Removing Limescale from Polished Black Marble floor tiles in a Baldock Bathroom


This customer in Baldock, North Hertfordshire has a beautiful Black Marble bathroom floor which unfortunately was far from looking its best due to a build-up Limescale. Normally this can be removed with an acidic cleaning product however Marble like all natural stones is acid sensitive would be damaged in the process.

Black Polished Marble Bathroom Floor in Baldock Before Limescale Removal

The only way to remove the Limescale would be to polish it off using a set of diamond pads which would also restore a high shine finish to the Marble floor tiles.

Removing Limescale from Polished Black Marble

The first step before starting the process was to cover the threshold edges, skirting’s and doors with tape to protect it from splashing etc. Next we used a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean which is an alkaline tile and grout cleaner with hand brushes to clean-up the thin gout lines and remove any grit from the floor.

The floor was then rinsed with fresh water to remove the now soiled cleaning product and also steam cleaned to neutralise floor. The water was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum.

Honing Black Marble to Restore Polish

To bring back the natural shine we honed the floor using a series of diamond-encrusted burnishing pads. Firstly, I applied a Coarse 400 grit pad to strip away what remained of the old sealer and Limescale, rinsing the floor afterwards. I then applied the Medium 800 grit and Fine 1500 grit pad to gradually close the pores of the stone which, in turn, restores the polished effect. Again each pad is used in combination with a small amount of water and any excess moisture is removed with a wet vacuum. The final 3,000 grit pad brings up a really deep shine and is applied with small amounts of water sprayed onto the tile.

Sealing Polished Black Marble Tiles

After drying the floor the Marble tiles were sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t alter the appearance of the stone and protects it from staining by occupying the pores in the stone.

The last step was to buff the Marble tiles with a white buffing pad.

Black Polished Marble Bathroom Floor in Baldock After

The floor now looks fantastic and you can really see your reflection in the shine of the black Marble tiles.
 
 

Limescale Removed from Polished Black Marble Floor in Baldock



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Repairing a Scratched Slate Tiled Kitchen floor in Weybridge


This property owner in Weybridge recently had a new fridge delivered by a well-known electrical retailer that has an unusual policy of not protecting its customers’ floors when installing heavy appliances. Predictably, the lack of care and consideration resulted in multiple unsightly scratches being left on the fantastic Slate tiled floor, mostly notably in front of the dishwasher, which was also newly installed.

Understandably, the property owner was not best pleased. He was keen to have the situation remedied as soon as possible. At Tile Doctor, we not only provide tile cleaning services but we also have the experience and equipment to hand all sorts of related issues including the restoration of scratched tiles. Happy to help. I travelled over to Weybridge to address the problem.

Scratched Slate Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Weybridge

Repairing and Sealing a Damaged Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

The surface of the stone was damaged and the only way to repair it without the repair standing out was to strip and polish the whole floor. I therefore began the restoration by stripping the whole floor of its old sealer. The customer had marked all the deep scratches he wanted to have removed with sticky notes. I explained to him that burnishing, a type of polishing carried out using diamond encrusted handheld blocks in combination with a little water, would be perfect for this job.

The process of burnishing essentially grinds away the damaged layer and then re-polishes the stone, the process would remove the scratches and rebuild the shine. It involves the application of different grades of pads from coarse to extra fine and a little water to lubricate the process followed by a rinse with more water in-between each pad to remove the slurry generated by the process. After burnishing the floor is left polished but damp, however to save time I able to speed dry the whole floor using a powerful industrial air mover.

Once the floor was dry the final task was to re-seal the tiles. I did this using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour intensifying, impregnating sealer which soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within against ingrained dirt and stains for many years to come.

Scratched Slate Floor Tiles After Cleaning Weybridge

The customer was very satisfied with the service provided and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Great advice, open, honest and helpful. Turned up on time, explained the job well and it looks great. Very happy with the process and the finished results.”
 
