Restoring Mosaic Floors in the Warrington Treasury Building

Around five years ago Tile Doctor was asked to quote for restoring the Mosaic tiled floors in the former Warrington Technical College which is a Grade II listed building that was built in 1901. Tile Doctor are the biggest restorative tile network in the UK and we often get asked to quote for restoring old floors like these. Although we quoted for the work, nothing happened, and it now appears the local borough council had put the work on hold until they could come up with a fully costed plan to fully restore it.

It took some time, but I’m pleased to report that a plan did evolve and a joint venture between the council and a developer has now restored the building to its former glory and is now home to several restaurants and bars spread across its three floors.

The Treasury Building Palymra Square The Treasury Building Palymra Square

The restoration plan included preserving the main stair enclosure along with the original features which includes oak panelling and thankfully the beautiful Mosaic floor tiles. Having previously quoted for the latter and with the main building works complete we were asked to return and restore the floors ASAP at what has since been renamed as “The Treasury Building of Palymra Square”.

On the first day I was given a large vase full of mosaic tile pieces which the developers had collected during the building works and figured would come in handy later.

Mosaic Tile Collection

Day 1 – Preparing and Cleaning the Mosaic Flooring

Starting at the top of the building my first job was to remove the builders rubbish and sweep both floors. I then washed both Mosaic floors with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean using a strong 1:3 dilution with water. After leaving the cleaning solution to soak in for a few minutes it was scrubbed in using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a weighted buffing machine.

Cleaning Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building Cleaning Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building

This process brought out the dirt and dust that had been ingrained in the tiles turning the cleaning solution into a grey slurry which was then removed with a wet vacuum. It was a large floor and I had to repeat the cleaning process a couple of times to remove the layers of dirt, but the result was worth it and by the end of the first day the colours and design of the floor was really standing out.

Cleaning Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building Cleaning Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building

Day 2 – Replacing Missing Mosaic Tiles on the Top Floor

On day two I started work to repair the floor where the mosaic pieces were missing using the collection of mosaic tiles the builders had kindly left me at the start of the restoration. It was quite a jigsaw that involved looking through the hundreds of pieces that had been collected, finding a suitable piece and if necessary shaping it with a grinder so it could fit in the pattern. I used a flexible tile adhesive and then left them to set overnight.

Repairing Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building Repairing Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building

Replacing the missing mosaics on the first floor was a slow process which ended up taking up much of the second day.

Day 3 – Replacing Missing Mosaic Tiles on the Top Floor

My plan on day 3 was to continue the restoration work on the top floor and ensure the repaired areas were level with the rest of the floor. I attempted to use a 50-grit milling pad fitted to weighted floor buffing machine for this but found the segments on the pad would catch the edge of the replaced pieces and knock them out of place. Clearly this was not going to work so I changed tack and smoothed them down using a set of graded hand-held Diamond burnishing blocks. Again, there was lot to do so this work took up much of the day; some might say I could have worked around this but I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I like to ensure a job is done right.

Day 4 – Burnishing Mosaic Tiles on the Top Floor

The next step was to use a set of Tile Doctor Burnishing Pads to clean and restore the finish of the mosaics. The pads which are encrusted with industrial diamonds are applied with a rotary floor buffer in sequence from coarse to extra fine. The first pad is a coarse 400-grit and is applied with only water for lubrication, it removes minor scratches, sealers, and the top surface dirt.

Cleaning Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building Cleaning Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building

Working in sections, I applied the pad across the floor, rinsing with water in between and picking up the soiled solution with the wet vacuum. I then repeated this same procedure with the medium 800-grit pad which is the first stage polishing pad again rinsing with water after use. The next two pads are a fine 1500-grit and extra fine 3000-grit which really build up a high-quality polish on the stone. This last pad is applied at the very end of the process when the floor is dry and is run over the floor using a small amount of water which is sprayed onto the floor.

