Terracotta Tiled Church Floor Renovated in Eaton Village


St Andrews church serves a large congregation in Eaton Village which is located just outside the city of Norwich on the south side. A sizeable extension was built onto the old church in the 1980s to accommodate the ever-increasing number of people wanting to attend and it was in this part of the building where a problem had developed with the Terracotta tiled flooring.

The tiles chosen by the architect were made from a surprisingly soft terracotta clay which had been sealed with an oil-based product (probably Osmo Polyx Oil or similar) but the coating generally had worn away badly, particularly along the main foot traffic lane up the aisle to the altar. The overall appearance was extremely tired and dull with wide lanes of ground-in dirt.

The clients asked us to clean the floor and replace the thin oil finish with something more durable and easy to maintain.

Terracotta Floor Tiles Before Renovation St Andrews Church Eaton Norfolk

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Church Tiles

Our first job was to remove the now very patchy finish and deep-clean the entire surface of the floor. This was achieved using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean mixed with a generous quantity of Tile Doctor Remove & Go. The combined solution was left to soak into the Terracotta tile and grout for about twenty minutes before being agitated with a green scrubbing pad fitted to our rotary machine. The tile was so soft I felt that a black pad would probably have been too harsh and may have damaged some of the religious symbols which had been moulded into a number of individual tiles.

The resulting clay, dirt and sealer slurry was then power rinsed and vacuumed away with our Ninja machine. These machines force hot water under high pressure onto the floor and then extracts the resulting soiled water away with suction. It was an expensive investment for the company, but it certainly makes work like this much easier.

Any remaining soiling in the grout lines was removed by hand using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a more powerful but manageable gel form of Pro Clean. Also, there were a few really stubborn areas in the corners where the oil finish had pooled and hardened during application. To deal with these and completely remove the shiny patches it was necessary to use a 100-grit hand-held diamond block.

After a final rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product the whole floor was left to dry off overnight, assisted by two industrial fans and a commercial dehumidifier.

Sealing Terracotta Church Tiles in Eaton village

On returning to the church after the previous day’s cleaning, we spot tested the tiles across the whole floor area and found that the fans and dehumidifier had done their job and the substrate was easily dry enough to accept a sealer. We knew that a damp proof membrane had been laid under the floor at the point of installation, so moisture ingress wasn’t going to be a problem. What was an issue however was the high porosity of the clay tile now that it had been stripped of ingrained dirt and the old sealer.

I usually apply Tile Doctor Seal and Go to Terracotta tiles as it leaves the floor with an attractive subtle sheen, however we realised that the floor would probably soak up around a dozen coats or more if applied directly. With this in mind we decided to start with the application of two base coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a penetrating sealer that would occupy the pores of the Terracotta tile, protecting it from within whilst enhancing the natural colour of the clay at the same time. This was then followed by six coats of Seal and Go which enabled us to achieve the desired level of durability and sheen.

Terracotta Floor Tiles After Renovation St Andrews Church Eaton Norfolk

When we had finished the work, this is what the client had to say:

“After careful consideration of several contractors, it was decided that Nicholas White provided the most sympathetic solution to our flooring needs and at a competitive price. The work was completed as promised with minimum fuss. At all times Nicholas and his staff worked in a professional manner and were totally respectful of their sensitive surroundings.

We were very satisfied with the final work and would have no hesitation in recommending this contractor to other potential clients. J Holmes, Warden St Andrews Eaton.”
 
 

Terracotta Church Floor Renovation in Norfolk



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Terracotta Tiled Floor Refurbished in Amersham Council Building


A local cleaning contractor called us in to work on the Terracotta tiled floors at a council building in Amersham. The Terracotta had not been deep cleaned and resealed for about ten years and the sealer had worn off leaving the tile vulnerable to dirt becoming ingrained in the pores of the tile. The grout had also suffered the same fate and had almost gone black in many areas.

Terracotta Floor Files Before Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

This is a common problem with Terracotta which is quite porous and once those pores become ingrained with dirt the tile becomes difficult to clean effectively. The solution is to seal the tile however sealers wear off over time and this was basically the problem.

Terracotta Floor Files Before Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

After discussing the issues we agreed on a plan of action to deep clean the Terracotta tile and grout and then re-seal to protect it. Due to the busy nature of the building we agreed to do the work between Christmas and New Year when we knew the building would be empty.

Cleaning Old Terracotta Floor Tiles

We started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a strong tile cleaning product that being in a gel form ensures it sits on the tile for longer, giving it a longer effective dwell time so it can really eat into and loose the dirt. After approximately twenty minutes the gel was scrubbed into the tile with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This broke down most of the dirt and removed any remaining sealer. Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was rinsed thoroughly with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the soiled cleaning solution removed I could see the next step would be to spot clean stubborn staining and clean the grout. For this task I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbing it in by hand using stiff brushes and aided with a hand-held steamer to help treat the stubborn staining. Once done the floor was given a final rinse and then as much moisture as possible removed with the wet vacuum.

Sealing Old Terracotta Floor Tiles

We then left the floor to dry off completely and came back a couple of days later to seal the Terracotta tile.

