Efflorescence occurs when water rises up through the floor leaving salt deposits on the surface of the tile as it evaporates and can be a problem on old floors where there is no damp proof course. The photographs below of an old Quarry tiled floor at a house in Leicester are a great example of this, fortunately there is a solution and I’ll walk you through this in the story below.
Removing Efflorescence from Quarry Tiles
The first step was to give the tiles and grout a good clean and then strip the floor of any remaining sealer for which I used a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was applied to the floor and left to soak in for ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The now soiled solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed with water.
To remove the efflorescence you need to acid wash the floor for which we use Grout Clean-Up which as its name suggests is normally reserved for removing grout smears from tiles however it’s also useful for removing mineral deposits such as the salts from efflorescence and even rust stains. The acid is scrubbed onto the floor just long enough for it to do its job and then quickly removed and the floor given a thorough wash with water, acids can damage a tiled floor if left on for too long so you do need to be careful.
Sealing Quarry Tiles
Given there was no DPC the floor was left to dry off for a few days and when we returned it was sealed with several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which gives the matt finish the customer wanted. Colour Grow is a penetrating sealer that provides stain protection by soaking deep into the pores of the Quarry tile and preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there, it also does a good job of enhancing the natural colour of the tile.