Northwich

Original Quarry Tiled Floor Renovation at Lock Keepers Cottage in Northwich

The client from Northwich got in touch regarding their Quarry tiled floor which ran throughout the ground floor and was in a bit of a sorry mess after renovations. Clearly in need of some attention it required a deep clean and new sealer to restore the colour and its general appearance.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Renovation Northwich Quarry Tiled Floor Before Renovation Northwich

I went over to do a site visit and discovered that although the location was rather idyllic it was going to present a challenge due to its location; this former lock-keepers cottage on the River Weaver had no vehicle access to it. The nearest road was a quarter of a mile away across two narrow footbridges and then a towpath. In the end I worked out the best way to get our equipment to the cottage would be in two wheelbarrows!

None the less, were always up for a challenge so after survey the floor I worked out a price for the work which would take two days. Happy with my quote we agreed a date for the work to commence and I organised the wheelbarrows.

Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Ground Floor

We loaded up the wheelbarrows on the first day and set off across the footbridges to the cottage. We must have looked a little odd doing this as we got a few funny looks on the way. I guess with Tile Doctor you never know what the next job will be, but the effort was appreciated by the owner who had a nice coffee waiting when we arrived at the front door.

Quarry Tiled Floor Lock Keepers Cottage Northwich Quarry Tiled Floor Lock Keepers Cottage Northwich

We gave the floors a good brush removing the builders rubbish and plaster and then working in sections sprayed the Quarry tiles with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This product is a multipurpose alkaline stripper/cleaner specifically designed for use on tile and stone. It was left to dwell and soak into the dirt for twenty minutes before being mechanically scrubbed into the the tiles using a buffing machine fitted with a black stripping pad running at slow speed. This removed the dirt, plaster dust and traces of old red tile paint from the tiles. The slurry generated was then removed using an industrial wet vacuum.

After the initial clean the floor was inspected and any stubborn areas were retreated using a repeat of the cleaning process, hand scrubbing where needed. Finally, the floor was given an acid wash with a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to help further clean-up the tiles and neutralise any salts in tile which can be a problem on old floors like this that do not have a damp proof membrane. The floor was then left to dry over night before returning the next morning.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Ground Floor

The next day we returned and started by testing the floors with a damp meter to make sure the floor was dry and ready to seal; if the floor is damp the sealer will not cure properly and can result and in a patchy appearance.

The sealer which we selected to use on this floor was Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a breathable low sheen sealer which will allow any moisture in the sub floor to rise unimpeded up through the tile and not become trapped underneath where it can spread to the walls and lead to rising damp.

After a few coats, the floor looked transformed, and our client was over the moon with their restored original floor which was a great period feature. Cleaning up took a short while as we had to transport all our equipment back in the wheelbarrows, but we took a moment to admire the lovely view on the way out.

 

Professional Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Ground Floor in West Cheshire

Listed Victorian Floor Restoration at Aston Park House Great Budworth

Earlier this year were contacted by the The Vintage Floor company who have supplied me with reclaimed tiles in the past to see if we could help one of their customers restore a Victorian floor at Aston Park House in Great Budworth. A section of flooring in the mansion house had been ripped out by a property developer along with most of the other features in the building. According to Cheshire Live news the developer was taken to court and fined for the “reckless vandalism” of a rare Grade II listed building.

Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich Cheshire

The property dates to 1715 and at one time was part of the nearby Arley Hall Estate which has been used for many film locations including Peaky Blinders and War of the Worlds. English Heritage were now keeping a close eye on the renovation work, so needless to say the standard had to be high.

On the first day of work a person from English Heritage met me with old plans of the floor and how it was to be restored. Fortunately, half the floor was still there so that section just needed a good clean and seal, but there was a twelve-foot section of the floor missing which needed to be replaced to English Heritage standards.

Victorian Floor Before Installaton and Restorattion Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich Victorian Floor Before Installaton and Restorattion Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich

Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

English Heritage had arranged to have a new sub-base installed so I was able to get straight onto tiling the floor. I used a modern flexible adhesive to lay the tiles which alone took two weeks as there were 2,450 tiles of different sizes. Keeping the tiles butted up to each other level and smooth and following the correct pattern is meticulous work. Once the new tiles were laid it was left for three days to set before I returned to grout the floor. With part one of the project done English Heritage returned to check my work which was a nerve-racking experience.

Victorian Floor During Installaton and Restorattion Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich Victorian Floor During Installaton and Restorattion Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich

English Heritage has specified that the floor needed to be levelled so to ensure the tiles were completely flat I applied a system that Tile Doctor use called Milling. This involves the application of a coarse 200-grit DRB pad to take out any lippage and flatten the tiles. DRB stands for Diamond Resin Block which refers to the segments in the pad that do the heavy lifting of milling the tiles. The pads are applied using a rotary machine which is fitted with extra weights to make better contact with the tile and is run at a slow speed. Water is used as a lubricant and the fine slurry generated is removed with a wet vacuum.

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Next step was to get both floors clean using a 200-grit pad (without segments) followed with a set of burnishing pads from 400, 800 and finally 1500-grit to restore the surface. Again, each pad is applied with water for lubrication and is rinsed and extracted after each pad. This process really gets the floor clean and reduces any noticeable difference between the new and old floors.

After completing the burnishing, the floor was treated to an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. This is applied to the floor and left to soak for ten minutes before being rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. Old floors don’t have a damp proof membrane so this neutralises any efflorescent salts in the tile which could cause a problem later, it also ensures grout smears are removed. The floor was then left to dry out for seven days.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On return we tested the floor to check it was dry enough to seal, this is important as any moisture in the tile can affect the sealer leading to an inconsistent finish. One coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow was applied to start, this is a colour intensifying breathable impregnator that soaks into the tile improving its appearance and adding protection from within. Any excess sealant was removed by wiping the floor with a microfibre cloth and then it was left to dry for an hour.

We then applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is an acrylic sealer and breathable. This is an important feature when choosing a sealer for old floors where moisture needs to be allowed to rise through the tile, otherwise it can become trapped under the floor and reach out to the walls causing rising damp.

Victorian Floor After Installaton Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich

We returned two days later for a final inspection with English Heritage which thankfully we got the nod that the floor had passed!

Victorian Floor After Installaton Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in West Cheshire

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