Cleaning a Flood Stained Limestone Fireplace in Chelmsford


The UK has been experiencing an increasing amount of rain over the last few years and this has resulted in quite a few areas being flooded. One of those areas is the old city of Chelmsford in the middle of Essex which is prone to flooding due to the rivers Cam and Chelmer that run through the town.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Flood Staining Chelmsford

I was asked to visit a property in the town that had been flooded over winter and the red dye in the carpet that was lying on the floor adjacent to their lovely Limestone Fireplace had stained the hearth in several places but primarily around the edges.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Red Dye Staining Chelmsford

The fire place had never been sealed and because of this the stone had sucked up the flood water like a sponge. They had drying equipment installed and as the moisture evaporated the red staining became more and more evident. Since then several companies had been to try and remedy the problem and each one was unsuccessful. The couple contacted us, and we went to assess the problem fully equipped to carry out the work.

Cleaning a Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth

Had the Fireplace been sealed we our first task would have been to remove to ensure we would have no issues sealing the fireplace later. In this case however that wasn’t an issue, so we were able to move straight onto cleaning up the stone using a set of diamond encrusted hand-held burnishing blocks. We started with the coarsest block (50 grit) and rubbed the stone with a bit of added water as lubrication, before wet vacuuming away the excess residue. This process was then repeated with progressively finer blocks (100, 200 and 400 grit), and the hearths were given a final rinse with fresh water.

The burnishing blocks are excellent tools to remove scratches and marks from tile and stone and did a good job of removing the red dye from around the hearth. They also took care of some marks that had appeared where the owner had placed a couple of slate tiles on the flat part of the hearth.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Along with these marks were some corrosion spots where a metal ornament had been sitting on the hearth for several years. I treated these with Tile Doctor Rust Away which is a specialist product for removing rust stains from tile and stone after a few applications the stain was gone.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace Hearth

After we had cleaned the fireplace up to the satisfaction of the client we used a smail dryer to dry everything out so that we could finish the job and seal the fireplace the same day. Once the stone moisture levels were at the correct level the Limestone Fireplace was sealed using three coats of Tile doctor Ultra-Seal leaving twenty minutes between coats.

Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen product that impregnates the pores of the stone protecting from within without changing the look of the stone thereby leaving it with a natural appearance. I’m please to say our efforts paid off and the Limestone Fireplace and Hearth is now stain free and looking like new.

Limestone Fireplace After Rust Stain Removal Chelmsford Limestone Fireplace After Flood Stain Removal Chelmsford

 

Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace and Hearth Restoration in Chelmsford



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Renovating a Sandstone Tiled Floor at a 12th-Century Undercroft Near Bedale


When I was asked to visit this job, I understood that the property was Grade One Listed and I was in for a treat when I arrived. The property is an undercroft which is traditionally a cellar or storage room, often brick-lined and vaulted and used for storage in buildings since medieval times. In modern usage, an undercroft is generally a ground (street-level) area which is relatively open to the sides but covered by the building above.

Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

This example was part of a large 12th Century building near Bedale which is halfway between Harrogate and Middlesbrough, that had been converted into luxury apartments. It was truly impressive, by far one of my favourite jobs to date.

Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

The magnificent building had been tastefully restored and renovated some years ago. You will see from the photos how unique it is, although it is hard to do it justice in photos. Since that time the huge 60sqm Sandstone flagstones had become dirty and now needed to be deep cleaned and restored to its’ former self.

Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

I discussed what was required with the owner and went through the cleaning procedure I felt would be most appropriate. This was well received, and we agreed my quote and arranged a suitable time to return and complete the work. I must say I felt honoured and privileged to be asked to work on the floor as this is not something you would trust many people with.

Cleaning a Large Sandstone Floor in an Undercroft

I returned on the agreed date to start the cleaning and I was a bit apprehensive at first, as naturally with such an old building I wanted to be confident that the methods I was going to use would work without issue. Also, there was some very, very expensive Marble statues scattered about near the edge of the floor which I was very mindful of. It was clear that the utmost care was required to restore this beautiful floor. In the end I did not need to worry as it was quite straightforward. The floor was nice and flat and graded sandstone, in pretty good physical condition.

