Much Wenlock is in Shropshire, located between Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth. It is close to historic Ironbridge and Telford.
Discovering A Hiden Terrazzo Floor
The client was refurbishing an old farmhouse with dark brown glazed floor tiles in the kitchen and hallways. They had planned to dig out the existing floor and replace it with flagstones to match flagstones in other rooms.
However, as they started to remove the tiles they found a Terrazzo tiled floor in the kitchen and quarry tile floors in the hallways. The floors looked to be in good condition. So the plans were changed to restore the floors rather than replace them.
After removing the old tiles and adhesive, they cleaned and finished the quarry tiles with red floor wax. However, their cleaning could not remove the ingrained soil from the surface of theTerrazzo tiles.
So it was time for the Simon, the homeowner to seek out professional assistance. Simon searched for Terrazzo floor polishing services online, found our website and saw that we restore both quarry tile and Terrazzo floors.
Simon emailed me photos of the floors. I identified the floors as terrazzo marble with black and white marble chips. I knew at once that I could meet Simon’s desire to have the terrazzo restored to a beautiful polished finish.
The contractor who had removed the old tiles and tile adhesive met me at the property. He told me that that it had taken him a number of days to remove the adhesive and he was interested to see how I was going to restore and polish the tiles.
I told him that it was a pity they had not contacted me earlier because I could have removed the old tile adhesive in a matter of hours and it would not have added significantly to the cost of the job as I had to grind the floor anyway to remove the lippage.
This photo of polished floors shows Terrazzo polishing work in Birmingham, where we removed the floor grinding machine removing the old tile adhesive before grinding and polishing the floor.
(Picture of Birmingham)
There were three main problems with this terrazzo floor
- Poor cleaning using the wrong cleaning chemicals made the cement surface porous allowing soil and tile adhesive to soak into the surface.
- Throughout the floor, there were uneven tiles and lippage between 1 and 3mm in height.
The terrazzo polishing work had to start with grinding the floor smooth using a planetary grinding machine and metal diamond tooling.
Terrazzo Floor Grinding And Polishing – The Work Starts
The grinding process removed around 4mm from the surface of the floor, solving a number of issues:
- removed the lippage and made the floor smooth
- removed the porous surface, revealing a new, solid surface
- removed the ingrained soil
- removed the tile adhesive that had soaked into the surface of the tiles.
The grinding process areas revealed porosity in the new surface of the tiles throughout the floor. The hole sizes ranged from 1mm diameter to 3mm diameter.
I needed to fill the holes with a hard resin before honing. So I left the floor overnight to dry ready for filling he next day.
The homeowner helped me by sticking tape on the porous areas.
I started the next day by filling the holes in the white tiles with a white hard filler. There was probably some porosity in the black tiles, but it was practically impossible to see owing to the black background.
The filler starts to harden after a few minutes. So the key here is to make up small quantities of filler and use it before it starts to harden.
It took me around 2 hours to fill the holes and then the floor was left for a few hours to allow the filler to cure sufficiently to start honing.
Before starting the terrazzo polishing I needed to hone the floor starting with 50 grit resin diamond pads, followed by 100 grit pads.
I left the floor to dry again overnight ready for applying an impregnating sealer.
The next day I applied a solvent based impregnating sealer and left it for a couple of hours to soak deep into the floor.
Then I started honing the floor with 200 grit resin diamonds followed by 400 and 800 grit.
We used 1,500 3,000 grit pads in the polishing phase to give the floor a deep shine.
The room is quite dark, so the photos don’t show the beautiful gloss of the final finish. However, the reflections from the windows and the lights give an indication of the beauty of the final polish.
The grinding machine does not get beneath kitchen furniture and leaves a 3mm gap at the edge of the floor.
So I used an edging machine and the same diamond grits to grind and polish these difficult to reach areas.
Quarry Tile Floor Polishing
It looked to me as if the homeowner did a good job of restoring the quarry tiles, the only issue I could see was efflorescence on some of the tiles.
Considering the tiles were covered for at least 30 years, it isn’t surprising that there is some efflorescence. I am confident that once the floor has settled and regained its moisture balance, the efflorescence will subside.
They may need to remove the wax from the affected tiles as the wax can trap the efflorescence. However only around 5% of the flooring was affected, so removing the wax is a simple diy job.
If you have a terrazzo floor in need of polishing please don’t hesitate to contact me here, I’ll be happy to help.