I am cleaning old tiles, tomette, terracotta, cement tiles, glazed tiles, different seizes, tiles we found inbuilt in walls, on the floors we have to renew or simply on walls. All together, I already cleaned about 50 sqm.
It’s not an intellectual challenge, its physical. I feel every muscle in my arms, from my hands to my shoulders, it’s even hard to write on a keyboard after hours of cleaning.
My work place is an old wooden chest we found in the house, it’s perfect because it is even, I can perfectly lay down a tile with one side on the wooden frame and hammer away the 5-7 cm thick layers of plaster and/or gypsum with my chisel.
Some people told me that I need to lay the tiles only in water for some hours and all the plaster and gypsum will be removed, but that’s not true. I tried it, put some tiles in a tub with water for a week. The water was a bit limy and the layer on the tiles got muddy which to remove was a big smearing.
While removing the layers of plastic, paper and cartons from the floors, we found some journals from 1964! I guess this is the younger part of the house, some terracotta tiles must be much older as they are handmade and look very old.
The only challenge I face is to stay motivated, to not throw all away, to bear the dust and smells of the last 70 years. Well, that’s a mental challenge 😉 However, I always remind myself how beautiful they will look when cleaned and laid on the new floors.
There is another effect: I can think about my intellectual work, e.g. about the methods and content for the e-commerce workshop I have to give for the family business project end of March, or about this blog entry.