Day 5 – Restoring Mosaic Flooring on the Ground Floor

The next day we started on the ground floor which consisted of a large main lobby and hallway running off it. The mosaic pattern in the lobby featured an impressive oval zodiac design with two restaurants looking on to it behind wood and glass panelling. It must have taken a long time to lay back in 1901 and we were quite often stopped by people that worked there saying how nice it was seeing the wonderful floor being restored to its former glory.

Cleaning Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building Repairing Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building

The ground floor Mosaics had the same issues as the first floor however the experience gained restoring the first floor meant I was able to crack on quite quickly and completed the repairs in a single day.

Day 6 – Burnishing Mosaic Tiles on the Ground Floor

On the sixth day I proceeded to burnish the Mosaic flooring on the ground floor and hall using the same system as before

Burnishing Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building Cleaning Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building

With two large areas to cover I found the burnishing of the ground floor and hall using the 400, 800 and 1500-grit pads as before took up the whole day. After finishing the floor was given a final rinse to remove the slurry and then left to dry out overnight.

Day 7 – Sealing Mosaic Flooring

I returned early the next day to complete the polishing process using the 3000-grit burnishing pad which further builds the polished appearance of the floor. Once this was done the floor was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that adds stain protection to the floor and enhances colour. With two floors to do I was able to work on one floor as the sealer on the other dried.

Sealing Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building Sealing Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building

The owners were very pleased with the work we did and have asked us if we can come back every two months to maintain the floor and keep it in tip top condition. Having a maintenance plan in place for busy tiled areas like these are a good idea if you want to keep your floor looking its best.

Polishing Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building Polishing Mosaic Flooring Warrington Treasury Building


Professional Mosaic Tiled Floor Polishing in Warrington

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Victorian Tiled Reception Area Renovated in South Molton Listed Building

I was approached by the owner of a listed Georgian Townhouse right in the middle of the small market town of South Moulton in North Devon who was struggling to have any impact on the appearance of his Victorian tiled reception area, despite hours of back-breaking scrubbing and had become disheartened by it.

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles Before Cleaning South Molton

Upon arrival a survey on the floor was conducted where I tested the moisture level of the tiles because floors of this age and construction didn’t have a Damp Proof Course and as such were just tiled onto whatever subsurface was already there, which quite often contained rubble and other guiding materials such as lime from the construction of neighbouring properties!

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles Before Cleaning South Molton

Whilst talking to the customer he mentioned that he had some old quarry tiles in his kitchen that he also wanted cleaning, however I’ll cover that in another post. To continue I produced a quote for the work which was accepted and a date was agreed for me to return with all the equipment and products required.

Cleaning Victorian Tiled Reception Area

To clean the Victorian tiles in the reception area I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to soak in for ten minutes. I then set about scrubbing the solution into the tiles using a series of Diamond impregnated burnishing pads ranging from 100-400 grit.

Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was thoroughly rinsed with water using a wet and dry vacuum to extract the now soiled cleaning solution and I was able to see that the process had really brought the tiles up a treat.

Concerned about the damp readings I had experienced earlier I decided it would be prudent to give the floor an Acid Rinse with Grout Clean-up to counteract any potential salt issues (efflorescence) that can be a real problem on these old floors which have no Damp Proof Course. I highly recommend this step on old floors as salts can over time permeate through the tiles and the cleaning process draws them to the surface. Left unaddressed the salts can damage the sealer and leave the floor looking far from its best.

Once the tiles had been cleaned, I rinsed the entire floor thoroughly using fresh water to remove any trace of cleaning products, before leaving it to dry off completely overnight.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started to seal the Victorian tiles in the reception area. To improve colour, I first applied a coat of Tile Doctor’s Colour Grow, a solvent based impregnating sealer which picks out and enhances the natural colour of the tiles, not only bringing the whole floor to life but helping to disguise any damage the floor has suffered over the years. After this coat had dried sufficiency four coats of Seal and Go were applied to finish off the floor and give it that ‘wow factor’.

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles After Cleaning South Molton Georgian Reception Floor Tiles After Cleaning South Molton

The customer was thrilled and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“The work was carried out in a professional manner, with excellent results.”

For aftercare I left the customer with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of tile cleaner.

Professional Renovation of a Victorian Tiled Reception Floor in Devon

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