Wax Sealed Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor Renovation in Canterbury

Earlier this year I went to visit a property in Canterbury to look at restoring a Terracotta tiled floor. The floor was approximately 11m2 and made from the larger Saltillo type Terracotta tiles. It had been in situ for some time and being located in the hallway it was subject to the heavy foot traffic of a busy household.

Having taken a closer look at the Terracotta tiles I could see there were many high spots due to poor installation by the original tiler, on top of that it had then been sealed with linseed oil followed by a wax paste. Wax was traditionally used to seal Terracotta floors, but it scratches easily and can lead to a thick build-up. Since the introduction of modern sealers designed for the job, we don’t recommend wax treatments anymore.

Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor Before Renovation Canterbury Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor Before Renovation Canterbury

We discussed the process to renovate the floor, explaining that the best course of action would be to use milling pads to level the surface of the tiles which would improve the finish and remove the built-up wax. Once prepared in this way the floor would be sealed to protect it going forward. They were happy with my quotation and we agreed a date to return and complete the work.

Renovating a Terracotta Tiled Hallway Floor

The use of Milling pads can generate a lot of slurry to our first task was to protect the surrounding areas using protective sheeting. The area was quite tight to work in, so we used the smaller six-inch milling pads which are encrusted with coarse industrial diamonds. The pads we fitted to a handheld buffer and worked over the tiles gradually increasing the pads from coarse to finer grits. The machine we use has a water feed that keeps the surface lubricated and this also helps to reduce the dust. The fine slurry generated using this process is rinsed off and extracted with a wet vacuum.

The next step was to remove the old wax the floor had been treated with a dilution of Tile Doctor Wax Away which is designed for exactly this purpose. Its applied to the floor and then scrubbed in using a slow speed rotary machine. Afterwards the floor is rinsed with water several times and the waste removed with the wet vacuum. By the time we had finished that day we could see a big improvement in the floor surface. After the final rinse the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Hallway Floor

I came back the following day and using the moisture meter checked that the floor was dry. It was well within the accepted parameters, so I was ready to apply the seal.

To seal the Terracotta, I had selected to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is a modern durable sealer that provides long lasting protection and ideal for busy hallways. Colour grow also also enhances the natural red and orange colours in the Terracotta leaving a nice subtle finish. Three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied.

Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor After Renovation Canterbury Saltillo Terracotta Hallway Floor After Renovation Canterbury

The photographs I took don’t show the difference in the floor that well, however my customer was very happy with the improvement in the floor and glad that the potential trip hazard has been resolved.

 

Professional Restoration of a Terracotta Tiled Hallway in East Kent

Victorian Tiles Path Restoration in Cliftonville, Margate

The picture below is of a Victorian path leading up to a house in Cliftonville which is a popular residential area in the coastal town of Margate. The seaside property was generally in good repair and had retained many of its’ original features. The pathway however had been subjected to the weather, and salty sea air so was looking a little worse for wear.

Victorian Path Before Renovation Cliftonville Margate

It always makes a pleasant change to be asked to carry out work outside and being located a short ten-minute drive away from the property it wasn’t long before I was able to go over and take a look. I inspected the path and discussed with the client the cleaning process that was needed. They were happy to go ahead with my quote and we arranged a time to return later in the month. We kept one eye on the weather as a nice dry day would be needed.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Pathway

Being outdoors, for a change we didn’t need to tape any surrounding areas to protect them from the clean, so we were able to get straight on with the job. The tiles had some masonry paint staining from the previous redecoration of the rendering, this was softened by spot treating with Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak in for ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a stiff brush. The paint was then carefully scraped off.

A deep clean was then carried out using a rotary floor cleaning machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad which was used to work in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This had an immediate effect and it wasn’t long before the dirt was being lifted out of the pores of the tile. The pathway was then rinsed, and the resulting slurry extracted with a wet vacuum.

The path was looking much improved so once I was happy all the dirt had been removed it was left to dry out. There were a few loose tiles were lifted and secured back in place using a flexible floor tile adhesive rated for external use.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Pathway

The dry weather continued so I was able to return the following day and complete the project. Before sealing I resurfaced some of the tiles using a hand buffer fitted with a 400-grit burnishing pad and a little water to give the surface a consistent finish.

The last step was to apply three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a fully breathable impregnating sealer that will cope with the damp external conditions. It also provides durable protection and has the added benefit of improving the colours in the tile.

Victorian Path After Renovation Cliftonville Margate

The path looked great after completion, the Victorian pattern looked lovely and the new sealer will ensure it is a lot easier to keep clean going forward. I discussed aftercare before leaving and recommended the use the Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, its concentrated product so a one litre bottle goes a long way and won’t harm the newly applied sealer. Most supermarket tile cleaning products are not pH neutral and too strong to use on a sealed surface.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Pathway in East Kent

Limestone Swimming Pool Tiles Repaired and Polished in Canterbury

This was meant to be a relatively straightforward clean and polish of the Limestone tiles surrounding a swimming pool at a large house on the outskirts of Canterbury. However, after visiting the property to survey the installation I discovered that a lot of the tiling around the edge of the pool was loose and water was getting in underneath.

