Cardiff University Awards Local Tile Doctor Terrazzo Floor Renovation Contract

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

 

Source: Terrazzo Tile Cleaning and Repair Service in Cardiff, South Wales

Maintaining Stone Flooring for Nationwide Building Society Branch in Bournemouth

This is a great example of a commercial floor we were asked to maintain recently for the Bournemouth branch of the Nationwide Building Society. Bournemouth is a busy seaside town with a lovely beach and some notable Victorian architecture. As you can imagine being a building society the site is in constant use during the day with customers and staff coming and going. The work would therefore have to be done overnight in stages working in different areas every evening until complete.

Nationwide Building Society Office Bournemouth

The floor was Travertine which is a very durable stone and ideal in heavy traffic areas such as this, but it needs to be protected with a sealer to prevent dirt becoming ingrained in the pores of the stone. Being such a busy commercial floor, the sealer gets a lot of wear so the floor needed polishing and then resealing to keep it looking good.

Travertine Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Nationwide Building Society Bournemouth Travertine Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Nationwide Building Society Bournemouth

Cleaning and Polishing a Travertine Tiled Floor

To get the floor clean and hone the stone to a polished appearance we use a set of Diamond impregnated burnishing pads which are run over the floor with a floor buffer. Tile Doctor do a set a of four which include 400, 800, 1500 and 3000 grit pads and are ideally suited for the purpose.

Travertine Tiled Floor During Cleaning Nationwide Building Society Bournemouth

The pads are applied with water for lubrication and in sequence starting with the coarse 400-grit, medium 800-grit and then fine 1500-grit pad. If you are familiar with grades of sandpaper used on wood, then you will appreciate that this is a similar kind of process. The floor is rinsed with more water in between each pad to remove the slurry that is generated and then extracted from the floor using a powerful wet vacuum. The last pad to be applied is the very fine 3000-grit which is applied with only a little water sprayed onto the tile and this really brings up a deep shine on the Travertine.

Travertine Tiled Floor During Polishing Nationwide Building Society Bournemouth

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

After the floor was dry, we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow impregnating sealer that works from within by occupying the pores in the stone for maximum protection. Tile Doctor Colour Grow is also a colour intensifying sealer which provides durable surface protection, as well as enhancing the colour of the floor bringing out the natural tan and cream colours. Colour Grow is also a breathable sealer that allows moisture to rise through the floor however being a new building this would unlikely to be a factor.

Travertine Tiled Floor After Polishing Nationwide Building Society Bournemouth Travertine Tiled Floor After Polishing Nationwide Building Society Bournemouth

As you can see from the pictures the results were amazing and the client was very pleased! They commented how smoothly the process had gone and how accommodating we had been coming in overnight. Hopefully there are many more branches that may require our services!

 

Source: Commercial Travertine Tile Polishing and Sealing Service in Bournemouth, Dorset

Restoring Victorian Grade II Listed Building Floor for Persimmon Homes

Earlier this year we had the privilege to be involved in the restoration of a large Victorian tiled hall at Stone Cross Manor in Ulverston which is being sympathetically redeveloped into nineteen apartments by Persimmon Homes at a reported cost of £4 million. The magnificent Grade II-listed stately home was built in 1874 for Myles Kennedy who was a Limestone Quarry owner and chairman of an Ironworks.

The property continued to be occupied by the Kennedy family until 1943 when it was requisitioned by the military who then sold it to Lancashire County Council in 1946. The council used it as a boarding school for some decades and allegedly had the central oak staircase removed so the hall could be used to play indoor football. Since that time, it has had different owners and states of disrepair until finally being acquired by Persimmon who contacted us to quote for restoring the floor to its former glory. This would be no easy task and would require plenty of help. However, we are a resourceful bunch and being part of a large network of Tile Doctors means we were able to draft in other Tile Doctors to assist.

Stone Cross Manor Ulverston

Before we took the job on, I went over to survey the floor and was immediately taken aback by the sheer size and scale of the project. The impressive Victorian hall has now had its large wooden staircase rebuilt and this sits in the centre of a series of architectural stone columns.

The floor was in a sorry state though and it certainly had a story to tell. At some point in its long history sections of the beautiful Victorian tiles had been cut out for the installation of central heating and then back filled with cement. There were also other areas that had been given the same treatment for some inexplicable reason. I suspect that the floor must have been covered in carpet during its later life to hide the mess.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

The biggest problem was the realisation that with so many tiles missing the only way we could get exact duplicates would be to have them made by a company such as Craven and Dunhill. They are specialist tile manufacturer who date back to 1872 and can reproduce old tiles using the same tones and colours to match the originals. This was a high spec job, so this was the right approach however the price for the moulds and the time needed to manufacture threatened to push the cost of renovating the floor off the scale.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

We discussed this with the developer and manged to come to a compromise by reusing tiles from another room in the property. Many of the tiles in that room had been damaged and were beyond restoration however there were enough tiles in good condition to fulfil our requirements in the main hall. They would have to be carefully lifted and cleaned but the tiles matched the colour and tone, size and texture to the main hallway perfectly. When you look at the before and after pictures on this page you will really struggle to see any difference and this is rare on old floor like this, the only exception being the black tiles underneath the radiators where a matching tone wasn’t available.

Rebuilding a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The first week was spent lifting and replacing broken tiles, it was a large floor area of about 120m2 which was set to be the main showpiece of the building, so it had to be right. As part of the floor prep it was also necessary to level parts of the floor with the application of a a self-levelling compound. We brought in Cardiff Tile Doctor Julian Iaconno to run this part of the job, he is an absolute master tiler and one of the best Victorian Tile installers in the country. At one point there was three of us working on the floor in order to keep to schedule.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Deep Cleaning a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The second week was spent cleaning the floor various Diamond burnishing pads, moving though increasingly finer girts until we achieved the desired finish. We also used a lot of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and Pro-clean to remove the old grout and dirt from the recycled tiles. As is always the case on a building site you get a lot of tradesmen who like to have a look at what we have done and walk all over our nice clean tiles, thus leaving dusty footprints everywhere. I must give credit to the Site Foreman for keeping these guys out although best intentioned they weren’t helping with the cleaning process, so all doors were locked off and access was limited to the site foreman and Tile Doctor only.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Sealing a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We applied a Matt finish sealer called Colour Grow, which copes very well with potential damp issues that can cause problems with old floors with no damp proof course, it’s also excellent at bringing out the colour of Tiles whether Clay or Stone. Four coats of Colour Grow were applied to the Victorian tiles and being such a large floor area, it took a few days to fully seal the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We cannot praise Persimmon enough for the dedication they have shown in the restoration of this historic property which has had a chequered past and will now have a long future.

 

Source: Listed Building Floor Restoration Service in Lancashire