with the results. It really goes to show that while a floor might look beyond salvation, wait can in fact be restored to an acceptable condition using the right methods and products. The customer was also given advice on maintenance of this type of floor to keep it looking its best for years to come.

Red Quarry Tiles Higham Ferrers Northants After

Professional Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration 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

Red Quarry Tiled Floor Restored in Abington

Here’s an interesting work I recently completed on a red Quarry tiled floor at a house in the town of Abington, Northampton. In post-war Britain (more specifically in the 1940s and 1950s), many new homes were built with Quarry tiled hallways and kitchens, so quite a popular feature back then. These floors are typically quite hard wearing and therefore ideal for such high traffic areas; additionally they don’t need a great deal of maintenance but their appearance will degrade over time.

Red Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning and Repair Abington
In this particular house, the Quarry tiled floor had been covered with linoleum for many years, causing significant patches of visible black mould. The floor also had a loose tile (which I promptly reset to mitigate the potential tripping hazard) and splashes of paint due to a lack of precaution while the house was being renovated. Needless to say, the floor needed a lot of work.

Cleaning a Red Quarry Tiled Floor

Before beginning the cleaning I made sure to vacuum up all of the loose debris from the floor. I then applied Tile Doctor Remove & Go to the tiles, left it to dwell for a short period, and then agitated the area with a black stripping pad, adding water to aid the process. This helped to break down any old and ineffectual sealer, along with the paint splashes marking the tiles, leaving a much cleaner and more refined appearance.

Red Quarry Tiles After Cleaning and Repair Abington
I followed this up with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to eliminate the odd speck of cement and grout haze dating back to when the floor was first installed; Gout Clean-up has an acid base so it’s not advised to leave it on the tiles for too long, consequently as soon as I was happy it had done the job I rinsed it off with water and give the floor a thorough wash down.

I used a wet-vacuum machine to extract as much water as possible and gave the floor a once over with steam cleaner which improves the evaporation of any remaining moisture by heating up the tiles.

Red Quarry Tiles Stripped after cleaning Abington

Sealing a Red Quarry Tiled Floor

After completing the cleaning process, I left the house to allow time for the floor to dry completely. Upon my return, I conducted a damp test which showed the floor needed to dry further before sealing so I left an industrial fan in place for a couple of hours to help speed things up.

Once I was satisfied that the floor was dry enough to take the sealant, I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an interesting product that will not only provide durable stain protection but also improves the natural colours of the tile.

Red Quarry Tiles Stripped and Sealed Abington
While the floor required a lot of time and work to restore, I think you will agree the results were certainly worth waiting for.

Quarry tiles repaired, cleaning and sealed in Northamptonshire

Quarry Tiled Hallway Cleaned and Restored in Hackleton

This was a restoration I did for a couple living in Hackleton, Northampton, who had just moved into their new home and wanted their recently discovered Quarry tiled hallway fully restored before their housewarming party.

Old Quarry tiled floor before restoration Hackleton
The couple had lifted up the carpet upon moving into the house to find a dirty and damaged floor beneath. It had been marked with glue around the edges where the carpet gripper rods had been stuck down upon installation. My clients had attempted to remove the unsightly glue marks themselves using a chisel and hammer. Unfortunately, the DIY job actually caused further damage to one tile, leading to the couple seeking the services of a professional to complete the job properly. It was especially important to have the floor ready quickly, as there was only ten days to go before the housewarming party.

Old Quarry tiled floor before restoration Hackleton

Stripping and cleaning a Quarry tiled hallway

After providing the couple with a quote, I began working on the hallway. My first task was strip the Quarry tiles of the old sealer using a combination of black stripping pads and Tile Doctor Remove & Go, a multi-purpose product which contains both strpping and cleaning properties. Remove & Go was left to soak into the tiles before being scrubbed into the floor using a rotary scrubbing machine. After successfully breaking down the layers of old sealer, I rinsed the floor using clean water and soaked up the residue with a wet-vac machine.

Old Quarry tiled floor before restoration Hackleton
The next stage of the job involved removing the old glue marks by hand from around the edges of the hallway. This was painstaking work in which I utilised both a scraper and a hand brush to carefully rid the tiles of these blemishes. Working in small, two metre sections of the floor, I then applied a second coat of Remove & Go, allowed it to soak into the area for a further ten minutes, and then rinsed it with clean water. During my inspection of the floor I also noticed a few splashes of paint, which I duly removed by hand.

Sealing a Quarry tiled hallway

Due to the pressure on time leading up to the housewarming party, I needed to speed up the drying process. I did this by installing a dehumidifier and a turbo fan. The floor was then left to dry for more than 24 hours before I returned to complete the sealing.

Upon my return I took damp meter readings in order to determine which sealer would be the best to use. I resolved to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which is fully breathable, allowing dampness to escape from this type of tile. This is important, as the tiles had been first installed many years ago with no damp proof membrane. As the sealer dried it provided the floor with a nice, light sheen. Since Colour Grow is also specially designed for colour intensification, the fantastic natural shades and colours in the Quarry were really brought to life again.