 

Professional Repair of a Scratched Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Surrey



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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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Acid-Damaged Marble Shower Cubicle Restored in Leatherhead


Marble tiles are a fantastic choice of stone for a shower cubicle because of its distinctive characteristics and quality. It can really add a luxurious feel and when used in a bathroom take it to the next level.

However, it’s extremely important to note that Marble like all natural stone is a porous and acid-sensitive material. It must therefore be cleaned with care using suitable products. This particular Marble tiled shower cubicle at a property in Leatherhead is a good example of this done wrong. The owner had used an acid-based cleaning product to clean the stone, resulting in damage to the sealer and causing unappealing streaks to form.

Marble Shower Wall Leatherhead Before Cleaning

This type of damage can appear irreparable but, with the right combination of cleaning methods and products, it can be fixed. Once the old sealer has been removed, and the tiles have been cleaned, polished and re-sealed, they can look as a good as new. Here’s how I helped this customer restore the Marble shower cubicle.

Cleaning and Polishing a Marble Shower Cubicle

To begin the restoration, I scrubbed the dirty grout lines using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a highly reliable and multi-purpose alkaline-based product. I then rinsed the tiles with water to remove the traces of cleaning product.

Next, I moved on to the polishing stage of the restoration – what we often refer to as burnishing. This involved the use of small six-inch diamond-encrusted burnishing pads applied with a hand buffer and with different levels of grit – ranging from Coarse to Very Fine. I started with the Coarse grit pad and worked my way sequentially through our four-pad system, polishing the stone with Medium, Fine and eventually the Very Fine pad to really bring up the polish.

Sealing a Marble Shower Cubicle

Once the shine had returned to the Marble and the damage had been removed, I re-sealed the tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a penetrating sealer designed to enhance the natural colours and patina of the stone. Once dry, I gave the tiles a final polish with a white buffing pad to put the finishing touches on the restoration.

Marble Shower Wall Leatherhead After Cleaning

The customer was thrilled with the results, saying:
“I’m really happy with the result and we will make sure we don’t use supermarket cleaners again on natural stone. Rupert was a very personable tradesman who took pride in what he was doing. He has identified Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner as being the product we should have used in the first place and has sent me the website details.”
Another satisfied customer!
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Damaged Marble Tiled Shower Cubicle in Surrey



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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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Lower Courtyard Slate Patio Cleaning in Brighton


Brighton is a great location to work with a huge variety of property styles and tile installation but being such a popular location parking can be an issue. We need to park our van physically close to the property so we can make use of our powerful Truck mounted cleaning system that weighs in at 3/4 of a tonne! It’s a really clever system that uses water under very high pressure to clean the stone whilst at the same time recovering the waste back to a storage tank in the van making it a very clean operation even in the most awkward conditions.

I thought I would mention this first as I was asked to deep clean and seal the lower ground level Slate tiled courtyard patio at this property in Brighton which was located down a small side street where people rarely moved their vehicles due to lack of spaces available. Fortunately I was aware of the issue and managed to overcome it by arranging a parking suspension with Brighton and Hove City Council allowing me to park my van.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Parking Suspension Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning

This patio was open to the elements and was also used by the owner’s dog. Further due to its inaccessibility it had never been cleaned apart from with the general hosepipe sprayer. Any kind of porous stone will over time become dirty and stained if the sealer is not maintained, sealers do fail eventually and usually in the highest traffic areas first where they become worn down the most.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning

Deep Cleaning Dirty Slate Patio

The first job was to pressure clean the entire area using the truck mounted system I mentioned earlier, it works well on patios removing all sorts of detritus that can build up over time.

