Installation and treatment of our tiles and wooden floors
Installation advice tile floors
Installation of tiles
Old and antique tiles often have a large difference in thickness between them. These tiles are usually laid under the wire, we recommend using tras cement.
The top of the tile must be laid against the bottom of the wire. This is spanned in advance at level height.
Tiles with less difference in thickness can be laid in Strasser Egalfix Plus, which is a filling tile mortar that is also the ideal product when there is less height.
Tiles that have practically no difference in thickness between them can be laid in a ‘filling’ tile adhesive/glue.
If the tiles are porous, such as Burgundy dalles and antique tiles, it is best to use white cement or adhesive. This is in order to prevent the tiles from showing cement veil.
Nuanced tiles, especially old ones, must be mixed well with each other during installation.
During laying you can still apply your own selection.
Before washing in, the tiles must be thoroughly wetted, otherwise the grout will dry too quickly and will not fully harden. Porous tiles in particular quickly draw the moisture out of the cement. The slower the grout dries, the stronger it becomes.
Each time, you wash in about 5 m² and then immediately start to sponge the tiles thoroughly. This way cement residue does not settle into the structure of the tiles. Also take clean water regularly. You fill in the joints with silver sand, play sand, grout sand or masonry sand. Depending on the coarseness of the grout you want. You can determine the color of the grout by combining sand + gray enci or white cement. You can set a test if you wish.
If you have any questions about the floor you have purchased from us, please contact one of our advisors.
Working height when laid in cement/sand:
±5 cm (thickness tile + cement)
Working height when laying in Egalfix or filling tile adhesive:
±2-3 cm (thickness tile + adhesive)
With underfloor heating, the extra height for the hoses must be added, i.e. the work floor + thickness of the hoses.
Joint width of coarse tiles:
±1 cm (e.g. antique terracotta tiles, natural stone, Belgian or French dalles)
Joint width of straight cut tiles:
±0.5 cm (e.g., motif tiles, marble, sleek Belgian bluestone)
If the tiles are laid at half-ranks or in running bond pattern, the joints can usually be slightly smaller, if desired.
Maintenance advice tile floors
Treating, maintaining and stripping porous tiles
Step 1: Cleaning and drying
2 days after the floor is laid and waxed, the grout is hard enough to walk on and clean. Cleaning is done by scrubbing with a suds of ample Soil Cleaner with warm water. If cement residue still remains on the tiles, try to remove it first. Always do that with acid-free cement residue remover. Read the instructions carefully first. When it is completely clean, start the drying process.
The rule here is: the thicker the tile, the longer the drying time. For porous tiles, allow around 6 weeks for drying.
You can walk on the floor during the drying period, but you must be careful and avoid stains. Do not cover airtight! This will prevent the moisture from leaving the tiles. Do put a thin sheet on the floor where you are standing to cook, for example.
You can easily test whether the floor is dry yourself: place a piece of plastic on the floor for about 6 hours. If there is condensation underneath, the floor is still wet. If the plastic is dry, you can start the treatment.
Step 2: Impregnation
You can vacuum the floor again and remove localised stains, but above all do not get the tiles too wet. When the floor is completely dry, you can start treating it with Superfix/Supermat. This should be applied purely to the dry, thoroughly cleaned floor. The best result is obtained by evenly spraying with a pump sprayer. It is best to apply the first layer in the morning, as it will be absorbed immediately, and a second layer in the evening, as it needs more time to be absorbed. The next day the floor is ready for use.
Superfix gives your floor a subtle silky shine. Supermat protects the tiles in the same way but keeps them matt.
Very occasionally a 3rd coating needs to be applied. Unless you have been advised by the consultant to apply PN before Superfix/Supermat. This is a pretreatment for extremely thick or porous tiles.
Step 3: Maintenance
Vacuum the treated tile floor weekly. Then scrub or mop with suds of ordinary all-purpose cleaner.
To protect the floor, after cleaning you can occasionally mop it with clean water and a dash of Superfix/Supermat. This will ensure that the floor retains its protection, even in places where it has been worn down extra through intensive use.
Step 4: Stripping
You can ‘strip’ the floor at any time with Soil Cleaner if it has become very dirty. Experience shows that this is once every 10 to 20 years. Stripping is very intensive scrubbing with hot water and a lot of soil cleaner, sometimes even pure, which removes the old wax layers. Then you can apply the treatment again as described above.
Treatment and maintenance of hard tiles
2 days after the floor has been laid and waxed, the grout is hard enough to walk on and clean. Cleaning is done by scrubbing with a suds of ample Soil Cleaner with warm water. If cement residue still remains on the tiles, try to remove it first. Always do that with acid-free cement residue remover. Read the instructions carefully first.
Never cover the tiles airtight.
