Renovating a Yellow Clay Tiled Floor in Tacolneston Village

We were contacted by a client who had bought an extensive grade 2 listed property in the village of Tacolneston which they had been renovating gradually. One of the last items on the list was the Yellow clay tiled floor which was laid throughout the large Kitchen and Dining Room and had been sadly neglected over the years.

Although I was unsure of their history these tiles were very similar to Terracotta so I was confident they would respond well to cleaning. The main issue for the client however was that the dark Grey grout lines which were deeply recessed from the surface of the tile and made walking across the floor in bare feet extremely uncomfortable.

Yellow Clay Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Tacolneston

Our original plan was to deep-clean the floor, then key-into the grout with a diamond blade multitool along the grout lines, back fill with additional grout and then seal the floor with a with an acrylic finish sealer that wouldn’t leave the floor too shiny. Things didn’t quite turn out to be quite that straightforward, however.

Cleaning and Re-Grouting a Yellow Clay Tiled Floor

The initial deep-clean was done using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted to a strong 2:1 ratio with hot water and then scrubbed into the floor with a rotary machine fitted firstly with a black nylon stripping pad to clean the tile surface followed by a medium grade nylon brush to get down into the recessed grout lines. The resulting slurry was then power rinsed and extracted away with a Ninja machine.

The surface of the clay tiles had cleaned very well but it quickly became obvious that the grout wasn’t grey at all but was the colour of a typical sand and cement pointing mix; the dark colour was actually a thick layer of grease and dirt which had become trapped in the grout line recess, probably due to many years of ineffective mopping. The pointing mix was clearly very old and had become soft and broken up in most areas across the whole floor.

With this in mind our next job was to remove as much of the loose, powdery pointing as possible with a diamond-bladed multitool. In the end we found that all the pointing had to be taken out completely in order to successfully repoint the floor and provide a consistent appearance. This took some time to do and once removed the and all the remnants vacuumed up, we proceeded to repoint the floor with a flexible and water-resistant limestone-coloured grout which had been chosen by the client.

Yellow Clay Floor Tiles During Grouting Tacolneston Yellow Clay Floor Tiles During Grout Haze Removal Tacolneston

The following day, we returned to remove the grout haze left on the surface of the tiles during repointing and to prepare the floor for sealing by treating the floor to an acidic wash with a solution of Tile Doctor Acid Gel.

Sealing a Yellow Clay Tiled Floor

We left the new grouting to cure fully and returned two days later to apply a sealer which will protect the floor going forward and provide the desired finish. Before doing this the floor was visually inspected and the moisture content of the tiles and grout measured with a damp meter to ensure it had dried. The readings were low and although the building was very old it meant we would still be able to use a combination sealer with acrylic finish as we had originally hoped.

Yellow Clay Floor Tiles After Cleaning Tacolneston

As the client didn’t want the resulting appearance to be too “shiny”, we chose to use Tile Doctor Seal & Go which would give an excellent fluid resistant seal to both tile and grout with a mid-sheen finish. This was applied by hand in five coats which resulted in a very pleasing soft look across the whole floor.

Yellow Clay Floor Tiles Cleaned Grouted Sealed Tacolneston

The client was extremely pleased with what we had achieved and left the following testimonial:
“We could not be happier with the result! From embarrassing black grout and years of footfall damage, Nick and Sally have transformed our kitchen and dining room terracotta tiles into a thing of beauty! Many thanks for all your hard work and extra hours put in, I will be recommending your services to everyone :)”

 

Professional Restoration of a Yellow Clay Tiled Floor in Norfolk

Resolving Quarry Tile Installation Issues in Watton

Our client in Watton had a new Quarry tiled floor laid at her home and all went well until the tiler came to seal the finished floor after grouting. Needless to say, she didn’t get the finish she was expecting and told us that the tiler had admitted that he had no clue how to address the problem and had told her to contact a specialist to do the work and was happy to cover the cost.

Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor Before Renovation in Watton

I shouldn’t complain as its Tile Doctor who gets called in to resolve these issues, but there does seem to be a training gap with many tilers having no clear idea how to properly finish a new floor tile installation.

The problem was immediately obvious from the photos she sent over; grout had not been completely polished off the Quarry tile surface leaving a dull haze over the floor. The floor had then been sealed and this had only served to emphasize the slightly grey, dusty and lacklustre appearance of the floor.

Removing Grout Haze from a Quarry Tiled Floor in Watton

To remove the grout haze, it would be necessary to remove the sealer first, so I spent the first part of my visit breaking it down with a powerful 2:1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The solution was left to soak into the floor for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in using our Klindex rotary machine fitted with a black stripping pad. The resulting slurry was power rinsed and extracted away with our 400psi Ninja machine.

Having done this, we could see that the grout haze was still present in many areas and was becoming very pale and patchy as the tile surface dried out. With the sealer now removed I turned my attention to the removing the grout. This was rectified by applying Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up and then rinse extracting as before. This left the floor spotlessly clean and would be ready for sealing the next day after being left to dry off overnight with the aid of our industrial dehumidifier.

Sealing Quarry Tiles in Watton

We returned to Watton on the following day to meet our client and explain the various sealing options available, from no-finish penetrating sealers to high gloss acrylics. After much discussion, we realised that the client had originally expected the finished floor to have a noticeably shinier appearance than the matt finish colour enhancer that the tiler had used but without the glare of a high shine product.

After weighing up the client’s requirement the obvious choice was to use Tile Doctor Seal & Go which is a water-based sealer with a mid-sheen finish which makes daily maintenance much easier and more effective. We applied this sealer in five thin coats by hand using microfibre cloths, allowing 30 minutes drying time between each coat.

Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor After Renovation in Watton

The client was absolutely delighted with the result we achieved and said that it was exactly the way she had expected the floor to look when they originally chose the tiles.

 

Finishing a Quarry Tiled Hallway after Installation in Norfolk