Large Travertine Floor Polished at an Eaton Barn Conversion near Congleton


This customer who lives in Eaton near Congleton had a new barn conversion built with a 120 sq. meters of polished Travertine floor tiles. Unfortunately, he was unable to appreciate the beauty of the floor due to builder’s walking all over them for a few weeks without any protection. With dirt being trodden into the tile they were now in need of a deep clean and polish to bring back the shine and restore the real beauty of the tiles.

Polished Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Eaton Polished Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Eaton

Cleaning and Burnishing Polished Travertine Tiles

After giving the floors a good brush to remove grit etc. the next stage was to apply a set of tile doctor diamond encrusted burnishing pads to take off the ingrained dirt and restore shine to the tiles.

The first pad was a coarse 400 grit which fits onto a rotary machine with water spread on the floor as lubrication. The pads literally scratch off the dirt and the resultant slurry is then removed with a wet vacuum. The floor is then washed and the process was repeated with the next two pads which are 800 and 1500 grit. These pads are much finer and restore the finish of the stone, again the floor is rinsed in between each pad to remove the slurry each time.

Polished Travertine Floor During Cleaning Eaton Polished Travertine Floor During Cleaning Eaton

The floor is then left to dry off overnight which is much quicker when underfloor heating has been installed.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Entrance Hall

When I came back the next day I finished off the burnishing process using the last floor pad which is applied dry to the floor with a few squirts of water. This final pad is 3000 grit which is super fine and builds up a high gloss shine on the Travertine.

To finish off the process I then sealed the floor using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the Travertine occupying the pores and preventing dirt from becoming ingrained into the stone. Colour Grow also enhances the natural colours in the stone and in this case, it did a great job of bringing out the brown shades in the Travertine.

Polished Travertine Floor After Cleaning Eaton Polished Travertine Floor After Cleaning Eaton

The customer was over the moon with the finish and asked if I would come back in three weeks to buff the whole floor to a high shine ready for a party that evening.

Polished Travertine Floor After Cleaning Eaton Polished Travertine Floor After Cleaning Eaton

 
 

Professional Travertine Floor Polishing in Cheshire



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Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Thought Beyond Repair Rejuvenated in Cardiff


Many property owners who are lucky enough to have an original Victorian tiled floor in their homes face the same conundrum: can an old and potentially very damaged floor be salvaged and restored to peak condition or should I replace it?

Some people would instinctively tell you that the answer is no – even trained professionals! In fact, a leading tile restoration company (which shall remain unnamed) based in Cardiff told a recent customer of mine that her original Victorian tiled floor, dating back to 1905, was beyond repair. The company recommended that she not waste any money on having it restored and instead that she should have it ripped up and replaced.

Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cardiff Before Restoration

It was in a bad state, however replacing the floor would incur a significant cost and the original characteristics of the period floor would be lost. The customer was feeling rather deflated and was left undecided on what to do. Fortunately after browsing the web for a solution, she came across Tile Doctor and I was asked to pop over and take a look.

I visited the customer at her home and removed parts of her hallway carpet to get a better look at the Victorian tiles beneath. The floor was certainly in a very poor state, there were many old paint splash marks covering the tiles and the surface of the floor was deeply darkened after many years’ worth of wear and tear. In my opinion however, it was still salvageable, and the customer was happy to see what could be done.

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

A week before I was due to start the restoration, I asked the customer to remove the foam-backed carpet to let the floor breathe a bit.

Before beginning the work, I ran a few damp tests and the floor proved surprisingly dry considering how old it is and the very probable lack of a damp proof membrane. I started by manually scraping as much of the old paint staining off the stone as possible and cleared other debris from the surface.

Knowing that clay based Victorian tiles like these easily soak up paint splashes, I knew it would take a thorough clean to remove them completely. I firstly soaked the floor with water and left it to dry slightly before mixing a concoction of Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, and Tile Doctor Remove and Go.

NanoTech HBU is a particularly powerful cleaner which uses nano-sized particles to penetrate the pores of the stone, while Pro-Clean is an alkaline-based cleaner that tackles heavy soil build-up. Remove and Go is a multi-purpose product which both cleans and strips away any old sealer.

I left this mixture to dwell on the floor for around half an hour, scrubbed it in firstly using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and then a wire wool pad. I followed by rinsing the products off with water and extracted up the excess with a wet vacuum machine.

This technique was repeated until I was satisfied with the condition of the floor.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

After leaving the floor to dry off completely overnight, I returned to the property the next day to carry out the sealing process. I applied seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which not only adds a protective covering to the tile, but also enhances its appearance.

The customer was absolutely thrilled with the results of the restoration, especially considering that she was told the floor was ruined by a leading company and not worth saving.

Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cardiff After Restoration

I think you will agree that its always worth trying to restore a period floor and my customer deserves praise for sticking to their guns.
 
 

Professional Period Victorian Hallway Floor Restoration in South Wales



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Edwardian Style Hallway Floor Cleaned and Repaired in Islington, London


This customer from Islington in North London had an Edwardian Black and White tiled hallway in need of repair and restoring.

Edwardian Hallway Floor Before Tile Cleaning Islington

To restore the lustre of the Edwardian floor tiles the floor would need what was left of the old sealer stripped off, tiles deep cleaned, the replacing of missing and broken tiles and finally applying an impregnating colour restoring products and a protective sealer. You will full details of how this was done below.

Edwardian Hallway Floor Before Tile Cleaning Islington

Cleaning Edwardian Style Tiles

Before starting we covered the skirting, doors and threshold areas with protective tape. Then to remove what was left of the old sealer and clean the floor the area was left to soak in a strong solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go for about ten minutes. It was then scrubbed into the tile using a slow speed orbital floor machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and also hand held brushes to get into the corners and other tricky areas.