With patio now clear I was able to see the condition of the slate which showed grout smears on the surface from installation as some stubborn staining that the pressure treatment had been unable to shift. To resolve this I mixed up a batch of Tile Doctor Cleaning Agent Oxy Gel together with Tile Doctor Acid Gel and applied it to all the problem areas. Liquids have a tendency to run (patios have a gentle slope to allow for rain run off) whereas Gel’s remain in place so they dwell on the problem areas longer and really get to work. I left the mixture in place for a short while before scrubbing it in with a stiff brush and then extracted it using truck mount system. The water from the truck mount also neutralised the acid which is important as you shouldn’t leave acid on natural stone for too long.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton During Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton During Cleaning

Sealing a Slate Patio

Fortunately there was no rain that night and being August also quite warm so I was pleased to find the Slate had tried off fully by the next day when we returned to seal it. To be certain however I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry and ready to be sealed. Once satisfied, I applied a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which works really well on Slate giving it that much needed protection against dirt and stains, along with a full lustre finish that enhances the character of the floor.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning

The client was elated both with the result and even more so after we explained how to maintain the look of the tiles with having a doggy in the house!

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning
 
 

Refurbishing a Slate Tiled Patio in East Sussex



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Rejuvenating a Slate Tiled Bar Area at a Pub in Leamington Spa


The Drawing Board is a Gastropub and bar in Leamington Spa with a fantastic homely aesthetic. Leamington Spa itself is a spa town in Warwickshire, home to The Royal Pump Rooms, the most famous of the spa baths that were opened in England in the late-18th and mid-19th centuries.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

I have eaten at the Drawing Board a few times in the past (great food!) and was really pleased to help the owner rejuvenate the Slate tiled floor in the bar area. He wanted the area cleaned and sealed to achieve a wet-look finish, however, because the pub is very popular amongst customers, I would only have a period of five hours to undertake the work. This meant an early morning start. I had carried out some maintenance work on the floor about 18 months ago, but during this time it had suffered a lot of foot traffic.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor in a Bar Area

To begin, I used our product called Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel, which is an effective cleaner and coatings stripper, to remove the old acrylic coat on the tiles. Being in a gel form it’s easy to manage and holds in position allowing it to dwell on the stone and get to work on breaking the existing sealer down. Once applied it was left to soak into the Slate and then scrubbed in using a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The floor was then rinsed with water and the now soiled Oxy-Gel and water was removed with a wet vacuum.

With the tiles stripped of any remaining coatings, I turned my attention to the deep cleaning the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner. The product was diluted with water and then scrubbed in manually using a stiff brush.

Following this, I rinsed the whole floor with fresh, cold water to remove any traces of product. Air movers were then installed to speed dry the stone as I needed to move quickly with only five hours to get the job done.

Once the floor was completely dry, I was able to seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor High Shine, which is a a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers designed to protect and enhance the appearance of natural stone whilst leaving a high sheen finish. Another advantage of the sealer is that being water based it leaves no smell as it dries which was important as being a pub we didn’t want to put the customers off.

Slate Tiled Floor After Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

I think you will agree the Slate floor looks significantly better and the new sealer will provide them with the protection they need to withstand heavy foot traffic. The owner of the pub was very pleased indeed!

Slate Tiled Floor After Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant
 
 

Commercial Natural Stone Floor Maintenance at a Leamington Spa Public House



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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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Travertine Wet Room with Leakage Problem Restored in Harrogate


Travertine is a distinct and highly aesthetic material which offers unique characteristics and colouring that not many other types of stone can offer. It looks great when used on tiled floors and in this case shower cubicles however like any natural stone it does need maintenance.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

A good example of this point was this Travertine wet room in Harrogate, which comprised of large format Travertine tiles on the floor and Travertine mosaic tiles on the walls. It was in poor condition and to make things worse had been leaking for years. A local plumber had tried to resolve the leak, but to no avail. At this point, the property owner was desperately searching for a solution, and decided to contact me to see what could be done both to restore the appearance of the wet room and fix the leakage.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Wet Room

On first inspection of the wet room, l couldn’t see any obvious problems that might be causing the leak, however the white silicon did look a bit questionable and had already decided that would need replacing. To start I turned my attention to cleaning the whole shower cubicle, including the tile and grout.