I discussed the problem with the owner and concerned about health safety he asked me to remove the affected tiles and refit them securely. The Limestone tiles were also stained due to the chemicals in the pool however I already had a plan to burnish the stone tiles to resolve that problem. We agreed a date for the work and the owner agreed to have the pool drained in order to make the tiling work much easier.

Re-Tiling a Loose Limestone Swimming Pool Surround

I returned to the property on the agreed date and started by setting up some scaffolding and adding plastic sheeting to the pool to protect the tiling. The next step was to tackle the loose Limestone which is when I discovered that the tiles had only been secured in a few places with what could best be described as blogs of tile adhesive which left a large cavity for water to sit. This practice is often referred to in the tiling trade as “Dot and Dab” and very much frowned upon. The tiles should have been fully bonded onto a layer of adhesive that had been spread with a notched trowel to form a very secure bond and ensure water could not seep underneath.

Limestone Swimming Pool Tile Surround Dot and Dab Canterbury

TIP: If you want to check your tiling to see if it has been “Dot and Dabbed” then tap the tiles with the end of a wooden broom handle, it should sound dull throughout, if the tapping sounds hollow in certain areas then this indicates Dot and Dabbing.

The remedy was to lift all the affected limestone edging including the dabbed adhesive and then allow the affected area to dry out thoroughly. I then returned two weeks later to level off the surface with a water proof screed before re-installing the tiles. The tile adhesive and grout needed to be dry before the next stage of cleaning so once I had completed this step, I used the rest of the day to clean up and removing the plastic sheeting and scaffolding.

Limestone Swimming Pool Tile Surround Repair Canterbury

Deep Cleaning Stained Limestone Tiles

On the next day I checked my previous work was secure and then set about cleaning the floor with a set of Diamond burnishing pads. You start with the application of a coarse 400-grit pad, then move onto medium 800-grit pad, fine 1500-grit pad and finishing with the extra fine 3000-grit pad.

The pads are fitted to a rotary floor buffer and are run over each tile using water for lubrication. The floor is rinsed between the application of each pad so the fine slurry produced can be extracted using a wet vacuum. Fortunately, due to the pool being emptied I didn’t have to worry too much about contaminating the pool water.

The pads made a big difference to the stained Limestone and really brought out the best in the them. Once the pool had been refilled the whole scene looked amazing, I just wished I taken more pictures.

Limestone Swimming Pool Tile Surround After Repair and Clean Canterbury

 

Professional Restoration of a Limestone Flooring in Kent

1970’s Terracotta Tiles Restored at a Cottage near Ashford

Recently I visited a 150-year-old cottage in the beautiful small village of Chilham near Ashford to restore/improve a terracotta tiled floor. As it turns out the floor had been laid in 1970 by the owner and was protected with a thick wax-based product called Bourn Seal. The owner had diligently applied the product with a cloth and polished in by hand every year for approximately 20 years and then applied it on a as when needed basis, in fact the original tin was still in there cupboard!

Over the years since the floor was laid the Terracotta tiles were now looking worse for wear due to the sealer being very patchy and flacking in areas not walked upon. Unprotected dirt had become ingrained in the pores of the clay tiles making them difficult to clean and very unattractive.

1970s Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Restoration Chilham Cottage

After surveying the floor first-hand, I recommend that the layers of old wax be stripped off, so the tiles could be deep cleaned and then resealed with a modern sealer. After agreeing on a quote for the work we set a date for my return to renovate the floor.

Stripping Wax from Terracotta Tiles

On my return the first task was to set about covering all the walls, timber and original finishes with protective tape to protect them from splashing during the cleaning process. Once this was done, I started stripping off what was left of the multiple layers of wax by applying a generous application of Tile Doctor Wax Away which as its name suggest is designed for the removal of wax from tiles. I left the product to soak in for ten minutes and then started scrubbing it into the Terracotta using a black nylon pad fitted to a slow speed rotary floor buffer.

The stripping process was done in sections scrubbing in the Wax Away and then rinsing it off thoroughly with water as we went. All the soils were then extracted with a wet vacuum and the process repeated when required until we were happy all the wax was gone, and we were back to the virgin tile.

The cleaning process can be quite rigorous so before continuing I checked the floor for loose tiles and cracked or missing grout. All was good, so I set about cleaning the tiles with a burnishing pad that was run over the floor using the rotary buffer and water which acts as a lubricant. The floor is then rinsed with water to remove the soil that is generated and then left to dry off overnight.

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles

The next day I returned to seal the floor, but not before checking first with a damp meter that it had dried completely. This is essential because excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance. Our choice of sealer for the Terracotta was several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which provides excellent surface protection along with an aesthetically pleasing deep sheen finish. Also, being water based it doesn’t give off an unpleasant odour as it dries.

1970s Terracotta Tiled Floor After Restoration Chilham Cottage

As you can see from the photograph above, the transformation was fantastic, and the floor looked like a new installation. My customer and I were very pleased with the result, I only wish I had taken more photographs.

 

Professional Terracotta Tiled Floor Renovation in Kent