Rough Copper Slate Tiled Floor Renovated in Heysham


This customer in the coastal village of Heysham had recently had these beautiful Copper Slate Tiles laid by a builder who had been working on the house. As part of the work he also sealed them with a solvent aerosol sealer. Floor tiles experience a lot of wear from foot traffic and as a result the sealer only lasted about two weeks before it had worn off and dirt had started to penetrate the pores of the stone. The photos below were taken two months after they were sealed.

Rough Slate Before Cleaning HeyshamAerosol sealers are only good for wall Tiles where they experience minimum contact, we usually only recommend their use for shower cubicle or wet rooms and they need constant topping up every 6 months or so. In our experience floor surfaces receive a lot of abrasion from the traffic of shoes and so on which will diminish an aerosol applied sealer very quickly.

Rough Slate Before Cleaning Heysham

Cleaning Rough Copper Slate Tiles

It makes sense to clean tiled floors before applying a sealer otherwise you simply trap the dirt under the seal which will reduce its appearance. So before re-sealing the floor with something more effective it was treated to an abrasive clean using a 200-grit diamond encrusted floor burnishing pad fitted to a weighted buffer machine. The pad was run over the whole floor using water to lubricate and with the machine running at slow speed to reduce splashing.

Next step was to clean the recessed grout which pads can struggle to reach, this was done by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines and then scrubbing it in with a stiff grout brush by hand. Once done the residue from the tile and grout cleaning was rinsed off the floor with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.

Sealing Rough Copper Slate Tiles

The floor was left to dry off completely overnight and I returned the next day to re-seal, this time with a more suitable product. My sealer of choice for Slate is Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will not only protect the stone from dirt and staining but also adds a very pleasing sheen finish. The new sealer really brought out the black and copper colours in the stone and now looks amazing.

Rough Slate After Cleaning HeyshamFor long-term care I always recommend customers avoid the use of steam cleaners and acidic or strong alkaline cleaning products which can prematurely reduce the life of the sealer resulting in dirt becoming trapped in the pores of the stone again. Naturally Tile Doctor have designed a product for this which is called Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, supplied in concentrated form when diluted with water it becomes pH neutral and safe to use on sealed surfaces. I always leave my customers with a complimentary bottle after cleaning their floor, so they are reminded what to use.

Rough Copper Slate After Cleaning Heysham

Professional Slate Floor Maintenance in Lancashire



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Brazilian Grey/Green Semi-Riven Slate Floor Hornby Kitchen


Rough Slate is notorious for homeowners to maintain as dirt can quickly become trapped in the rough surfaces. The example on this page is that of Brazilian Semi Riven Slate installed in the Kitchen of a house in the village of Hornby, which while naturally cleft from the rock loses none of its texture and style and yet has a much smother appearance than the typical rough Slates from China. Less processing means it’s not quite completely smooth but it is a lot less expensive to buy than say a honed or polished Slate which is more difficult to maintain due to various polishing techniques required to keep up the appearance. Brazilian Slate is in fact one of my favourite slates to clean and also one of the most rewarding of Slates to seal as the sealer really does bring out the colour and character of the stone.

Sealers provide a protective barrier on natural stone floors and without it dirt can penetrate into the pores of the stone making it more and more difficult to clean effectively. Unfortunately on this floor the new homeowners were unaware on what sort of Stone it was and had no idea how to look after it which resulted in the sealer wearing down prematurely and the floor becoming dull and un-inviting.

Semi-Riven Slate floor Before Cleaning Hornby Semi-Riven Slate floor Before Cleaning Hornby

Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Slate floor we started by taping up the edges of the new kitchen units to protect the wood from splashing. This was followed with an application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean worked in with a black buffing pad fitted to a buffing machine running at slow speed (working at a slower speed results in less splashing). The pads can struggle to reach the edges and corners so these were cleaned by hand.

Once we had finished on the main floor area we then concentrated on the grout using a steam cleaner and more Pro-clean scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush.

Last step of the cleaning was to rinse the floor with water to remove any trace of cleaning products from the Slate and then dried off the floor the best we could with our high wattage wet vacuum machine and left the floor to dry off naturally over night.

Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

The next day we returned to seal the floor checking first that the floor had completely dried. The customer had requested a matt finish however we have worked on Brazilian Slate many times before and we knew how good they can look with this Satin finish sealer. Naturally its the customers decision so we offered to do a test piece and let them decide if they didn’t like it we would strip off the test piece and apply a Matt finish sealer like Tile Doctor Colour Grow instead.

The floor was dry so a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied to one Tile so that they could appreciate how it would look. Luckily the customer agreed with us and so we set about sealing the whole floor with Seal and Go.

To speed up the drying process Air Blowers were installed as we worked and it wasn’t long before the sealer was dry and the customers were able to walk on the floor and inspect every area before we left. I’m please to report that they were over the moon with the floor and my recommendation of sealer.

Semi-Riven Slate floor After Cleaning Hornby Semi-Riven Slate floor After Cleaning Hornby

To maintain the slate tiles going forward we always give our customers a free bottle of Tile Doctor pH neutral tile cleaner, which is a little incentive for them to provide some feedback via our website.
 
 

Professional Semi Riven Slate Floor Renovation in Lancashire



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Old Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor Refurbished in Haslingden Rossendale


This client had contacted us for help renovating their Flagstone hallway floor as nothing they did was helping to keep them clean. The problem with the tiles was due to the pores of the flagstone being ingrained with dirt and once this happens they are really difficult to clean effectively. This is why we always recommend stones floors are sealed after cleaning.

After a successful survey that included measuring background moisture levels and testing different products for stain removal I was able to work out the best process for cleaning the floor and a day to clean and seal the tiles was scheduled.

Flagstone Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Haslingden

Deep Cleaning Flagstone Hallway Tiles

I’d established during my earlier testing that I would need a very strong cleaning product to get the floor clean and deal with the stubborn staining that was present and with that in mind I applied Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU. HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up and is a problem solving tile cleaner and stain remover that adds nano-sized abrasive particles to the mix. This was left to dwell on the floor for a few hours and additionally was covered with a plastic sheet to prevent it from drying out. I then gave the floor a scrub using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine and a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean for good measure.

Once happy with the result the soiled cleaning solution was extracted using a wet vacuum and the floor given a thorough rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning products. Again the wet vacuum was used to remove the fluids and extract as much moisture from the stone as possible. The floor was then left to dry out fully overnight assisted with a floor dryer to help accelerate the process.

Flagstone Hallway Floor After Cleaning Drying Out Haslingden

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 air mover had done its job and the Flagstones were 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.

Flagstone Hallway Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Haslingden

It’s difficult to appreciate from the photographs but the customer was amazed at how much of a difference our process had made and at how much dirt we were able to remove. The flagstones were probably more then 100 years old and more aggressive machinery and cleaning products were the only things that would shift the old dirt. The fresh sealer will also ensure the floor is much easier to clean in future.
 
 

Old Flagstone Hallway Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Rossendale



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Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Renovated for a Property Investor in Burnley


A property investor contacted Tile Doctor to see if we could help renovate a property that was to be sold in few weeks’ time. To get maximum value from the investment she wanted to preserve the character and period features of the house including the Victorian Tiled Hallway floor, which as you can see from the photograph below was in need a bit of TLC!.

Victorian tiled floors and other period features have become very popular in recent years and are often discovered under hallway carpets covered in years of dirt. Fortunately, they are very resilient and with the right techniques and products can be restored back to their former glory.

Victorian Tiles Before Renovation Burnley

On our initial visit I conducted a survey of the floor to check its condition and work out the most suitable products and methods to employ to restore it. One of the main concerns we have with these old floors is damp as damp-proof membranes were not invented until relatively recently. I have a damp meter to check for this and it did indicate high moisture levels which isn’t really an issue for cleaning the floor but would restrict our choice of sealer to those which are fully breathable and allow moisture to rise-up through the tile. We agreed a price and schedule with the customer and within two weeks we were able to start the work.

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The floor was in quite a state, made worse I suspect by recent restoration work by other contractors who unfortunately didn’t take as much care with the floor as the could have done.

