Terracotta Tiled Church Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Eaton, Norwich

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.”
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Norwich, Norfolk

140 Year Old Victorian Church Floor Restored in Blackburn Parish

Earlier this year I was asked to restore a number of Victorian tiled floors at the St. Peter & St. Paul’s Parish Church in Rishton near Blackburn. The Church has a lot of carpet flooring and some had to be removed due to some other work that was going on and these tiles were discovered underneath. The Vicar believe the tiles are originals and date back to 1877.

Victorian Floor Before Cleaning Rishton Church

You can see from the photograph above that the tiles were discoloured with years upon years of ingrained dirt but what you can’t see is the adhesive that was used to secure the carpet to the tile. The whole floor and the Altar behind would need several deep cleans to remove the dirt and glue and being a busy church with an active congregation I it would need to be done in a few days. In need of an extra pair of hands I gave Derbyshire Tile Doctor Henri Mall a call and he was more than happy to help me out.

Victorian Floor Before Cleaning Rishton Church Victorian Floor Before Cleaning Rishton Church

Deep Cleaning Old Victorian Church Tiles

To begin, I took moisture readings over all areas due to be worked on; Damp Proof Membranes were not invented until relatively recently, so it pays to know in advance how damp the floor is. Next, I gave the floor a quick clean in Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, mainly to remove any surface dirt and grit. This was then followed by the application of a 200 grit burnishing pad to grind off surface dirt and excess glue so we access the pores of the tile. The resultant soil was then rinsed off with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to give the tiles a good soak in a solution of NanoTech HBU remover (HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up) which was then scrubbed in using a black pad fitted to a rotary floor machine. This process worked well to release the ingrained dirt from the tile and took off a lot of the glue however it took quite a few iterations and the use of a portable steamer to really get the floor clean.

Victorian Floor During Cleaning Rishton Church Victorian Floor During Cleaning Rishton Church

There was a lot of tile to do so working in sections it took Henri and I two days to really get the floor clean. A lot of water was used in the process and although a lot of the moisture was extracted using a wet vacuum we felt it best to leave the floor to thoroughly dry out for a couple of days.

Sealing Old Victorian Church Tiles

The floor needed to be dry before sealing so on our return I checked the floor with the damp meter and compared it with my previous readings. All was so Henri and I started applying the first coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating and breathable sealer ideal for this situation. Colour Grow seeps into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and enhancing the colours in the tile. Three coats were needed so it took most of the day to complete.

Victorian Floor After Cleaning Rishton Church Victorian Floor After Cleaning Rishton Church

While it was a lot of work we were very both pleased with the outcome, as was the Vicar who left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

Many thanks to Tony Olmet, not only a very good job but he worked tirelessly, never stopped, to get it done. Nothing a problem, very helpful chap. Recommended.
Christopher Holden (vicar), Rishton 14 July 2017

Victorian Floor After Cleaning Rishton Church

 
 
Source: Victorian Tiled Floor Cleaning and Sealing Service in Greater Manchester