Douai School Travertine Floor Tile Renovation Upper Woolhampton

Communal Travertine Floor Renovated at Douai School – Upper Woolhampton

This enquiry came from Douai School in Upper Woolhampton which is a listed building near Bucklebury that dates back to 1830. The building was converted in 2003 into a range of extremely individual and stylish apartments. Also nearby is Douai Abbey which is a monastery occupied by Benedictine Monks who used to run the school until it closed.

Douai School Upper Woolhampton

I was called in inspect the impressive entrance and foyer area and main building itself. During the refurbishment in 2003 the whole area was installed with Travertine tiles with small slate inserts. Once an impressive floor it had deteriorated over the past eighteen years and had never been professionally cleaned since installation. Not only had the floor collected years’ worth of dirt in the pores of the stone the natural holes that were filled in during manufacture had started to pop out leaving an unsightly appearance.

Douai School Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Upper Woolhampton

After surveying the Travertine floor, I carried out a test clean on a small inconspicuous area to demonstrate what would be involved and to verify which method and products would be the most efficient choice. From this I was able to provide an accurate quote, which was accepted, and a date was soon booked to carry out the work.

Douai School Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Upper Woolhampton

Cleaning and Polishing a Large Travertine Tiled Floor

Due to the size of the area, I allowed 7 working days it complete the floor, working in sections at a time. This allowed me to cordon off a safe working environment for myself without impacting the residents too much.

I started the cleaning process with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline based tile cleaner that breaks down heavy soils and old sealers. It was important to ensure as much dirt was removed from the pores, pockets, and holes in the Travertine as possible. I left it to soak in and get to work breaking down the dirt for roughly ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a rotary floor scrubbing machine. The soil released during this process is then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. The section of flooring is then inspected, and the process repeated if needed, stubborn stains were be dealt with by spot treating. Once cleaned air driers where left in place to help speed up the drying process.

Douai School Travertine Floor During Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor During Filling Upper Woolhampton

The next task was to focus on filling the holes in the Travertine, I did this using an epoxy resin filler specifically designed to fill in stone. I used a combination of straw and light straw colours to compliment the different tones in the tiles. Once applied the product dries pretty fast however I like to leave a good hour before progressing onto the next stage of the refurbishment process.

Polishing Travertine Tiled Flooring

Now the area had been cleaned and filled my next task was to repolish the Travertine tiles that had lost its lustre over the years. Usually on sedimentary stone I would start with a 400-grit pad and work my way through the 4-stage burnishing system finishing on a 3000-grit. However, filling the holes leaves a residue on the tile which meant I needed to smooth back the surface first with a coarser 50, 100 and then 200-grit soft milling pads. This process generates a bit of soil which needs to be rinsed and extracted between each pad.

I continued with the restoration of the floor by moving onto the burnishing process using a further set of finer pads starting with 400-grit. The pads are applied to the floor as before with a heavy floor buffing machine using water to lubricate the process. The pad is run over each tile around three times and the fine slurry this process generates is rinsed off afterwards with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum. You then move onto the 800-grit and then 1500-grit slowly building back the appearance of the stone.

Sealing Travertine Tiled Flooring

As I worked in sections at a time, I was able to allow a full day drying prior to sealing. Happy with the appearance of the floor I opted to seal the floor with one thin coat of colour grow. I had a range of sealers to use however I felt the stone would benefit from the colour enhancement properties colour grow sealer provides.

Douai School Travertine Floor After Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor After Cleaning Upper Woolhampton

Because this was a communal space it was necessary to tape the area I was sealing off to ensure there was no foot traffic whilst it was drying. This process was repeated throughout the job and at any one time I would have several areas sectioned for cleaning, drying, polishing, or sealing.

Douai School Travertine Floor After Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor After Cleaning Upper Woolhampton

The staff, chairman and residents where over the moon with difference I was able to make. In fact, I have since been invited back to deep clean the chairman’s kitchen and do other jobs for three other residents as they were all installed with the same material. I should mention that for aftercare I leave a bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap for maintenance cleaning.


Professional Renovation of a Polished Travertine Flooring in Berkshire

Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor Before After Cleaning Bucklebury Berkshire

Dirty Wax Sealed Quarry and Terracotta Floor Renovated in Bucklebury

I was recently asked to survey the floors at a substantial property in Bucklebury which used to be a school. At some point in the 1970’s there was a major makeover and the property was converted into two houses. During the conversion a combination of Terracotta and Quarry tiles were installed throughout the ground floor and then sealed with what we believed was a wax-based product. Although Wax was a traditional sealant for Terracotta there are better modern sealers available now that are designed for the job and so we don’t recommend it. In this case the wax had deteriorated over the years and left the tiles looking tired and dirty.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury Before Cleaning Terracotta Tiled Floor Bucklebury Before Cleaning

After reviewing the flooring, I demonstrated cleaning the tile and grout which went well and impressed the customer who after living with the floor looking dirty for some time was eager for the job to be completed. I gave the customer a price for renovating the whole floor which was agreed, and we set a date for the work to commence.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury Before Cleaning

Cleaning Dirty Quarry and Terracotta Tiles

My first job was to strip off what remained of the wax sealer using Tile Doctor Remove and Go and a new Tile Doctor product called Wax Away which has been specifically designed for dealing with wax. Both products had very similar effects and together striped off the old coating with little issue. Of the two products my preference to use Wax Away as it foamed less when wet extracting with a spinner tool.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury During Cleaning

After applying the Wax Away, I left it to dwell for fifteen minutes re-applying more product when it began to dry out. Leaving it to dwell allows it to penetrate the wax and weaken it so it’s easier to remove. I then used a 17-inch black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine to scrub the solution into the tiles. Finally, I used a spinner tool fitted to a hot water pressure extraction system that is housed in my van to rinsed away and extract the resulting slurry.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury During Cleaning

After the floor was clean, I set to work on the grout lines that still had traces of embedded wax sealer. The floor pads can struggle to reach into the recesses of the grout, so the solution is to use a stiff grout brush and scrub them clean by hand assisted with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is out go to grout cleaning product.

As a last step in the cleaning process I gave the floor and Acid Wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up. I did this to further clean the floor and to neutralise Its pH after using so many high alkaline cleaning products.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury After Cleaning Terracotta Tiled Floor Bucklebury During Cleaning

Sealing Quarry and Terracotta Tiles

I returned at the end of the week and checked that the moisture levels of the floor, we always do this to ensure the floor is dry before sealing and would not recommend sealing a damp floor as the results can be patchy. The readings were spot on, so I was able to get a started.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury After Sealing

The customer wanted to keep the rich terracotta colours in the tile and wanted a sheen, so I selected Tile Doctor Seal and Go as the sealer. To fully seal the tiles, I used six coats on the smaller Quarry tiles and nine coats on the large Mexican Terracotta tiles. Seal and Go is a modern water-based acrylic sealer that provides both a stain resistant seal and a durable low-sheen finish, also being water based it doesn’t give off a smell as it dries.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Bucklebury After Sealing

The result was a huge improvement, needless to say my customer was very pleased and left the following feedback.

”I had a large quarry/terracotta tiled floor in kitchen/conservatory badly in need of cleaning. Dennis did an incredible job. He was very efficient and the result is outstanding, very happy to recommend”


Professional Renovation of a Large Quarry and Terracotta Floor in Berkshire

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