Finally! I have been working on this floor for 9 years. When we bought this 1960’s saltbox it had great potential. I loved the idea of the durability of the brick floor! The problem was that it had been “antiqued” by applying 60 years worth of black wax on it. It would wear away on high traffic areas, but stay dingy and black in the corners, making the floor always look filthy (if I am being honest sometimes it was). Here’s a pic to give you an idea of what the wax made it look like.
See what I mean? YUCK. I tried everything to get this off. You name it, even if it was supposed to be bad for the brick, I didn’t care I poured it on… and nothing! There it stayed, gross as ever. I even had contractors give up in less than 2 hours. So after all these years, here is what worked for me, but heads up, I think they are really harsh to use on brick. I was so frustrated with this problem that I willing to try ANYTHING at this point and about ready to cement the whole floor and start over. And yes, I tried white washing, painting, faux painting etc… It all either looked horrible with the black underneath, or the paint was going to be too much maintenance with 2 boys running around the house. In the end this is what finally worked for me and gave me a result I was happy to live with!
After everything, I think that I may have had a clear coat on top of the wax preventing all the wax strippers I tried from working, but I am not sure. The contractor who quit applied a chemical stripper before giving up, and I think that was the break through I needed to finally make progress. After he quit, I took my steam mop and set it on top of the brick for a minute then wiped the brick and grout with paint thinner and paper towels. That really got the wax off from the brick, but it still left the grout stained. So I used Power Lysol toliet bowl cleaner grout to clean the grout. I HAD to use the Power Lysol in order to really bleach it. I left it on for a few minutes, then wiped it off. Sometimes I was still left with a grey spot here and there, so I sprayed the StoneTech Deep Kleenz. It made a difference and I could have stopped there, but I still felt it wasn’t quite done. So as a final step to making the grout look cleaner, I decided to use Grout Renew in artic white which is like a paint/stain. I rubbed it in so that it didn’t look too perfect or fake. I finally had he clean look I had been hoping for! To preserve all my hard work I sealed it with 511 Porous Plus Sealer using the applicator in the picture. I finished it all off with the Miracle High Gloss sealer.
I still have my family room floor to finish, but I am making progress after all these years! An important tip that I want to share is do not use polyurethane on the brick if you have any moisture under the brick floor! It will peel off and efflorescence can come out through the brick! Here is how it looked after I used it on my floor. Ugh!
Efflorescence is a white powder that accumulates on the brick. It makes the beautiful glossy finish you just spent hours applying peel and bubble up, so make sure you do not have moisture under your brick! The Miracle Line sealer that I ended up using and is pictured above, is breathable, and so far this hasn’t happened to my floor again. The floor is not as shiny as the polyurethane made it look, but I feel it looks so much better than it originally did and it is finally clean! I am so happy to finally have found something that worked for my floor! Again, I don’t necessarily recommend these products for YOUR brick floor, but I was at the point of getting rid of these floors I had worked so hard to preserve, so I went ahead and tried these products. Luckily they seemed to have worked, and I cannot wait until I can finally have people over and show off my beautiful restored floors!