Bitumen Stained Victorian Geometric Hallway Rejuvenated in Barrow in Furness


This old Victorian tiled Hallway floor, laid in a geometric pattern, at a house in Barrow in Furness was a challenging project. The tiles were extremely dirty and also stained with Black Bitumen which has been used as an adhesive, however we have come across these sorts of problems before and so I was confident it could be resolved.

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness

Deep Cleaning an Old Victorian Tiled Floor

I roped in Heidi and my son Lewis who spent a whole day cleaning with chemicals, steam, buffing pads and unfortunately the results were far from satisfactory; the customer wasn’t happy and Heidi wasn’t happy with it either. It was clear that the black bitumen had penetrated deep into the pores of the clay and becoming so embedded that no chemical or technique we were using would shift it fully.

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness

To top it off I had gone out earlier to tile the old mat well with matching tiles before we started the cleaning but due to the depth of the floor matt. The matt well was at least 35mm so it was clear I couldn’t use standard floor adhesive. I opted instead for a sand cement mix, similar to what the Victorians would have used originally. This filled up the depth and allowed me to tile and grout the same day, however overnight there was a bit of shrinkage and some of the new tiles settled unevenly.

Geometric floor before Milling Barrow in Furness

I racked my head for a solution to both issues and decided the best course of action would be to Mill the clay tiles to remove the Bitumen and smooth down the uneven effect of my tiling. This is not something we would normally do on a clay tile as this system can leave scratches which potentially would look worse that the dirt. After I had milled the Tiles down with a course pad fitted to a heavy buffing machine and removed all the issues I then counteracted any scratches left over using a higher grit milling pad. This solution fully resolved both issues leaving it ready for the final step of sealing.

Geometric floor After Milling Barrow in Furness

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and we returned the next day to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a matt finish, fully breathable and colour enhancing sealer which really lifts the colour of the stone or in this case clay tile. Colour Grow is impregnating – meaning that it penetrates the pores of the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt and stains. We recommend Colour Grow for both internal and external applications and especially for areas where no damp proof membrane is evident, since the sealer allows for the floor to breathe moisture.

Geometric floor After Restoration Barrow in Furness Geometric floor After Restoration Barrow in Furness

There were plenty of problems to overcome and It took a lot of work but I’m pleased to say the floor was transformed by our efforts and now looks fantastic and I’m sure has added a lot of value to this period property.
 
 

Hallway Restoration of Bitumen-Stained Victorian Floor in Barrow in Furness



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Old Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor Renovated at a Stacksteads Cottage near Backup


The pictures below were taken in the Kitchen of a charming cottage situated in the village of Stacksteads near the town of Backup, North of Manchester in the district of Rossendale. The flagstone floor was over 100 years old and the customer was unhappy with their appearance. They had tried to clean/mill and seal themselves a few years ago and had found the process hard work and very time consuming. This time round they decided to ask professional applicator at Tile Doctor for help.

Old Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Renovation in Stacksteads Backup

We had conducted a small patch test so we could show possible results to the customer. They had also advised us that they felt the stained areas of grout was beyond cleaning and would probably need replacing. However replacing the grout would have been quite an expensive option so instead of replacing we suggested deep cleaning the grout lines during the renovation process.

Old Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Renovation in Stacksteads Backup

The customers were happy with the results of the patch test so the job was booked in.

Deep Cleaning Old Flagstone Flooring

On our return visit we set about deep cleaning the flagstones using a strong dilution Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in using a Black Scrubbing pad fitter to a rotary cleaning machine. This action certainly gave the floor a good clean and removed the old sealer but some stains were proving stubborn to shift so we tried a stronger product called Remove and Go combined 50/50 with NanoTech HBU which add nano-sized abrasive particles to the mix.

We left the resulting formula to soak into the stone for a while and then scrubbed it into the floor with a stiff brush paying particular attention to the grout lines. This did the trick and so we then removed the now soiled and dirty cleaning products with a wet vacuum and washed down the floor with clean water to remove any trace of product and neutralise the floor before sealing. We then left for the evening so the floor could dry out fully overnight.

