Restoring the Appearance of Encaustic Cement Tiles in Chipping Norton

The photographs on this page are of Encaustic Cement tiles where the grout had not been wiped off the surface properly after being laid. This in turn allowed dirt to become easily trapped and they soon became grubby. We see this problem a lot at Tile Doctor where it is commonly referred to has Grout Smears or Grout Haze. The customer from Chipping Norton had tried to remove it themselves without success and decided to give us a call.

Encaustic Cement Tiles Before Cleaning in Chipping Norton

If you haven’t come across them before Encaustic Cement tiles are often hand painted and are available in a range of beautifully artistic patterns. Being cement based however they do need to be sealed for best results.

Burnishing and Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles

To remove the grout and dirt and restore the look of the tiles I opted to use diamond encrusted burnishing pads. Tile Doctor supply a set of these pads comprising of four pads of increasing grits. I started with the coarse 400-grit burnishing pads running it over the floor with a rotary floor machine and lubricated with a small amount of water. Following this I worked my way through the system, applying Medium 800-grit and Fine 1500-grit pads rinsing off the slurry generated in-between and extracting with a wet vacuum.

The last Very Fine, 3000-grit pad is applied dry with only a little water spayed onto the floor using a process we call a “Spray Burnish”. This really refines the look of the tiles and usefully leaves them dry. This process took up the whole morning and the next step would be to seal the tiles, so I went for lunch at this point to give the tiles more time to dry.

Sealing Encaustic Cement Floor Tiles

To be sure they were dry I tested the floor with a damp meter, the readings were fine, and I was satisfied I could go ahead and apply the sealer.

To seal the tiles, I used two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is an impregnating sealer that penetrates and occupies the pores of the tile thus prevent dirt from becoming ingrained there. Colour Grow also leaves a matt finish which is ideal for this type of tile.

Encaustic Cement Tiles After Cleaning in Chipping Norton

With the grout and dirt removed and a sealer in place to protect them this floor will be much easier for the customer to keep them clean in future.

Get the Encaustic Look

If you like the look of Encaustic tiles but don’t want the hassle of having to maintain them it’s worth looking at their equivalent in Glazed Porcelain which are very low maintenance. CTD have a Cuban and Havana range which are inspired by the intricate geometric shapes found in Encaustic tiles, both are made from Glazed Porcelain which doesn’t need to be sealed and are therefore very low maintenance. CTD have over 100 tile shops in the UK and you can also buy on-line or order free samples via their website: www.CTDTiles.co.uk

 

Restoring the Appearance of Grubby Encaustic Cement Tiles in Oxfordshire

The post Restoring the Appearance of Encaustic Cement Tiles in Chipping Norton appeared first on Oxfordshire Tile Doctor.

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Removal of Linseed Oil from a Ceramic Tiled Floor in Uxbridge

This is a small Ceramic tiled floor that a client had laid in his workshop next to his house in Uxbridge. As you can see from the photo the floor was in an indescribable mess and I was asked to pop round and quote for sorting it out. Uxbridge is actually classed as Middlesex but being close to the M25 and M40 I find it easy to reach.

Ceramic Tiled Workshop Floor Before Cleaning Uxbridge

As requested, I called in to survey the floor which was not a pretty site. In turns out that the tiler had applied boiled linseed oil to the floor (which the tiles did not need), and this had formed a horrible sticky residue on the surface. The client had conducted several unsuccessful attempts at cleaning up the floor and was unsure it could be rectified. Once of the attempts involved using acid which failed to remove the oil and unfortunately did do some damage to the grout causing it to discolour.

Undeterred, I was confident we could sort the problems out and restore the appearance of the tile and grout. I discussed with the client what we could do to clean the floor and we agreed a price to carry out the work out.