The now soiled cleaning solution did a good job removing the dirt and old sealer and was rinsed away using water and then extracted with a wet vacuum. The tile and grout was inspected and the process repeated where required before giving the floor a final rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product. It was getting late at this point so the floor was left to dry off thoroughly overnight.

Sealing Edwardian Style Tiles

On our return we first carried out a number of restorative tile repairs using matching Edwardian reclaimed tile replacements primarily to the door thresholds and skirting board edges. Before grouting we applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to the whole floor as this would make any excess grout easier to remove. Colour Grow is also a breathable sealer that impregnates into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and also enhancing the colours in the tile.

We had to leave the floor for another day primarily to allow the grout to dry before returning the next day to complete the sealing process this time using six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a lovely sheen and works really well on Edwardian floor tiles.

Edwardian Hallway Floor After Tile Cleaning Islington

As you can see from the picture, the floor has been restored to its original condition and with the correct maintenance; it should last for years to come.

Edwardian Hallway Floor After Tile Cleaning Islington
 
 

Restoring Edwardian Hallway Tiles in North London



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Unusual Victorian Tiled Hallway Cleaned and Sealed in Grappenhall


Impressed with the details of a similar floor published on our website the owner of this Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in the village of Grappenhall asked if we could pay her a visit.

The floor was in relatively good physical condition, although there were a few tiles that needed replacing and really just needed cleaning and resealing however I thought it would be worth a mention on my blog due to it being so unusual. There seamed no set pattern to the tiles and it was as if they had some tiles left over and just laid them as they came.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning in Grappenhall

Deep Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor

After protecting the skirting boards I gave the floor a deep clean using Tile Doctor Remove and Go to strip off any remaining sealers. This was left to soak in for twenty minutes then scrubbed in using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad then rinsed off with clean water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. I was careful not to use too much water as the owner had just converted the cellar below into a games room and was worried it may cause damp in the ceiling. There were a few tiles that needed replacing so we fixed and grouted them in before leaving the floor to fully dry off overnight

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

We returned next morning and tested for damp with a damp meter to make sure the floor was ready to seal. Everything was fine so we proceeded to seal the Victorian tiles with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to enhance the colour of the floor before applying a further six coats of Seal and Go which is ideal for these type of tile.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning in Grappenhall

The customer was made up with the result we had made to her hallway, I only wish I had managed to take better pictures of the floor so you could appreciate it as much as she did.
 
 

Restoring Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles in Cheshire



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Slate Shower Cubicle Cleaned and Sealed to Achieve Natural Look Finish in Kidlington


Just Southwest of Bicester, Kidlington is one of the largest villages in England with a population of nearly 14,000. There are a lot of amenities, making it a great place for families to make their homes and I recently visited the area to see a customer with a Slate tiled shower cubicle in need of restoration.

Slate Bathroom Kidlington Before Cleaning Slate Bathroom Kidlington Before Cleaning

It’s not unusual to get asked to restore natural stone shower cubicles because they can suffer with mould, water marks and Limescale issues and can easily get into poor condition. Quite a lot of these problems can be avoided by rinsing the tiles down after a shower to remove traces of shampoos and soaps and ensuring the room has adequate ventilation. If you want to read more on this subject take a look at http://shower.tilecleaning.co.uk/

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

The first process involved in restoring this cubicle was to cover the entire area in Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a multi-purpose cleaner designed to strip away any old sealers, synthetic finishes, adhesives and paint stains. It also helps to draw out ingrained stains and remove heavy grease build-up.

The product was left to dwell for roughly ten minutes before I scrubbed it into the tiles and grout with a stiff hand brush. Next, I rinsed the area with water to remove traces of chemicals and wiped it dry with a cloth.

Following this, I covered the tiles with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner formulated to remove grout smears and mineral deposits such as Limescale. The product was scrubbed into the grout a couple of times, before the area was rinsed again with water and wiped dry with a cloth. Grout Clean-up is an acidic product and so shouldn’t be left on stone for too long as it can damage it.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

To seal the Slate, I used Tile Doctor Stone Oil, which is an easy-to -apply, impregnating sealer that is particularly effective on low porosity stone. It is formulated to restore the naturally dark colour and patina in the stone.

To finish I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that gives a natural look finish to the slate. I applied the sealer with a lint-free cloth, left it for about 30 minutes to cure and then wiped off any excess with a clean cloth.

Slate Bathroom Kidlington After Cleaning Slate Bathroom Kidlington After Cleaning

The results were fantastic and the customer was especially pleased with the clean, natural look the sealer had given the Slate.
 
 

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle Restoration in Kidlington



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Full restoration of a Lino Covered Quarry Tiled Kitchen floor in Cambridge


This job was for a lovely old lady in Cambridge, her kitchen floor had been covered with a wood effect Lino thirty years earlier and she felt it was time to have it removed and have the original Kitchen Quarry tiles underneath restored.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Covered with Lino Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Covered with Lino Cambridge

The lino was good quality having stood the test of time however to ensure the lino didn’t sink into the grout lines the whole floor had been levelled with some sort of screed which would need to be carefully removed.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor with Lino Removed Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor with Lino Removed Cambridge

Removing the Linoleum covering and cleaning the floor

My first task was to carefully scrape off as much of the linoleum covering as possible without damaging the floor beneath. I managed toe remove most of the screed by lightly chipping away with a chisel and hammer followed by a blade to scrape as much screed as possible off the tile and grout.