Old Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor During Renovation in Stacksteads Backup

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor

We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The Flagstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours of the stone.

Old Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor After Renovation in Stacksteads Backup

The beautiful colours of blue and dark sand were showing after sealing with Colour Grow which is the best sealer for stone floors. Certainly the customer was very happy with the results and left the following 5 star review!

We could not praise Kamila enough. Our flagstone floor was in desperate need of some TLC. She was punctual, thorough and completely professional. Throughout the whole process she invited me to see the progress and to keep me informed of what she was doing. She also gave us good advice on how to clean and care for our stone floor. The end result is fabulous and we are absolutely delighted. We would definitely recommend Kamila to anyone.
Jo H, Bacup

Old Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor After Renovation in Stacksteads Backup
 
 

Old Flagstone Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in South Lancashire



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Traditional Terracotta Kitchen Floor Renovated in Welwyn Garden City


The pictures below were taken at a beautiful Hertfordshire Lodge located on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden City where the traditional Terracotta Kitchen floor had lost its appeal and was now in need of renovation.

Welwyn Garden City is actually a new town that was created in the 1920 with an aim to create a modern garden city, the architecture is therefore fairly modern.

Terracotta Lodge Floor Tile Before Cleaning in Welwyn Garden City

Deep Cleaning Kitchen Terracotta Tiles

As usual the first step before starting the cleaning process was to clear the floor of as move furniture as practical and use protective tape to cover the threshold edges, skirting’s and doors and use a protective sheet to the fixed kitchen units.

To deep clean the Terracotta tiles and remove any trace of old sealers and waxes present a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied to the floor and left to soak in for about ten minutes. Then the solution was agitated using detail brushes along the grout lines and edges and polypropylene pads.

Once done the now soiled cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the tile and grout rinsed with fresh water.

This process removed most of the dirt and old coatings but more work was required so a further treatment using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong tile cleaner and sealer remove was applied and worked in using an orbital floor machine fitted with a scrubbing pad.

Again the soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the tile and grout given a steam clean to remove any trace of cleaning product residue. The floor was then left for two days to fully dry out.

Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Tiles

On our return the floor was checked for dampness before we proceeded to seal the floor; sealing damp tiles can result in a patchy finish so this is always worth checking.

To seal we gave the Terracotta tiles a primer coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that brings out the natural colours in the tile and by occupying the pores of the clay tile it stops dirt becoming ingrained. This was then followed by six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works really well on Terracotta and adds a nice satin sheen finish. The floor now looks much healthier and has really lifted the appearance of the kitchen.

Terracotta Lodge Floor Tile After Cleaning in Welwyn Garden City

Before leaving we advised the customer to avoid commercial acid based cleaning products as these are not appropriate for sealed Terracotta tiles. We suggest using a low alkaline/neutral PH product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner as this will maximise the life of the sealer and maintain the sheen of the tile.
 
 

Traditional Terracotta in the Kitchen Restored in Welwyn Garden City



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Cleaning a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor Tiles Preston


We often get asked to do a combination of jobs at Tile Doctor so we have to be prepared for the unexpected, like getting asked to clean an old Sandstone fireplace whilst your cleaning a Victorian tiled floor at a house in Preston. We normally charge extra for these types of jobs but it depends how much cleaning is required.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston Before Cleaning

This Fireplace had been in use for a number of years and due to its grainy texture was hard to keep clean, dirt and soot had built up on its surface and there was no sealer visible, either that or it had worn off with the heat.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Sandstone Fireplace

To clean the uprights and Hearth I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which being in Gel form and not a liquid, stays in place increasing dwell times and doesn’t drip where it shouldn’t. In this case I let it soak into the stone for about forty minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush and steam. Some marks were still visible after this process so we opted for using handheld Diamond blocks in 50.100.200 and then 400 grit to grind off the staining and restore the surface finish. Using these small handheld blocks takes off some of the heavier texture as well as cleaning the stone at the same time, but is really useful to use where chemicals alone struggle to get the results required. Once fully clean the fireplace was rinsed with water a couple of times and the slurry removed using a wet vacuum. After speed drying the stone with a heat gun it was ready for a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, even we were impressed with the results.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston After Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The Red and Black Victorian Tiles were cleaned with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is very similar to Oxy-Gel only in a liquid form. The product was left to soak into the tiles for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black buffing pad attached to a slow speed buffing machine. I used the wet vacuum again to soak up the residue and stubborn stains were retreated until I was satisfied.