I cleaned the floor by applying a strong dilution Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to remove old sealers and break down the dirt. I left this on the floor for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with what turned out to be several black scrubbing pads to get the dirt out of the stone. Pro-Clean is a highly effective Tile and Grout cleaner which can deal with all sorts of issues including grease, grime and general dirt build up.

Sandstone Floor During Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

I worked in sections and found some of the flagstones quite challenging to clean due to their sharp edges which tore into the pads and destroyed a few during the process. Luckily, I had bought plenty of replacements along and with a bit of perseverance, I was able to give the floor a very thorough clean. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum.

Sandstone Floor During Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

After cleaning and rinsing the whole floor I left it for a few days, so it could dry out thoroughly before I returned to seal it.

Sealing a 60m2 Sandstone Floor in a 12th Century Undercroft

When I returned I checked that the floor was completely dry by taking some moisture readings. All was well, but I noticed that the room became dusty very quickly from all the exposed stone, so l vacuumed the floor first.

Sandstone Floor After Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

I chose to use Tile Doctor Ultra Seal for this floor, main reasons being it’s an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there also, it leaves a natural look finish that doesn’t darken the stone which was ideal for use in the Undercroft where there isn’t much natural light. I applied a couple of coats to the floor and it was soon looking good.

Sandstone Floor After Sealing 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

It was a massive transformation and the clean floor really lightened up the whole room. The client was very pleased with the result. I think you will agree this is a very special room!

 

Professional Clean of a Sandstone Undercroft Floor in North Yorkshire



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Travertine Floor Tiles Filled and Polished in Abthorpe Near Towcester


The following pictures show a polished Travertine kitchen and dining room floor at a house in the small village of Abthorpe near Towcester. The stone floor had lost its shine and had become dull and difficult to clean which was mainly due to the holes that had appeared in the surface of the Travertine where dirt had become ground in and trapped. This is a common problem with all Travertine stone, the holes are natural and usually filled at the factory but due to wear and tear over time and the use of acidic cleaning products the filler can become dislodged. The small holes gave the floor an unsightly appearance and become magnets to dirt.

Polished Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Polishing Abthorpe Towcester

We find the best way to restore the shine is to apply a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads, they take off the layer of dirt and then slowly build a resilient polish on the surface; however, to get the best results we would need to fill the holes in the Travertine.

Polished Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Polishing Abthorpe Towcester

Burnishing and Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Floor

I gave the floor a sweep to remove any loose dirt and grit and started with the application of the first pad which is a coarse 400-grit and designed to remove minor scratches, old sealers and ingrained dirt. The pads fit a 17” buffer machine and is applied with water to lubricate the process, then once the pad has been applied to each tile the floor is rinsed with water and the resultant slurry is extracted using a wet vacuum.

Before moving onto the second pad in the set I gave the grout lines a clean with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the grout using a stiff narrow brush. The pads can struggle to reach into the recessed grout lines, so I usually find this is the best way to get the grout clean.

Polished Travertine Dining Room Floor Before Polishing Abthorpe Towcester

The floor was given another rinse with water and then I continued to work through the medium 800-grit and then fine 1500-grit pads rinsing with water and then extracting the slurry with a wet vacuum after each pad.

The Travertine was now clean and after drying with fans I commenced the task of filling the holes with stone filler that matched the natural colour of the stone as close as possible, in this case the colour we opted for to achieve the best match was Straw. These activities took up most of the day so once I was done filling I left for the day, so the filler and floor could dry out thoroughly overnight.

Polished Travertine Holes Filled Before Polishing Abthorpe Towcester

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

I returned the following day and started by completing the polishing process by applying the last 3000-grit very fine burnishing pad with the 17” rotary machine, the pad is applied dry with a small amount of water sprayed on the floor as you go along. With the floor now fully dry and the filled holes polished flat the last step was to apply the sealer which will protect the floor going forwards.

Polished Travertine Kitchen Floor After Polishing Abthorpe Towcester

With Travertine floors I usually recommend Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer or Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer. On this occasion the client preferred the natural look, so I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal and along with the previous polishing the floor now look transformed.

Polished Travertine Kitchen Floor After Polishing Abthorpe Towcester
 
 

Professional Travertine Tiled Floor Restoration in Northamptonshire



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Deep Cleaning Flagstone Flooring in Vines Cross


This customer who lived in the old Sussex village of Vines Cross near Horam, had a lovely Flagstone floor installed in the Kitchen some years earlier but because they wanted a completely natural look no sealer had been applied. With no protection in place dirt had become ingrained into the pores of the stone over time making it dull and difficult to clean effectively.

