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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Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Entrance Hall in Headingley, Leeds

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I recently re-visited a Victorian period property in the Leeds suburb of Headingley which had an unusually large tiled entrance hall which we believe to be as old as the property itself. I say re-visited as I actually gave this floor a deep clean and reseal around five years ago; it’s always nice to be asked to return to a job as it shows the customers was very happy with the work. However, with five years of wear and tear the sealer had worn down and the floor was now starting to trap dirt, also it had lost the attractive shine added by the sealer and the owner felt it was time to have it done again. Additionally, the owner had recently had the whole house decorated and wanted the floor to look its best and match the fresh appearance of the property.

Large Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Sealing Headingley

Sealers do wear off with use and so it is inevitable that the tiles will need to be cleaned and sealed again with time. Given it hadn’t had a professional clean and seal for five years the floor wasn’t looking too bad as you can see from the picture, it was just a bit dull in the high traffic areas such as along the centre. I’ve certainly seen a lot worse.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Initially I wasn’t 100% sure on which cleaning method l was going to use on this floor. Originally l thought about using a coarse 200-grit burnishing pad to take off a couple of layers of sealer and then re-apply 2 more coats. However, the finish on the floor wasn’t even across the width of the hallway and l felt using that approach wouldn’t resolve that. Additionally, a lot of tiles were pitted and a burnishing pad would struggle to get into the holes. So instead I decided to completely strip the floor and re-seal it which would ensure a uniform finish across the floor.

I used a strong 50:50 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on the tiles and scrubbed it in with a black floor pad which removed the old sealer and ingrained dirt. The large floor pads are not very effective in the corners and edges, so I used a 6-inch red buffing pad fitted to a hand buffer for those. The floor was rinsed with water and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum. After inspecting the floor some areas were retreated with a repeat of the same process.
After a final rinse and extraction of the soiled water the floor was left to dry overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The next day after first checking the floor was dry with a damp meter it was sealed with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a water based sealer that gives a lovely sheen and allows the colours to shine through as well as letting the floor breath, which is important in properties of this age that usually do not have a damp proof membrane.

I was very pleased with the finished result as the pictures show and glad that l had chosen to do a deep clean and not just apply more coats of sealer. The client was over the moon.

Large Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Sealing Headingley

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in North 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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Cleaning and restoring a traditional Yorkshire Stone floor

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This was a typical and relatively straightforward job for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it because it amply demonstrates how a modest investment in professional cleaning and sealing can transform a tired old Yorkshire Stone floor into something really stunning!

Older properties in the small village of East Morton, near Keighley in West Yorkshire, are built almost entirely of locally quarried Sandstone – from its Manor Houses, Churches and barns to the many cottages built during the Industrial Revolution for workers in Morton’s textile and paper mills. Yorkshire stone is a sedimentary rock made up of quartz, mica, feldspar, clay and iron oxides. Its colour depends on the ratio of minerals it contains, and differs throughout the quarries where it is mined. It is incredibly hard wearing and durable, and has been used for building, construction and landscaping since mediaeval times.

Yorkshire Stone Before Cleaning in East Morton

The lovely original Yorkshire Stone floor in this client’s home was in great condition but looked lifeless and uninteresting. As the local Tile Doctor agent, I was tasked with deep cleaning and sealing the floor to bring it back to life. Rather unusually, this customer wanted a matt finish for the floor – which on reflect was a great choice.

Yorkshire Stone Before Cleaning in East Morton Yorkshire Stone Before Cleaning in East Morton

Cleaning a traditional Yorkshire Stone internal floor

I started by deep cleaning the floor with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser which is safe to use on all types of tile, stone and grout including natural stone. I diluted one part Pro-Clean to three parts water – enough to ensure that any traces of grease, scum, oil, mildew and algae were removed and scrubbed it in using a floor buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and running at slow speed to cut down on splashing. This brought out all the dirt from the floor which I then rinsed off with more water and extracted with a wet vacuum. Stubborn areas were re-treated using the same process and once I was satisfied the floor was clean I left the floor for two days, so it could dry out thoroughly.

Sealing a traditional Yorkshire Stone internal floor

The next step was to test a couple of suitable Tile Doctor sealers to see which would give the best matt finish the customer was looking for. I decided upon Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a premium, solvent-based penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection yet without changing the colour of the stone. Being a premium product it’s ideal for high traffic areas such as hallways, kitchens and stairs, it’s also an excellent grout sealer and a perfect choice for this floor. Most importantly, it gave the no-sheen, natural-look finish that the customer wanted.

I started by sweeping and vacuuming the floor to ensure that every trace of dust was removed before sealing. Then I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Sealer – one in the morning and one in the afternoon to allow the first coat to dry out before applying the second. 30 minutes after applying the second coat I tested with water droplets to make sure that the surface was completely sealed. The customer was able to walk on and use the floor as normal after just two hours, and after just 24 hours the full cure was achieved.

Yorkshire Stone After Cleaning in East Morton

What a transformation! The lifeless, grey floor was now full of colour and character, highlighting all the wonderful and original textures and tones in the Yorkshire Stone. The customer was very happy!

Yorkshire Stone After Cleaning in East Morton Yorkshire Stone After Cleaning in East Morton

 
 

Professional Renovation of a traditional Yorkshire Stone floor

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