Old Victorian floors rarely have a damp proof membrane installed and so it’s not uncommon for damp to rise-up through the ground and tile resulting in white salt deposits being left on the surface. To prevent this process, which is commonly referred to as Efflorescence, Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied. The solution is scrubbed into the tiles and then rinsed off with clean water and removed with a wet vacuum ready for sealing.

Victorian Tiles can take a while to dry and in this case I left it two days before returning to apply a breathable sealer to protect the tiles from ingrained dirt and staining. In this case a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied. If you recall this was the same sealer we used on the fireplace as the customer wished to bring out the colour and have a Matt finish.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor in Lancashire



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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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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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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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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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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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Beautiful Edwardian Tiled Hallway Repaired and Restored in Chaplefields


The owner of this house in Chaplefields near Coventry had bought this property as an investment and was keen to improve its appearance. As part of this work he had lifted the vinyl tiles in the hallway and discovered a lovely Edwardian tiled floor. Unfortunately, whoever had laid the Vinyl tiles had decided to use Tar as an adhesive and this had left a black mess all over the floor.

Edwardian Tiled Floor Covered In Tar Chaplefields Coventry Before Restoration

Realising the potential value an original feature such as this could add to the property he was keen to restore the tiles but not so keen to deal with the Tar, so we were asked to deal with the problem and restore the floor as close to its original condition as possible.

Repairing and Cleaning a Dirty Edwardian Tiled Floor

To get the tiles clean and remove the horrible tar I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which as its name suggest is great for removing coverings from tiles. I applied the Remove and Go with a mop, left it to soak in for a few minutes and then worked it in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The soil was extracted off the floor using a wet and dry vacuum and then the process repeated until I was happy all the tar was gone.

I then gave the tiles an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel; this serves to break down alkaline mineral deposits such as cement and grout smears, it also counters any efflorescence problems which can be an issue with these old floors where no damp proof membrane has been installed.

Finally, the floor was given a rinse with clean water and a steam clean to remove any trace of cleaning products and to neutralise the tiles in preparation for sealing.

Sealing a Edwardian Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry off overnight and returned to the property to seal the tiles the next day. To seal the tiles, I used three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer that leaves a subtle sheen finish and being water based doesn’t leave a smell as it dries. The sealer will provide durable protection going forward preventing dirt from becoming ingrained into the pores of the tile and ensuring it remains easy to clean and keeping its appearance for some time to come.

Edwardian Tiled Floor Covered In Tar Chaplefields Coventry After Restoration

The floor now looks fantastic and gives a great impression when you come into the property which is exactly what the owner wanted.
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Edwardian Tiled Hallway in Warwickshire



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Restoring a Poorly Sealed Slate Kitchen Tiled Floor in Milton Keynes


Sealing is a fundamental part of any stone floor installation. If your builder or tiler hasn’t sealed your floor, he’s done something wrong – and it can cause significant problems. To the untrained eye, it may be difficult to tell whether a floor has been sealed, but you will quickly see that an unsealed floor attracts a lot of ingrained dirt and loses its lustre easily over time.

This was a problem for one of my recent customers, who lives in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. They have a Slate tiled Kitchen floor which had been laid approximately 5 years prior, but had not been sealed properly on installation – and had not received any professional treatment since.

Consequently, the floor had become difficult for the customer to keep clean and it had lost its lustre and coloration due to ingrained dirt. Additionally, recent building works had left thick deposits of plaster on the tiles.

Slate Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning in Milton Keynes

Cleaning a Dirty Slate Tiled Kitchen

To begin restoring the Slate tiles, I applied Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a powerful alkaline-based cleaner for natural stone. I mixed a strong dilution of the product, spread it liberally across the area and left it to dwell for 20 minutes to seep into the pores of the stone.

