The following post is follows on from the Limestone tiled kitchen floor restoration I recently completed in Cardiff. You may recall that the floor had not been maintained properly since it was first installed in 2008 and one of the key problems I had to deal with during that particular restoration was a number of dark stains left on the tiles by the kitchen dustbin. Here’s a detailed account of how I tacked the staining.
Cleaning a stained Limestone tiled floor
To deal with the stains, I suggested to the client that I experiment with a Tile Doctor product called Reduxa, which is formulated to remove certain stains, including red wine stains, from natural stone. It is suitable on Limestone, Marble and Travertine tiles, amongst others. Nonetheless, I did have to advise the client that unfortunately some stains are unavoidably permanent and that there was no guarantee that the product would be able to remove these particular stains. Had the sealer been maintained on this floor, then the problem would have been much easier to tackle. However, in this case the sealer had worn off over the years.
I began treating the problem area by applying the Reduxa solution, before heating up the tile with a heat gun to lift out the stains. This process of spraying and heating was repeated around eight times.
To cut a long story short, the process worked very well, and both myself and the client were amazed at the results the Reduxa stain removal solution had on the floor. This product really does what it says on the label!
If you would like more information on the product, check out the video on the Reduxa page on the Tile Doctor website.
This flagstone floor was installed in a farmhouse in Caerleon near NewPort, it was actually the original floor dating back to 18th century and had been lifted up by the previous owners and re-laid with underfloor heating and a damp proof membrane, this was good news for me as so often with these old floors you can get damp issues rising up through the stone and consequently it can take a long time to dry out following a deep clean.
Cleaning Quarry Tiles
I stripped the sealer off with Tile Doctor HBU (Heavy Build-Up Remover) Ultra-Clean mixed 50/50 mixed with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to double the cleaning and stripping power and also to thin the HBU out. The old sealer had been applied two years prior when then the floor was re-laid as part of a renovation due to the farm house going on the market for the sale, it had worn through in the heavy traffic areas letting in dirt and now needed to be replaced.
To work the cleaning solution into the floor I used a scrubbing machine with a stiff brush attached cleaning and rinsing as I renovated, the old sealer proved quite tough to shift in some areas so the process had to be repeated until I was satisfied all the old sealer and dirt had been removed.
A lot of the cement joints had broken down which I repointed with fast setting Mapei floor grout colour matched to the original. One small piece of stone had to be replaced by the kitchen unit for which I managed to source a slab from B&Q after a hunt around from various outlets to match the original as best as possible.
Sealing a Quarry Floor Sealing
I left the floor to dry out for two days checking later with a damp meter to ensure it was completely dry before sealing.
The customer wanted a satin finish as previously sealed so I applied three coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which gave the stone floor a nice mild shine and being water based didn’t leave smell whilst it dried.
This Red Quarry Tiled floor had been laid when the house was built back in 1910 so it was over 100 years old and had years of wear and tear to show for it including old cement and paint from some decorating work that had been done some years prior. The house was located in the town of Treharris just outside of Cardiff and being an original feature of the house the owner wanted it looking as good as it could be.
Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor
I first checked for any moisture as these old floors were often laid without damp proofing and a damp floor can impact sealing later. Fortunately the reading was nice and dry, I then set about carefully scrapping off as much old paint and cement as possible. I then swept up as much of the dust as I could and caught the rest with a hoover.
The next step was to cover the whole floor in Tile Doctor Remove and Go mixed with a little NanoTech Ultra Clean which basically adds tiny abrasive particles to a powerful coatings remover. I left this on to soak into the tile for about an hour knowing that using this combination would not only remove any old surface coatings such as sealers it would also clean the floor as well. The solution was then worked into the floor using a rotating scrubbing brush attachment on a floor machine effectively letting the machinery do all the hard work. The floor was then rinsed twice with clean water which was then removed using a wet vacuum.
It was clear at this point that the cement I could see on the surface of the tile was basically grout from an appalling tiling job when the floor was laid 100 years earlier. Fortunately Tile Doctor has a solution for that problem called Grout Remove and Go which is an acid based product that will remove grout and mineral deposits such as efflorescence. Being an acid I had to be careful so it was applied to the tile working one square metre at a time cleaning and scraping as I went along. After each section the floor was given a good rinsing again using the wet vacuum to remove the liquids from the floor. The last step of the cleaning process which I always do for Quarry and Victorian floor tiles was to finish off the rinsing process with a steam clean which brings out any remaining dirt and brings the tile back to its raw state.
Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor
I cleaned the floor on the Friday and then left it to try for two days coming back on the Sunday to damp test the floor once again to ensure it was ready for sealing. The moisture reading was fine for sealing and as the customer had asked for a mild shine finish I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which brought out the black and red colours in the tile back to life.
This is an original Victorian tiled hallway floor in Cardiff that dated back to when the house was built in the year of 1890. The previous householders of which had a radiator installed serviced by laying pipes right through the middle of the floor destroying the tiles as they went, they then back filled the channel with cement. On top of that many of the other tiles had been splashed with cement and paint.
Repairing Victorian Floor Tiles
My first job was to carefully remove the cement from the channel and to precisely cut back any old cement bedding and old cement grout away from any tile edges in preparation for the replacement tiles which fortunately I was able to get hold of.
After all the previous preparation I started carefully scraping off cement from all around the edges of the remaining tiles as well as gloss and emulsion splashes from the surface essentially giving the whole floor a thorough scrape with a hand held scraper vacuuming up the mess as I worked. Interestingly for a floor of its age I tested the floor in various places for moisture and found it to be perfectly dry.
Cleaning a Victorian Floor
To clean the floor I mixed three parts Tile Doctor Remove and Go with NanoTech UltraClean which basically adds small abrasive particles to a powerful sealer and coatings remover making it even more effective. This was applied to the whole floor and left to soak in for an hour making sure not to let it dry out by applying further amounts; leaving it to dwell for an hour gives it time to eat away at any dirt and coatings on the tile making the scrubbing processes easier.
To scrub the tiles I used a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad rinsing and extracting the soiled solution along the way. This cleaned up the tiles well however there were still some cement stains so this time Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up was applied to the floor in sections and left to ten minutes to dwell before working it in with another black scrubbing pad and rinsing off. This product is acid based so you can’t leave on the tiles for too long; once I was happy with the final result the whole floor was given a thorough rinse with plenty of clean water using a wet vacuum to extract the waste and dry the floor.
The channel was then filled with cement and once it had set replacement replica Victorian tiles from The Original Tile Company were installed. I then grouted the floor in a medium grey grout let the tiles become solid and the grout go hard before using a steam cleaner to make sure that I have removed all the tile doctor cleaning solutions prior to sealing.
Sealing a Victorian Floor Sealing
The customer wanted a semi-gloss finish so once I had tested the floor again to make sure it was dry I sealed the tiles with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which enhanced the colour of the floor tiles and added a nice sheen.
As you can see the new tiles fitted beautifully and the old floor tiles cleaned up so successfully the difference is impossible to spot. It was a lot of painstaking work though taking five days to finish but well worth the result.