This beautiful Terrazzo floor was uncovered in the hallway of a house in Doncaster, as you can see it had taken a bit of a beating over the years, but the owners were keen on having it restored. Restoring period features like these are a great idea as they are very sought after and can add a lot of value to a property.
The floor had spent many years below carpet and nails had been hammered through the floor to hold carpet grippers in place. Along with this there was a lot of glue and paint to remove. However, I was confident that we could get the floor restored, I gave them a quotation for the work, and they were happy to proceed as soon as possible.
Doncaster is a hot spot for terrazzo floors, apparently there was a big Italian community there in the early part of the 1900s. Doncaster is also famous for its rich rail heritage; the main Doncaster train station is on the East Coast mainline and you find many original station buildings have Terrazzo floors in the public areas.
Cleaning a Terrazzo Tiled Hallway Floor
The first job was to remove as much of the paint, glue and other contaminates as possible. These were scraped off the floor by hand using a razor-sharp scraper.
We then moved onto using a set of five diamond burnishing pads of different grits to cut through the top layers and grime to eventually bring this floor back up to its’ former glory. Starting off with the most coarse pad first I started to go over the floor a pad at a time, each pad is fitted to a rotary machine which has extra weight added to it to make the pads work ever better. Each time a pad is changed, it is slightly less coarse, this starts to polish the floor up to a shine eventually ended with a very fine diamond pad. Water is added at each stage and removed with the wet vacuum before the next pad is used.
Gradually the original floor started to shine through, the colours were quite pronounced, and you could see the floor was a lovely example of terrazzo. After a final rinse to remove the soiling generated by burnishing, I turned my attention to filling the many holes where the nails had been.
Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Hallway Floor
The floor was left to dry off overnight and the following morning I returned to seal the floor with several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. I choose this product as its designed to enhance the subtle colours in the floor and its fully breathable which is an important consideration when sealing floors in older properties. Damp proof membranes are a common feature these days but are a relatively recent invention. With older floors you need to allow the floor to breathe so the moisture in the sub floor can rise and evaporate at the surface, without this the moisture will reach out to the walls where it can cause rising damp.
The result was a highly polished floor just the way it would have looked when it was first installed 90 years ago. As you can imagine the owners were over the moon with the transformation.