Next, I scrubbed it into the stone using a brush fitted to a heavy weight rotary machine, before rinsing the floor with a high-pressure water and wet extraction unit.

The next stage of the cleaning process was to get rid of the plaster deposits and some of the heavier stains. To deal with these I needed to apply an even stronger cleaner, known as NanoTech HBU (Heavy Build-Up Remover).

As its name suggests, the product uses nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate beneath difficult stains to dissolve them and lift them out. I did this in combination with a steamer to help loosen up some of the plaster.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen

After allowing the floor to dry overnight, I returned to the property the next day to seal the tiles. I did this using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is a double-action sealer: not only does it provide a robust, topical seal, it also provides a durable low-sheen finish which is aesthetically pleasing.

Slate Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Milton Keynes

The sealer has done a fantastic job of emphasising all the natural colours in the Slate and the appearance of the entire floor has been lifted. The customer was really pleased with the restoration which certainly had been a long time coming.
 
 

Restoration of a Dirty and Stained Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Buckinghamshire



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Limestone Kitchen Floor Cleaning and Sealing in Twickenham


This Limestone tiled floor in Twickenham, Middlesex had only been laid eighteen month earlier. However, due to an in-effectual seal on the floor, the soil had accumulated and embedded into the pores of the stone. Limestone like many types of natural stone is a very porous stone and it doesn’t take much for the dirt to build up and start to discolour the floor.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Twickenham

The tile had been laid through out the Kitchen and adjacent dinning area and the solution was quite straight forward and simply required and a good clean and re-seal as detailed below.

Cleaning Limestone Tiles

We started with an application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was sprayed onto the floor and allowed to dwell for five to ten minutes. Following this, we used a heavy duty floor scrubbing machine in order to break the soil away and existing sealer from the stone.

Once we were happy that the soil and sealer had been dislodged, we then removed all of the chemical and soil via our extraction machine. This applies pressured water onto the stone whilst vacuuming all of the waste away, leaving the floor as clean and fresh as it could possibly be.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

After allowing the floor to dry out overnight, we returned the next morning to apply the seal. Two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer were applied to give the best protection possible. Colour Grow penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within whilst also enhancing its natural colours and contrast.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Twickenham

Once done the floor looked like it had just been laid and the customer was extremely happy with the end result.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Twickenham
 
 

Re-Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen and Dinning Floor in Middlesex



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Badly Maintained Slate Tiles Rejuvenated in Gloucester


This Slate tiled floor in the hallway of a property in Gloucester had been laid 28 years ago, but during this time had received no proper maintenance. The property owner used to clean the tiles once a week using a steam cleaner to little effect.

Slate tiled hallway floor Before Cleaning Gloucester

In fact, we don’t normally recommend steam cleaning sealed surfaces as it will erode the sealer prematurely. After countless years of steam cleaning, I was confident that any traces of old sealer on this floor would be non-existent at this point.

This is, of course, a problem because a lack of sealer exposes the stone to ingrained dirt and stains. The effects of this are shown in the photos below: as you can see, the Slate had completely lost its lustre and naturally colourful patina.

Slate tiled hallway floor Before Cleaning Gloucester

I was asked by the property owner to provide this Slate tiled hallway with the restoration that was so long overdue, so I travelled to the house in Gloucester, a city situated near the Welsh border and between the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean.

Cleaning a Dirty Slate Tiled Hallway

I started the restoration by mixing a strong solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU. These two products serve different purposes. Remove and Go is a stripper designed to break down any traces of old sealer that might still have existed, as well as any paints and adhesive markings; NanoTech HBU is a potent cleaner which contains nano-sized cleaning particles that penetrate deep into the stone to get underneath tough dirt and stains to dissolve and lift them out.

This cleaning solution was spread over the floor and left to dwell for 30 minutes, before being scrubbed in using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a buffing machine. A thick black slurry resulted from this process and this needed to be removed using a wet vacuum.