To deal with the remaining screed I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is an acidic product and needs to be applied with care. It was scrubbed in using a rotary machine running on slow speed and fitted with a black scrubbing pad. To remove the soil I used our truck mounted hot water extraction machine which applies hot water under pressure with a special lance that simultaneously extracts the waste back to a tank on the van.

The last stage of cleaning was to apply a coat of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to remove any previous sealer that may still be present on the tile. As well as using the scrubbing machine I also used a stiff brush along the grout lines as well. Final step was another rinse with the truck mounted extraction machine before leaving the floor to dry off fully overnight.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Cambridge

Sealing Kitchen Quarry Tiles

When I returned to the property I used a damp meter to test the floor, making sure that the surface was dry enough to commence sealing (as any excess solution can affect the performance of the sealer). My sealer of choice was Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra, a topical sealer which works well on Quarry tiles restoring appearance and providing a nice finish along with durable protection. This particular sealer is also suitable for floors where damp maybe an issue and with an old floor like this installed before the invention of Damp Proof Membranes choosing the right sealer is very important to avoid issues with efflorescence.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Cambridge

The floor was completely transformed and the client was extremely happy with the out come and even left the following lengthy testimonial on the Tile Doctor Feedback system which is always appreciated.

“Tom did excellent work on quite a tricky job. Our kitchen tiles are over sixty years old. Tom took up and disposed of our old kitchen Lino, removed the layers of concrete screed, then buffed, glossed and sealed the original tiles until they shone like new! The natural salts worked their way to the surface of the tiles just like Tom said would happen, and a fortnight later Tom returned to re-surface and re-gloss the tiles. The floor now looks great. Tom was very professional throughout and the work was no easy job to accomplish, so he has done a great job. We are very pleased with our kitchen floor, which now has a new lease of life. I would recommend the Tile Doctor if you need a floor restored at any time.
Miss Webber, Cambridge 02 August 2017”
 
 

Restoring a Quarry Tiled Floor Hidden under Vinyl in Cambridge



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Botched Yorkstone Tiled Floor Instalation Resolved in Guiseley


In an interesting turn of events, I was recently contacted again by a homeowner from Guiseley, near Leeds, with whom I had been in touch with two years prior. At that time, I had quoted for cleaning and maintenance work to be carried out on a Yorkshire Stone, or ‘Yorkstone’ tiled floor, but the customer had opted to go with a different company. Yorkstone is a variety of Sandstone that it unique to the quarries of Yorkshire.

When the customer called me again, she explained that the previous work – most likely carried out by inexperienced cowboy builders – had been disastrous. The stone evidently had not bene properly cleaned and very little sealer had been used to protect it against wear and tear. The result was a very dirty and dusty floor – and the only solution was to start the restoration process over again, this time with the help of a true professional!

Here’s a photo of what the floor looked like before the restoration:

Yorkshire Stone Floor Guiseley Leeds Before Cleaning

Cleaning Dull and Dirty Yorkstone Tiles

Since the floor had not been cleaned properly to begin with, there were several unsightly paint stains on the stone in addition to general dirt and stains. To remove these, I applied Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a reliable alkaline cleaner, liberally across the floor and left it dwell for a short period. I then used a wire brush to scrub away the muck.

The customer had asked the builder to grout the tiles to reduce the likelihood of trapped dirt and make the floor feel complete. For whatever reason, builder either wouldn’t or couldn’t oblige, so I grouted the whole floor as well, much to the customer’s delight.

Sealing Yorkstone Tiles

Once the floor was fresh and clean, it was left to dry completely so it could subsequently be sealed.

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a topical sealer which provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable and aesthetically-pleasing low-sheen finish to really enhance the character of the stone. Four coats of sealer were used in total to ensure maximum protection.

Here’s what the floor looked like after the restoration:

Yorkshire Stone Floor Guiseley Leeds After Cleaning

After cowboy builders had botched the job, the customer was exceptionally happy that the situation had finally been put right. The floor is now in top shape and will be protected against wear and tear for a long time to come.
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty Yorkstone Tiled Floor in North Yorkshire



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Polishing and Sealing a Dirty Limestone Kitchen Floor in Cobham


This customer, who lives in the small village of Cobham had the unique situation of having been abroad for six months, leaving her adult children in charge of the house. During this time, the fantastic Limestone tiled floor in the kitchen had not received adequate maintenance and its appearance had rapidly degraded. To make the situation worse, it seemed to me that the wrong products had been used on the rare occasions that it had been cleaned.

With the customer now back in the UK and living in the house again, he was keen to have the Limestone tiles restored to their original condition. He contacted me to get the job done.

Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham Before Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Polishing Dirty Limestone Kitchen Tiles

My first task was to tackle the dirty grout lines between the Limestone tiles, which were brown and stained. Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is our reliable alkaline-based tile cleaner, was applied with a grout brush and the stains immediately vanished.

The next stage of the restoration involved polishing the Limestone using our four-pad Tile Doctor diamond-encrusted burnishing pad system. Firstly, I applied a Coarse 400 grit pad to strip away what remained of the old sealer which had been worn down in the high traffic areas of the floor. I then applied the Medium 800 grit and Fine 1500 grit pad to gradually close the pores of the stone which, in turn, restores the polished effect.

Each pad is used in combination with a small amount of water and any excess moisture is removed with a wet vacuum. To end the first day of work, I left the floor to dry and arranged to return in 48 hours to finish the job with sealing.

Sealing Limestone Kitchen Tiles

Upon my return, I ran some quick damp tests to check the floor could be sealed and quickly polished the surface again using a soft white nylon pad to remove the paw prints caused by the customer’s dog in the interim period!

