Restoring a 200-Year-Old Stone Fireplace in Lingfield

We are often called in to restore stone and tile where others have not been able to succeed, and this was the case with this 200-year-old stone fireplace in Lingfield. To be fair to the previous company its was covered in 5mm of paint in multiple layers so it was no easy task to restore.

Stone Fireplace Before Cleaning Lingfield Stone Fireplace Before Cleaning Lingfield

The church in Lingfield village was apparently rebuilt in 1431 so it’s not surprising to find houses here containing some impressive period features. This property also had an old Pamment tiled hallway which I wrote about in a previous article.

Removing Paint from a Stone Fireplace

To strip the multiple layers of paint off the stone fireplace I would need to apply a strong chemical, so my first task was to protect the adjacent woodwork. I tend to use a thin blue film for this as it sticks well to most surfaces and like professional decorators masking tape it doesn’t remove the paint when you remove it later.

To soften and remove the paint I applied a special paste that is brushed on and slowly emulsifies the paint so it can be easily peeled off. To ensure all the layers could be removed I blanketed the whole fireplace in a thin laminated membrane which ensures the product doesn’t evaporate. The paste is safe to use on Stone and I left it for a couple of days before returning.

I returned to the house in Lingfield and completed the messy job of stripping off the now pliable paint taking care not to damage the fireplace or the surroundings. Once done and the waste removed, I set about cleaning up the now naked stone with Tile Doctor Acid Gel.

Acid Gel is a perfect choice for this job as being a gel its easy to control and sticks to the vertical surface allowing it to be scrubbed in without running down the facia. After scrubbing the gel was carefully rinsed off with a sponge.

Stone Fireplace After Cleaning LingfieldThe restoration took a lot of manual work especially when working around the intricate carvings in the stone however the transformation was well worth it. I think you will agree the Fireplace now looks transformed.

 

Large Stone Fireplace Restored in East Surrey

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Careful Slate Floor Renovation in Oxted

This was a very large natural Slate floor installed throughout much of the ground floor at a property in the East Surrey town of Oxted. The owner was unhappy with the state of the tiles and especially the grout, however she wanted to ensure I would take maximum care around her Baby Grand Piano. If you have read any of my previous articles you will know I am careful and take time to protect anything that could be stained or damaged with a non-marking film. I therefore assured her I would take maximum care in her home and that it wouldn’t be a problem.

I surveyed the floor and could see that the previous sealer had long since failed and dirt had penetrated the pores of the stone. This made it difficult to clean the floor effectively and resulted in a continually dull appearance. The grout had also trapped the dirt and had gone black as a result. The cure would be to strip the tile and grout of what was left of the original sealer, deep clean and then reseal. Happy with my quote we set a date for the work to start.

Slate Tiled Floor Oxted Before Cleaning Slate Tiled Floor Oxted Before Cleaning

Stripping and Cleaning Slate Floor Tiles

When I arrived on the appointed day, I discovered that the owner had gone to some lengths to pad the piano with bumble wrap mostly to prevent any airborne chemical or dust damage.

Working in sections I started applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor which is a powerful coatings remover that would strip what was left of the old sealer from the floor. The product is left on the Slate for about ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a rotary machine fitted with black pad. The machine is run at slow speed to minimise splashing and then the slurry is rinsed off the tiles with water and a wet vacuum.

I inspected the floor at this point to ensure the process was having the right effect and it became evident that there was no integrity in the grouting which was crumbling. This was a major problem and it became clear that the only way to resolve it would be to remove and replace all the grout.

Slate Tiled Floor Oxted Failing Grout

Re-grouting a Large Slate Tiled Floor

Over the next couple of days, I cut out all the existing grout with a special tool. They were large format slate tiles however with most of the ground floor needing to be re-grouted it took some time to complete. Once all the grout was removed, I set about applying fresh grout using a colour that highlighted the Slate tiles better.

Slate Tiled Floor Oxted Replacing Grout

Sealing Tumbled Slate Kitchen Tiles

Once the grout had dried, I was able to start applying a new sealer to the Slate tiles. Slate responds well to Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that protects the stone from within. It’s also a colour enhancing product that really brings out the best in natural stone such as Slate.

Slate Tiled Floor Oxted After Renovation Slate Tiled Floor Oxted After Renovation

Two coats of Colour Grout were sufficient to seal the Slate tiles and I think you will agree the stone floor has come back to life and become a fine setting for the Baby Grand Piano.

Slate Tiled Floor Oxted After Renovation Slate Tiled Floor Oxted After Renovation

Before leaving my very happy customer to the enjoy, I left her with customer with a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap, a neutral and highly reliable cleaner for natural stone floors such as Slate. This will assist her in maintaining the appearance and condition of the tiles going forward. Another satisfied customer!

