How to Professionally Clean Quarry/Victorian Tiles

27 February 2023
Est. Reading: 2 minutes
What's in This Guide?
Cleaning Items You'll Need.
Rotary machine/Buffering machine
80-grit sanding pads
Rubber gloves
Hand scrapper
Wire wool
Solvent stripper
Solvent impregnator sealer
Wet and dry vacuum cleaner


In this post, we'll share with you seven high-level steps that will help guide you on how to professionally clean quarry/Victorian tiles. The example job in the video at the bottom of this guide was a 5-day quarry tile and Victorian terracotta tile restoration job in Howth, County Dublin, Ireland. The magnificent home dates back to the 1860s and has three different types of tiles. Terracotta in the hallway, Victorian tile on the porch, and quarry stone in the kitchen.

High-level Step-By-Step Instructions

Seven main steps to professionally clean quarry tiles.

Step One: Test the Floor
Before proceeding with the restoration job, you need to determine what materials were used on the floor. Do this by conducting a small test in a corner of the room, to know what you are dealing with.

Step Two: Sand the Floor
The tiles have to be stripped back if a sealant has been used on the floor. To do this, sand the floor using a rotary machine with a light-grade sanding pad at a slow speed. This will allow the solvent to seep into the tiles.

Step Three: Stripe with a Solvent Stripper
Apply a generous amount of solvent stripper to the floor to soak the sealant and lift it off the tiles (We use Faber products, which are some of the best tile cleaning products in the world).

Step Four: Allow to Dwell
Leave the stripper on for as long as possible to break the seal. Please note that the room should be well-ventilated.

Step Five: Buff the Floor
Using a rotary machine, sand the floor to break the bond of the seal. You will see results in the milky texture of the slurry. This is a common indicator that the bond is breaking down.

You may also need to use a scraper and wire wool to hand scrape and loosen the stubborn, thicker areas, taking care to clean any residue between the grout lines.

For any stubborn areas, you may need to repeat the sanding process.

Step Six: Rinse and Vacuum Away the Slurry
Rinse the slurry off the floor using a wet vacuum/extraction machine. The unsealed tiles should now appear more vibrant and have returned to their natural state.

Step Seven: Apply the Sealers
Before resealing the tiles, they must be completely dry. to help speed up drying, use air movers placed around the room. Once dried, you will need to seal them with a solvent-impregnated sealer. This makes them waterproof, resistant to water and oil stains, and improves the appearance of the tiles.

Final Thoughts on Our Restorative Tile Cleaning Project

To be honest, we didn’t expect the tiles to turn out so well, as this was a particularly difficult task. After five days of blood, sweat, and tears, our customer was especially pleased with the results. They were ecstatic that an original piece of their home had been restored to its former splendour.

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