Next, using a small quantity of water, I used the Very Fine 3000 grit burnishing pad to hone the stone to its highest possible quality. Once dry, I applied to the floor two coats of Ultra- Seal, which is a penetrating sealer designed to provide maximum stain protection while providing a natural look finish. One final polish later and the restoration was complete.

Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham After Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham After Cleaning

Here’s what the customer said:

“Very professional service, very thorough, and careful with moving furniture. Very informative about the ongoing care and treatment of the flooring. Would most certainly recommend Rupert.”

Professional Tile Cleaning, Polishing and Sealing for a Dirty and Stained Limestone Kitchen Tiled Floor Restoration in Cobham



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Dull Travertine Tiles Polished and Sealed in Durham


It can be very frustrating to put effort into regularly cleaning natural stone floor tiles without achieving effective, long-lasting results. This recent customer of mine, who lives in the beautiful city of Durham in north east England, had attempted to maintain the appearance of her Travertine tiled living room floor but it had, nonetheless, become dull and lifeless in many areas.

Travertine Floor in Durham Before Cleaning

The customer’s choice to use a steam mop regularly had caused more harm than good, as the steam damaged the sealer and exposed the stone to ingrained dirt and stains. I was asked to restore the floor back to its original condition and provide advice on the correct cleaning techniques and products for aftercare.

Travertine Floor in Durham Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Travertine Tiled Living Room Floor

To begin the restoration, I used our Tile Doctor burnishing system, which consists of applying four different diamond encrusted pads to restore the sheen to the stone and rid it of any dirt. Starting with a Coarse grit pad to grind away the dirty layer, I subsequently moved on to the Medium and Fine grit pads to gradually polish the floor. Each pad is applied with water to help lubricate the process and the resultant soil is rinsed off after each pad application.

Next, I cleaned the grout carefully using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with a stiff grout brush, Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner that works really well on grout. The floor was left to dry overnight.

Returning the following day, I applied the fourth and final burnishing pad which is a Very Fine 3,000 grit to achieve the best possible sheen. Water is liberally spayed onto the tile during the application of the last pad in what we call a Spray Burnish action.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Living Room Floor

The final step of the restoration was to seal the tiles. I did this using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, our impregnating sealer which not only protects the stone, but also rejuvenates its appearance and colour. I then gave the floor another quick buff with a white buffing pad for good measure.

After completing the work, I gave the customer some advice on aftercare. I recommended that she use Tile Doctor Stone Soap in combination with warm water for future cleaning as it is not only reliable, but also helps to maintain the natural patina of the stone. The solution should be gently mopped onto the floor.

Travertine Floor in Durham After Cleaning Travertine Floor in Durham After Cleaning

As you can see from the after photos, the work made a huge difference to the appearance of the Travertine tiles and the customer was very happy with the finished result.

Travertine Floor in Durham After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Tile Cleaning, Polishing and Sealing for a Dirty and Dull Travertine Living Room Tiled Floor Restoration in Durham



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Removing Limescale from Polished Black Marble floor tiles in a Baldock Bathroom


This customer in Baldock, North Hertfordshire has a beautiful Black Marble bathroom floor which unfortunately was far from looking its best due to a build-up Limescale. Normally this can be removed with an acidic cleaning product however Marble like all natural stones is acid sensitive would be damaged in the process.

Black Polished Marble Bathroom Floor in Baldock Before Limescale Removal

The only way to remove the Limescale would be to polish it off using a set of diamond pads which would also restore a high shine finish to the Marble floor tiles.

Removing Limescale from Polished Black Marble

The first step before starting the process was to cover the threshold edges, skirting’s and doors with tape to protect it from splashing etc. Next we used a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean which is an alkaline tile and grout cleaner with hand brushes to clean-up the thin gout lines and remove any grit from the floor.

The floor was then rinsed with fresh water to remove the now soiled cleaning product and also steam cleaned to neutralise floor. The water was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum.

Honing Black Marble to Restore Polish

To bring back the natural shine we honed the floor using a series of diamond-encrusted burnishing pads. Firstly, I applied a Coarse 400 grit pad to strip away what remained of the old sealer and Limescale, rinsing the floor afterwards. I then applied the Medium 800 grit and Fine 1500 grit pad to gradually close the pores of the stone which, in turn, restores the polished effect. Again each pad is used in combination with a small amount of water and any excess moisture is removed with a wet vacuum. The final 3,000 grit pad brings up a really deep shine and is applied with small amounts of water sprayed onto the tile.

Sealing Polished Black Marble Tiles

After drying the floor the Marble tiles were sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t alter the appearance of the stone and protects it from staining by occupying the pores in the stone.

The last step was to buff the Marble tiles with a white buffing pad.

Black Polished Marble Bathroom Floor in Baldock After

The floor now looks fantastic and you can really see your reflection in the shine of the black Marble tiles.
 
 

Limescale Removed from Polished Black Marble Floor in Baldock



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Repairing a Scratched Slate Tiled Kitchen floor in Weybridge


This property owner in Weybridge recently had a new fridge delivered by a well-known electrical retailer that has an unusual policy of not protecting its customers’ floors when installing heavy appliances. Predictably, the lack of care and consideration resulted in multiple unsightly scratches being left on the fantastic Slate tiled floor, mostly notably in front of the dishwasher, which was also newly installed.

Understandably, the property owner was not best pleased. He was keen to have the situation remedied as soon as possible. At Tile Doctor, we not only provide tile cleaning services but we also have the experience and equipment to hand all sorts of related issues including the restoration of scratched tiles. Happy to help. I travelled over to Weybridge to address the problem.

