When I was asked to visit this job, I understood that the property was Grade One Listed and I was in for a treat when I arrived. The property is an undercroft which is traditionally a cellar or storage room, often brick-lined and vaulted and used for storage in buildings since medieval times. In modern usage, an undercroft is generally a ground (street-level) area which is relatively open to the sides but covered by the building above.
This example was part of a large 12th Century building near Bedale which is halfway between Harrogate and Middlesbrough, that had been converted into luxury apartments. It was truly impressive, by far one of my favourite jobs to date.
The magnificent building had been tastefully restored and renovated some years ago. You will see from the photos how unique it is, although it is hard to do it justice in photos. Since that time the huge 60sqm Sandstone flagstones had become dirty and now needed to be deep cleaned and restored to its’ former self.
I discussed what was required with the owner and went through the cleaning procedure I felt would be most appropriate. This was well received, and we agreed my quote and arranged a suitable time to return and complete the work. I must say I felt honoured and privileged to be asked to work on the floor as this is not something you would trust many people with.
Cleaning a Large Sandstone Floor in an Undercroft
I returned on the agreed date to start the cleaning and I was a bit apprehensive at first, as naturally with such an old building I wanted to be confident that the methods I was going to use would work without issue. Also, there was some very, very expensive Marble statues scattered about near the edge of the floor which I was very mindful of. It was clear that the utmost care was required to restore this beautiful floor. In the end I did not need to worry as it was quite straightforward. The floor was nice and flat and graded sandstone, in pretty good physical condition.
I cleaned the floor by applying a strong dilution Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to remove old sealers and break down the dirt. I left this on the floor for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with what turned out to be several black scrubbing pads to get the dirt out of the stone. Pro-Clean is a highly effective Tile and Grout cleaner which can deal with all sorts of issues including grease, grime and general dirt build up.
I worked in sections and found some of the flagstones quite challenging to clean due to their sharp edges which tore into the pads and destroyed a few during the process. Luckily, I had bought plenty of replacements along and with a bit of perseverance, I was able to give the floor a very thorough clean. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum.
After cleaning and rinsing the whole floor I left it for a few days, so it could dry out thoroughly before I returned to seal it.
Sealing a 60m2 Sandstone Floor in a 12th Century Undercroft
When I returned I checked that the floor was completely dry by taking some moisture readings. All was well, but I noticed that the room became dusty very quickly from all the exposed stone, so l vacuumed the floor first.
I chose to use Tile Doctor Ultra Seal for this floor, main reasons being it’s an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there also, it leaves a natural look finish that doesn’t darken the stone which was ideal for use in the Undercroft where there isn’t much natural light. I applied a couple of coats to the floor and it was soon looking good.
It was a massive transformation and the clean floor really lightened up the whole room. The client was very pleased with the result. I think you will agree this is a very special room!