The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Cleaning and restoring old stone and tile floors

restoring old tiled floorsIt is every home improver's dream. You pull up that nasty old carpet or lino and underneath covered in dust, dirt and old lino glue is a hard stone tiled floor. Whether they are stone, quarry tiles or glazed ceramic ones the last thing you will want to do is use a product on them which might ruin the look forever. You have found something which could add thousands to the value of your home and you must do everything you can to restore them back to their original state.

It is worthwhile explaining the difference between stone tiles and quarry tiles so that when you do come to clean them you will know what’s what. Stone tiles are natural stone taken from a quarry, this could be granite or slate or even marble. Quarry tiles don't come from a quarry at all, in fact they are simply clay tiles which have been fired in a similar way to terracotta tiles.

Stone tiles will take almost any punishment and will last almost forever, while quarry tiles are more porous and are subject to staining and damage.

Removing lino can be a painstaking and exhausting job. Often old lino is laid down with copious amounts of glue and will not simply lift off. A scraper should be used and even a heat gun to melt the glue slightly. Of course it is important to take great care of the tiles when doing this as it is easy to chip a tile through vigorous scraping or over heating. The final residue can be removed using a small amount of white spirit which must be washed off immediately.

Cleaning stone tiles

Stone floors should be reasonably easy to clean as they are unlikely to have stained very much. They should ideally only be cleaned with warm water and acidic cleaners should not be used at they can interfere with the surface. Anything which has stuck to the surface should be scrapped off or soaked off. For stubborn marks and more problematic floors, you can buy specialist stone floor cleaning solutions. Cleaning the grout will be more difficult and will require an abrasive cleaner. Once clean apply a sealant to prevent any acidic spill causing discolouration.

Quarry tiles

These tiles are less hard than stone and therefore require gentler treatment. They are porous and can be easily stained. Use a soft cloth and avoid the use of any abrasives as the tiles will scratch. If the top layer of a quarry tile is removed, the tile will start to disintegrate and fall apart. The top face of the tile is its protective coat. Once they are clean they can be sealed with several layers of linseed oil. Building up a good coating can take time, but the result is a high shine floor which will bring up the colours of the tiles.

This job can be messy and hard work, but the results will speak for themselves. With care and attention your floor will remain beautiful and practical. It is well worth the effort.