It’s not often that we get called abroad for a job, but when we do, it’s always a fantastic experience. We have done a few jobs abroad in the past, including the restoration of Terracotta tiled restaurant floor at a hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This job was closer to home at a chateau in the town of Arcis-le-Ponsart near Reims, located in the Champagne-Ardenne region of North Eastern France. As its name suggests, the Champagne-Ardenne region is famous for its champagne.
The owner of the chateau was, in fact, an English property developer. He asked us to work on two floors: a Terracotta tiled hallway, and a French Victorian tiled floor. The French style of Victorian tiles are actually made of encaustic cement rather than clay, so we were excited to have the chance to work on something a bit out of the ordinary.
It was going to be a long trip, so after packing the van with the necessary equipment and Tile Doctor products Heidi and I set off to France via the Channel Tunnel. Fortunately, we avoided any disruptions both on the way there and the way back!
On arrival at the chateau, we immediately spent two hours running tests on the two floors to determine the most effective processes. We had four days in which to complete the job, so it was essential to make sure our methods were correct before beginning to avoid any unwelcome surprises later on!
Cleaning and sealing French Victorian tiled floor
After running the tests, we set about cleaning the Victorian tiles using a combination of clean water and diamond burnishing pads. No damage was done to the tiles, and they polished up well. Following the cleaning process, we began sealing the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a sealer which helps to bring out the colour in the stone while also providing durable surface protection. We were only able to apply one coat of sealer, however, as the second coat kept smearing, preventing the shine from settling in – this was despite testing the process earlier. Nonetheless, we resolved to polish off the one coat we could apply with a fine burnishing pad. Thankfully, the results were still very good.
Cleaning and sealing Terracotta hallway tiles
The Terracotta tiled hallway had no sealer, and so it had, over time, become very dirty. We cleaned the tiles using a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to five parts clean water, in combination with a couple of black burnishing pads.
As you can see from the pictures, the combination really helped to lift out the ingrained dirt, leaving the tiles looking at their best again. The floor took three days to dry completely before we could begin the sealing process. Once the floor was dry enough to seal, we applied eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is suitable for use on a variety of internal, unsealed porous surfaces.
It was a long and exhausting week but the client was delighted with the results on both floors and left the following comments, he also mentioned using Tile Doctor in the future to work on the other properties he is developing.
“Thanks for yours and Heidi’s work in renovating our floors. It was also great to meet you guys and I hope you have enjoyed your visit to champagne and will come back some time. “
Putting life back into old tiled floors in France