Sealing Quarry Tiles

Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration Cheadle Hulme

Old Cement Covered Quarry Tiled Floor Restored in Cheadle Hulme

These photos are from a house in Cheadle Hulme where the owner wanted the 120-year-old quarry tiles in the dining room restored as an original feature. The tiles had been discovered when a carpet was removed and as well as being very dirty had been covered with a cement based self-levelling compound.

Old Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Cheadle Hulme

It’s not unusual to find tiles covered in self-levelling compound when a carpet or lino is fitted. It’s done to smooth out the grout depressions which otherwise would eventually show through. Fortunately, it can be removed however it does require a lot of work.

Old Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Cheadle Hulme

Removing Cement from a 120-Year-Old Quarry Tiled Floor

To deal with the cement I treated the Quarry tiles with neat Tile Doctor Acid Gel and left it to get to work on the cement for ten to fifteen minutes. I then ran over the floor with an abrasive 200 grit milling pad fitted to a weighted rotary floor buffer. This action loosened the cement so it could be removed although in some of the stubborn areas I had to use a little extra force with the careful application of a hammer and chisel. I also used handheld abrasive diamond encrusted blocks which came in very handy near the skirting boards and corners.

Old Quarry Tiled Floor During Cleaning Cheadle Hulme

It took a lot of effort to get all the cement off the tiles, but they responded well to the treatment, and I could see the floor slowly transform in the process. A lot of water was used to provide lubrication and during rinsing for which I used a wet vacuum to extract the resultant slurry off the floor. The Acid Gel also removes old grout smears from the tile and neutralises any efflorescent salts in the floor which can be a problem with floors of this age with no damp proof membrane.

Sealing a 120-Year-Old Quarry Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and I came back a few days later to check the moisture levels in the floor with a damp meter. Unfortunately, the readings were still too high to apply a sealer, so I re-arranged my return. In fact, it took weeks for the moisture level to drop below 25% which was the minimum acceptable level before sealing.

The sealer I used on this floor was Tile Doctor Colour Grow. It’s a fully breathable colour enhancing impregnating sealer that will cope with any damp moisture rising through the tile and being a colour enhancer really brought out the red and black colours in the tiles.

Old Quarry Tiled Floor During Sealing Cheadle Hulme

Whilst the sealer was drying, I painted the fireplace hearth with black paint, this really tied it in with the Black Quarry tiles and neatly finished off the appearance of the room. Needles to say by the time I had finished the floor it looked great, and my client was very happy with their newly restored Quarry tiled floor, so much so they took time to leave the following feedback which is always appreciated:

“Within hours of sending in an enquiry on the tile doctor website I was contacted to say that the local rep would be in touch. Within another couple of hours, Kamila got in touch. Right from the start Kamila was accommodating to suit my needs, carrying out a trial ‘out of hours’ to suit me. Her communication was fantastic, regularly keeping me updated. She is a lovely lady who is trustworthy. I had to leave Kamila a few times and she locked up and posted the key as agreed. I am extremely pleased with the results of my refurbished quarry tiled floor, I never thought it would come up as well as it has done.”

Old Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Cheadle Hulme

For aftercare cleaning I recommended they use the Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. It is pH neutral tile cleaner that will not degrade the new sealer which is important as many supermarket cleaning products are simply too strong for use on sealed tiles. (Always check the label!)

Old Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Cheadle Hulme


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Old Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Before After Cleaning Goostrey

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Deep Cleaned in Goostrey

Pictured below is an old Quarry tiled floor in the Kitchen of a house in the small farming village of Goostrey. I went over to survey the floor at the request of the owner who felt it was overdue a deep clean and seal.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Goostrey

It was a classic floor that suited the kitchen and its Aga well however I’m sure it could tell a story. There were patches of white efflorescent salts in front of the Aga itself and another section of floor where the tiles were a slightly darker shade. I assume some replacements were made in this section at some point in the past. Efflorescence occurs when damp in the subfloor rises through the tiles depositing white alkaline salts on the surface of the tile as the moisture evaporates. This is quite a common problem in older properties where no damp proof membrane is present under the floor and more so where you have a warm Aga heating the space and encouraging evaporation.

As per usual the floor was survey noting all the points above and then I carried out a test clean on a small part of the floor. This helps me understand what products and process I need to follow in order to renovate the floor and thereby product an accurate quote for the work. This went well and the owner was happy for us to process so we agreed a date to start the work which would take two days.

Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor

To clean the floor and strip off any remaining sealer I first created a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was sprayed onto the tiles and then left to soak in. Remove and go is a powerful stripper and cleaner that is safe to use on tile and stone. The product is designed to loosen paint stains, adhesives and many types of urethane and wax coatings so they can be easily removed.

After thirty minutes the solution was scrubbed into the tile and grout using a weighted rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and running at a slow speed. The resulting cleaning slurry was rinsed off with water and then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. I repeated this process until I was confident the tiles were clean and free of old sealer.

The next step was to neutralise the alkaline salts in the floor which could later lead to efflorescence by treating it to an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. The gel was left to soak in for five minutes before washing it off using the wet vacuum to get the floor as dry as possible.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Goostrey

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry out overnight and the next morning I returned to the property and took some readings from the floor with a damp meter. It’s important to check the floor is dry before sealing because any excess moisture can cloud the sealer and prevent it from doing its job properly.

Once satisfied that the floor was dry, I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a breathable impregnating sealer that enhances colour and protects from within. I left the floor to dry for one hour and then followed up with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides both a robust surface seal and a long-lasting low sheen finish. The new sealer transformed the tiles and gave the whole floor a uniform appearance

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Goostrey

The customer was very impressed with our work and asked if we can come back later to remove the white tiles in front of the Aga and replace with Quarry tiles to match the rest of the floor.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Goostrey


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