Slate tiled hallway floor During Cleaning Gloucester

Next, I repeated this cleaning process using Tile Doctor Pro Clean, our reliable alkaline cleaner, to provide a more thorough clean for the tiles and grout. The slurry was once again removed using a wet vacuum, before I then rinsed the whole floor with fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals.

When satisfied with outcome of the cleaning process, I left the floor to dry overnight.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Hallway

Upon arriving back at the property, the next day, I ran some quick moisture tests to check that the floor was dry. Thankfully, there were no damp issues and I was able to seal the tiles using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, leaving each coat to dry before applying the next.

Seal and Go is a water based sealer (so no smell as it dries) which adds durable stain resistance and a low-sheen finish that brings out the best in the slate.

Slate tiled hallway floor After Cleaning Gloucester

The customer’s reaction to the outcome of the restoration was fantastic. She never expected the floor to turn out so beautifully and was very pleased.

Slate tiled hallway floor After Cleaning Gloucester
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Unmaintained Slate Tiled Hallway in Gloucestershire



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Old Blue Lias Flagstone Kitchen Floor Restored and Sealed in Odcombe, Somerset


This post comes from the kitchen of a house in the village of Odcombe, which is a few miles west of Yeovil, where the Blue Lias Flagstone floor which dated back to 1780 was far from looking its best. With the exception of ingrained dirt the Flagstones were in good physical condition considering their age but the some of the grouting had come loose and would need replacing as part of the restoration process.

Blue Lias Flagstone Kitchen floor in Odcombe Somerset Before Restoration

If left unprotected dirt becomes ingrained into the pores of stone and once this happens it can become very difficult to keep it clean. A sealer will add that layer of protection but does wear off over time and in this case I suspect it had been quite some time since the floor had been given a deep clean and re-seal.

Deep Cleaning Blue Lias Flagstones

To deep clean the floor we spent two days scrubbing the floor with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner/sealer remover that’s designed for use on Tile, Stone and Grout. The product is diluted with water and then applied to the floor where it is left to soak into the stone for ten to twenty minutes before scrubbing the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. This process released the dirt from within the pores of the stone and we were able to rinse it away with more water which was extracted using a wet vacuum.

The process was repeated a couple of times to ensure the stone was as clean as it could be and we used stiff brushes along the grout lines where the pad struggled to reach to ensure the grout was also clean.

One done our attention turned to raking out loose grout and replacing it with new in a matching colour to ensure it blended in with the old.

Blue Lias Flagstone Kitchen floor in Odcombe Somerset Before Restoration

Sealing Blue Lias Flagstones Floor Tiles

We left the floor to dry for a further two days before returning to apply a sealer, it’s important that the floor is dry before sealing as applying a sealer to a damp floor will can have undesirable results.

After the deep cleaning process, the Flagstones were looking cleaning but rather grey so before sealing and to bring the colour back two coats of Stone oil were applied and left to soak in.

Once the Stone Oil had dried it was followed by sealing the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer (so no smell as it dries) that leaves an appealing satin sheen lifting the appearance as well as protecting the stone.

Blue Lias Flagstone Kitchen floor in Odcombe Somerset After Restoration

It took some time to do but I think you will agree this two-hundred-year-old floor has been transformed by the process.

Blue Lias Flagstone Kitchen floor in Odcombe Somerset After Restoration
 
 

Restoring the Appearance of a Sandstone tiled floor in Somerset



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Tile Doctor Awards 2016 – Best Restoration


Every year the Tile Doctors get together for an annual conference to discuss new ideas, techniques and products in the field of Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance. As well as catching up with the latest information from Tile Doctor it’s a great opportunity to network with other Tile Doctors. This years conference took place on 29th April 2017 at the Belmont Hotel in Leicester and towards the end of the conference we always have an awards ceremony based on our performance in the previous year.

I’m proud to report I took away this years “Best Restoration Award” for the work I did restoring the Terrazzo and Quarry Tiled floors at a Fire Damaged Church in Bath. Tile Doctor were really impressed with the amount of work I did and when you think Tile Doctor collectively worked on 1,755 jobs in 2016 it’s amazing to be singled out has having done the best one.