Scratched Slate Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Weybridge

Repairing and Sealing a Damaged Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

The surface of the stone was damaged and the only way to repair it without the repair standing out was to strip and polish the whole floor. I therefore began the restoration by stripping the whole floor of its old sealer. The customer had marked all the deep scratches he wanted to have removed with sticky notes. I explained to him that burnishing, a type of polishing carried out using diamond encrusted handheld blocks in combination with a little water, would be perfect for this job.

The process of burnishing essentially grinds away the damaged layer and then re-polishes the stone, the process would remove the scratches and rebuild the shine. It involves the application of different grades of pads from coarse to extra fine and a little water to lubricate the process followed by a rinse with more water in-between each pad to remove the slurry generated by the process. After burnishing the floor is left polished but damp, however to save time I able to speed dry the whole floor using a powerful industrial air mover.

Once the floor was dry the final task was to re-seal the tiles. I did this using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour intensifying, impregnating sealer which soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within against ingrained dirt and stains for many years to come.

Scratched Slate Floor Tiles After Cleaning Weybridge

The customer was very satisfied with the service provided and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Great advice, open, honest and helpful. Turned up on time, explained the job well and it looks great. Very happy with the process and the finished results.”
 
 

Professional Repair of a Scratched Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Surrey



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Original Victorian Tiles Restored at B&B in Bude


Bude is a lovely coastal resort in North Cornwall and is home to several B&Bs for visitors to the area. It became popular during the latter half of Queen Victoria’s reign, as sea bathing became a popular trend amongst the upper and middle classes, and as a result there are plenty of period houses.

In fact, I was recently contacted by a lucky Bed and Breakfast owner who had uncovered this late Victorian tiled hallway and entrance lobby which was around a hundred years old during renovation work. It had been under carpet for at least twenty years and had a variety of stains including paint, tar and glue!

The customer rightly wanted to reinstate it as a showpiece to greet clients upon entering the upmarket guesthouse but had no luck trying to remove stains themselves and had spent many hours on hands and knees but to no avail and were nearly ready to take the builder’s advice and cover it in a self-levelling cement and install a carpet throughout which would have been sacrilege!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

To begin with diamond-impregnated buffing pads were used with a rotary machine to scrub the floor and open up the pores. Small diamond hand blocks were also used to get into those difficult to reach areas such as corners and under the stairs.

Afterwards the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. This was followed by giving the floor an Acid rinse using Tile Doctor’s Acid Gel. This helped to remove old mineral deposits and residue from carpet underlay. I had to be careful not to leave the acid down for too long because these tiles are susceptible to acid damage. This is also a great product to use as par for the course on floors like this that don’t have a damp proof course (floors generally didn’t pre-1950s) and the acid will neutralise any salts coming rising up through the tile later.

Dealing with salt issues on these old floors (efflorescence) is essential because they can damage the sealer or become trapped under it, detracting from the beauty of the floor. Given the age of the house It’s difficult to know what the floor had been laid onto. Often it was compacted rubble and building works from the erection of the adjoining houses. Terraced and some of the later Victorian floors were laid on a wet limecrete scree which contain a high salt-content.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

Once the tiles had been cleaned, I rinsed the entire floor thoroughly using fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals, before leaving it to dry completely overnight.

Upon my return to the B&B the next day, I sealed the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection and intensifies the natural colours in the tile. It does this while leaving a natural-look matte finish which is befitting of a classic Victorian geometric patterned floor like this one.

Now cleaned and freshly sealed, the Victorian tiles will be in a much strong position to cope with the busy B&B season over the Summer. The owner was very pleased and I’m sure visitors to the B&B will be very impressed with this original feature!

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

As part of the package a cleaning and maintenance guide is provided once the work has been completed but unfortunately the owner’s uncle didn’t consult this when house-sitting and attempted to clean the floor with white spirit. Fortunately, I was able to return and improve the damage that was caused much to the owner’s relief and just in time for opening!
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Geometric Victorian Tiled Hallway at a Bude B&B



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Acid-Damaged Marble Shower Cubicle Restored in Leatherhead


Marble tiles are a fantastic choice of stone for a shower cubicle because of its distinctive characteristics and quality. It can really add a luxurious feel and when used in a bathroom take it to the next level.

However, it’s extremely important to note that Marble like all natural stone is a porous and acid-sensitive material. It must therefore be cleaned with care using suitable products. This particular Marble tiled shower cubicle at a property in Leatherhead is a good example of this done wrong. The owner had used an acid-based cleaning product to clean the stone, resulting in damage to the sealer and causing unappealing streaks to form.

Marble Shower Wall Leatherhead Before Cleaning

This type of damage can appear irreparable but, with the right combination of cleaning methods and products, it can be fixed. Once the old sealer has been removed, and the tiles have been cleaned, polished and re-sealed, they can look as a good as new. Here’s how I helped this customer restore the Marble shower cubicle.

Cleaning and Polishing a Marble Shower Cubicle

To begin the restoration, I scrubbed the dirty grout lines using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a highly reliable and multi-purpose alkaline-based product. I then rinsed the tiles with water to remove the traces of cleaning product.

Next, I moved on to the polishing stage of the restoration – what we often refer to as burnishing. This involved the use of small six-inch diamond-encrusted burnishing pads applied with a hand buffer and with different levels of grit – ranging from Coarse to Very Fine. I started with the Coarse grit pad and worked my way sequentially through our four-pad system, polishing the stone with Medium, Fine and eventually the Very Fine pad to really bring up the polish.