I did this by applying Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline cleaner, to remove the mould, soap scum and dyes caused by daily exposure to acidic soap and shampoos. These issues can build up exceptionally quickly if care is not taken to regularly rinse down the shower after each use.

During this process, I noticed grout haze had been left on the surface of the tiles following installation and so treated the problem with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of hydrochloric and phosphoric acid in gel form. Being a gel, this product works particularly well on vertical surfaces because it is easier to control.

The next step was to resolve the leakage problem, starting by removing all the old and unattractive white silicon. When l removed the silicon, I could see that it was black with mould at the back. It was clear to me then that water was getting behind it and this was the cause of the leak. Also, this revealed a 2-3mm gap between the wall and the base of the shower. The gap was damp and mould had collected there, so this needed to be scraped out manually and the gap dried with a heat gun. Finally, l filled the gap with grout to seal it and left the wet room to dry overnight.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Wet Room

The next day, I returned to the property and sealed the grout with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal. This is a premium, natural-look, penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection and allow moisture vapour transmission. To finish the restoration, I applied fresh, clear silicon around the base.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate After Cleaning

In my opinion, white silicon should never have been used with stone, as clear silicon is far more suitable and more pleasing to the eye. Certainly, my customer agreed – and she was very pleased with the result and no more leak.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Travertine Tiled Wet Room in North Yorkshire



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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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Annual Maintenance of a Victorian-Era Quarry Tiled School Floor in Oundle


It was back in 2013 that I first visited this school in Oundle to attend to a 150-year old Victorian Quarry tiled floor which, at the time, had extensive problems with damp and a poor performing sealer that had gradually peeled away.

Victorian Quarry Tiles Oundle School in 2012

Over a few weeks, we successfully stripped away the old and ineffective sealant and addressed the damp issues, before applying a breathable sealer. We subsequently allowed the tiles to successfully dry out for several months before returning to the school to provide a light clean and apply our topical sealer, known as Tile Doctor Seal and Go, as the school required a shiny, yet hard-wearing finish.

I posted a story on my website about this original job, which you can see here:

150 Year Old Quarry Tile Restoration in Northants School

As part of my initial visit, I had supplied the school with five litres of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, which is a pH neutral formula designed for regular use, and a white buffing pad. I had also spent an hour with their in-house cleaner (who was already familiar with using a buffing machine) to talk through daily maintenance of the floor, as over 100 children can be walking over these floors at any one time on an almost daily basis.

Of course, not every floor will receive this amount of traffic and suffer from this level of wear and tear, but in these situations Tile Doctor can offer a maintenance plan for our customers.

Victorian Quarry Tiles Oundle School in 2013

Cleaning and Sealing Quarry Tiles for Maintenance

The school have me back annually to carry out a full maintenance clean and seal. This involves, firstly, etching the top coats of sealant with a green diamond-encrusted burnishing pad to remove any build-up of dirt and staining. Then, I rinse the whole floor with fresh water and soak up the residue with a wet vacuum.

After drying the area with fans, I proceed to reapply two fresh coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go. This is now my fourth year of visiting the school and, as the photos show, an annual maintenance plan is the best way to keep floors in top condition without the disruption caused by a full clean or restoration.

Victorian Quarry Tile After Maintenance Oundle School in 2017

Contact your local Tile Doctor consultant about the maintenance plan we offer for any natural stone flooring after an initial clean.
 
 

Professional Victorian Quarry Tiled Floor Maintenance at a School in Oundle



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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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Cleaning a 40m2 Light-Limestone Kitchen Floor at a Cottage in Ashprington


Ashprington is a small, picturesque village just outside of Totnes and boasts a quaint stream running through the centre of the village, several listed cottages and a pub, ‘The Watermans Arms’, which offers good food – including their now famous triple-fried chips!