After protecting the skirting boards and carpets with film work got underway starting by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor to strip away old sealers and other coatings. This product also helps to break down the paint stains on the surface of the tile, though I also used a handheld scraper, as well as a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, to speed up the process. The resultant slurry was rinsed off the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the floor clean of coatings, the next step was to deep clean the tiles with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective Tile and Grout cleaning product that deeply cleans away ingrained stains. Again, we used a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine to make the job easier. Corners were tough to tackle with a machine, so we had to do them by hand.
The floor was given a final rinse to remove any soil and trace of cleaning product and the wet vacuum was used a final time to extract as much moisture out of the floor as possible. Upon finishing the cleaning, we left the floor for a few days, so it could dry out fully.

Dealing with Efflorescence

When we came back to seal the floor we noticed problems with white salt deposits coming to the surface of the tile a problem known as efflorescence. I had suspected this might become an issue but there was no indication of it happening before so was not overly concerned at the time. However, it meant I could not seal the floor as planned until the efflorescence had been dealt with. Fortunately salts like these can be treated and to resolve the problem I gave the floor a wipe with a solution of Tile Doctor Acid Gel which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in a gel form, formulated to remove grout haze (grout smears) and treat efflorescence. Once this was done the floor was given a light rinse and dried again.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I left the floor to dry again for a few more days and on my return, I was pleased to see the problem had not resurfaced and I was able to complete the restoration with the application of a sealer.

To seal the tiles, I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a penetrating sealer designed to soak into the pores of the clay thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained whilst additionally enhancing the colours in the tile. The sealer really deepened the colours in the tile bringing them to life and with Colour Grow being fully breathable there shouldn’t be any issues with damp becoming trapped under the tile and causing issues later.

The customer was delighted with the results (see feedback below) and the work we did should more than pay for itself when the house goes on the market.

“Thoroughly impressed with Kamila, she was so lovely, professional and thorough! Our tiles look amazing and I was especially happy with how quick she sorted that floor out from the first email I sent. Janice M., Burnley”

Victorian Tiled After Renovation Burnley
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Old Victorian Tiled Hallway in South Lancashire



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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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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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Old Flagstone Tiled Flooring Resurfaced in Great Harwood


This customer in Great Harwood was so fedup with their Flagstone tiled flooring on the ground floor of their property. In fact they were ready to take up the floor, put a new concrete base in place and lay a wood floor down on top. However this is the original floor from when the house was built in 1894 so was not replaceable as such, and the customer really wanted to restore the floor back to its original condition, as well as other material’s in the house, to recreate the Original Victorian feeling that had been missing for many years.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood

We have completed quite a lot of this type of work for customers in the past and we publish all out work on our website and it was one job similar to this that convinced the customer that we had the answer to her problem.

Milling an Old Flagstone Floor

A few years ago Tile Doctor invented a system called Milling to deal with problematic stone floors like this one. The system uses very coarse Diamond pads fitted to heavy machinery to mill the stone until it is a smooth as possible. This action gets rid of years of traffic marks, ingrained dirt as well as old wax and sealers. There’s nothing harder than Diamond so we find this system woks really well on an old damaged floor like this one.

The process will leave the stone looking rough so once finished with the coarse pads we then apply a lighter Diamond grit pad to remove the scratch marks that the heavy diamond grits leave behind. The floor is rinsed between pads and a little water is also used to provide lubrication.

After resolving the stone issues we re-grouted the whole floor and conduct one more final clean using Tile Doctor Neutral Clean before leaving it to dry out ready for sealing a few days later.

Sealing an Old Flagstone Floor

On our return the sealer we chose for these old flagstone was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, it penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and in the processes lift the natural colours in the Stone.

Colour Grow is a breathable sealer which you need when sealing these old stone floors which won’t have a damp proof membrane installed. A wet look or polishing sealer will eventually spoil in damper wetter weather.

Another advantage of Colour Grow is it leaves a Matt finish which is a more natural look for Sandstone Flagstones like these. They will also be easier to clean as the milling process made the stone much smoother to the touch, so it becomes a lot easier to maintain in the future.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood

The results were fantastic, and the customer is really pleased that they will no longer have to replace the tiles. The appearance and condition of the Flagstone had been improved so much that most people would not believe it had been laid 123 years ago!
 
 

Restoring an Old Flagstone Floor in Lancashire



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