Sealing a Marble Shower Cubicle

Once the shine had returned to the Marble and the damage had been removed, I re-sealed the tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a penetrating sealer designed to enhance the natural colours and patina of the stone. Once dry, I gave the tiles a final polish with a white buffing pad to put the finishing touches on the restoration.

Marble Shower Wall Leatherhead After Cleaning

The customer was thrilled with the results, saying:
“I’m really happy with the result and we will make sure we don’t use supermarket cleaners again on natural stone. Rupert was a very personable tradesman who took pride in what he was doing. He has identified Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner as being the product we should have used in the first place and has sent me the website details.”
Another satisfied customer!
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Damaged Marble Tiled Shower Cubicle in Surrey



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Cleaning Dirty White Porcelain Floor Tiles in Windlesham


Photographs below from a lovely house in Windlesham where I was asked to do something about the Porcelain floor tiles which had become extremely dirty and were proving impossible to clean. Infact my customer was pulling her hair out about how to fix this issue of deeply ingrained muck and was on the verge of pulling the whole lot up.

Porcelain Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Windlesham

Porcelain Tile Cleaning

Normally Porcelain tiles are fairly easy to maintain and it’s just a question of keeping the grout clean however I have to confess these tiles were perplexing indeed. In fact to be honest…I tried every product in my van to get them clean, finally settling on Oxy Gel. I left it to soak on the floor for 30 minutes and then worked it in with an aggressive 200 grit pad.

I’m happy to report the transformation was amazing, all the muck was released from the tile and I was able to extract it from the floor using a wet vacuum. My last step was to give the grout a good scrub using more Oxy Gel, rinse off with water and extract as much moisture as possible with the wet vacuum.

Porcelain Tile Sealing

I speed dried the floor with an air mover and once the floor was dry I applied a coating of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal. Now Porcelain tiles don’t usually take a sealer however these tiles were unusual in that they were trapping dirt and it’s possible they were in fact micro-porcelain so a coat of sealer was added for good measure.

Porcelain Tiled Floor After Cleaning Windlesham

My customer was really pleased with the difference and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Here’s what she said-

“Rupert was a total professional from start to finish. I was worried as to how good he would be able to make the floor – the floor consists of almost white porcelain tiles, that my tiler had failed to seal. This meant they had absorbed dirt over the last two years – even after me scrubbing the floor, they always looked dirty. The room was big – a 24 feet long kitchen/dining room. But Rupert assured me he could get it clean again – and he was as good as his word. When I saw the room for the first time, I said “I have my new kitchen back – the floor looks as good as it did the day the tiler had put the tiles down”. He left everything clean and tidy after the job – I wish I had discovered your website 18 months ago ! Thank you, Rupert, brilliant work.””
 
 

Cleaning a tiled supermarket floor in East Sussex



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Lower Courtyard Slate Patio Cleaning in Brighton


Brighton is a great location to work with a huge variety of property styles and tile installation but being such a popular location parking can be an issue. We need to park our van physically close to the property so we can make use of our powerful Truck mounted cleaning system that weighs in at 3/4 of a tonne! It’s a really clever system that uses water under very high pressure to clean the stone whilst at the same time recovering the waste back to a storage tank in the van making it a very clean operation even in the most awkward conditions.

I thought I would mention this first as I was asked to deep clean and seal the lower ground level Slate tiled courtyard patio at this property in Brighton which was located down a small side street where people rarely moved their vehicles due to lack of spaces available. Fortunately I was aware of the issue and managed to overcome it by arranging a parking suspension with Brighton and Hove City Council allowing me to park my van.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Parking Suspension Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning

This patio was open to the elements and was also used by the owner’s dog. Further due to its inaccessibility it had never been cleaned apart from with the general hosepipe sprayer. Any kind of porous stone will over time become dirty and stained if the sealer is not maintained, sealers do fail eventually and usually in the highest traffic areas first where they become worn down the most.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning

Deep Cleaning Dirty Slate Patio

The first job was to pressure clean the entire area using the truck mounted system I mentioned earlier, it works well on patios removing all sorts of detritus that can build up over time.

With patio now clear I was able to see the condition of the slate which showed grout smears on the surface from installation as some stubborn staining that the pressure treatment had been unable to shift. To resolve this I mixed up a batch of Tile Doctor Cleaning Agent Oxy Gel together with Tile Doctor Acid Gel and applied it to all the problem areas. Liquids have a tendency to run (patios have a gentle slope to allow for rain run off) whereas Gel’s remain in place so they dwell on the problem areas longer and really get to work. I left the mixture in place for a short while before scrubbing it in with a stiff brush and then extracted it using truck mount system. The water from the truck mount also neutralised the acid which is important as you shouldn’t leave acid on natural stone for too long.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton During Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton During Cleaning

Sealing a Slate Patio

Fortunately there was no rain that night and being August also quite warm so I was pleased to find the Slate had tried off fully by the next day when we returned to seal it. To be certain however I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry and ready to be sealed. Once satisfied, I applied a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which works really well on Slate giving it that much needed protection against dirt and stains, along with a full lustre finish that enhances the character of the floor.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning

The client was elated both with the result and even more so after we explained how to maintain the look of the tiles with having a doggy in the house!