Hard tiles should not be impregnated. They are nourished or protected by mopping with a lather of water and our Trapp abbey soap. This will protect AND clean the tiles.
You may repeat this weekly.
You can always ‘strip’ the floor with Soil Cleaner if it has become very dirty or sticky. Experience shows that this is not often necessary, and is different for everyone. Stripping is very intensive scrubbing with a lot of soil cleaner and hot water, which removes the old layers. Then you can apply the treatment again as described above.
Hard tiles: white and black marble, Belgian bluestone, motif tiles….
Porous tiles: all white stone tiles, Burgundy dalles, antique and rustic tiles, blue paving stones…
Installation wooden floors
Upon delivery of the wood, it is not always possible to imagine that with the planks that have been delivered, the floor can actually be made as shown in our showroom. We can introduce an experienced floor fitter for this purpose or your floor fitter can let us inform him or herself. Oils, polishes or lacquers make maintenance easier. In the past, wooden floors were usually finished with a wax layer that is easy to update by regular polishing (for example with a polishing machine). Wood can also be coated with a quality varnish or oil that can be wiped off with a damp cloth.
Only store or process wood in dry rooms (measure using a hygrometer). It is best to roll the wood back into plastic when it is not being processed immediately. All cement screeds should be measured for moisture beforehand. Residual moisture may not exceed 2%.
- Fixed: glue on a 12 mm thick chipboard roll subfloor; always with PU glue and nail (recommended method).
- Floating: lay loose from the subfloor, e.g. on Elasthilon (cheaper method).
Ready aged floors no longer need to be sanded. Other floors should be sanded before colouring/treatment. Sanding removes the dirt and standing fibres. The surface is prepared as well as possible by varnish, wax or oil. Sanding is usually done in several stages: one starts with coarse and ends with fine sanding. The choice of machine is determined by the condition of the floor and the desired result.
Machines to use for our wooden floors:
- Traditional heavy duty sander.
- Edges sander.
- Belt sander.
Vacuum well between each sanding. Limit the first sanding to 40 grain sandpaper, then stop knots if necessary and sand with 80 grain sandpaper. A third sanding may be necessary for re-sanding, use 120 grain sandpaper.
Rules of thumb for sanding
- Sand as much as possible in the direction of the wood grain.
- If in doubt about the coarseness of the sanding material, choose a fine rather than a coarse grit. Start with 40 grit paper, then 80 grit paper and continue sanding with 120 grit paper, complete each sanding process.
Colors of the floor
First make a test on a sample until the desired result is achieved.
- Can be damp wiped off.
- Silky gloss, matte or extra matte.
- For example trea-lyx parquet lacquer or 2-component PU lacquer.
Wax or oil
- Easy to update (e.g. with polisher or cloth).
- In different color tones.
Lacquering with the roller
Use a roller on a long handle and a special roller tray. Always start on the shortest side of the room floor and always start a track from the same side. Apply the lacquer at right angles to the grain direction and roll in the grain direction. Multiple coats are necessary for a good result. Consumption ± 1 liter on 10m².
General product information
Antique Burgundian limestone/sandstone “dalles”, or sandstone “dalles” create a rustic atmosphere in your house. Originally, they were laid in free-length widths. However, Burgundian “dalles” may also be presorted in equal widths and laid in strips. Burgundian “dalles” or sandstone “dalles” are available in different sandstone tints, depending on the region they come from.
Origin of Burgundian “dalles”
Antique and new Burgundian “dalles” come from France, more precisely from the Burgundy region. The region has various stone quarries. The Burgundian “dalles” may be white, yellow, cream or light brown. Some are softer or harder than others. Burgundian “dalles” should be distinguished from antique bluestone “dalles”. The latter are made of Belgian bluestone, a harder type of stone, also known as freestone. Bluestone “dalles” are grey, whereas Burgundian “dalles” are slightly cream-coloured or sandy-coloured.
Recovery of Burgundian “dalles”
Antique and new Burgundian French stone or Belgian bluestone “dalles” are on sale at the building materials antique dealer ‘t Achterhuis in Udenhout. ‘t Achterhuis has either recovered or bought them from French and Belgian knackers. The old “dalles” are becoming scarcer and are more expensive than the new ones because they need to be detached and re-sorted. Since there are still stone quarries in France, new models are also available. In many cases, the Burgundian “dalles” are distressed to give them an old, antique or rustic appearance. Sometimes it is hard to detect the differences, but ‘t Achterhuis may provide expert advice if desired.
If you would like to build a house and incorporate old elements, it is advisable to start off early. An antique staircase, for instance, needs to be fully measured and sketched in. Imagine finding the antique staircase of your dreams and realising afterwards that it does not fit and that it cannot be used. An antique staircase can be built in in the same way as your current staircase.