I was approached by the owners of one of the beautiful listed cottages in the village, which had the river running through the garden and was a stone’s throw from the pub, because they had extensively developed the building around five years ago. This work included the installation of a lovely light-limestone floor spanning the kitchen and open-plan extension, however the floor was starting to lose its natural appeal and the owners were finding it harder to clean.

With summer fast approaching the owners were keen to get the property ready for their annual holiday and a visit was quickly arranged. I took a closer look at the floor and conducted a test on a small area to give the clients an idea of what to expect. The limestone was honed smooth but was not polished and the customers were keen not to add too much of an unnatural shine to the floor.

The grout lines in some of the more heavily used areas, such as by the sink, were also discoloured and would require a decent scrub with an appropriate Tile Doctor product.

Light Limestone Kitchen Floor Ashprington Before

I spoke to the clients about options for the finish to be applied after cleaning and they decided that they wanted to keep the tiles as light as possible with a slight shine. With the clients impressed with the test area I prepared I went away and produced a detailed quote which was sent to them along with our general T&Cs and the work was booked in to be completed shortly after.

Cleaning a Light-Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

The floor spanned quite a large area, some 40m2, and had some larger items of furniture that needed to be moved before starting. Because the house was empty at the time it was a straightforward task to divide the area into two and stagger the work over four days so that the furniture could be moved to suit.

The first task was to scrub the grout with a specialist grout brush, designed to get right into the grout lines and work the product in. Limestone is an acid-sensitive stone so a strong alkaline cleaner called Remove & Go was used which was then allowed to dwell for around 45 minutes to work its magic. The area was quickly rinsed before using a series of diamond impregnated burnishing pads attached to a rotary scrubbing machine, ranging from a coarse 400 grit (200 in some of the more stubborn areas) up to a fine 1500 grit to clean the stone. The whole area was then rinsed using a truck-mounted system that feeds pressurised water to the floor whilst extracting the dirty water at the same time. A rotary spinner tool was also used which helps to get a really thorough rinse. The first area was then left to dry overnight, aided by the underfloor heating which was installed with the tiles.

Polishing a Light-Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

The following day a very fine 3000 grit diamond pad was used to ‘spray burnish’ the floor which uses very little water and ensures that any remaining residues are lifted as well as finishing the floor in the highest level of mechanical polishing possible prior to sealing.

If the clients desired a higher level of shine a powdered high shine sealer would have been worked into the tiles to achieve a highly reflective surface, however the mechanical polish was the highest level of shine wanted.

Sealing a Light-Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

My client has requested a completely natural finish so to seal the stone after cleaning I applied an impregnating sealer called Tile Doctor Ultra Seal. Impregnating sealers soak into the pores of the tile protecting them from within and Ultra-Seal doesn’t alter the appearance of the floor and so maintained the natural appearance of the stone keeping it as light as possible.

Light Limestone Kitchen Floor Ashprington After

The following day the furniture was carefully moved to the recently sealed area and the whole process was repeated for the second area. Aftercare instructions and a bottle of suitable pH-neutral cleaner were supplied.

The customer was thrilled with the final result and was surprised at the transformation of the floor and left me the following feedback:

“Great service, and the floor looks new again.”
Elaine M, Ashprington
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Light Limestone Floor in Devon



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Restoring the Spoiled Appearance of a Sandstone Tiled Patio in Bedford


This is the ideal time of year for property owners to not only think about restoring their internal natural stone floor tiles, but also their external tiles. With it being Summer, the weather is warm and dry enough for patio restorations to take place.

The photographs below show a recent restoration of a two-year old Sandstone tiled patio at a property on a new build development in Bedford, the country town of Bedfordshire. Sandstone is a naturally porous stone, which does make it more vulnerable to the elements when it is used for outside flooring and is not sealed.

Sandstone Patio Bedford Before Cleaning

Unfortunately, the patio had not been sealed when it was first installed, and during the two years since, the combination of damp weather, a lack of sunlight in shaded areas, and a build-up of green staining from moss spores – together with general dirt and grime – had greatly spoiled the appearance of the beautiful stone.