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning
 
 

Refurbishing a Slate Tiled Patio in East Sussex



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Rejuvenating a Slate Tiled Bar Area at a Pub in Leamington Spa


The Drawing Board is a Gastropub and bar in Leamington Spa with a fantastic homely aesthetic. Leamington Spa itself is a spa town in Warwickshire, home to The Royal Pump Rooms, the most famous of the spa baths that were opened in England in the late-18th and mid-19th centuries.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

I have eaten at the Drawing Board a few times in the past (great food!) and was really pleased to help the owner rejuvenate the Slate tiled floor in the bar area. He wanted the area cleaned and sealed to achieve a wet-look finish, however, because the pub is very popular amongst customers, I would only have a period of five hours to undertake the work. This meant an early morning start. I had carried out some maintenance work on the floor about 18 months ago, but during this time it had suffered a lot of foot traffic.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor in a Bar Area

To begin, I used our product called Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel, which is an effective cleaner and coatings stripper, to remove the old acrylic coat on the tiles. Being in a gel form it’s easy to manage and holds in position allowing it to dwell on the stone and get to work on breaking the existing sealer down. Once applied it was left to soak into the Slate and then scrubbed in using a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The floor was then rinsed with water and the now soiled Oxy-Gel and water was removed with a wet vacuum.

With the tiles stripped of any remaining coatings, I turned my attention to the deep cleaning the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner. The product was diluted with water and then scrubbed in manually using a stiff brush.

Following this, I rinsed the whole floor with fresh, cold water to remove any traces of product. Air movers were then installed to speed dry the stone as I needed to move quickly with only five hours to get the job done.

Once the floor was completely dry, I was able to seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor High Shine, which is a a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers designed to protect and enhance the appearance of natural stone whilst leaving a high sheen finish. Another advantage of the sealer is that being water based it leaves no smell as it dries which was important as being a pub we didn’t want to put the customers off.

Slate Tiled Floor After Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

I think you will agree the Slate floor looks significantly better and the new sealer will provide them with the protection they need to withstand heavy foot traffic. The owner of the pub was very pleased indeed!

Slate Tiled Floor After Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant
 
 

Commercial Natural Stone Floor Maintenance at a Leamington Spa Public House



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Lustre Restored to Dirty Slate Tiles in Thaxted


The single most important thing you need to do after having a new natural stone floor installed is to seal the tiles. The sealant acts as a barrier of protection for the stone against ingrained dirt, so without it the floor will become very difficult to keep clean.

This is the exact problem faced by my recent customer, who lives in the town of Thaxted in North Essex. Thaxted is a very historic place with over 1000 years of history and several fantastic medieval houses. The Slate kitchen tiles in the property had not been sealed after installation and, despite Slate being naturally durable and hard wearing, the tiles had quickly become dull and difficult to keep clean.

Despite valiant efforts at a DIY restoration, the customer required our professional assistance with deep cleaning and sealing the tiles to restore them back to their best condition.

Slate Tiled Floor Thaxted Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Slate Tiled Floor

To begin the cleaning process, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go across the floor and scrubbed it in using a slow speed rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. Remove and Go is a multi-purpose product: it strips away any old sealer, adhesive and paint stains, and draws out ingrained stains and removes heavy soil build-up. The resulting slurry was then removed using a wet-vac machine.

Next, I focused my attention on the dirty grout lines, treating them with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was then scrubbed in along the grout line using a stiff brush.

There was still evidence of some grout haze on the stone following installation some years back so the floor was then treated to an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner designed to life grout smears haze (smears).

Once done I pressure washed the floor using a specialised spinning tool which blasts the tiles and grout with water to remove ingrained dirt from the most difficult-to-reach areas in the stone. The water is subsequently vacuumed back into a holding tank in my van without causing any splashing or overspill.

Sealing a Slated Tiled Floor

The customer was keen for the restoration to be finished within the space of a single day, so I installed a few Dri-Pod floor dryers to get the floor dry and ready to be sealed in no time. We typically leave at least 24 hours for these types of floors to dry naturally, but in this scenario the floor dryers were able to remove any excess moisture.

To complete the restoration, I applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra to the floor to seal it. This a special acrylic-based sealer that protects the stone and allows for moisture vapour transmission. The makes it ideal for situations in which no damp proof membrane has been installed.

The addition of the sealer gave the floor a beautiful lustre – as you can see from the photos below – and will make the floor much easier to keep clean in the future. After months of difficulty, the customer was over the moon that the floor had finally been restored to its peak condition.

Slate Tiled Floor Thaxted After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty Slate Tiled Floor in Essex



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Travertine Wet Room with Leakage Problem Restored in Harrogate


Travertine is a distinct and highly aesthetic material which offers unique characteristics and colouring that not many other types of stone can offer. It looks great when used on tiled floors and in this case shower cubicles however like any natural stone it does need maintenance.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

A good example of this point was this Travertine wet room in Harrogate, which comprised of large format Travertine tiles on the floor and Travertine mosaic tiles on the walls. It was in poor condition and to make things worse had been leaking for years. A local plumber had tried to resolve the leak, but to no avail. At this point, the property owner was desperately searching for a solution, and decided to contact me to see what could be done both to restore the appearance of the wet room and fix the leakage.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Wet Room

On first inspection of the wet room, l couldn’t see any obvious problems that might be causing the leak, however the white silicon did look a bit questionable and had already decided that would need replacing. To start I turned my attention to cleaning the whole shower cubicle, including the tile and grout.

I did this by applying Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline cleaner, to remove the mould, soap scum and dyes caused by daily exposure to acidic soap and shampoos. These issues can build up exceptionally quickly if care is not taken to regularly rinse down the shower after each use.

During this process, I noticed grout haze had been left on the surface of the tiles following installation and so treated the problem with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of hydrochloric and phosphoric acid in gel form. Being a gel, this product works particularly well on vertical surfaces because it is easier to control.