Restoration of antique staircases
An antique staircase can be restored quite easily. Generally, the antique staircase is fully disassembled, broken pieces are replaced and all components are cleaned separately. Afterwards all components are glued together again. The restoration process gives the antique staircase a new look.
Are antique staircases more expensive?
Antique staircases are not necessarily more expensive than new ones. If you compare the price of an antique staircase with the price of a new similar model, you will be surprised at the difference. Few people know that the difference in price is that striking. An antique staircase is not only less expensive, but also gives your entrance hall a unique touch.
Cast iron bathtubs
Cast-iron clawfoot bathtubs have been around for a long time. Bathing used to be a hygienic necessity, but this changed towards the end of the nineteenth century due to a number of technical inventions such as sewerage, gas and the water supply system.
The first bathtubs were made of brass, afterwards of zinc. Later, cast-iron clawfoot bathtubs were created.
New cast-iron clawfoot bathtubs
We have various new cast-iron clawfoot bathtubs in stock. They are equipped with an enamelled coat on the inside. Contrary to traditional beliefs, the water remains warm for a long time when the cast iron has warmed up. The exterior may be painted in any colour. This applies to all cast-iron clawfoot bathtubs, including the “Marseilles”, “Nice”, “Bordeaux” and “Paris” models. We also have cast-iron bathtubs without feet: the beautiful, taut “Monaco” bathtub for example. We kindly invite you to visit our show room.
Cast-iron clawfoot bathtubs in a modern bathroom
Cast-iron clawfoot bathtubs also fit in with a modern bathroom. They add a special feature to your bathroom, whether they are put on a taut Belgian bluestone tile or on an antique patterned tile. Visit our show room and discover the five different models in stock.
A mirror, in this case an antique mirror, enlarges and embellishes your living area. A beautiful antique mirror is an eye-catcher on the wall. Increasingly, people appreciate the know-how and artistic skill with which they were made. You will find approximately 150 splendid and extraordinary antique mirrors on our website. Direct import enables us to keep the price low.
Antique mirrors in various styles
You will find a large collection of antique mirrors in different styles at ’t Achterhuis, from rococo to Biedermeier. Our assortment includes fireplace mirrors, standing mirrors, swing mirrors, etc. We also have Dutch antique mahogany mirrors and French gilded antique mirrors with crest and leaf patterns. The mirrors are available in different measures.
Restoration of antique mirrors
In case of small damage we can restore the antique mirrors or add missing ornaments if necessary. Afterwards, we can regild or repaint the frame. Most antique mirrors still contain the old, sometimes weather-stained mercurous mirror glass.
If you are looking for parquet floors, or for long, wide rustic oak boarded floors or oak wooden floors, you should definitely visit ‘t Achterhuis. We have planed, brushed or distressed French oak. Our exclusive distressed oak floorboards are distressed and coloured using a special method in our workshop, so as to give them the appearance of an 18th or 19th century floor.
Old oak boarded floors
Our assortment also includes old oak boarded floors made of French railway carriages. These boards are available in different widths and are tongued and grooved. Also ask for our once-only lots of barrack parquet. In addition, we have the herringbone parquet, Hungarian “pointed” parquet and the exclusive Versailles parquet made of old oak boarded floors.
Laying of oak wooden floors
Obviously, the laying of these parquets and oak wooden floors requires professional skill. If desired, we can arrange for this. Our craftsmen will produce an excellent result, both when laying wide oak wooden floors and when finishing the parquet floors with frames or standing or lying friezes with a Wenge piping.
Belgian bluestone, Arduin
‘t Achterhuis has a large collection of Belgian bluestone, also known as freestone. The stones are available in different measures and finishes, from tautly incised to coarsely distressed, sanded or sweetened. They each give your house a unique appearance. Many Belgian bluestone finishes are available off the shelf. Also check our offers for low-priced items.
Moreover, we can arrange for the laying of Belgian bluestone floors if desired. In particular the laying of old church “dalles”, Noire de Mazy, Namur stone and Belgian bluestone requires professional skill. These Belgian bluestone tiles may vary in thickness. Check whether these old floors may be laid in your house. As an alternative, we recommend the old “second layer” Belgian bluestone or the “coarsely distressed” Belgian bluestone.
Belgian bluestone ornaments or tables
‘t Achterhuis has a large choice of old building materials. We have many antique Belgian bluestone porches or pillars and old Belgian bluestone staircases in stock. An old Belgian bluestone ornament can easily be adjusted to serve as a table base with, for instance, a new Belgian bluestone tabletop. To this end, you can also visit our depot in the Houtsestraat. We have displayed old Belgian bluestone troughs, fountains, porches and pillars in our show garden.