Sandstone Patio Bedford Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Spoiled Sandstone Tiled Patio

My first course of action in carrying out the restoration was to lightly coat the patio with Tile Doctor Pro Clean. This is a multi-purpose, alkaline-based cleaner which is suitable for use on most natural stone, including Sandstone, Granite, Limestone, Slate, and Travertine.

The product was subsequently agitated with a scrubbing brush fitted to a rotary machine, before I pressure washed the patio at a medium pressure to avoid damaging the stone. As you can see from the photos below, this cleaning made a great improvement to the condition of the patio – in fact, it appeared almost new again! The customer was very pleased with the outcome.

Sandstone Patio Bedford After Cleaning

The customer decided not to have the patio sealed, as he preferred the natural look and would prefer to have it cleaned on a yearly basis. Sealing is less important for external tiles, as compared to internal tiles, however if you do decide not to seal your patio, it’s highly recommended that you establish a routine maintenance plan for the stone. Otherwise, you run the risk – after just a few years – of allowing your tiles to end up in a similar condition to this Sandstone tiled patio before it had been restored.

Sandstone Patio Bedford After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Cleaning and Restoration of a Spoiled Sandstone Tiled Patio in Bedford



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Specialist Repair of a Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway in Newport


Newport is the third largest city in Wales with a long history that goes back to the Roman times so un-surprisingly it has many period buildings and problematic tiled floors. I was recently asked by a Tile Doctor colleague of mine to assist him with the restoration of an original Victorian tiled hallway at a property in the city.

You will see from my website that I have a lot of experience in rebuilding Victorian tiled floors and on this occasion my colleague required me to perform some specialist tile repairs before he could carry out the business of cleaning and sealing the floor.

The property owner had previously asked a different company in to carry out the floor restoration but the tile repairs made were disastrous. The repair attempts were never going to be successful as this was a particularly difficult situation and required real specialism in dealing with Victorian tiles.

Victorian Hallway Tiles Before Repair in Newport

The previous company had used dry plaster to bed the tiles in the hope of being able to achieve some sort of flatness to dry cut the pieces in place. This had also been done without consideration for matching the colours of the tiles. You can see the result of this in the photo below.

Victorian Hallway Tiles During Removal Showing Plaster Base in Newport

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

The first stage of the repairs was to remove all the plaster powder and cut out the very damaged tiles as far back as possible, being very careful not to cause any further damage to the existing tiles. Next, I cemented the base level to the desired thickness and left it to dry out, before dry cutting all the tiles (150 x 150) I had sourced to colour match with the original tiles.

Victorian Hallway Tiles During Base Rebuild with Cement Newport Victorian Hallway Tiles Cutting Replacements in Newport

Once all the tiles were cut, I moved them to the area to be tiled and proceeded to spread adhesive and install the tiles. Following this, I left the floor to dry out overnight. The next day, I returned to the property and grouted the tiles.

Victorian Hallway Tiles During Replacement in Newport Victorian Hallway Tiles During Replacement in Newport

Now that the repairs have been completed to the required standards, this Victorian tiled hallway is now ready to be cleaned and sealed by my colleague.

Victorian Hallway Tiles Grouting in Replacement Tiles in Newport Victorian Hallway Tiles During Replacement in Newport

 
 

Damaged Victorian Hallway Floor Repair and Restoration in South Wales



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Dirty Grout Lines Refreshed on a Ceramic Tiled Hallway in Cirencester


Cirencester is a large market town in the East of Gloucestershire known for its rich history dating back to the Roman times, when it was known as Corinium. This area is also home to the Royal Agricultural University, the oldest agricultural college in the English-speaking world.

