Dirty Wax Sealed Quarry and Terracotta Floor Renovated in Bucklebury


I was recently asked to survey the floors at a substantial property in Bucklebury which used to be a school. At some point in the 1970’s there was a major makeover and the property was converted into two houses. During the conversion a combination of Terracotta and Quarry tiles were installed throughout the ground floor and then sealed with what we believed was a wax-based product. Although Wax was a traditional sealant for Terracotta there are better modern sealers available now that are designed for the job and so we don’t recommend it. In this case the wax had deteriorated over the years and left the tiles looking tired and dirty.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury Before Cleaning Terracotta Tiled Floor Bucklebury Before Cleaning

After reviewing the flooring, I demonstrated cleaning the tile and grout which went well and impressed the customer who after living with the floor looking dirty for some time was eager for the job to be completed. I gave the customer a price for renovating the whole floor which was agreed, and we set a date for the work to commence.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury Before Cleaning

Cleaning Dirty Quarry and Terracotta Tiles

My first job was to strip off what remained of the wax sealer using Tile Doctor Remove and Go and a new Tile Doctor product called Wax Away which has been specifically designed for dealing with wax. Both products had very similar effects and together striped off the old coating with little issue. Of the two products my preference to use Wax Away as it foamed less when wet extracting with a spinner tool.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury During Cleaning

After applying the Wax Away, I left it to dwell for fifteen minutes re-applying more product when it began to dry out. Leaving it to dwell allows it to penetrate the wax and weaken it so it’s easier to remove. I then used a 17-inch black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine to scrub the solution into the tiles. Finally, I used a spinner tool fitted to a hot water pressure extraction system that is housed in my van to rinsed away and extract the resulting slurry.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury During Cleaning

After the floor was clean, I set to work on the grout lines that still had traces of embedded wax sealer. The floor pads can struggle to reach into the recesses of the grout, so the solution is to use a stiff grout brush and scrub them clean by hand assisted with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is out go to grout cleaning product.

As a last step in the cleaning process I gave the floor and Acid Wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up. I did this to further clean the floor and to neutralise Its pH after using so many high alkaline cleaning products.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury After Cleaning Terracotta Tiled Floor Bucklebury During Cleaning

Sealing Quarry and Terracotta Tiles

I returned at the end of the week and checked that the moisture levels of the floor, we always do this to ensure the floor is dry before sealing and would not recommend sealing a damp floor as the results can be patchy. The readings were spot on, so I was able to get a started.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Bucklebury After Sealing

The customer wanted to keep the rich terracotta colours in the tile and wanted a sheen, so I selected Tile Doctor Seal and Go as the sealer. To fully seal the tiles, I used six coats on the smaller Quarry tiles and nine coats on the large Mexican Terracotta tiles. Seal and Go is a modern water-based acrylic sealer that provides both a stain resistant seal and a durable low-sheen finish, also being water based it doesn’t give off a smell as it dries.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Bucklebury After Sealing

The result was a huge improvement, needless to say my customer was very pleased and left the following feedback.

”I had a large quarry/terracotta tiled floor in kitchen/conservatory badly in need of cleaning. Dennis did an incredible job. He was very efficient and the result is outstanding, very happy to recommend”

 

Professional Renovation of a Large Quarry and Terracotta Floor in Berkshire



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Reclaimed Painted Quarry Tile Floor Basildon


We suspect that the Old Quarry tiles laid in the conservatory of this Victorian house in Basildon, had been reclaimed from other areas of the property as the age of the tile didn’t match the time the conservatory was installed. Not only were the quarry tiles old but they had been covered in layers of red tile paint by previous home owners. This had now begun to crack and chip and look unpleasant, so the customer wanted the old paint removed and the tiles sealed for a more natural look.

Reclaimed Painted Quarry Tile Basildon Before Restoration

I headed over to Basildon to take a look at the Quarry Tiled Floor; Basildon in Berkshire is not to be confused with the large town of Basildon in Essex, this Basildon is approximately 7 miles west of reading and is made up of the two small villages of Upper and Lower Basildon. Having taken a look at the tiles and run some tests I was confident that the floor could be restored successfully I gave them a quote for the work, which was accepted, and a date agreed for me to return and get the work done.

