We were contacted by the owner of a large Georgian property in St Helens to clean, polish and seal multiple Terrazzo floors. Its very difficult to quote a price for such an old floor over the phone as the photographs don’t reveal all the problems, so I arranged a mutually convenient time for to pop over a conduct a survey first.
Typically floors of this type need to be sealed to keep the dirt from getting into the pores of the stone, however sealers wear off over time, especially in a hallway so every few years they need to deep cleaned and re-sealed.
Whilst at the property I discovered that the house was originally built for a manager at the nearby Pilkington Glass company. Four different Terrazzo floors has been installed which ran through the ground floor of the house, the small grey floor was the entrance porch that led onto the main orange hallway that then led onto the Kitchen.
Terrazzo is made from thousands of pieces of crushed stone including marble and laid as single slab so any movement in the base can lead to cracks which have to be sympathetically filled. Structurally this floor was solid with only a few cracks that needed repair, other than that it was simply dirty and needed a deep clean and polish to bring up its appearance.
Deep Cleaning a Terrazzo Tiled Hallway Floor
To renovate the Terrazzo, I decided to cut the floor back using a 200-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad to get the scratches out of the floor. The pad fit to a rotary floor buffing machine which is heavily weighted to improve contact with the floor. The coarse pad breaks out the deepest stains, removing dirt and old sealers and each pad is passed over each part of the floor four times. Water is used to lubricate the process and it isn’t long before this turns into a dark slurry. Once done the floor is rinsed with a little more water and the slurry extracted with a wet vacuum.
After the initial clean I moved onto repairing the cracks which is these where filled in using cement and stone-coloured chippings blended to closely matched the colours in the floor. Once set the excess was ground down using the 200-grit pad until the repair successfully merged in with the surrounding floor.
The next step was to burnish the Terrazzo using a set of finer grit burnishing pads to slowly bring up the polished appearance of the stone. This starts with a 400-grit pad and moves up to a 1500-grit pad, again rinsing and extracting after each pad has been applied to the floor. After a final rinse and extract with the wet vacuum the floor was left to dry out overnight.
Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Hallway Floor
The next day the last pad in set of burnishing pads sequence which is a 3000-grit pad was applied to the floor dry with only a little water sprayed onto to the floor. This pad really brings up the polished appearance and adds a subtle satin shine to the Terrazzo.
The last pad also leaves the floor dry and ready for sealing for which I had selected Tile Doctor Colour Grow which not only seals the floor but enhances the colours of the stone segments to achieve a beautiful result. Colour Grow is also breathable which means it will allow moisture to rise through the floor, this is an important consideration when dealing with 200-year-old floors which will not have the benefit of a damp proof membrane underneath.
Once done the floor looked cleaner, lighter and all the little characterful motifs, patterns and orange borders designed into the floors really stood out. My customer was over the moon with the improvement and has taken advantage of our maintenance plan service and asked us to pop back every six months to do a quick re-polish of the floors and top up the sealer.
For aftercare cleaning I’ve advised the use of Tile Doctor Stone Soap, this is a mild but effective floor cleaner that’s designed for polished floors and will help maintain the patina.