 

Professional Cleaning and Sealing of Tumbled Slate Tiles in East Surrey

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Pitted Travertine Floor Tiles Renovated in Limpsfield Chart

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Earlier this year I went to look at a Travertine tiled floor at a property in Limpsfield Chart next Oxted in East Surrey. The travertine had been laid throughout the Kitchen and adjacent dinner and my client was having trouble maintaining its appearance which had now become dull and unappealing. The Travertine tiles also suffered badly from pitting and dirt had become lodged in the pits of the stone making it difficult to clean. In addition, there was also some staining to the grout lines that needed removing.

Pitted Travertine Floor Before Grout Cleaning Limpsfield Chart Pitted Travertine Floor Before Filling Pitted Stone Limpsfield Chart

I discussed with the client what we could do to restore the floor and we agreed a price for the work to be carried out which would take three days. I’m pleased to say they were happy for me to do the work whilst they were away on holiday

Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Kitchen & Diner Floor

First, we removed the kitchen kickboards and applied protective tape to the skirting boards and around the fridge. Then a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was sprayed onto the tile and grout and left to soak in for fifteen minutes.

Pitted Travertine Floor Before Adding Protection Limpsfield Chart Pitted Travertine Floor Before Filling and Polishing Limpsfield Chart

Remove and Go is designed to remove coatings from Tile and Stone such as sealers so after leaving it to dwell on the floor it was worked in using a rotary floor buffer fitted with a polypropylene brush. The grout lines were then scrubbed by hand paying particular attention to the stained areas. Once that was down the now dirty Remove and Go was rinsed and extracted from the floor using a spinner tool which uses a compressor to apply hot water at high pressure and extracts the slurry into a waste tank. This process was applied first to the kitchen and then to the adjacent dining area.

Pitted Travertine Floor During Cleaning Limpsfield Chart Pitted Travertine Floor During Rinsing Extracting Limpsfield Chart

Filling Pitts in a Travertine Tiled Floor

As the floor dried, I spent the rest of the afternoon filling the pits in the Travertine tile with grout, almost every tile was affected so it took some time. The grout was then left to harden overnight.

Pitted Travertine Floor After Filling Before Polishing Limpsfield Chart Pitted Travertine Floor After Filling Limpsfield Chart

Returning on day 2 a 400-Grit burnishing pad was applied dry to both areas to smooth off the grout that had been applied to the pits the previous day. Only a single pass of the pad was required to remove the excess grout which was then swept off the floor. The grout blended in perfectly with the Travertine which was a mixture of brown and white shades.

Polishing Travertine Floor Tiles

With the pitting issue resolved I set to work restoring the polished appearance of the tiles for which I used a set of diamond encrusted Tile Doctor burnishing pads. Before starting I
pre-wetted the floor with water which was sprayed onto the tiles and then applied the 400-grit pad run over the floor ensuring to pass over each tile four times to get an even result. The fine slurry generated was rinsed off with water and the process repeated with the 800, 1500 and 3000 grit pads, to further hone the stone and restore its polished appearance.

Pitted Travertine Floor During Polishing Limpsfield Chart

With two areas to work on the polishing process took up most of the second day.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen and Diner Floor

After inspecting the floor on day 3, I set about applying Tile Doctor Shine Powder to the whole floor. This is a crystallising powder that is applied to the floor and buffed in with a red pad. It adds a very high shine to the tiles and provides a tough durable finish.

Pitted Travertine Floor During Shine Powder Polishing Limpsfield Chart

The final result was quite a transformation and what better welcome home present for the client when they returned from their holiday.

Pitted Travertine Floor After Polishing Limpsfield Chart Pitted Travertine Floor After Polishing Limpsfield Chart

 

Professional Renovation of a Travertine Tiled Floor in East Surrey

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Old Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Renovated in Lingfield

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This is the first of two visits I made to a property in Lingfield, East Surrey which had some very old features including a Pamment tiled hallway and a 200-year-old stone Fireplace. In both cases the owner had made an attempt at restoring them before deciding to give up and call in Tile Doctor.

Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Lingfield Surrey Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Lingfield Surrey

For this article I’m going to focus on the Pamment tiles which like Terracotta are made from Clay and are a common flooring material in Norfolk and Suffolk. We don’t usually see Pamment tiles in Surrey however Lingfield is a very old village where the Church dates to the 14th century so you never know what you’re going to find.

Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Lingfield Surrey Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Lingfield Surrey

Cleaning Pamment Tiles

I started with the job by scrubbing the Pamment tiles with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a heavy-duty cleaner/stripper designed for removing coatings from stone, tile and grout. The product was applied and left to soak into the tile and grout for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. The soiled solution was then removed with a wet vacuum.

