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Restoration of a 19th century Portland stone floor

By Published On: February 15th, 2016
Portland stone floor restored original condition P Mac Dublin

P Mac restored a Portland stone floor in a Georgian house on Herbert Street this week. The new owners of the period home lifted the carpet and were curious to know what lay beneath. P Mac, as a Heritage Contractor specialising in stone cleaning and stone restoration, were their first port of call. This was a challenge P Mac was very excited to tackle, after an initial sample revealed there was indeed a stone floor underneath.

The stone floor was covered in carpet glue, various contamination and levelling compound. This had to be ground off gently, of course, so as not to damage the stone. It also had to be dry ground, which is a lot messier than wet but we could see the stone was very porous and excess water would cause further damage, soak into the stone and take a very long time to fully dry out.

Restoring a Georgian stone floor

Once all contamination was removed, the owners of the house were ecstatic to see the floor was in pretty good condition. The grout was completely gone but there was no major damage to the tiles. We then moved onto finer diamond pads to re-hone the stone and make it nice and smooth. This also revealed any cracks or holes in the stone. Holes and cracks were filled with dust salvaged from the grinding process.

We proceeded to re-hone the floors again to give it a really smooth finish and sand off any residue left from repairs. We could not re-grout the floor as it was moving and if bonded the stone tiles would crack.

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A beautiful Portland stone floor

The Portland stone floor was prepped to receive an impregnating seal. The seal won’t alter the appearance of the tiles but will greatly help with the maintenance. An impregnating seal helps prevent any acid spills seeping into the stone rendering it dull or etched. If a spill occurs it should be wiped up immediately before it gets a chance to penetrate.

Both P Mac and the client were delighted with the outcome of this project. Often, levelling compound was poured over an old stone floor to hide cracks and damage, luckily in this instance this wasn’t the case. The owners have salvaged the original stone floor that must have been laid over 150 years ago and with the right care and maintenance it should last another 150 years!