Marble and sandstone fireplaces
Approximately 350 marble and sandstone fireplaces (or mantelpieces or hearths) are displayed in our showrooms. We have a large collection of antique 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century fireplaces. Our assortment includes French, Belgian and Dutch antique marble fireplaces, and antique and replica French sandstone fireplaces. These new fireplaces are manually hewed from genuine French sandstone. We have a large choice of fireplaces in different styles and measures.
Building-in of marble and sandstone fireplaces
The building-in of fireplaces should be carried out by a professional. We can arrange for the building-in of both marble and sandstone fireplaces if desired. We can introduce you to one of our fireplace builders. We see to it that your marble or sandstone fireplaces are safely delivered at your house and the fireplace builder takes care of the rest. Antique marble and sandstone fireplaces require a custom-made funnel. In addition, the back wall and, if necessary, the gas block need to be installed competently.
Check our supply of marble and sandstone fireplaces
You can find our continually varying stock of marble and sandstone fireplaces on our website in the “collection” section (menu). If you click on an image, it will be enlarged. This also allows you to check the fireplace’s measures. If you are looking for specific marble or sandstone fireplaces and you cannot find them on our website, do not hesitate to give us a call or to visit our show rooms. Our sales advisors will help you find the appropriate fireplace. However, if you cannot find the antique fireplace you are looking for, you might find it in our enormous warehouse with hundreds of non-displayed fireplaces.
Old oak parquet floors
’t Achterhuis has various types of parquet floors in stock, including old oak herringbone parquet, Hungarian “pointed” parquet, strip flooring, old barrack parquet and the magnificent Versailles parquet. The old oak herringbone parquet is made of old French oak railway carriages. The skirting-boards of this special parquet floor can be finished with standing or lying frisians.
Characteristics of old oak parquet floors
Oak is a durable and luxurious type of wood with a neutral appearance. Old oak herringbone parquet is warm brown and extremely solid. Old oak herringbone parquet has its own graining and has remained popular throughout the centuries because it fits in with every interior. Oak floors are suitable for various types of finishes such as oiling, waxing or varnishing, which leads to many different colours.
The laying of old oak parquet floors
The laying of old oak herringbone parquet requires professional skill. ‘t Achterhuis has been working together with expert craftsmen for many years and can arrange for the laying of this special old oak herringbone parquet.
Antique terracotta tiles
Antique and old French, Belgian or Dutch terracotta tiles are also referred to as old farm flagstones. They are available in different measures and hues, for instance quadrangular, hexagonal, rectangular in blue/grey, red, shaded, “blanche et jaune” (white and yellow). All terracotta tiles have been sorted out and cleaned with great care. Our warehouse manager will help you select the lots in our enormous warehouse which covers several thousands of square meters. The terracotta tiles are available in various sizes, ranging from 11 x 11 cm to 25 x 25 cm. All our fired, handmade antique and old terracotta tiles may be laid in any room (from scullery to living room) and may be used with underfloor heating, both in modern newly-built houses and in old farms.
Laying of antique terracotta tiles
Antique terracotta tiles are laid using a thread because they vary in thickness. We recommend to call in a professional to lay antique terracotta tiles, preferably a craftsman “of the old school” who considers it a challenge to obtain a magnificent final result. Naturally, we can also arrange for this and we can introduce you to one of our professionals.
Maintenance of terracotta tiles
In order to adjust the antique and old terracotta tiles to present-day usage and to make them maintenance-friendly, we recommend to use “Superfix”. This impregnating and protective agent prevents dirt and grease spots from affecting your antique terracotta tiles. For instructions, you can consult the “maintenance” section on our website and click on the “Superfix” image.
Rustic building is becoming increasingly popular. The term is employed when a new house is built using old, antique and rustic building materials. This creates the effect of building an old house: a rustic appearance combined with present-day comfort. Rustic building fans can go a long way in using old, antique and rustic building materials.
Rustic building: both inside and outside
Rustic building can be applied both inside and outside. You can build the outside with facing bricks such as Ijssel stones, brick baked in open ovens, Waal brick, etc. and use an old porch with an antique front door. You can also use recovered wall clamps and/or old thresholds and windowsills. Inside old oak beams, old boarded or tiled floors, antique fireplaces, old sinks, old inner doors, antique white tiles, etc. can be employed. Rustic building does not imply that you should solely incorporate old and recovered materials. Rustic or old materials can also be integrated perfectly.
Rustic building: high-quality materials?
We can reassure those who doubt whether the old materials employed for rustic building are strong enough to be reused. These (recovered) materials are given a second life through rustic building. They have already proved their quality and solidity in an earlier life. “These bricks look porous,” some people say. Actually, they are very solid. They have already been used in another building, have survived demolition, have been chipped with a chopping-knife or hatchet and are still intact. This also applies to antique tiled and boarded floors. Therefore, we can guarantee you that the old and antique materials offered for sale for rustic building are as solid as new ones. Obviously, they look different, aged. But that is what rustic building fans are looking for.