Flagstone floor before restoration Vines Cross

Their beautiful flagstone floor no longer looked as it should and the owner of the house was keen to have it deep cleaned and looking its best again. I was happy to do the work and before starting I made sure to discuss the topic of sealing and recommended one called Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t change the look of the stone yet protects it from dirt becoming ingrained.

Flagstone floor before restoration Vines Cross

Deep Cleaning a Lapicida Sandstone Floor

With no sealer evident on the stone there was no need to use a coatings remover on the tiles, so after protecting the Kitchen units and skirting board with plastic tape I started with a combination of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean tile and grout cleaner mixed with a small amount of another Tile Doctor product called NanoTech HBU. HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up and this product utilises nano-sized abrasive particles to assist in the cleaning process.

The solution was left to dwell and soak into the stone for ten minutes before being scrubbed in using a rotary buffing machine fitted with a black pad. With the cleaning solution on the floor I also took the time to run a stiff brush along the grout lines to make sure they were also scrubbed clean. After a while the cleaning solution became dirty with all the soil that was being released from the tile and was then extracted using a wet vacuum. The floor was then rinsed with water and stubborn areas re-treated using the same process until I was satisfied it was thoroughly clean.

Flagstone floor during restoration Vines Cross

After giving the floor a final rinse and drying it as much as possible with a wet vacuum it was left to dry off fully overnight.

Flagstone floor during restoration Vines Cross

Sealing a Flagstone Floor

I returned the next day to seal the floor first checking it for dampness using a damp meter. All was well, and the flagstones were dry, so I was able to proceed with sealing the stone.

As I mentioned earlier my client liked the natural look but having experienced the problems of maintaining an un-sealed floor had agreed for me to seal it with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal. I applied a single base coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal as agreed and then recommended that we add a coat of Tile Doctor Seal and Go as well, just to brighten up the floor and add a slight sheen.

Flagstone floor after restoration Vines Cross

I knew from experience this would work well on Flagstones and my client was happy to trust me. As suspected the combination of the two sealers was a winner and my client was overjoyed with the resulting effect and more so that she can now maintain it satisfactorily.

Flagstone floor after restoration Vines Cross
 
 

Deep Cleaning a Flagstone Kitchen Floor in East Sussex



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Restoring the Appearance of a Polished Limestone Tiled Floor in Cheltenham


The photographs below are of a Polished limestone floor that had been installed in the Kitchen of a house in Cheltenham approximately eight years prior. The polish and sealer had worn off over that time allowing dirt to become ingrained into the pores of the stone making it difficult to clean.

This is a common problem with all types of porous stone and tile which need to be sealed to maintain their appearance. Sealers do wear down over time with use however and need to be maintained, this is why Tile Doctor have created a maintenance program whereby we pop by every 12 months to give the floor a light clean and top-up the sealer, it only takes a few hours, but it keeps your sealer in good condition.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning in Cheltenham Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning in Cheltenham

Cheltenham by the way is a lovely town situated on the edge of the Cotswolds which is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has a racecourse and is well known for the mineral springs which were discovered here in 1716.

Burnishing a Dull and Dirty Limestone Tiled Floor

My first job was to protect the wooden kitchen units from any splashes by covering them some cotton sheets. Next, I set about restoring the Limestone’s appearance using a set of Burnishing Pads which is a form of polishing which involves the sequential application of four diamond encrusted pads of different grit levels.

The first pad applied is a Coarse 400 grit pad which is applied to the floor with a buffing machine and lubricated with water. This process grinds away the top layer of dirt and staining from the stone, along with any old sealer, the floor is then rinsed to remove the soil that is generated. I then move through the system, applying the Medium and then Fine pads using less and less water as you go but rinsing in-between and extracting the water with a wet-vac machine.

Once I was happy with the stone I scrubbed the grout lines to remove any soiling that the pads had failed to pick up. The floor was then given a final rinse and the wet vacuum used to extract as much moisture as possible. The floor was then left to dry out completely overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

The next day I gave the floor a polish with the Very Fine 3,000 grit diamond burnishing pad, this is applied using a technique we call a “spray burnish” due to the fact that very little water is used during its application.

