The Terrazzo tiled floor at this house in Addingham, which sits between Skipton and Ilkley, had quite some history to it. Apparently, the property was once the village bakery and originally had a traditional Yorkshire stone floor. However, they struggled to keep the flags clean and as one of the bakers was half Italian, they decided to tile over the stone with Italian Terrazzo tiles. All of this happened nearly 100 years ago but was discovered by the new owners who had managed to trace back the history of the 200-year-old building.
Clearly the Terrazzo had been down for a long time and was very overdue some care and attention. Terrazzo floors are a flooring material which is traditionally made by exposing marble chips on the surface of concrete and then polishing until smooth. They are now, often used in public buildings because the surface is so long-lasting, and it can be refinished repeatedly to bring it back to life.
The client wanted the floor as shiny as possible however the floor was quite pitted due to heavy foot traffic, so it was clearly going to be a challenge. Having worked with all sorts of stone floors I was optimistic I could restore this one to a good standard and quoted for the work which would take two days. The quote was accepted, and we agreed a suitable time to carry out the work.
Cleaning a Terrazzo Tiled Kitchen Floor
To begin I taped up the skirting and plinths in the kitchen to protect them from splashing. Next, I gave the floor an initial clean with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, this is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, which strips and degreases. We dilute it to varying strengths depending on the job requirements. It is a very effective Tile and Grout cleaner and is particularly good for areas that have been neglected or subjected to heavy use.
This was ideal for this floor and the Pro-Clean was left to dwell for a short while before being agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The process was repeated on the stubborn areas, but it lifted all the ingrained dirt, the floor was rinsed with water, and the soiled solution removed using a wet vacuum. The floor was then left overnight to dry.
Polishing a Terrazzo Tiled Kitchen Floor
Returning the next day, I set about improving the appearance of the Terrazzo tiles using a coarse 400-grit burnishing pad, again fitted to the rotary machine. Water is used to lubricate the process and the pad is run over each tile at least three times. Tile Doctor Burnishing pads are made from tiny industrial diamonds and lightly cut into the surface of the tile to remove pitting and scratches. The water quickly turns into a grey slurry that is rinsed off with water and extracted from the floor as before.
Once done the process was repeated with other finer grit burnishing pads which further refine the surface of the stone to give it a light polished appearance. The Terrazzo tiles benefited greatly from the polishing and I was pleased to see the pitting was gone and the tile was once again smooth.
Sealing Terrazzo Floor Tiles
The polishing process leaves the floor dry, so it wasn’t long before I was able to move onto the sealing the floor in order to protect it from ingrained dirt and staining. My initial thought was to use Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal for this however this product although ideal for Kitchens is almost invisible and the owner had specified a shine, so I opted for Tile Doctor Seal and Go.
I applied the sealer to a small area first to see how it might look and to ensure the Terrazzo would take it without any issues. The tile took the sealer no problem and so three coats were applied, leaving them to dry before applying the next. The floor now had the shiny finish the client had requested.
I was very pleased with the outcome as was the client.