Julian Iacono being awarded the Best Restoration Award
by Tile Doctor Director Russell TaylorIf you haven’t seen the article I posted on the restoration take a look here: Church Tile Restoration in Bath.

Tile Doctor were so impressed with the work I did they even created the following video to showcase the work.

I would like to thank Tile Doctor and the Architect who awarded me the contract at the Church and had the faith in my ability to deliver the result.

Tile Doctor 2017 Conference Awards



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Original Herringbone Pattern Edwardian Tiles Restored in Colyton


Colyton is a small village in the Coly Valley, which itself is part of Devon’s Area of Outstanding Beauty. As you can imagine, it was very nice to drive through the countryside to reach the village to visit a customer. The customer was keen to restore her Edwardian tiled entranceway and hallway in a classic herringbone pattern, which consists of an arrangement of rectangles.

Parts of the floor had been under carpet for a long time and other areas were covered in at least three layers of thick masonry paint. There was some damage to the floor at thresholds where the carpet grips had been hammered into the floor and a few holes with rawl plugs in scattered the area. This had left the floor looking worse for wear and all in all, there was a lot to be done to restore the tiles back to their original condition – just take a look at the photos below.

Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton Before Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton Before

Several methods were tried on each area during the initial visit to determine the best way forward including chemicals, diamond pads and heat plus a razor scraper. It was clear a mixture of these methods would be needed to get the best results.

Cleaning an Edwardian Tiled Entranceway and Hallway

On my return, I removed the rawl plugs filled the holes with an epoxy resin in a matching colour. Next I started on giving the tiles a deep and thorough clean to remove not just the copious ingrained dirt, but also the unappealing paint smears.

I did this by applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which not only cleans the stone, but also strips away any old sealer. Remove and Go is particularly good for removing most artificial coatings and finishes, adhesives, and paints – and can be used on most unpolished natural stone.

Next, I give the tile and grout an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid product, to negate any underlying efflorescence and alkaline salt deposits. Efflorescence and salt deposits can be common problems for older, original tiled floors because they often lack a damp proof course.

Having finished cleaning the floor, I gave it a thorough rinse using fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals, before leaving it to dry overnight.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Entranceway and Hallway

Returning to the property next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check the floor was ready to be sealed.

To seal the floor, I used a single coat of an impregnating sealer called Colour Grow and followed this up with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Both sealers will allow for vapour to rise up through the floor ensuring any damp can rise up through the floor in future which is essential for an old floor like this one which has no damp proof membrane.
The also combine to provide stain resistance surface and a robust, low-sheen finish.

And, with that, the job was done. Two days of work later and the floor is back to looking it best, as you can see in the photos below. Another satisfied client for the Devon Tile Doctor who left the following feedback.

“Very good work,we are very pleased with the result.
Stuart was a very professional hard worker and gave us clear advice on taking care of the floor.“

Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton After Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton After

 
 

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for a Herringbone Pattern Edwardian Tiled Entranceway and Hallway Restoration in Colyton



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Restoring Neglected Geometric Victorian Hallway Tiles in Barnstaple


Barnstaple in North Devon is known to be one of, if not the oldest boroughs in the whole of the United Kingdom. The area certainly has a rich history and many of the properties built in the 19th century still exist and are in use.

It’s not uncommon for the owners of houses built in this era to discover original Victorian tiled floors and hallways. They’ve usually been covered up at some point in the past, either by carpet or linoleum, but if maintained correctly they can be a real asset to any property.

I recently visited one such customer, who lives in Barnstaple, to restore a recently uncovered Victorian tiled hallway that had been tiled in a geometric pattern. This hallway had been neglected and covered for some time by carpet so the colours had faded and there were patches of carpet underlay firmly embedded in some of the tiles.