The next step was to resolve the leakage problem, starting by removing all the old and unattractive white silicon. When l removed the silicon, I could see that it was black with mould at the back. It was clear to me then that water was getting behind it and this was the cause of the leak. Also, this revealed a 2-3mm gap between the wall and the base of the shower. The gap was damp and mould had collected there, so this needed to be scraped out manually and the gap dried with a heat gun. Finally, l filled the gap with grout to seal it and left the wet room to dry overnight.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Wet Room

The next day, I returned to the property and sealed the grout with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal. This is a premium, natural-look, penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection and allow moisture vapour transmission. To finish the restoration, I applied fresh, clear silicon around the base.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate After Cleaning

In my opinion, white silicon should never have been used with stone, as clear silicon is far more suitable and more pleasing to the eye. Certainly, my customer agreed – and she was very pleased with the result and no more leak.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Travertine Tiled Wet Room in North Yorkshire



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Restoring Limestone Tiles Sealed With Brown Wood Sealer in Tewksbury


Slightly different story for you below; this time from the medieval town of Tewksbury which dates all the way back to the 8th century. A customer there had asked if there was anything that could be done to restore the appearance of their polished Limestone kitchen floor on which he had previously applied a wood sealer which had turned the tiles brown.

I inspected the floor and ran a test clean on a small section of tile which successfully removed the wood seal. This gave the customer the confidence to book me into to complete the job which I estimated would take three days to strip off the old sealer, deep clean and reseal with a more appropriate product.

Limestone Tiles Sealed With Brown Wood Sealer before restoration in Tewksbury

You probably can’t appreciate how bad the tiles looked from the photograph above but if you look at the indicated area under the kitchen units where the kick boards have been removed you can really see how the brown stain in the wood sealer has darkened the look of the tile.

Removing Old Sealers from Limestone Kitchen Floor

On the first day I prepared the area by removing the kick boards from the underneath the kitchen units so they wouldn’t get affected by the cleaning process and started wetting the floor with water. The water lubricates the burnishing process whereby coarse diamond encrusted pads are applied to the floor with a buffing machine. We started the process using a very coarse 100 grit milling pad to remove the wood sealer before moving onto the finer pads from 200 grit, 400 grit, 800 grit and finally 1500 grit pad building the finish of the floor as we progressed. The floor is rinsed with water between pads and the slurry is removed using a wet vacuum.

This burnishing process took up all of the first day so the next day I returned to focus on the edges I had missed and the grout lines, being a relatively small format tile for Limestone there was a lot of grout to cover. I tacked the grout lines with Remove and Go which is a powerful stripper and cleaning agent which is applied along the grout line and then scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush before being rinsed away with water. The edges were treated with a set of small six inch milling pads fitted to a hand held buffing machine in a similar process as on the first day.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

On the third and final day the floor was spray burnished which a process is involving a very fine 3,000 grit floor burnishing pad and a little water spayed onto the floor during the application. This process really tightens up the pores in the stone and restores its appearance.

After making sure the floor was free of any lose grit I then proceeded to seal the Limestone with Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t alter the appearance of the stone but penetrates into the pores of the stone to protect it from within. I left it to dry for an hour then buffed the floor with a white buffing pad before apply a second coat. This was also left to dry for an hour before running the buffing pad over for a last time.

Limestone Tiles Sealed With Brown Wood Sealer After restoration in Tewksbury

It took a fair amount of work to get the floor looking back the way it was meant to be but I’m very pleased with the outcome and more importantly my customer was really happy.

Limestone Tiles Sealed With Brown Wood Sealer After restoration in Tewksbury
 
 

Professional Limestone Floor Polishing and Sealing in Gloucestershire



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Annual Maintenance of a Victorian-Era Quarry Tiled School Floor in Oundle


It was back in 2013 that I first visited this school in Oundle to attend to a 150-year old Victorian Quarry tiled floor which, at the time, had extensive problems with damp and a poor performing sealer that had gradually peeled away.

Victorian Quarry Tiles Oundle School in 2012

Over a few weeks, we successfully stripped away the old and ineffective sealant and addressed the damp issues, before applying a breathable sealer. We subsequently allowed the tiles to successfully dry out for several months before returning to the school to provide a light clean and apply our topical sealer, known as Tile Doctor Seal and Go, as the school required a shiny, yet hard-wearing finish.

I posted a story on my website about this original job, which you can see here:

150 Year Old Quarry Tile Restoration in Northants School

As part of my initial visit, I had supplied the school with five litres of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, which is a pH neutral formula designed for regular use, and a white buffing pad. I had also spent an hour with their in-house cleaner (who was already familiar with using a buffing machine) to talk through daily maintenance of the floor, as over 100 children can be walking over these floors at any one time on an almost daily basis.

Of course, not every floor will receive this amount of traffic and suffer from this level of wear and tear, but in these situations Tile Doctor can offer a maintenance plan for our customers.

Victorian Quarry Tiles Oundle School in 2013

Cleaning and Sealing Quarry Tiles for Maintenance

The school have me back annually to carry out a full maintenance clean and seal. This involves, firstly, etching the top coats of sealant with a green diamond-encrusted burnishing pad to remove any build-up of dirt and staining. Then, I rinse the whole floor with fresh water and soak up the residue with a wet vacuum.

After drying the area with fans, I proceed to reapply two fresh coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go. This is now my fourth year of visiting the school and, as the photos show, an annual maintenance plan is the best way to keep floors in top condition without the disruption caused by a full clean or restoration.

Victorian Quarry Tile After Maintenance Oundle School in 2017

Contact your local Tile Doctor consultant about the maintenance plan we offer for any natural stone flooring after an initial clean.
 
 

Professional Victorian Quarry Tiled Floor Maintenance at a School in Oundle



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