Cleaning and Sealing tiles at a French chateau in Arcis-le-Ponsart, France

It’s not often that we get called abroad for a job, but when we do, it’s always a fantastic experience. We have done a few jobs abroad in the past, including the restoration of Terracotta tiled restaurant floor at a hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This job was closer to home at a chateau in the town of Arcis-le-Ponsart near Reims, located in the Champagne-Ardenne region of North Eastern France. As its name suggests, the Champagne-Ardenne region is famous for its champagne.

French Chateaux Reims
The owner of the chateau was, in fact, an English property developer. He asked us to work on two floors: a Terracotta tiled hallway, and a French Victorian tiled floor. The French style of Victorian tiles are actually made of encaustic cement rather than clay, so we were excited to have the chance to work on something a bit out of the ordinary.

It was going to be a long trip, so after packing the van with the necessary equipment and Tile Doctor products Heidi and I set off to France via the Channel Tunnel. Fortunately, we avoided any disruptions both on the way there and the way back!

On arrival at the chateau, we immediately spent two hours running tests on the two floors to determine the most effective processes. We had four days in which to complete the job, so it was essential to make sure our methods were correct before beginning to avoid any unwelcome surprises later on!

Encaustic Cement Tile Before Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Encaustic Cement Tile Before Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Zoom

Cleaning and sealing French Victorian tiled floor

After running the tests, we set about cleaning the Victorian tiles using a combination of clean water and diamond burnishing pads. No damage was done to the tiles, and they polished up well. Following the cleaning process, we began sealing the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a sealer which helps to bring out the colour in the stone while also providing durable surface protection. We were only able to apply one coat of sealer, however, as the second coat kept smearing, preventing the shine from settling in – this was despite testing the process earlier. Nonetheless, we resolved to polish off the one coat we could apply with a fine burnishing pad. Thankfully, the results were still very good.

Encaustic Cement Tile During Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Encaustic Cement-Tiles After Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

Cleaning and sealing Terracotta hallway tiles

The Terracotta tiled hallway had no sealer, and so it had, over time, become very dirty. We cleaned the tiles using a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to five parts clean water, in combination with a couple of black burnishing pads.

Quarry Tiles before cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Quarry Tiles before cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

As you can see from the pictures, the combination really helped to lift out the ingrained dirt, leaving the tiles looking at their best again. The floor took three days to dry completely before we could begin the sealing process. Once the floor was dry enough to seal, we applied eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is suitable for use on a variety of internal, unsealed porous surfaces.

Quarry Tiles after cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Quarry Tiles after cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

It was a long and exhausting week but the client was delighted with the results on both floors and left the following comments, he also mentioned using Tile Doctor in the future to work on the other properties he is developing.

“Thanks for yours and Heidi’s work in renovating our floors. It was also great to meet you guys and I hope you have enjoyed your visit to champagne and will come back some time. “

Heidi and Russell at the French Chateaux Reims
 

Putting life back into old tiled floors in France

Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in Formby

We were asked to take a look at these Quarry Tiles at a house in the Lancashire town of Formby near Liverpool. The tiles had been sealed with varnish but a polyurethane sealer like Varnish which forms a thin coat on the surface of the tile is easily scratched as you can see in the photograph below:

Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaning Formby Before

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

To resolve the problem we had to strip off the Varnish coating from the Quarry tile using Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is especially designed for the safe removal of coatings from tile and stone. The product is diluted and spread over the floor allowing it to soak into the tile for around fifteen minutes before being scrubbed into the tile using a rotary floor scrubbing machine fitted with a black pad. The soiled solution is then washed off with clean water and extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. There were some stubborn areas and these were tackled by repeating the process but this time with the addition of a steamer.

A stiff brush was also used in the grout lines and when we were completely satisfied with the condition of the floor it was given an thorough rinse using cold water. The wet vacuum was used again to remove the water and get the floor as dry as possible.

Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaning Formby After Cleaning

Sealing Quarry Tiles

The floor was left to dry overnight and we came back the next day to seal the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect it going forward and it also adds a nice shine to the tile.

Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaning Formby After Sealing
 

Quarry tile maintenance in Lancashire

Dennis Ruabon Quarry Tiles cleaned and sealed in Low Bentham

Customer had these Dennis Ruabon Quarry Tiles fitted over 20 years ago in the WC of his house in Low Bentham, various cleaning and sealing products have been used since however this left a build-up of contamination on the Tiles which was detrimental to their aesthetic appeal and also left a noticeable residue smell.

Black Quarry Tiles Before Black Quarry Tiles Before

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

To clean the Tiles and strip off previous sealing coatings we used Tile Doctor Pro-clean diluted 1 to 10 with warm water. This was left to dwell on the floor for a while before being worked into the tile using and black buffer pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. The whole area was cleaned in this manner along with a stiff hand brush to get into the grout lines and a wet vacuum which was used to suck up the dirty residue before the floor was rinsed down with cold water. The wet vacuum was used again to remove the water, one tile was loose so this was re-fixed and the floor left to dry.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

Once the floor was fully dry we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will protect it going forward and also helps to bring out the colour in the tile whilst maintaining a more natural appearance. There were some stubborn stains and discolouration on the tiles that could not be treated however I think you will agree it is much improved and you will have to take my word for this but it also smells better

Black Quarry Tiles After Black Quarry Tiles After

Before leaving we left the customer with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner, this product is recommended for sealed floors due to its very low PH formula; there are a number of acidic floor cleaning products available which should not be used with stone or sealed floors as the acid will eat into the seal or stone surface over time reducing its life.
 
 

Restoring old Quarry tiles floor in Lancashire