The next step was to seal the stone using for which I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that protects the stone from within by occupying its pores. Colour Grow also has the added benefit of intensifying the natural colours in the stone. The floor was then left to dry for an hour before I gave it one final dry polish using the Very Fine burnishing pad.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Cheltenham

My customer was very happy with the final result and made the comment that they thought the floor looked brand new.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Cheltenham
 
 

Renovating a Polished Limestone Tiled Floor in Gloucestershire



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Pitted Travertine Floor Tiles Filled and Polished in Rushden


Not only do we carry out the deep cleaning and restoration of all types of natural stone, we can also carry out repairs such as the filling of holes in stone, whether it be limestone, marble or as in this case Travertine. Travertine in particular is prone to a natural process of erosion know as pitting, this results in holes developing that easily fill up with dirt and muck over time and can be a real problem to maintain.

Pitted Travertine Before Filled Polished Rushden

This customer in Rushden called me in, as he felt the floor hadn’t been properly maintained since it had been installed twelve years prior and he was becoming concerned about the number of holes and pits that were appearing in the high traffic areas. The Travertine tiles had been laid in the hallway, kitchen and upstairs bathroom of the property but the problem was most apparent in the Kitchen.

Pitted Travertine Before Filled Polished Rushden

Burnishing and Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Floor

To get the floors clean and restore the polished appearance of the Travertine I decided to apply a set of Tile Doctor diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The process involves the application of four different pads applied in sequence from coarse to very fine, rinsing in-between each pad to remove dirt. As the floor had been installed in the Kitchen and the Hallway it made sense to split the work into two parts and work on each area separately.

The first pad is a coarse 400 grit pad that is attached to a rotary machine running at slow speed and with only water for lubrication. The pad is applied to the stone to removes minor scratches, sealers and dirt. It’s run over the entire floor and afterwards the floor is rinsed with water which is then extracted with the soil using a wet-vacuum.

I then repeated this same procedure with the second pad, which is a Medium 800 grit pad used to remove dirt from minor scratches and holes in the stone. After rinsing again, I went onto the third burnishing pad in the sequence which is a Fine 1500 grit pad that starts to rebuild the polish on the Travertine. I gave the floor another rinse and used the wet vacuum again to extract the water and soil from the floor. The last 3,000 grit super fine pad was then applied with a small amount of water sprayed onto the floor, this last pad really builds a nice shine on the stone.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

Once the burnishing process was completed the floor was left to dry off fully overnight and I came back the next day to continue with the work. I took a few moisture readings to confirm the floor was dry and then applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the tiles. Colour Grow is a colour enhancing sealer that impregnates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and improving the natural colours of the stone in the process. I particularly like to use it on Travertine as it really does bring out the brown shades in the stone.

Filling Holes in a Travertine Tiled Floor

Once the first coat of sealant had dried I started the work to fill the holes throughout the installation using appropriate colours of stone filler resin. I purposely delayed doing this until the first coat of sealer was in place in order to prevent excess resin from being absorbed into the tile and causing unwanted staining. There were quite a few holes to fill so it took a while to complete, the filler also needs several hours to dry and harden even when assisted with a fan. Excess filler is then polished off using a 17” rotary scrubbing machine fitted with a white polishing pad and any dust is carefully vacuumed up before applying a second coat of sealer. The floor was then allowed to dry before a final polish with a new 3000 grit pad to achieve a high sine finish.

Once the cleaning process was complete and the first coat of sealant had dried I then commenced the repair work by filling all holes throughout using appropriate colours of stone filler resin, the first coat of sealant is to stop the excess resin from being absorbed into the tile and causing staining, the filler is allowed to dry and harden for several hours assisted with a fan on site. Excess filler is then polished off using a 17” rotary scrubbing machine and a white buffing pad. Any dust is carefully vacuumed up before applying a second coat of sealant. This is then allowed to dry before a final polish with a new 3000 grit burnishing pad to achieve a deep sine finish.

Pitted Travertine After Filled Polished Rushden

I’m not sure the photographs really show off the transformation that I had managed to achieve, however my customer was certainly happy and left me the following glowing review via the Tile Doctor feedback system.