The property owner uncovered the floor after seeing a similar one in the entrance hallway of a neighbour and was thrilled with her find. After a bit of scrubbing and cleaning the customer decided to call in professional help after a recommendation for the Tile Doctor Devon from a friend. A home visit was conducted and a test patch was done to show what was possible and to talk through options. A quote was then produced which the customer was happy with and the work was arranged for the following week.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Barnstaple before restoration

Cleaning a Neglected Victorian Tiled Hallway

As the floor was really in quite a bad state, I opted to use Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU as my main cleaning product. HBU stands for ‘Heavy Build-Up’ – and that’s exactly what the product is formulated to tackle: heavy build-up of ingrained dirt and soil. It used nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone and get underneath stains to lift them to the surface.

I applied NanoTech HBU to the entire hallway and left it to dwell for several hours, before scrubbing it as thoroughly as possible with a brush fitted to a rotary cleaning machine. The soil that was brought to the surface was subsequently rinsed away with fresh water and the resulting slurry was extracted using a wet vacuum.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

Once finished with the cleaning process, I left the floor to dry out completely. This was important as older floors which lack a damp proof membrane can suffer from moisture issues, and these issues can damage the performance of the sealer.

Thankfully there were no problems with drying the floor. I was able to seal the tiles using a colour-enhancing impregnating sealer from our range, known as Tile Doctor Colour Grow. For extra protection – and to provide the finish the customer had requested – I also applied a topical sealer called Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This left the floor with a high-quality, long-lasting satin finish.

A properly sealed floor will be much more resistant to stain as well as easier to clean. As with every job a cleaning and maintenance guide was provided which gives handy tips and do’s and don’ts for the floor and that particular sealer.

The restoration reinstated this great Victorian tiled hallway as the showpiece upon entering the property and the customer was absolutely thrilled. You can see the final result below.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Barnstaple after restoration

The customer was thrilled with the floor and was very surprised at just how well the colour came back to the tiles and provided the following feedback:

“I am so pleased with the service Stuart provided. After the initial quote and patch test I felt under no pressure to ask him to proceed, but I was happy with the quote and he arranged a date convenient to me. I am chuffed with my floor, it looks great. The after care has been great also. Thank you Stuart.”
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Neglected Victorian Tiled Hallway in North Devon



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Deep Cleaning a Chequered Vinyl Floors in Oxford Catholic Church


These photos of a Black and White Chequered Vinyl floor are actually from the Holy Rood Catholic Church in Oxford which is part of the North Hinksey Parish. It’s a popular church visited by many parishioners so the floor gets a lot of wear and I was asked to give it a good deep clean and re-seal.

Chequered Vinyl Lino floor Before Cleaning Sealing in Oxford

Cleaning Soiled Vinyl Floor Tiles

The Vinyl tiles had been sealed with a polish before so my first job was to strip the old polish off the floor. Fortunately, I have a good product for doing that in the shape of Tile Doctor Vinyl Strip which is an effective heavy-duty floor polish stripper that quickly removes polish and coatings from vinyl floors.

The Vinyl Strip was applied to the floor, left to soak in for a while and then scrubbed in using a scrubbing pad attached to a rotary machine. I then rinsed the floor with water.

The cleaning process released a lot of dirt from the floor which was rinsed away with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum. Once the floor was clean I was able to check the floor and repeat the process for any stubborn areas that needed extra work and once I was 100% happy I left for the evening.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

I returned the next day to seal the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Vinyl Shine applying the first coat in an up and down direction and the second coat side to side.

Vinyl Shine is a high solids polymer floor seal and polish designed to protect and enhance the appearance of Vinyl floor tiles. The formula includes special polymers which produce a ‘Wet Look’ finish whilst enhancing slip-resistance. A first coat seals and protects the floor and a second produces a gloss finish.

This was a huge floor and naturally the Church was open most days so the work was spread over two weeks doing two days each week.

Chequered Vinyl Lino floor After Cleaning Sealing in Oxford

I’m not sure the photographs I took actually do the work justice however my customer was certainly pleased with the difference and left the following glowing testimonial for me.

“Barry and Nick did a great job and was a pleasure to have around, always letting us know what was going to happen next. The final invoice was exactly as his initial quote. We are very impressed with his work and I will definitely contact him for some work in my home.”
 
 

Professional Vinyl Tiled Floor Maintenance in Oxfordshire



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