Restoring a Carpet Covered Sandstone Hallway in Carbrooke

This was perhaps the most challenging restoration we have been presented with to date.
The work involved removing carpet and underlay from a long Yorkstone tiled hallway at a beautiful old Grange in Carbrooke on the outskirts of Watton and restoring the flagstones to their original glory. These pavers are a type of Sandstone, a carboniferous sedimentary rock consisting of quartz, mica, feldspar, clay and iron oxides quarried in Yorkshire and having a rich sandy colour with a slightly sparkling surface.

On lifting the carpet, we found, to our dismay, that the rubber-backed underlay had been firmly stuck down to the surface of the stone with what appeared to be a thick layer of yellowing impact adhesive which covered the entire area right up to the thresholds and skirting boards.

Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Carpet Removed Revealing Underlay Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Underlay Peeled Back Revealing Glue

Stripping Carpet Adhesive off a Sandstone tiled floor

Our first task was to remove as much of the underlay by hand using sharp-bladed scrapers and a heck of a lot of elbow grease. Having done this, the next step was to cover the remaining adhesive layer with a specialist water-based stripper which was applied by brush and allowed to react for an hour. The result was an incredibly sticky substance with the consistency of chewing gum which we had to painstakingly remove inch by inch with paint scrapers. This process had to be repeated twice as even the specialist stripper couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of goo in a single application. The floor was then left overnight to dry out and settle down.

Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Applying Stripper Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Scraping Away Softened Glue

The following day, we deep-cleaned the whole area using very strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and Remove & Go, scrubbed in with a rotary machine fitted with a black stripping pad. Four pads were used up in this process as they quickly became clogged with the thick slurry which was then power rinsed and vacuumed away from the floor. Any remaining patches of the glue were further softened using Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU Remover and carefully picked off by hand with the bladed scrapers.

Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Deep Cleaning Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Stone Surface After Deep Cleaning

Finally, the slabs were finished using a brush fitted to the rotary machine with 320 grit honing powder to achieve a smooth, silky and very clean surface before being power rinsed with plenty of clean water. Again, the floor was left to dry thoroughly overnight with the assistance of our large capacity dehumidifier and thermostatic hot air blower.

Sealing a Sandstone tiled floor

Returning the following day, we found that the dehumidifier and heater had done their job and the sandstone was ready for sealing, the moisture content having been brought down to an average of 10% overall as shown by our damp meter testing.

The client had requested a light shine on the floor so that it would be easy to maintain on a daily basis. We chose, therefore, to use Tile Doctor Seal & Go, a combination sealer with a mid-sheen topical finish, which we applied using paint pads and microfibre cloths in five thin coats, resulting in an excellent fluid resistant seal with a lustrous shine.

Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Applying Sealer To Edges Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Finished Floor

This was a tough job but a highly satisfying result, further emphasised when the client’s antique furnishings were placed in situ.
 
 

Deep Cleaning and Restoration of a Sandstone Hallway in Norfolk

Restoring Neglected Victorian Hallway Tiles in Norwich

There are thousands of Victorian tiled hallways in and around Norwich and I often get called to work on them, however this was a particularly abused and neglected example I thought you might find interesting. The surface had clearly been both painted red at some point (possibly with an old lead-based paint) and then completely covered with rubber-backed underlay and carpeted, a thick layer of double-sided carpet tape remaining firmly stuck in patches around all the edges of the floor area.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Norwich

Cleaning a Victorian tiled floor

Firstly, we cleaned the whole area using a strong solution (1:3) of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline stripper and cleaner, agitated with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. All products and slurry were then power rinsed and vacuumed away to reveal the improved floor.

There were still a significant number of glue patches and paint spots around the edges of the floor, so these were tackled using Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which softened them enough to enable us to remove them with a sharp-bladed scraper.

Unfortunately, the decaying rubber underlay had left a pattern on the tile surface which was most obvious at the doorway into the terracotta tiled kitchen. We almost completely removed this using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which being in gel form allows it work on the problem area longer. It was painted on a brush and kept moist for two hours under a layer of cling film which drew out virtually all the contaminant from the tile.

The next concern was that an original Victorian floor of this age would almost certainly have no damp proof membrane and an area near the front door which showed evidence of efflorescence salts was treated with Tile Doctor Acid Gel in order to remove the white deposits and further inhibit the production of more in the future.

The whole area was then lightly buffed using the rotary machine and a 1500 grit diamond pad with water in order to remove any remaining fine paint spots and restore a silky feel to the surface of the tiles before leaving the floor to dry overnight with assistance from our dehumidifier.

Sealing a Victorian tiled floor

When we returned the following morning, our damp meter showed us that the moisture content in the substrate was probably going to be too high to allow us to use an acrylic sealer to provide the sheen which the client had requested; so we decided to spray-buff the floor using a 3000 grit diamond pad on the rotary machine followed by the application of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour enhancing penetrating sealer which sits just below the surface of the tile and leaves no visible finish. Finally, the whole floor was spray buffed to a low sheen with a white maintenance pad on the rotary machine and any resulting dust vacuumed away.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles After Cleaning Norwich

The Victorian tiles now look fantastic and have become a great asset to the property as original features like these are very sought after.
 
 

Deep Cleaning and Restoration of Old Victorian Tiles in Norfolk