Next step was to give the tiles an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is applied using the same method as before. Acid washing a tiled floor removes mineral deposits such as alkaline salts from efflorescence and will also take off thin grout smears that can ruin the look of a tiled floor. Once this was done and the soil removed the floor was washed down with clean water to ensure all the acid was removed and the floor neutralised.

You can see from the photographs that the grouting between the tiles had failed in areas, so this was replaced to ensure the floor was structurally sound. After cleaning up the floor it was then left to dry out thoroughly for a few days.

Sealing Pamment Tiles

On my return to do the sealing I first checked the floor had dried sufficiently with a damp meter, we never recommend sealing a damp floor as this can cause problems with the sealer curing leading to patchy results. All was well and for this floor I decided on applying a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal first which seeps into the pores of the tile and adds a base layer of protection. This was then followed up with multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds the final layer of protection and enhances the look of the tile to leave a nice subtle sheen.

Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway After Sealing Lingfield Surrey Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway After Sealing Lingfield Surrey

The work took two days in all and as you can see the floor now looks transformed and will be much easier to maintain going forward.

Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway After Sealing Lingfield Surrey Clay Pamment Tiled Hallway After Sealing Lingfield Surrey

GET THE LOOK – Pamment Tiled Flooring

If you like the rustic look a Pamment tiled floor brings to a property, then there are several UK suppliers who still retail these tiles including Norfolk Pamments and Antique Style Flooring. Also consider searching eBay, Gumtree and reclamation yards for second hand floors for restoration.

 

Clay Pamment Tiled Floor Renovated in East Surrey

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Tumbled Travertine Tiled Floor Polished and Sealed in Horley

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This Tumbled Travertine tiled floor at a beautiful house in Horley had been poorly maintained through the years using the wrong type of sealer which quickly wore down allowing dirt to become ingrained in the stone. The owner had become concerned about the state of the tiles and decided it was time to call in an expert that could restore the tiles to a condition that complimented the environment in which it was situated.

Tumbled Travertine Floor Horley Before Polishing Tumbled Travertine Floor Horley Before Polishing

Travertine is known for being very distinctive in character and very durable, making it a very popular choice for tiled flooring in properties worldwide. However, the stone does require regular professional maintenance and polishing to keep it looking it top shape and home owners rarely realise this when they decide to have it installed. Fortunately, in the UK at least you can rely on your local tile doctor to maintain it for you.

Deep Cleaning Tumbled Travertine Tiles

The first part of the job involved giving the floor a thorough clean to remove what was left of old sealers and any polishing compounds that remained on the floor. Before beginning that however I brought in all my equipment and products into the house and then prepped the area by taping up the woodwork to protect it during the renovation process.

Tumbled Travertine Floor Horley Before Polishing Tumbled Travertine Floor Horley Before Polishing

To remove what was left of the old sealers and other coatings still present on the floor a strong solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied to the floor and left to soak in for about ten minutes before being actively worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The solution turned black with the soil as it was lifted out of the pores of the stone and it was then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Polishing Tumbled Travertine Tiles

Following this, we moved on to a process we know as burnishing that hones the stone and brings up the polished appearance. Working in sections due to the size of the floor It involves the application of a series of diamond encrusted burnishing pads from coarse through to very fine.

The coarse 400-grit pad fitted to the rotary floor buffer and run over the floor using only water for lubrication. The water turns into a slurry as the pad does its job removing dirt and this has to be rinsed off the floor and extracted with the wet vacuum before applying the next pad. The process was then repeated with medium 800 grit pad for an initial polish followed by the Fine 1500 grit pad for the second polish using water for lubrication and rinsing and extracting in between each pad.

The last pad is a very fine 3000 grit pad for the final polish and is applied with only a little water sprayed onto the floor using a technique we call a Spray Burnish. This last pad really brings up the polished appearance of the stone.

Sealing Tumbled Travertine Tiles

To bring up the appearance of the stone even further and add a really durable polish Tile Doctor Shine Powder was applied. This is a crystallising powder sealer that ensures a very high shine and a tough, durable finish. This powder is applied directly to the tiles in combination with approximately ½ a litre of water and a soft white buffing pad.

Last step was to add to the protection provided by the Shine Powder with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t change the look of the stone and is applied to the stone and grout. This sealer works by seeping into the stone, occupying the pores and preventing dirt from becoming ingrained.

Tumbled Travertine Floor Horley After Polishing Tumbled Travertine Floor Horley After Polishing

The customer was ecstatic with the results, being particularly pleased that she got the floor looking the way she originally wanted without significant expense, not to mention stress.

Tumbled Travertine Floor Horley After Polishing

 

Professional Renovation of a Tumbled Travertine Tiled Floor in East Surrey

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