Reclaimed Painted Quarry Tile Basildon Before Restoration

Removing Tile Paint From a Quarry Tiled Conservatory Floor

The first job was to tackle the layers of tile paint. Fortunately for me the paint had weakened over time and was fairly flaky in places which meant I could carefully peel away the dry paint with a blade attached to a scraper. This was a slow process but reduced the amount of mess that would have been produced if I was to use chemicals from the start.

Reclaimed Painted Quarry Tile Basildon During Restoration

Once I had removed all I could by hand the remaining paint that had fallen into the grooves and grout joints had to be removed using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a coatings remover designed for use on tile, stone and grout. The process worked well but I had issues with the product drying out due to the sheer heat in the conservatory (must have been 30 degrees and above!). The Tile Doctor Remove and Go works best when it is left to dwell on the tiles for some time. To overcome this obstacle, I applied Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU Remover and covered it over with plastic sheeting to stop it drying out too quickly.

Reclaimed Painted Quarry Tile Basildon During Restoration

The HBU Remover which stands for Heavy Build Up, did the trick and after a couple of hours the tiles where ready to be cleaned using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and then rinsed off. The soiled water was then removed using a wet vacuum and after a further rinse was left to dry off overnight. Thankfully the high temperatures worked in our favour and helped dry the floor out and when I returned the next day it was ready to seal.

Sealing a Reclaimed Painted Quarry Tiled Conservatory Floor

The customer had decided on a matt finish, so I applied three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a impregnating sealer that leaves the desired finish and has the advantage of intensifying the natural colour of the quarry tiles.

Reclaimed Painted Quarry Tile Basildon After Restoration

Overall the customer was very happy with the outcome and left the following feedback:

“Very happy with the end product, the tiles came up very clean once the paint was removed. Dennis was very professional and kept the working area clean and tidy. He kept us informed throughout the work. Will certainly use again and recommend to friends”

Reclaimed Painted Quarry Tile Basildon After Restoration

 

Professional Restoration of a Painted Quarry Tiled Conservatory in Berkshire



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Soiled Yellow and Black Victorian Quarry Tile Restoration


These Yellow and Black Quarry tiles are though to be original feature of this Victorian house in Reading and the owner was keen to get them renovated. The tiles were in basement of the house and over the years the tiles had suffered from water damage due to various small floods, they were now heavily soiled and the most challenging task would be to remove a large build up of mortar and cement.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading

I ran a test clean in a corner of the smallest room to demonstrate the cleaning process and although confident I could significantly improve the appearance of the Quarry tiles. I had to explain to my customer that due to the years of neglect the outcome would not be perfect, however the test clean went well and the customer was happy with the outcome so booked me in to do the work.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading

Soiled Quarry Tile Cleaning

The first issue to tackle was to remove the dirt and ingrain soil which I did by scrubbing in a strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong tile and grout cleaner. The solution was left to soak in before ten minutes before being agitated with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. I then rinsed off the now soiled cleaning solution off using a hot water truck mounted extraction system.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles During Cleaning Reading

Now the ingrained dirt was taken care of, the most difficult task was to remove the cement/mortar built up that was covering a high percentage of the tiles. I did this using a combination of Tile Doctor products including Grout Clean-Up, Acid Gel and 50,100 grit diamond pads. I started with Grout Clean-up but found that Acid Gel worked better on this occasion. To deal with stubborn areas I left the Acid Gel to dwell overnight covered with plastic sheeting so it wouldn’t dry out.

The Acid Gel worked wonders and I was able to complete the cleaning process when I came back the next day giving the floor another rinse with the hot water extraction system. With the quarry tiles now clear I able to do a final spot check and used hand held burnishing blocks and very coarse 50 grit milling pad followed by a 100 grit diamond pad and another rinse to finish it off.

Quarry Tile Sealing

After leaving the floor to dry out over the weekend it was ready to be sealed. We had agreed on giving the Quarry Tiles a matt finish so I used three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a fully breathable colour enhancing sealer that works well on old clay tiles.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading

I’m happy to say the floor turned out very well considering its condition, certainly my customer was very happy with the outcome and left the following feed back on the Tile Doctor Feedback system.

