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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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 Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen Renovated in Sedgefield


This property in Sedgefield, County Durham, recently came under new ownership and the new owner planned several renovations including replacing the carpet in the front room. Removing the carpet was straightforward but unfortunately it had been glued down using a good layer of bitumen which left quite a mess and upon further inspection she realised there was a perfectly sound Yorkshire flagstone floor underneath.

Realising the flagstones would make an impressive floor she was keen to have them restored and spoke to a number of people including a builder who all said it would be an impossible job. Bitumen is an awful material and it was clear removing it from the stone would not be easy.

Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen Before Renovation Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen Before Renovation

Having exhausted local connections, she turned to the internet and came across details of a Victorian floor stained with Bitumen that a colleague of mine had worked on and so gave Tile Doctor a call.

Cleaning Bitumen off Yorkshire Flagstones

With a floor like this you can’t really make too many promises as to the outcome or how long it will take however we do access to a lot of experience and some very powerful cleaning products so I was confident we could improve the look of the floor significantly.

To start we carefully scrapped off as much of the black bitumen as possible which took a lot longer than I had initially thought. Next I created a strong mixture of two Tile Doctor Products Acid Gel and Nanotech HBU Remover applying it in sections to the floor like a poultice and leaving it to soak in for a while before agitating it with a rotary scrubber. Acid Gel is used to remove minerals such as salt deposits, cement and grout smears and in this case, I felt it would also help to weaken the Bitumen. Nantotech HBU is another strong product which is named after the tiny Nano sized particles it contains and HBU is an acronym for Heavy Build-Up.

Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen During Renovation Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen During Renovation

After being worked into floor it was rinsed off with water to neutralise the acid and the resultant slurry extracted using a wet vacuum. Once a section was clear we moved onto the next and repeated the process, we also spot treated any ugly spots that needed further treatment. It took about a week to complete the cleaning but using this process I’m happy to report we were able to remove about 99% of the Bitumen and the Flagstone floor was now fully visible.

Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen During Renovation

Sealing Yorkshire Stone

The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal the floor first checking it for dampness using a Damp Meter. The flagstones were dry so I then proceeded to seal the floor using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a matt sealer that impregnates the pores of the stone protecting it from within whilst enhancing the natural colours of the stone.

Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen During Sealing

The owner was very pleased with the difference we had made and whilst the Yorkshire stone had been darkened by the Bitumen in places it has defiantly added a lot of character to the floor and blends in well with the rustic wood burner in the hearth.

Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen After Renovation Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen After Renovation

 
 

Restoring the Appearance of Yorkshire Flagstones in County Durham



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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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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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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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