My hall and kitchen floor has been down for 12 years and has been a high traffic area. The Tile Doctor has literally made it look like new again. Holes filled, smooth, shiny and new again! My fully tiled bathroom has also been rejuvenated, wall tiles, shower tiles and floor tiles. The water now beads on the tiles like a freshly waxed car, and the walk-in shower has been perfectly resealed. Money very well spent.
Thank you so much! Mr.J. White, Rushden

Pitted Travertine After Filled Polished Rushden

It’s always nice to get feedback like that, it really does make your efforts feel appreciated.
 
 

Professional Travertine Tiled Floor Restoration in Northamptonshire



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Red Wine Stains Removed from Limestone Fireplace in Woking


Here at Tile Doctor we have developed numerous products and techniques for dealing with all types of situations related to the cleaning of stone, tile and grout. Whilst the most popular work we do relates to the cleaning and sealing of floors sometimes we get asked to resolve more unusual issues such as this Wine Stained Limestone Fireplace at a house in the London commuter town of Woking.

Unfortunately for the customer their teenage son had knocked a glass of red wine from the dining table onto the carpet and over his parent’s adjacent limestone fireplace which despite early attention left noticeable dark spots in the stone. The customer was keen to have the stains removed and had even resigned himself to the possibility of replacing the whole fixture. Naturally this would’ve cost hundreds of pounds; fortunately, however he discovered Tile Doctor on the internet and realised the staining could be remedied reasonably easily with the correct knowledge and products.

Limestone Fireplace Before Wine Stain Removal Woking

Cleaning a Wine Stained Limestone Fireplace

I mentioned earlier Tile Doctor have developed numerous products and techniques and this includes Tile Doctor Reduxa which is designed to lift the stains out of stone, so I decided to try that first.

My method of application was to spray the stain with Reduxa and leave it to soak into the stone for about twenty seconds. Then I worked the solution into the surface of the stain lightly using a smooth 400 grit diamond block. The next step involves using a heat gun to dry out the area. This process is repeated five or six times until the stain completely disappears. The process works by dissolving the stain into the Reduxa which is then evaporated by the heat.

Limestone Fireplace After Wine Stain Removal Woking

I’m pleased to report that the stain was completely removed by the process and no other treatment was required to resolve the problem further. The customer still has to decide however what to do with the carpet…
 
 

Professional Removal of Wine Stains from Limestone in Surrey



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Travertine Kitchen Tiles Deep Cleaned and Sealed in Lincoln


Travertine is a lovely beige and brown stone that looks fantastic when it’s first laid but needs work to maintain the appearance. This was exactly the problem my customer who lives near the historic Cathedral City of Lincoln had experienced. The sealer on their Travertine Kitchen floor was becoming worn in the more commonly used parts of the floor letting dirt become ingrained into the pores of the stone and the grout was also becoming darker where it was getting dirty. They also had pets that spent a lot of time in the Kitchen which didn’t help and there were also small holes in the Travertine that were trapping dirt and would need filling.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Lincoln

Cleaning and Burnishing a Travertine Tiled Floor

To deep clean the stone and grout I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, left it to soak in for ten minutes and then worked it into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine. Pro-Clean is a strong reliable alkaline product which is safe to use on stone and grout including Travertine and Limestone.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Lincoln

I also ran a stiff grout brush along the edges of the floor and especially along the grout lines to get the grout as clean as possible; the scrubbing pad struggles to reach into the recesses of the grout so it’s best to do this by hand. The now dirty cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and rinsed with water to ensure the tile and grout was now clean and any stubborn stains spot treated.

Travertine Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Lincoln

After the deep clean we filled the holes as required using flexible filler which gives a really smooth look to the flooring. We then left our turbo dryer system on overnight to thoroughly dry out the floor before returning to seal the tiles on day two.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The next day I returned to the property and proceeded to seal the Travertine tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to protect the tiles and also really enhance the natural colours in the stone. As an impregnating sealer, Colour Grow penetrates into the stone and fills its pores to safeguard it against ingrained dirt and stains from within.

Travertine Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Lincoln

As you can see from the photographs, the combination of a deep clean, high quality polish and fresh seal really transformed the appearance of the floor from dull and lifeless to a really asset to the kitchen. The customer was so happy with the results she has booked us in to carry out the same work to other flooring in the property.

Travertine Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Lincoln
 
 

Professional Maintenance of a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor in Lincoln



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