“Fantastic job – completely revived our Victorian cellar tiles, the before and after photos accurately show the difference the work has made! Also impressed by Dennis’s communication and responsiveness to our needs with the work”.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading
 
 

Professional Restoration of old Victorian Quarry Tiles in Berkshire



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Deep Cleaning and Sealing a Beautiful Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Spencer’s Wood


Slate tiles do look incredible but like any natural stone you really need to maintain the sealer if you want them to stay that way. Unfortunately it’s usually the case that the sealer wears off overtime especially in the high foot traffic areas such as Kitchens and within a few years the tiles become dull with ingrained dirt.

This process happens so gradually it goes un-noticed until the floor becomes difficult to keep clean and a decision is made to have it sorted out. This was certainly the case with this Semi Riven Multicoloured Slate tiled kitchen floor at a house in the Berkshire village of Spencer’s Wood. The floor had been installed about fifteen years prior and over the years the Slate had become soiled to the point where domestic cleaners weren’t having any effect.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood

Cleaning Dirty Slate Kitchen Tiles

To begin the restoration I soaked the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and left it to dwell for about twenty minutes re-applying extra solution when it had dried. Remove and Go is our go to product for removing old coatings such as in this case sealers, although much of the old sealer had worn off it was still present in the less busy areas of the floor and to get an even final result I needed to ensure all of it was removed. Once the old sealer had started to weaken I agitated the product using a black pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. The rotary pad struggles to reach into the recesses of the grout lines so I also made sure to scrub the solution into the grout with a grout brush.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

I suspect there were multiple layers of sealer on this floor that had been applied over the years as some areas were proving particularly stubborn. Something stronger was going to be needed particularly in the grout lines. So I applied Tile Doctor HBU remover; HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up and allowed this to dwell for thirty minutes while I cleaned other areas.

Once I was satisfied that the Slate and the Grout was clean and clear of old sealers I gave the whole floor a rinse with water using a wet extraction machine. One the soiled cleaning solutions were removed you could really see the difference that the combination of cleaning products had made.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

The final step in the cleaning process was to give the floor an Acid Wash using a mild solution of Grout Clean-up which removes any surface grout (aka grout smears) and other mineral deposits from the slate to ensure they true beauty of the stone will be visible. Once this was removed the whole floor was rinsed with water to remove any trace of product and then dried as much as possible. After a final inspection the floor was left overnight to dry off fully.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

Sealing Slate Kitchen Tiles

Returning to the property the next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check for any excess moisture that might have prevented me from sealing the floor. We will always do this as excess moisture can affect the sealer curing.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Sealing Spencers Wood

The customer was very happy with the clean and the floor was dry so we discussed sealer options to find out their preference for Matt or Satin finish. With the decision made to go with a Satin finish I began the application of the Tile Doctor Seal and Go which enhances the look of the stone with an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish, as well as providing on-going protection against ingrained dirt and staining.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Sealing Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Sealing Spencers Wood

A total of five coats of Seal and Go were needed to seal the Slate tiles and as you can see from the photos the sealer really put the life back into the floor.
 
 

Rejuvenating a Semi Riven Multicoloured Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Berkshire



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Exterior Slate Patio Paving Tile Renovation in Thatcham


Details below of a job I completed earlier in the summer in the Berkshire town of Thatcham which is just east of Newbury. The customer had a lovely Slate Patio installed the year before which had not been sealed by the builder and it had since become dull, light grey and unpleasing to the eye. Additionally there was a haze on tiles from sand and cement that had been used to point between the paving which the customer couldn’t remove.

Exterior Slate Before Renovation Thatcham

I first went round there to take a look at the job and work out a price; we often get asked to quote over the phone but it’s really difficult to do that without look at the job as you never know how things are going to work out unless you do a test clean. In this case I was able to demonstrate the process to the customer on one of the paving tiles which you can easily pick out in the photographs below.

Exterior Slate Before Renovation Thatcham

Happy with the demonstration I was given the job to do the whole patio so I arranged to a date to come back and do the work.