Cleaning a Ceramic Tiled Workshop Floor

Returning the following week, I first tackled the floor using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean applied neat, left to soak for ten minutes and then scrubbed in with a rotary floor buffer fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a highly concentrated multi-purpose tile cleaner, which when left to dwell, breaks down all types of dirt from oils through to grease and grime. It’s particularly good for very heavily soiled areas and it did a good job at removing the Linseed Oil. I rinsed the soiled solution with water and extracted the now soiled cleaning solution off the floor with wet vacuum. Wet vacuums are a great resource for Tile Doctor work, they make light work of removing liquids and this keeps the mess to a minimum.

I followed up the cleaning with a light buff of the tiles using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up to remove the grout smears also left behind by the tiler. Cleaning the excess grout off the tiles made a huge difference to the floor, which you can see in the completed picture.

Ceramic Tiled Workshop Floor After Cleaning Uxbridge

Ceramic tiles have a glazed surface that won’t accept a sealer or Linseed Oil for that matter. There is therefore no need to apply any sealer or coating to this type of tile. They are generally very hardwearing and a suitable choice for a workshop like this. Hopefully, now the sticky oil has been removed the client will find the floor much more durable and easier to maintain.

The treatment worked well and I was able to complete the project in one day. The floor now looks like it should have done following the initial installation. Although it is only a small area, the difference is quite dramatic. My client was certainly pleased with the transformation and left the following feedback.

“Andrew is an expert in his field, and after an inexperienced tiler incorrectly used boiled linseed oil, Andrew worked to restore the tiles to their original beauty. I felt confident in him, he was a pleasure to work with, and his extremely professional. Very happy & highly recommended”

 

Professional Restoration of a Ceramic Tiled Workshop in Middlesex

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Removing Grout Haze from Black Porcelain Bathroom Tiles, Stevenage

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A builder in Stevenage contacted us about cleaning up a Grout Haze problem in a bathroom that they had recently tiled. Ideally grout should be polished off the tile after installation as getting grout off the surface of tiles once it has dried can be difficult. It’s actually a common problem often referred to as Grout Haze or Grout Smears that ruins the look of the tile. To remove it you need to use an acidic product, but acids can cause damage, so you need to be careful. In fact, my customer had read several horror stories on-line where brick acid and other strong chemicals had been used to clean up tiles so had decided to call us in and have it done professionally rather than attempt to do it themselves.

Black Porcelain Bathroom Floor Before Cleaning Stevenage Black Porcelain Bathroom Floor Before Cleaning Stevenage

The tiling work had been carried out in the ensuite of a house in Stevenage as part of larger renovation project they were involved in and being a Black porcelain tile the grout smears were very obvious as you can see form the photographs on this page.

Cleaning a Porcelain Tiled Ensuite Floor

To remove the grout smears we used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is an acidic product available from Tile Doctor which penetrates beneath the surface and was specifically created for the removal of grout smears. It can also be used to remove efflorescence which are those white salt deposits that you often see on brickwork. We have used this product on numerous occasions on many different tile installations, so we were confident it would work well on the black porcelain.

We began by applying Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to the tiles with a sponge and then scrubbing it into each individual tile as we went. The tiles are then rinsed with water, inspected and cleaned again if required. I should mention that being an acid-based product, it is advisable to wear rubber gloves and eye protection and ensure any areas not requiring treatment are well covered and protected.

Black Porcelain Bathroom Floor During Cleaning Stevenage Black Porcelain Bathroom Floor During Cleaning Stevenage

Once done a second rinse was carried out and the resulting residue was removed with a wet vacuum before leaving the tiles to dry off.

This process was carried out throughout the bathroom and to both the floor and wall tiles. The room was quite large, so the job took most of the day to complete, working methodically around each area. Once the areas were dry, you could see that the grout haze was no longer there.

Black Porcelain Bathroom Floor After Cleaning Stevenage Black Porcelain Bathroom Floor After Cleaning Stevenage

The room was soon left looking much more presentable for the new owners who I’m sure would not have been impressed with the way it looked before. The builders were grateful that we had been able to get the tiles looking pristine and the room looking as good as new. Before leaving we discussed with them the best course of action on future projects to avoid the same problem and recommended the use of Tile Doctor Aqua-Pro as a general maintenance cleaner.

