Terrazzo floor Restoration Project at Cardiff University

Last summer I was asked to carry out a survey at one of the Cardiff University buildings where they were looking at having a large Terrazzo floor restored. The University was on its summer recess so with no students around it was an ideal time for major works to be carried out.

At some point in the past the whole floor had been covered in a layer of self-levelling compound ranging from 2mm – 10mm thickness, so it could be covered with square carpet tiles which had then been secured with adhesive. You can still see the outlines of the tiles in the pictures below. It’s hard to appreciate from the photo that underneath there’s a beautiful Terrazzo floor waiting to be rediscovered.

Terrazzo Floor Before Restoration Cardiff University

The University had removed the carpet tiles but were unsure of how to remove the screed without damaging the Terrazzo underneath and so asked me to quote for restoring the whole floor. I carried out a test clean on the floor first to show the architect’s and university staff an example of what could be achieved.

Terrazzo Floor Demonstration Clean Cardiff University

The method I used for the test sample was to use a process called milling with a 50 grit Milling Pad, which I used to grind off the levelling compound until the stone became visible underneath. The test clean took me a good hour to complete but the results I achieved proved very satisfying both to myself and the clients and I was awarded with the contract.

Cleaning and Restoring a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

On commencement of the work I realised after 4 hours of milling that this method although effective was very time consuming and extremely messy! So, I tried using a long handheld sharp scraper which turned out to be a lot faster and cleaner in removing the cemented compound. In the end it took four days for two men and a great deal of hand ache to remove the screed for the floor.

Terrazzo Floor During Restoration Cardiff University

After removing the compound, I started milling the floor with a Tile Doctor Milling Pads, first the 50 segment & then a 200-segment pad to cut deep in to the floor to remove the stains in the Terrazzo and scratches from using the scraper.

This was followed by burnishing the stone with a set of four Tile Doctor Burnishing Pads. This involves the application of four pads in sequence from a coarse 400 grit through to a very fine 3000 grit to refine the surface of the Terrazzo and improve the lustre of the floor with each grade of pad.

Terrazzo Floor During Restoration Cardiff University

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

The architect had specified a hardwearing finish as this was a very busy entrance way for students entering the buildings. So, after finishing the burnishing of the floor with a very fine 3000 grit pad I sealed the floor with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which seeps into the pores of the Terrazzo protecting it from within enhancing the colours of the chippings in the process whilst providing maximum protection. Finally, we polished the floor after sealing with another application of the 3000 pad and a polishing cloth to shine the floor further.

Terrazzo Floor After Restoration Cardiff University

It was a large floor, so I managed the project in sections, and this enabled me to start on the cleaning of a new section whilst the floor was drying in the previous section. As you can see from the pictures the floor was transformed and looked great. Needless to say the University were very happy with the result.

Terrazzo Floor After Restoration Cardiff University

 

Professional Restoration of a Terrazzo Tiled Floor in South Wales

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Screed Covered 100-Year-Old Quarry Tiled Floor Restored in Nuneaton

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I took the photographs below at an old 1920’s house in Nuneaton where the owner was interested in restoring the original Quarry tiled floor in their Kitchen. Interestingly Nuneaton has a rich manufacturing history that included brick and tile making so it’s entirely possible these tiles were made locally at the Haunchwood Brick and Tile company.

Tastes change over the years and at some point in the past the Quarry tiles had been covered with a levelling compound so that linoleum could be installed on top. This meant that the first part of the job would be to remove the screed before I could clean up the tiles. On top of that It was clear as well that many of the tiles were damaged and would need replacing.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Nuneaton

I worked out a quote which was agreed by the customer and started looking around for matching replacement tiles, fortunately I was able to track some down at Warwick Reclamation who stock thousands of quarry tiles in many of the common period sizes.

Restoring an Original Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor

On day one I set about carefully removing the screed with a hammer and chisel and also the damaged tiles, so they could be replaced. With the tiles removed we it was clear some parts of the subfloor were cracked and needed to be rebuild with fresh cement.

Quarry Tiled Floor During Restoration Nuneaton Quarry Tiled Floor During Restoration Nuneaton

Once the floor was ready the replacement Quarry tiles were fixed in place and once the adhesive was dry they were grouted in.

To remove the remaining screed and salt damage from the surface of the tiles I used a set of coarse milling pads which are applied with water for lubrication. The process generates a lot of soil, so the floor needs to be rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum after each pad.

The next step was to pre-treat the tiles with Tile Doctor Remove and Go in order to remove old contaminants such as old oils and then treat the floor to a deep clean with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed in with black scrubbing pad.

Old floors like these don’t have a damp proof membrane so the last step in the restoration process was to counter any inherent salt issues in the floor that might reappear later as white efflorescence salt deposits. This is done by giving the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is scrubbed into the tiles, neutralising the salts, this product also removes old mineral deposits and grout smears.

The floor was given a final rinse with water to remove any traces of products used and then as much water and moisture as possible was extracted using a wet vacuum. The floor was then left to dry out for a few days.

Sealing a Quarry tiled floor

When I returned my first job was to take multiple readings around the floor using a damp meter to verify the floor was dry and ready for sealing. The extra drying time had done the trick and I was able to seal the floor using multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a fully breathable sealer that can cope with any potential moisture problems, it also leaves a nice sheen finish that brings the best out of Quarry tiles.

Quarry Tiled Floor During Restoration Nuneaton Quarry Tiled Floor During Restoration Nuneaton

In total the restoration took 4 days to complete and had completely restored the Quarry tiled floor close to what they must have looked like back when they were installed nearly a hundred years ago.
 
 

Quarry tiles tiled floor restored in Warwickshire

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