Flood Damaged Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Renovated in Cragg Vale

I was contacted by the owners of a cottage in the small village of Cragg Vale who had unfortunately suffered a flood in their kitchen which had resulted in damage to their Slate tiled kitchen floor. Cragg Vale is a very small village situated on the moors above Hebden Bridge in the borough of Calderdale. The cottages were originally built circa 1860 for workers at the local mill. Although the mill has now gone, the cottages are still lived in by people who enjoy living so close to the scenic Blackstone Edge Moors.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cragg Vale

It’s difficult to appreciate the problems from the before photo but once I visited the property, I could see where some of the tiles had been damaged by the water leading to flaking and salting. The other major issue that became apparent was that the floor had also been covered in layers of sealant and varnish which had been applied over the years. This had left the overall finish looking a uniformly dark colour although it was very shiny.

After doing some tests and a full survey, I submitted a quote to carry out the work which was to be covered by the owner’s insurance. This was accepted and a date was set to begin the work.

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Given the amount of work involved restoring the Slate, the complex nature of the job and the need to proceed quickly, I recruited the services of South Yorkshire Tile Doctor Matt Lovett. This is one of the benefits of using Tile Doctor as we can combine our skills and equipment to ensure that a job is carried out effectively and efficiently.

This job had the potential to become very messy so our first job on arrival to start work was to protect the kitchen units and adjacent carpets with protective coverings. We then applied a coating of Tile Doctor Remove & Go to small sections of the floor and left it to soak in for fifteen minutes at a time. The tiles were then scrubbed, and the resultant residue removed with a wet vacuum. The varnish proved particularly stubborn in places, so further applications of Remove & Go were scrubbed in using wire brushes to remove it layer by layer. The sealants and varnish turned to a muddy gloop that we continued to scrape up and remove with the wet vac.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Cragg Vale

At the end of the first day we had removed about 80% of the coatings but knew that we still had long day ahead of us tomorrow.

The next day we reviewed our progress and decided to work in one metre square areas to remove the remaining coatings. This was a time consuming but necessary way to ensure that by the end of the day we had got the floor clean.

Before leaving the floor was rinsed again and dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum. After a final inspection we were happy the floor was ready for sealing and left it to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

First job on day three was to check that the floor was dry enough to begin sealing. This is a very important part of the process because if the floor is damp then the sealers won’t take properly. The floor was fine, so I started with the application of a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a breathable, colour enhancing sealer that penetrates the pores of the stone protecting it from within. Colour grow also enhances the natural colours in the stone thus highlighting its natural beauty.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cragg Vale

After 30 minutes, the floor was dry enough to start applying the first coat of Tile Doctor High Shine sealer. This is an acrylic sealant which as the name suggests, gives the floor a glossy shine. This was the effect that the Customer had requested at the beginning of the process.
A further four coats of High Shine were applied before a water test was conducted to ensure that the floor was completely sealed.

The Customer was very pleased and as you can see from the photos, it’s easy to see why.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cragg Vale

 

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen in West Yorkshire

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Finishing a Victorian Hallway Floor in Hebden Bridge

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The photographs below are of a lovely Victorian tiled hallway that had been repaired and cleaned by another tradesman a his a few months earlier. The workman had left the customer to seal the floor himself, which he had done but the floor ended up looking patchy and dull and he wasn’t happy with the results which didn’t highlight the beautiful colours in the tile. Realising he needed help to achieve the correct finish I was given a call and asked to finish the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Hebden Bridge

The property was in Hebden Bridge a market town situated between Halifax and Rochdale. After carrying out a survey, I advised that the floor would need re-cleaning to strip off the sealant he had applied and to remove the marks from the floor. We would then be able to re-seal the floor correctly for him. We agreed a price for the job and set a date to carry out the work.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On the first day we started preparing the hallway to be cleaned by covering the stair carpet and new and expensive wood panelling and skirting boards to protect them from any possible marking during the cleaning process. I then used a 200-grit Diamond burnishing pad attached to a rotary buffing machine to remove the sealant and dirt from the floor. In this instance the pad was applied just with water which is used to lubricate the pad, the resultant slurry is then removed with a wet vacuum. The advantage of using this process as opposed to a chemical clean is that moisture is kept to a minimum which is important on old floors like this where no damp proof membrane exists.

After making sure that the floor was to a standard that I was happy with, I then repeated the process along the edges with a set of hand-held diamond blocks which makes it easier to get into the corners and edges where the machine struggles to reach effectively.

Still concerned about the moisture levels in the floor I decided to give the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which will neutralise any alkaline salts in the floor. As I mentioned earlier this is a common problem on floors of this age, they do not usually have a Damp Proof Membrane fitted so moisture is able to rise through the tiles bringing with it salt which gets left on the surface of the tile, this process is more commonly known as Efflorescence. The floor was then rinsed with water and the floor dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum. Finally, I tidied up before leaving for the day and allowing the floor to fully dry out overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning the next day, I first took moisture readings to ensure that the floor was dry enough to seal. If a floor is too damp the seal won’t cure properly and therefore won’t be effective. Fortunately, on this occasion the floor was within limits and I could proceed to apply four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer allowing around thirty minutes between coats for drying.

Colour Grow is a breathable impregnating sealer that allow moisture to evaporate from the floor whilst also protecting it from dirt and stains. This sealer leaves a matt finish which is what the owner wanted but it also enhances the colours in the tile which really being the floor alive.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Hebden Bridge

The customer was very pleased with the results, the floor looked much cleaner and will be easy for them to maintain. I hope that you can see the difference from the before and after pictures.

 

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway in West Yorkshire

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