 

Professional Removal of Grout Smears from Black Porcelain Tiles in Hertfordshire

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Limestone Tiled Floor with Grout Haze Cleaned in Clipston

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These photos are of a Limestone tiled floor which was installed in the Kitchen approximately at a property in the small parish of Clipston, which is close to the towns of Market Harborough and Daventry, three years ago. The customer was never very happy with it since it was laid as it never seemed to look clean asked me to cover over and work out what could be done.

On my initial visit I soon realised that the installer had not cleaned off all the grout from the tiles before applying the sealer. This effectively trapped the grout under the sealer and gave the whole floor a dirty appearance, this explained the problem the customer was frustrated with as she could never ever seem to get the floor looking clean.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze Before Cleaing Clipston

This issue is known as Grout Haze or Grout Smears and is a problem we often come across where the floor has been laid without the excess grout residue being completely polished off the tiles after the grouting. Some manufacturers recommend the tiles are sealed before grouting to make it easier to polish the grout off later. After discussing how we could remedy this I issued a quote which the customer accepted, and we scheduled the work to be done.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze Before Cleaning Clipston

Removing Grout Haze from Limestone Kitchen Tiles

I arrived on site on the arranged date, as it was a painted kitchen it was not possible to mask up the units, so I used a small hand-held polishing machine fitted with a six inch 400-grit burnishing pad to carefully clean around the edges and break through the sealant. This process was then repeated with a larger seventeen inch 400-grit burnishing pad fitted to a floor polishing machine throughout the rest of the area.

Once the original sealant had been removed using the burnishing pad the next step was to remove the Grout Haze by given the floor an acid wash with Tile Doctor Acid Gel. Being a gel, this product is easier to control than a liquid and sits on the surface where it’s needed to break down the unsightly Grout Haze. It’s left to dwell for a short period before being worked in with a special brush that is designed for this purpose. The resulting slurry is then removed with a professional wet pick up machine and the floor given a rinse with water to remove any trace of the product.

After treating the Grout Haze my next step was to refine the surface of the Limestone using a medium 800-grit and fine 1500-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad which are applied with water and restore the polished appearance of the stone. The floor is rinsed with more water between the application of each pad to remove the slurry that is generated and then dried with the wet pickup machine.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned the following day to buff the tiles with a white polishing pad as the customer didn’t want a high shine finish which is normally achieved with the 3000-grit diamond burnishing pad, this gave a low sheen honed look as the customer had requested. The floor was then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that and will protect the newly restored and polished tiles going forward.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze After Cleaning Clipston

The customer was very happy with the results and has left the following positive feedback on our website.

‘Professional, floor looks much better’ – Vicki S, Clipston

I gave the customer some tips on maintenance and a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap to enable her to keep the floor looking its best, this product is designed for the regular cleaning of polished stone floors and is pH neutral, so it won’t prematurely degrade the sealer.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze After Cleaning Clipston

 

Professional Restoration of a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor in Northamptonshire

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Cleaning Wood Effect Porcelain Tiles after Building Works in Lichfield

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This article comes from a recently renovated house in the medieval cathedral city of Lichfield which is North of the new M6 Toll road. My customer had recently brought a house there and was refurbishing it from top to bottom, unfortunately however by the time the refurb was finished the new wood effect Porcelain tiled floor in the kitchen and hallway had become very dull & dirty.

Wood Effect Porcelain Lichfield Before Cleaning Wood Effect Porcelain Lichfield Before Cleaning

Acid Washing Wood Effect Porcelain Tile

The tiled were basically dirty with plaster dust and I suspected grout smears to I decided the quickest and most effective method to clean them up would be to give the whole floor an acid wash with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up.