I visited the town recently to see a customer who was having significant problems with the cleaning of her Ceramic tiled hallway. Ceramic tiles are always a popular choice in high traffic areas like Hallways and Kitchens due to their durability, as well as water and scratch resistance. However, this floor had been installed a decade ago and during that time had not received adequate maintenance. Although the Ceramic tiles themselves had not faired too badly the grout lines were heavily ingrained with dirt, making them near impossible to clean with everyday cleaning products.

Ceramic Grout Lines Cirencester Before Cleaning

The property owner had tried numerous products without success and determined to get the grout clean again sought assistance from her local Tile Doctor. I deal with these types of issues all the time so I was happy to pop round and see what could be done to restore the floor back to its peak condition.

Cleaning a Dirty Ceramic Tiled Hallway

To begin, I set about cleaning the grout lines using a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a multi-purpose stripper and degreaser that breaks down any old sealer, and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline-based cleaner suitable for all types of stone and tile. I applied the cleaning solution and left it to dwell for about 30 minutes, before using a grout brush to lift away a decade’s worth of grime and muck.

Next, I used Pro Clean again to scrub the tiles in combination with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine, before rinsing the entire floor with fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals. Then, I dried the grout lines with a heat gun and left them to cool for about 10 minutes. The grout lines were subsequently ready to be sealed.

Sealing a Ceramic Tiled Hallway

With the floor ready to be sealed, I applied Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal to the grout lines using a pipette, which is a tool used to deliver a measured quantity of sealer.

Ultra-Seal is a premium sealer which is formulated to provide maximum stain protection. While leaving the grout with a natural look, the sealer will keep the grout looking fresh and free of ingrained dirt for some time to come.

Ceramic Grout Lines Cirencester After Cleaning

The customer was amazed at how quickly I could transform the condition of the grout. As you can see from the photo below, the condition of the grout really shapes the appearance of the floor – and now these Ceramic tiles are a real asset to the property once again.
 
 

Professional Cleaning of Dirty Ceramic Tile and Grout in a Gloucestershire Hallway



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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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Porcelain Tiled Kitchen and Hallway Refresh in Leighton Buzzard


This Porcelain tiled floor had been laid in the hallway and kitchen of a house in Leighton Buzzard five to six years earlier. During that time the floor had become very dirty and the grout was discoloured to the point where it had turned black and no matter how hard the customer tried they were unable to get the grout clean.

On my initial visit to the property we discussed the options with the customer and decided that the best thing to do would be to thoroughly clean the grout and then seal it with grout colorant saving a messy and costly replacement of the grout.

Hallway Porcelian Tile and Grout Before Cleaning Leighton Buzzard

Cleaning Porcelain Tiles and Grout

To get the porcelain tiles clean and deal with the worst of the grout I treated the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The product was mopped onto the floor and then left to dwell for 20 minutes. It was then scrubbed into the tiles with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine running on a slow speed. I also ran a stiff grout brush along the grout lines to get the grout as clean as possible.

The floor was then rinsed with water under high pressure and the slurry extracted using a wet vacuum. As we were grout colouring later I gave the grout a further scrub using Grout Colourant Pre-Treater which ensures a better bond between the grout and the colourant, this was then rinsed off with more water and also extracted using the wet vacuum.

Kitchen Porcelain Tile and Grout After Cleaning Before Grout Colouring Leighton Buzzard

Re-Colouring Grout

Once the grout was dry I started applying the Grout Colourant in a colour that best matched the original grout and colour of the tile. The process is quite straight forward and involves using a small brush to carefully apply the colorant along each grout line. When I was finished, I made sure to clean any excess product off the tiles before it had time to dry.

Kitchen Porcelain Tile and Grout After Cleaning and Grout Colouring Leighton Buzzard

My photographs probably don’t do the floor justice but hopefully you can appreciate how the grout is now uniform in colour and with the protection of the grout colourant which forms a barrier over the grout it will stay that way for a long time to come.
 
 

Restoring the Appearance of Porcelain Tile and Grout in Buckinghamshire



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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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