Restoring a Salt Satined Quarry Tiled Floor in Gamlingay

This quarry tiled floor in the village of Gamlingay had been subject to efflorescence salt staining over many years. This problem typically occurs in older houses where the floor has been laid without a damp-proof membrane allowing moisture to rise through the tile bringing with it salts from the sub floor. Gamlingay is located in South Cambridgeshire, near the border with Bedfordshire, is an ancient village which features in the Domesday Book. Not surprisingly a lot of the property here is quite old and includes sixty listed buildings.

Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning

Before the current owner moved in the property had been left dormant and empty with no heating which hadn’t helped the condition of the floor amongst other things. The white efflorescent salt staining was now very evident on the Quarry tiles and had caused a lot of damage to the surface of the floor. I discussed with the client how we could help and carried out a test clean. They were happy with the result and we agreed our quote to renovate the floor. We arranged to return later in the month.

Renovating a Salt Damaged Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor

The cleaning began with the application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was sprayed onto the tile and left to soak in for about ten minutes. The tiles were then scrubbed with a very coarse 200-grit diamond pad fitted to a rotary machine. The soil was then extracted using our van mounted hot water extraction system which makes light work of rinsing the floor and keeps the mess to a minimum. The combination of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and the coarse pad cleaned and resurfaced the tile improving the appearance of the floor and once the soil was removed you could really see the transformation.

We finished the cleaning process by giving the whole floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. The acid dissolves the alkaline salt still present in the floor and removes any grout haze still present on the tile. Once this had been scrubbed in it was rinse off and extracted using the hot water extraction system as before. The floor was then left to dry out which due to the lack of damp-proof membrane was expected to lake longer than usual, so we decided to leave the floor a few days.

Sealing an Old Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor

We returned on a nice sunny day and first tested the floor with our damp-proof meter. This just tests the moisture levels in the floor to check they are to an acceptable level. If the floor is not dry the seal will not cure properly, and the process would be a waste. In this case the readings were fine, and I was happy the floor was dry enough to be sealed.

The client had requested the floor have a low sheen appearance and they didn’t want it to look too shiny. Given the floors history with Efflorescence however I needed to choose a sealer that would give the desired appearance but was also breathable to allow for moisture to rise through the tile. Trapping moisture under the tile with a non-breathable sealer can result in moisture spreading to the walls leading to rising damp.

On this occasion I opted to go with the application of Seal and Go extra which is breathable and leaves a subtle sheen appearance. The acid wash we gave the tiles should neutralise the alkaline salts and now the house was occupied the damp issues which had led to them occurring in the first place are less likely. I applied six coats of sealer, allowing each one to dry before applying the next.

Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning

As you can see from the pictures, the work made a dramatic difference to the floor and my client was delighted with the transformation.

Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning
 

Professional Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Hallway in Cambridgeshire

Cleaning micro porous Porcelain tiles in Gamlingay

Most Porcelain tiles are non-porous making them an ideal floor covering especially in high traffic areas, the porcelain tiles fitted at this house in Gamlingay however featured small pits in the surface and over the years the pits had become engrained with dirt which proved difficult to clean. The porcelain tiles had been fitted throughout the ground floor and this was a reasonable sized house so it was going to take some time to clean.

Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay Before Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay Before

Cleaning Micro Porous Porcelain Tiles

To speed the job up we use a lot of machinery which can cause splashing so the first job was to protect all the walls with plastic sheeting and in the kitchen we removed the kick boards.

Working in sections the floor was wetted with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the tile for twenty minutes to help break down the dirt before it was agitated and worked into the tile using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad.

Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay During Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay During

The combination of Pro-Clean and scrubbing action loosened the ingrained dirt leaving a dirty cleaning solution; scrubbing pads can struggle to reach the grout so this was scrubbed by hand using a stiff brush. Stubborn areas were re-treated and once we were happy with that section of floor it was pressure cleaned using a special spinner tool which applies clean under pressure as well as simultaneously extracting liquids from the surface. This tool has the added advantage of neutralising the floor ensuring no trace of chemical is left behind that could upset a sealer. Cleaning took much of the day so by the time we finished it was getting quite late so we left allowing the floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing Micro Porous Porcelain Tiles

We came back the next day to seal the floor and after checking the tiles had indeed dried we proceeded to apply Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer designed to fill up the pores in the tile so contaminates cannot get it in, the other advantage of this particular sealer is it does not change the look of the tile.

Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay After Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay After

 
 

Porcelain Tile Cleaning in South Cambridge