Tile Doctor Grout Clean–Up is specially designed for removing excess grout as well as dealing with mineral salt problems so working in sections I applied the product to the floor and left to soak for five minutes before scrubbing into the tiles and then rinsing it off with cold water which was then removed with a wet vacuum. Some of the more stubborn areas had to be retreated and with a longer dwell time and more scrubbing but the process had the desired effect.

Once the whole floor was done I gave it a final rinse and used the wet vacuum to remove as much moisture from the floor as possible before leaving it to fully dry off overnight.

Sealing Wood Effect Porcelain Tile

There are a number of different types of Porcelain tile and most do not require a sealer however I had determined that this type was in fact the micro porous variety and would accept a sealer. If you’re having a new tiled floor laid it helps to keep some unused tiles back so you can test different sealers on them before applying the sealer to the actual floor. In this case three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied and this worked very well as you can see from the photographs below.

Wood Effect Porcelain Lichfield After Cleaning Wood Effect Porcelain Lichfield After Cleaning

The customer said it looked better than it did when it was first laid so was very happy.
 
 

Builders Clean for Porcelain Tiled Floor in Staffordshire

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Stone Effect Pre-Cast Concrete Kitchen Flooring Deep Cleaned in Arnside

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The stone floor in these pictures are in fact pre-cast concrete tiles created to emulate Limestone flagstones laid in a Kitchen in Arnside. You can’t beat the natural beauty of Limestone but these concrete tiles do give the Kitchen that rustic look the customer sought. The odd thing is, it’s actually less expensive to buy real Limestone these days as Pre-cast concrete is not a cheap product.

Stone Effect Concrete Kitchen Flooring Before Cleaning Arnside Stone Effect Concrete Kitchen Flooring Before Cleaning Arnside

Unfortunately, in this case, the concrete had been smeared with Ivory Grout during installation and the tiler had failed to remove it after grouting and this had dulled the look of the tile. The customer was led to believe by the Tiler that the off-white colour was indeed part of the stone and had put up with it for several years before we were called out.

Cleaning a Damaged Flagstone Tiled Floor

First of all we conducted a test clean to make sure our usual cleaning system would work as well on pre-cast concrete. I was aware that this type of product has a colour dye added to it which does seem to lose colour over the years and also can lose quite a bit of this dye once we start cleaning with strong chemical’s. Not wanting to risk any depreciation in the colouring I opted instead for the application of a set of Tile Doctor Burnishing pads. The pads are encrusted with industrial Diamonds and come in different grits from coarse to fine and I found that not only did the process remove a lot of the of White grout haze left by the tiler but also gave us a good start to the cleaning process without losing any more of the colour Dye.

The customer has specified they were keen for the floor to have more of a sheen finish, so we finished the cleaning with the rest of the Diamond pads finally ending on the super fine pad. We had to do some edging work where the circular pads could not reach but apart from that the pre-cast concrete responded well to this treatment as you will see on the before and after pictures.

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Floor

The next day we called back to seal the Kitchen floor to protect it from staining, something that is more than likely in a Kitchen. For this we used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which not only protects by soaking into the pores of the tile but also restores a lot of the colour that had previously been lost.

Stone Effect Concrete Kitchen Flooring Before Cleaning Arnside Stone Effect Concrete Kitchen Flooring Before Cleaning Arnside

For aftercare I explained to the customer that sealers do wear off over time and so to get maximum life out of the sealer they should clean the floor with a pH Neutral Cleaner like Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner. It’s designed for cleaning sealed tiled floors and it won’t affect the colour dye or the Sealer we have applied unlike stronger products will eat away at the sealer over time. Additionally, pre-cast concrete like Limestone is Acid Sensitive and as such products like certain types of the Cillit-Bang range cannot be used on a floor like this as it will cause surface damage.
 
 

Restoration of a Damaged Flagstone Tiled Floor in South Cumbria

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Lustre Restored to Dirty Slate Tiles in Thaxted

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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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