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Restoring original Victorian Quarry Tile Floor.

Having moved into the

Cottage whom’s birthday dates back to 1726, I found myself stood on beige carpet that was dank in condition butted up to a badly laid black cheap porcelain tiled floor. The Carpet I


feel may of been frebreezed one to many times by previous tenants?


The dark tiles and carpet was really getting to me to, for a start me and carpet don’t get on. I find them costly in time, mental well being and money. Having to stay on top of spills, crumbs, play doh, accidents you name it and then the electric to continuously hoover the damn thing and not forgetting the time it takes doing all that and the anxiety to keep it show house quality. Nope give me a broom and mop any day!


a hard floor be it wood, tile or stone I know there is nothing harbouring on the floor after a good sweep and mop. To some the carpet is the dream, soft, cosy and pleasing to the eye. But for me it just didn’t sit right almost as though the cottage itself was rejecting this crabby carpet and tiles as much as I was.


I took it upon myself to look beneath the carpet and its not something for the faint hearted to do in such a old crooked cottage as goodness knows what lies beneath, the good side it’ll be tiled or a flag stone floor, bad side I dunno is there worse than carpet? I had prepared myself for the fact it may reveal the earth Floor.




Having peeled a corner of carpet back, I could make out outlines of faint squares beneath what looked like a concrete skim so with hope in my heart that maybe it was a tiled floor I peeled back more carpet which revealed Victorian red and black quarry tiles, it was more evident due to some of the skim peeling off the tiles where evidence of salts was coming through due to the cottages years of suffocation under this old muffler bit of rag.



Beneath the skim to my horror was a skim of bitchumen, the devils glue! This would be a monumentous task to restore and so I left it for weeks, toying with the idea of could I or couldn’t I? I had already ripped up the tiles in the bathroom to dry out a lengthy leaky flush pipe issue and have not replaced them yet why start another project??? Let’s not forget the project will never end only be inherited folks! The Cottage lives and it needs constant love and TLC like we all do!





So with a lot of research and the lucky find of a heavy hammer and chisel tool from a charity shop, I began to chip away at a corner and to my surprise some of the cement skim sheered off with bitchumen attached and sadly some didn’t remaining like barnacles beneath a ship. The patches that came up perfectly were rewarding and encouraging to keep hacking at it.


I started cutting away bits of carpet justifying my dislike of carpet by the amount of sandy dust that poured out of it along with the most detestable smell! I began chiselling and hammering off more debris. Sometimes I wore a mask sometimes not, much to my regret. Always were a mask folks no matter the passion to do it NOW you have bubbling away inside you.




Cutting long story short I got a nasty cold and utilised this time of feeling poorly to do the job intensely and rather than sit in bed suffering the self pity of illness I’d restore the floor with in a week! That was the mule in my heart! And I did, I ripped into the floor and pulled up the passage way tiles and more skim and bitchumen with it. With a beautiful hand held drill in hand to scour off the remaining barnacles. I sat in squat position for nearly a week to that floor. But by Goodness I did it and I can’t tell you the satisfaction I get every morning coming down stairs to my Victorian punk rock chequered floor. I grin typing about it, the cottage I can feel breathing again and I feel a peace is some what restored to it.





Once the skim and bitchumen was removed, I washed the tiles with a special cleaner several times, annoyingly this didn’t lift off the little remaining stubborn specs of bitchumen but to my surprise when I applied the tile sealant and wiped the excess sealant off, those stubborn specs just wiped off with it. A finished floor at last!




The products I used were limited as I did not want to pay out hundreds of pounds, and was happy to do the extra graft and apply elbow grease to get the job done cos of this. I didn’t rent any equipment it was all done just using my beloved hand held drill.


This said there is still more I need to do like re plaster the walls were I ripped the skirting off that where glued to the wall with silicon and holding more dust and creature activity than I care to mention! Some point in time someone did some serious disservice to this cottage and it has cost the cottage dearly.


Enough grumble and back to the tools here is a link to the tools and chemicals I used and purchased to get the job done, I’ll give you my personal review on each.




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