We were contacted by a customer living in Oxford who had a property with a brick floor in the living room that was in a bad state and in need of restoration. Brick has always been used as an alternative flooring material to stone due its durability and low cost. Oxford has a long history dating back over a thousand years so it not unusual to discover something like this in older properties.
The owner believed the floor to be over 100 years old and had been patched up in numerous places in the past with holes filled in with modern bricks and concrete. I was confident we could dramatically improve the floor but naturally give its long history it would never look like it was new again.
Restoring a Brick Floor
To remove the dirt I stated with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, a high alkaline product that is our go to cleaning product. I applied the product to the floor and left it to dwell for twenty minutes before scrubbing into the brick with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a low speed rotary machine. The soiled cleaning solution was then extracted using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed with water.
With a lot of the dirt removed I could see I would need to use something abrasive to remove the layers of concrete and give the floor a consistent appearance. Fortunately we a number of techniques we can use for dealing with these issues and in this case I opted to apply a series of coarse abrasive milling pads. I started with the 50grit grit pad which is applied by attaching it to a weighted floor buffer and lubricated with water. Then the floor is rinsed and the process repeated with a 100 grit pad and finally a 200 grit pad to finish the process. The pads use industrial diamonds to slowly grind down the surface and improve its appearance. After the final rinse I could see the floor was much improved, I then had to wait for the floor to dry off fully before I could seal it.
Sealing a Brick Floor
On my return the next day I checked the floor with a damp meter to make sure it had dried. All was well so I set about applying a sealer to protect the floor from staining going forward and also make it easier to clean. This sealer I opted for was Tile Doctor Colour Grow which protects the brick from within by become ingrained into the pores of the material and has the added benefit of enhancing the natural colour to bring back the redness of the brick in the process.
I appreciate the photographs are not my best but hopefully you can appreciate the improvement, certainly the customer was very pleased with transformation and left the feedback for me below. In fact they were originally of the opinion that it probably wasn’t salvageable so this was a major bonus.
We went from dirty old brick living room floor to shiny new (looking) floor in the space of two days. Barry called back immediately came round to have a look the same day then set a date and time and met every promise.
This property in London N6 had been rented out previously by the owners and they were now renovating it before moving back in, this work included a wet room which had glass mosaic floor tiles and a dark Basalt tile laid on the wall. The main problem had been a general lack of maintenance over the years which led to a major unsightly build-up of lime scale throughout the wet room. We agreed to do the work but had to explain to the client how difficult the work would be and set their expectation for only an eighty percent improvement. I must apologise in advance for the quality of some of the photographs on this page, the size of the room, low lighting a nature of the stone surfaces didn’t lend themselves well to being photographed.
Day 1 -Cleaning Basalt and Mosaic Tiles
Having protected all the chrome furnishings within the wet room we started to soak the Basalt tiled walls with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up followed by scrubbing and rinsing constantly with clear water. Grout Clean-up is an Acid based product so you do need to take care when doing this however it is particularly effective at shifting mineral deposits like Limescale. When we were satisfied this had removed the majority of soap scum and lime scale we proceeded to clean the Glass Mosaic floor tiles using the same method.
Day 2 -Polishing Basalt wall Tiles
The basalt tiled walls now needed to be restored back to their original factory condition using small diamond encrusted burnishing pads attached to a hand held polishing machine. We started with a coarse pad which removed any remaining Limescale which had impregnated the surface of the stone and moved onto the finer pads which polish the stone. Once this was complete the tiles were given a final clean with Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which is an everyday cleaning product designed for regular use on stone or sealed tiled surfaces.
Day 3 -Sealing Basalt wall Tiles
We came back on the third day and after making sure the Basalt tiles had dried we gave it a final buffing to restore the stone to a deep high gloss shine. The last step was to seal the Basalt tile in order to protect it and make it easier to clean in the future and for this we applied three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone.
Finally we used a rotary floor polisher fitted with a white buffing pad to buff the mosaic glass floor to a high shine.
This Pamment tiled hall was in a Grade II listed former Manor House in the village of Creeting St Peter, there were three areas of floor requiring attention two having being recently laid and the other the original floor. Similar to Terracotta, Pamment tiles are made from Clay and have been traditionally used throughout Norfork and Suffollk.
Cleaning Pamment Tiles
I started the job using a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a heavy duty cleaner ideal for stone, tile and grout. The cleaner was diluted with water and left to soak into the Pamment tile and grout for about 10 minutes before being scrubbed in with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. The soiled solution was then removed with a wet vacuum and washed down with clean water to neutralise the floor of any chemical; we repeated this process a couple of times and we also used a stiff hand brushes to clean up the grout lines. Once happy the floor was given a final rinse and left to dry overnight, A dehumidifier was left running to ensure that the floor would be dry enough to seal the next day.
Sealing Pamment Tiles
The next day came back to do the sealing and after checking the floor had dried sufficiently proceeded to seal it . Tile Doctor Seal and Go was used to seal the floor, it’s a water based sealer so it doesn’t give off an odour when it’s drying and also offers durable stain protection together with a low sheen finish which enhances the look of the tile. Like Terracotta Pamment tiles are very porous and took seven coats of sealer r before it was fully sealed.
The work took two days in all and now the floor is much easier to maintain.