Old Quarry tiled floor after restoration Hackleton Old Quarry tiled floor after restoration Hackleton

My clients were extremely pleased with the results, with the prompt and efficient service ensuring that the job was completed in good time for their housewarming party.

Old Quarry tiled floor after restoration Hackleton

Restoring a Quarry Tiled Hallway in time for a Party in Northamptonshire

Kitchen Quarry Tile Cleaning and Sealing in Rushden

This job was to strip and re-seal these Quarry tiles installed in a commercial kitchen which was undergoing refurbishment at a canteen in Rushden, Northamptonshire. The tile finish had dulled and there was a lot of staining to the grout.

Quarry Tiles in Rushden before cleaning

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

As there was little in the way of kitchen units to protect I go straight down to stripping down the floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner/stripper that’s safe to use on stone, tile and grout. The solution was applied with a mop and left it to dwell on the floor for twenty minutes in order to give it chance to soak into the tile surface and get to work on the existing sealer and dirt. It was then worked into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and stiff hand brushes were used along the grout lines to get the grout clean. The resulting soiled solution was picked up with a wet and dry vacuum and the floor was then rinsed with clean water to neutralise the tile and stubborn areas re-treated. Once I was happy the floor was given a final rinse and then left to dry overnight ready for sealing the next day.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

After checking the tiles had dried I proceeded to seal the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the floor from staining going forward and also adds a nice shine to the tile.

Quarry Tiles in Rushden After cleaning

Commercial Kitchen Quarry Tile cleaning in Northamptonshire

Kitchen Quarry Tile Cleaning and Sealing in Daventry

Apologies for the poor quality of these grainy Quarry Tile Cleaning photographs taken in the kitchen of a residential property in Daventry but it was the middle of winter and I was using my phone camera which doesn’t have an effective flash. Hopefully you can see from the photograph below how dirt had become ingrained into the tile and stains to the grout.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

To get the floor clean I removed the kick boards around the base of the kitchen units and applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with NanoTech Ultraclean which adds tiny abrasive particles to an already powerful alkaline cleaning product that is safe to use on tile and stone. It was applied with a mop and left it to dwell on the floor for twenty minutes first in order to give it chance to soak into the tile and get to work on the dirt. It was then worked into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, stiff hand brushes were along the grout lines. The soiled solution was picked up with a wet and dry vacuum and the floor was then rinsed with clean water to neutralise the tile and allow us to see which areas need further attention. Once I was happy the floor was given a final rinse and then left to dry overnight ready for sealing the next day.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning

Sealing Quarry Tiles

On my return the floor was checked in a number of places with a damp meter to confirm it had dried which it had and it was then sealed using numerous coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice shine to the floor as well as providing a surface seal that will help protect the tile from stains going forward. Sealing can take some time as you need to let the first coat dry before starting the second.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing

Quarry Tile Maintenance in a Daventry Kitchen

150 Year Old Quarry Tile Restoration in Northants School

Shown below are some photographs for a job we did recently restoring 150 year old Quarry Tiles at a School near Peterborough in Northamptonshire. The school had a lot of problems with this floor over the years and had called in another cleaning company several months prior but found that within weeks the sealant they had applied had started to bubble and peal off. The floor was suffering from ongoing dampness problems in some areas, which isn’t unusual for a floor in an old building as damp proofing is a relatively modern concept. Tile Doctor was called in to try to rectify the issues.

Quarry Tiles Failed Sealer Quarry Tiles Failed Sealer

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

The work was booked to be carried out before Xmas and we spent hours stripping the tiles with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean agitated with a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad with little affect. To resolve the problem we resorted to getting down on hands and knees with a steamer and scrapper and spend the next 3 days taking off several coats of sealant and wax stripping quarry tile floor. The floors were then allowed to dry for ten days over Christmas.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

We returned in the New Year and took damp meter readings from the floor to ensure it was dry before sealing. The choice of sealer was vital given the floor was 150 years old and it was essential we chose one that was breathable to ensure any dampness could permeate up through the floor and not get trapped causing a problem. We settled for Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is breathable and offers good stain protection as well as enhancing the colour in the tile, two coats were sufficient to ensure to seal the floor. The last step was to buff the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a white pad to bring out the shine.

Quarry Tiles Cleaned Applying Sealer Quarry Tiles Cleaned Applying Sealer

Quarry Tile Maintenance

The school had faced problems maintaining this floor in the past so I returned to site the following week to explain the best method for cleaning the floor going forward; this essentially involves using two buckets, once containing cleaning solution and another to rinse out the mop, I also gave them a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner and a white buffing pad to point them in the right direction. Neutral Cleaner is a PH Neutral formula which unlike most acid products will not degrade the sealer over time.

Quarry Tiles Cleaned and Sealed Quarry Tiles Cleaned and Sealed


Northants School Quarry Tiled floor restoration

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