Cleaning Slate Patio Paving

On my return the first job was to tackle the sand and cement haze that was covering much of the slate patio. Fortunately for me the builder had not sealed the tiles so this was just a straightforward case of applying a solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, leaving it to dwell for ten minutes and then scrubbing it into the paving with a mechanical scrubbing machine to release the sandy haze as well as breaking down the soils on the tiles.

You should be aware that Grout Clean-Up is an acid based product and Slate like most natural stone is acid sensitive so it’s important to remove it as soon as its done its job and rinse down the stone with water soon after.

To rinse the slate patio I used our specialist truck mounted systems which gently blasts the soils from the stone with hot pressurised water whilst simultaneously recapturing the waste back into a tank on the van. This action also neutralises the stones which is important before applying sealer. The Slate pavers were then allowed to dry and being a very hot day this only took a couple of hours.

Sealing a Slate Patio

After a long lunch I returned to find the Slate was dry but still looking rather grey so to restore the natural dark colours to the stone I applied a coating of Tile Doctor Stone Oil then after approximately 1 hour any excess stone oil was buffed off the tiles leaving it to fully dry off overnight.

The following day I returned to apply two liberal coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a solvent based no-sheen, natural-look penetrating sealer that will provide the needed protection from the elements and make it easier to clean in future.

Exterior Slate After Renovation Thatcham

My customer was very pleased with the final results and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“I had my patio and path cleaned and sealed. The service from the whole team has been exemplary from start to finish and I am delighted with the work that has been carried out. My particular thanks to Dennis who was friendly, helpful and exceptionally professional. He explained everything he was going to do and why, kept me informed throughout and worked really hard to produce a fantastic finish on my patio and path. I’m really grateful and will most definitely be recommending to friends. Thank you”

Exterior Slate After Renovation Thatcham
 
 

Restoring the Look of a Slate Paved Patio in Berkshire



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Restoring Damaged and Stained Original Victorian Tiles in Pangbourne


Pangbourne is a large village situated on the River Thames, about 4 miles west of Reading. The village has a long, rich history – dating back to at least the 9th century. There are still quite a number of Victorian-style houses located in the village, including one that I visited recently to carry out a Victorian tiled floor restoration.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune Before Cleaning

This floor had been hidden, unbeknownst to the property owner, under a linoleum covering for many years. Once the owner realised there was an original Victorian floor under the linoleum they were very keen to restore it as an original feature and stripped it off to expose the tiles, however, they were heavily covered in dirty, adhesive stains and other contaminants and we were asked to complete the job. You can see this in the photos below.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune Before Cleaning

At Tile Doctor, we are very experienced in restoring original Victorian tiles, so I was more than happy to help this customer transform her floor.

Cleaning a Dirty and Stained Victorian Tiled Floor

As I’ve mentioned, the top layer of this original Victorian tiled floor was marked with all manner of staining, so I decided that it would be suitable to use a set of 100 and 200 grit coarse Diamond pads fitted to a weighted machine and lubricated with a little water to grind away the damaged surface and restore the surface of the tiles.

I then cleaned the tiles using Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is our reliable alkaline-based cleaner for natural stone. This product really helped to break down and release the soils. Next, I rinsed the floor with hot water under low pressure to remove any remaining debris, dirt and contamination.

With the cleaning process completed, the floor was allowed to dry for a full 48 hours. In older properties like these dampness can be an issue as damp-proof membranes are a relatively modern invention and I didn’t want to take any chances.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

Returning to the property two days later, I ran some moisture tests to ensure the stone was completely dry and could be sealed. It’s always important to run damp tests on any tiled floor before sealing, since a small amount of excess moisture can undermine the performance of the sealer, and thus expose the floor to ingrained dirt and stains.

Thankfully, the floor proved dry and I could seal it using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which, as a topical sealer, offers a robust surface seal and an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish. It’s also water based so it doesn’t give off a smell as it dries.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune After Cleaning

As you can see from the after photos, the restoration returned the life and colour to this fantastic original Victorian tiled floor. The customer was absolutely thrilled with the result.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Stained Original Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Berkshire



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