Mount Stewart Floor Restored

22nd March 2017

The National Trust appointed Cliveden Conservation (Main Contractor) to restore The Central Hall floor at Mount Stewart, a 19th-century house and garden in County Down, Northern Ireland.

Conservation specialists, Cliveden Conservation, have just completed carrying out important restoration work to The Central Hall floor at Mount Stewart which is cared for by the National Trust. The house is one of Ireland’s most treasured tourist attractions and has already undergone a major three-year restoration project; Cliveden Conservation also contributed to this project with repairs to stone and plasterwork.

With the initial investigations carried out in 2014, Cliveden Conservation began subsequent trials in 2016. Conservators discovered that the original underlying sandstone ‘appeared’ to be in a reasonable condition below the bitumen which was brittle and could be cleaved cleanly from the stone. However, residue and staining from the adhesive existed.

Conservators have now completed the painstaking task of cutting away the overlying black and white linoleum and bitumen first used in 1960’ to resolve the maintenance issues with the floor.  Fine sharp chisels and hand tools have been used to minimise the impact on the original underlying sandstone – Scrabo a fine-grained local stone also used for the construction of the house.

With all the bitumen and tiles removed conservators could clean the surface. To retain the character of the floor Cliveden Conservation has aimed not to ‘over-restore’ the surface but employed localised abrasion with hand pads and small water fed orbital sanders.

As Scrabo stone is no longer available sandstone from the Scottish borders sourced by the project team was used to replace the irreparably damaged stones. Stones with minor damage have been ‘mortar repaired’ and loose stones re-bedded.  In addition to the works being undertaken by Cliveden Conservation, specialist fine joinery repairs together with conservation of the decorated woodwork has been carried out by a team of specialists.