I mentioned earlier that Terracotta is porous; in fact it’s probably the most porous material I deal with, so to fully seal the floor I had to apply eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will provide complete and long lasting protection against staining and dirt. Seal and Go also adds an appealing satin sheen to the tile and the new seal will make it much easier to clean in future.

Terracotta Floor Files After Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

The floor tile and grout now look much healthier and I’m sure the council will be very impressed when they go back to work after the holidays.

Terracotta Floor Files After Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

Happy New Year…
 
 

Professional Terracotta Tiled Floor Renovation in Buckinghamshire



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Traditional Terracotta Kitchen Floor Renovated in Welwyn Garden City


The pictures below were taken at a beautiful Hertfordshire Lodge located on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden City where the traditional Terracotta Kitchen floor had lost its appeal and was now in need of renovation.

Welwyn Garden City is actually a new town that was created in the 1920 with an aim to create a modern garden city, the architecture is therefore fairly modern.

Terracotta Lodge Floor Tile Before Cleaning in Welwyn Garden City

Deep Cleaning Kitchen Terracotta Tiles

As usual the first step before starting the cleaning process was to clear the floor of as move furniture as practical and use protective tape to cover the threshold edges, skirting’s and doors and use a protective sheet to the fixed kitchen units.

To deep clean the Terracotta tiles and remove any trace of old sealers and waxes present a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied to the floor and left to soak in for about ten minutes. Then the solution was agitated using detail brushes along the grout lines and edges and polypropylene pads.

Once done the now soiled cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the tile and grout rinsed with fresh water.

This process removed most of the dirt and old coatings but more work was required so a further treatment using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong tile cleaner and sealer remove was applied and worked in using an orbital floor machine fitted with a scrubbing pad.

Again the soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the tile and grout given a steam clean to remove any trace of cleaning product residue. The floor was then left for two days to fully dry out.

Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

On our return the floor was checked for dampness before we proceeded to seal the floor; sealing damp tiles can result in a patchy finish so this is always worth checking.

To seal we gave the Terracotta tiles a primer coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that brings out the natural colours in the tile and by occupying the pores of the clay tile it stops dirt becoming ingrained. This was then followed by six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works really well on Terracotta and adds a nice satin sheen finish. The floor now looks much healthier and has really lifted the appearance of the kitchen.

Terracotta Lodge Floor Tile After Cleaning in Welwyn Garden City

Before leaving we advised the customer to avoid commercial acid based cleaning products as these are not appropriate for sealed Terracotta tiles. We suggest using a low alkaline/neutral PH product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner as this will maximise the life of the sealer and maintain the sheen of the tile.
 
 

Traditional Terracotta in the Kitchen Restored in Welwyn Garden City



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Cleaning and Resealing Terracotta Kitchen Tiles in Crewkerne


This is an unusual job we did in the old town of Crewkerne which is on the southern edge of Somerset near Dorset. We were asked to restore a Terracotta tiled kitchen floor where the seal on the terracotta tiles had been damaged when the floor had been cleaned with bleach leaving horrible smears all over the floor.

Terracotta Tiles Damaged by Bleach before cleaning Crewkerne

Bleach is a very strong product with a high pH that can easily damage the sealer on a floor and unfortunately there is no easy way of restoring the damaged sealer so the whole floor would need to have the remaining sealer stripped off so the floor could be resealed.

Terracotta Tiles Damaged by Bleach before cleaning Crewkerne

Stripping Sealer from a Terracotta Tiled Floor

To remove the existing sealer the Terracotta tiles were covered in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean before scrubbing the product into the tiles with the aid of a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a powerful alkaline cleaner designed for use on all types of natural stone. In concentrated form, it breaks down old sealers as well as removing dirt, while the rotary machine helps the product to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone to eradicate ingrained dirt and stains.

The now soiled cleaning solution was then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the then the floor rinsed with water. Water will pool on a sealed surface to I was able to spot where more work was required and re-treated those areas until I was happy the floor was clean and all the sealer had been removed. I then gave the floor a final rinse and then dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum and then then left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

The next day, I returned to the property to find the tiles dry, and ready to be sealed so I started by the application of two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which enhanced then natural reddish colours in the tile. Colour Grow is also an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores of the Terracotta preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there.

To add the Satin finish my client had requested I topped off the floor with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a water based sealer that words really well on Terracotta. Sealing the Terracotta took some time as you need to let the first coat dry before applying the next.

Terracotta Tiles Damaged by Bleach after cleaning and sealing Crewkerne

The floor is now fully sealed and looking like new, additionally I have advised the client to clean the floor going forward using a pH neutral tile cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which should avoid the problem happening again.

Terracotta Tiles Damaged by Bleach after cleaning and sealing Crewkerne

My customer was really happy with the result and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor Feedback system.

“We were amazed at how hard David worked. The floor is greatly improved.
Caroline P., Crewkerne”
 
 

Restoring Bleach Damaged Sealed Terracotta Kitchen Tiles in Somerset



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