Quarry Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Quarry tiles carried out in Lancashire

Cleaning and Renovating Quarry Tiles

Quarry tiles are a classic hard wearing tile often utilised in high traffic areas such as reception areas, toilets and outdoor patio areas and porches. Although hard wearing Quarry tiles are often neglected and end up hidden under years of grime. If the tiles are structurally sound then often it’s just a question of deep cleaning to extract the dirt and then applying a sealer to enhance their appearance and protect them going forward.

For sealing we usually recommend Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works well on clay tiles such as Quarry and is also water based so doesn’t give off a smell as it dries. When applying a sealer always make sure the floors are dry first as applying a sealer to a damp floor can lead to inconsistent results. Because of this we usually clean and seal floors of this type over two days.

Other problems we face when restoring Quarry tiles usually relate to the removal of surface such as Tile Paint and Carpet Adhesive, for this we have a number of products and methods we can apply to remove coatings and restore the tile to its original appearance.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Quarry Tiled Floor Renovation Caton Lancaster

Black and Red Dorchester Pattern Quarry Tiled Floor Renovation Caton

A first glance you might not notice much improvement in this Quarry tiled floor that we recently worked on at a Victorian house in Caton near Lancaster. However, look closer and you will see that a pattern has been worn into the tiles from a previous covering most likely carpet underlay.

The sealer on the floor was also due to be replaced so having surveyed the floor on my initial visit I worked out a plan to renovate the Quarry tiles which would include deep cleaning the tile and grout, removing the underlay patterning, and then re-sealing the tiles to keep them protected.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Caton Lancaster

Deep Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor

To start neat Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel was applied to the floor and left to soak in for twenty minutes giving it time to break down soils etc. Then a 200-grit Diamond burnishing pad was attached to floor buffing machine which was a heavily weighted for extra grip and run a few times over the tiles. These pads are very aggressive and ideal for cleaning off the pattern left by the carpet underlay.

Oxy-Gel was chosen for this as being in Gel form its more manageable and holds itself against the clay Quarry tile for longer allowing the product work to a much harder, whereas a liquid cleaner generally soaks away into the clay and underneath meaning you need to use more water to remove it later resulting in longer drying times.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Caton Lancaster

After the gel has been scrubbed into the tiles (no water needed at this stage) a wet vacuum Is used to remove the soiling generated during the process. After this initial clean a small amount of water is added to the floor and we go over with the same 200-grit diamond pad extracting the water off the tiles within five minutes of it being applied.

With the Oxy-Gel removed the floor was given and acid rinse using Tile Doctor Acid Gel using the same process as before but this time using a Black scrubbing pad and only allowing it to dwell for 10 minutes. Acidic products are quicker acting on clay and so need less dwell time for it to work. Water was then added and after brushing it in to the floor it was removed using the wet vacuum within five minutes. I sometimes do this job twice as this is the last of the deep cleaning process and will ensure the tiles are free from any debris and dirt before we allow the clay tiles to dry out before sealing.

Before finishing for the day, I took time to apply matching grout where it was missing which was mainly around the edges and sponged off the excess. With this done the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

The next day we conducted a damp test, but despite the use of Gel cleaning products it was still too damp to seal. My client however wanted to seal how the tiles would look with the sealer we were planning to use which was Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal, so to do this three tiles were force dried using an Air blower and a Heat Gun.

With the sealer approved the floor was left for two days so it could fully dry out, the damp test showed a much better reading and we were able to crack on applying the sealer to the whole floor. Only one coat of X-Tra Seal was needed, it’s a thick Oil based product that soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from within, it also fully breathable so ideal for old floors like this one that don’t have a damp proof membrane. Lastly it contains a colour enhancing formula that in this case improved the deep Red and dark Black colours in the tile.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Cleaning Sealing Caton Lancaster

Lastly for aftercare I recommended Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is a gentle but effective tile and grout cleaning product. You have to be careful when choosing an cleaning product for use on sealed tiles as many are bleach based and simply too strong.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Cleaning Sealing Caton Lancaster


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Quarry Tiled Floor Before After Renovation Lancaster

Old Quarry Tiled Floor Repaired and Renovated in Lancaster

The pictures below are taken from a property in Lancaster which had two areas of tiled flooring that needed work, one Quarry tiled and the other an original Victorian tiled hallway which was over 100 years old.

We often get called out to restore broken tiles, replace missing pieces and then do a clean and seal afterwards to make it all look as good as possible. Tile Doctor covers both areas and our aim is to restore a tiled floor to its best possible condition, ideally making it look new or at least as close to new as is feasible with an old floor.

Quarry Tiled Floor Lancaster Before Repair

Repairing a Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancaster

The focus of this article will be the renovation of the Quarry tiled floor which required a lot of tiling work due to cracked and missing tiling. This presents a problem as it can be difficult to find exact match replacements, especially when the floor has been down for some time. There are a few companies that specialise in reproduction Victorian tiles however Quarry tiles don’t have a dedicated store or website where we can get matching tiles. In this case the client had scoured the internet and hunted down replacements which came close to matching the original.

Quarry Tiled Floor Lancaster During Repair
The first step in repairing a tiled floor is to carefully remove any damaged tiles and, in this case, there were quite a few. The exposed area is the cleaned of old adhesive and grout and the subbase is made good where required. Next the replacement tiles are laid onto a base of new rapid set flexible floor adhesive, I prefer to use a flexible adhesive as it will allow for any further moment in the floor. Once the adhesive had set the tiles were grouted in and we then left floor to fully set overnight.

Deep Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancaster

I came back the next day with our cleaning equipment and products to get the floor clean which should help blend the new tile in with the original.

I started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the Quarry tiles and then scrubbed it in with a rotary floor machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a strong and effective alkaline cleaner which is safe to use on Tile and Stone and unlike acid wont damage the clay. The cleaning solution soon turned black with the dirt that had been released from the old Quarry Tiles, so I gave the floor a rinse with water and extracted the soil with a wet vacuum.

The last job was to give the tiles a light acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, this isn’t a strong acid like the brick acid you find in DIY stores so it’s safe to use on most surfaces if it isn’t left for too long. The Grout Clean-up removes any old grout and minerals such as efflorescent salts from the Quarry tiles and is then rinsed off with water and extracted with the wet vacuum. The other advantage of giving the floor an acid rinse is it counters the alkaline cleaning products used earlier effectively neutralising the pH level of the tiles. Lastly the acid slightly etches the clay tile ensuring a much stronger bond with the sealer.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancaster

The Quarry tiled floor was then sealed with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a matt sealer that impregnates the pores of the clay enhancing colour in the process and effectively adding protection to the tile from within.

Quarry Tiled Floor Lancaster After Repair
The quarry tiled floor looked much cleaner and fresher following the work, the cracked tiles were gone, and our customer was pleased with transformation we had managed to achieve.


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Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaning Formby After Sealing

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

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Black Quarry Tiles After

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.

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