Bitumen Stained Victorian Geometric Hallway Rejuvenated in Barrow in Furness

This old Victorian tiled Hallway floor, laid in a geometric pattern, at a house in Barrow in Furness was a challenging project. The tiles were extremely dirty and also stained with Black Bitumen which has been used as an adhesive, however we have come across these sorts of problems before and so I was confident it could be resolved.

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness

Deep Cleaning an Old Victorian Tiled Floor

I roped in Heidi and my son Lewis who spent a whole day cleaning with chemicals, steam, buffing pads and unfortunately the results were far from satisfactory; the customer wasn’t happy and Heidi wasn’t happy with it either. It was clear that the black bitumen had penetrated deep into the pores of the clay and becoming so embedded that no chemical or technique we were using would shift it fully.

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness

To top it off I had gone out earlier to tile the old mat well with matching tiles before we started the cleaning but due to the depth of the floor matt. The matt well was at least 35mm so it was clear I couldn’t use standard floor adhesive. I opted instead for a sand cement mix, similar to what the Victorians would have used originally. This filled up the depth and allowed me to tile and grout the same day, however overnight there was a bit of shrinkage and some of the new tiles settled unevenly.

Geometric floor before Milling Barrow in Furness

I racked my head for a solution to both issues and decided the best course of action would be to Mill the clay tiles to remove the Bitumen and smooth down the uneven effect of my tiling. This is not something we would normally do on a clay tile as this system can leave scratches which potentially would look worse that the dirt. After I had milled the Tiles down with a course pad fitted to a heavy buffing machine and removed all the issues I then counteracted any scratches left over using a higher grit milling pad. This solution fully resolved both issues leaving it ready for the final step of sealing.

Geometric floor After Milling Barrow in Furness

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and we returned the next day to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a matt finish, fully breathable and colour enhancing sealer which really lifts the colour of the stone or in this case clay tile. Colour Grow is impregnating – meaning that it penetrates the pores of the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt and stains. We recommend Colour Grow for both internal and external applications and especially for areas where no damp proof membrane is evident, since the sealer allows for the floor to breathe moisture.

Geometric floor After Restoration Barrow in Furness Geometric floor After Restoration Barrow in Furness

There were plenty of problems to overcome and It took a lot of work but I’m pleased to say the floor was transformed by our efforts and now looks fantastic and I’m sure has added a lot of value to this period property.
 
 

Hallway Restoration of Bitumen-Stained Victorian Floor in Barrow in Furness

Cleaning a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor Tiles Preston

We often get asked to do a combination of jobs at Tile Doctor so we have to be prepared for the unexpected, like getting asked to clean an old Sandstone fireplace whilst your cleaning a Victorian tiled floor at a house in Preston. We normally charge extra for these types of jobs but it depends how much cleaning is required.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston Before Cleaning

This Fireplace had been in use for a number of years and due to its grainy texture was hard to keep clean, dirt and soot had built up on its surface and there was no sealer visible, either that or it had worn off with the heat.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Sandstone Fireplace

To clean the uprights and Hearth I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which being in Gel form and not a liquid, stays in place increasing dwell times and doesn’t drip where it shouldn’t. In this case I let it soak into the stone for about forty minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush and steam. Some marks were still visible after this process so we opted for using handheld Diamond blocks in 50.100.200 and then 400 grit to grind off the staining and restore the surface finish. Using these small handheld blocks takes off some of the heavier texture as well as cleaning the stone at the same time, but is really useful to use where chemicals alone struggle to get the results required. Once fully clean the fireplace was rinsed with water a couple of times and the slurry removed using a wet vacuum. After speed drying the stone with a heat gun it was ready for a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, even we were impressed with the results.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston After Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The Red and Black Victorian Tiles were cleaned with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is very similar to Oxy-Gel only in a liquid form. The product was left to soak into the tiles for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black buffing pad attached to a slow speed buffing machine. I used the wet vacuum again to soak up the residue and stubborn stains were retreated until I was satisfied.

Old Victorian floors rarely have a damp proof membrane installed and so it’s not uncommon for damp to rise-up through the ground and tile resulting in white salt deposits being left on the surface. To prevent this process, which is commonly referred to as Efflorescence, Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied. The solution is scrubbed into the tiles and then rinsed off with clean water and removed with a wet vacuum ready for sealing.

Victorian Tiles can take a while to dry and in this case I left it two days before returning to apply a breathable sealer to protect the tiles from ingrained dirt and staining. In this case a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied. If you recall this was the same sealer we used on the fireplace as the customer wished to bring out the colour and have a Matt finish.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston After Cleaning

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor in Lancashire

Original Edwardian Tiles Refreshed and Revitalised in Lytham St Annes

We often get asked to restore original Edwardian tiles which, contrary to popular belief, are the same as Victorian tiles in their style and composition. The only discernible difference is the age of the property – whether it was built in the Victorian (1837-1901) or Edwardian period (1901-1910). As such, they can be cleaned and sealed in the same manner.

I recently visited an Edwardian period property in Lytham St Annes, a lovely coastal resort on the Lancashire coast where we have completed many restorative cleaning activities in the past. Along with its sandy beaches, the area is internationally renowned for its golf courses.

The property owner had some original Edwardian tiles which had been laid down in a vestibule and were beginning to show their age. There were several damaged tiles in the area that needed to be replaced and the entire set of tiles needed to be cleaned to achieve the best possible result.

Edwardian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Lytham

Cleaning Original Edwardian Tiles

To begin I needed to address the issue of the damaged tiles, fortunately we are always on the lookout for old tiles and have quite a collection we can choose from, were also in touch with a number of companies that still make these tiles and so are able to source replacements one way or another.

Edwardian Tiled Floor During Tile Repair in Lytham

I was therefore able to replace the broken and damaged tiles with suitable replacements that matched well with the original pattern of the floor. They were fixed in place and then once the adhesive had hardened grouted in using a matching grout.

Following this, I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to the remaining area taking care not to disturb the newly laid tiles. Based on the popular Pro-Clean product, Oxy-Gel is a strong alkaline cleaning product that breaks down dirt and grime and is safe to use on tiles however being in gel form and not liquid it stays where put, which was important the grout was still drying in the repaired area.

Edwardian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Lytham

The Oxy-Gel was left to dwell for roughly 30 minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush. to the tiles. I carefully rinsed away the resulting slurry and then treated the area with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. By applying the product, I could reduce the grout haze and efflorescence problems that occur in old properties like this.

Edwardian Tiled Floor During Cleaning in Lytham

Next, I carefully rinsed the floor again with water and soaked up the moisture with a wet vacuum, before leaving it to fully dry out overnight.

Sealing Original Edwardian Tiles

I returned to the property the next day with the intention of sealing the tiles; fortunately, the weather was good and after taking a couple of damp readings I was happy the tiles were completely dry. We must be careful with older buildings which don’t have a damp proof membrane fitted; if there is even a moderate amount of damp present it can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

I started the sealing process with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour-enhancing sealer that improves the look of the tile as well as adding internal protection. Assisted with a fan to speed up the drying time, this was followed by several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is a topical sealer that add further protection and the high-quality sheen finish the customer requested.

Edwardian Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Lytham

The customer was thrilled with the result and very pleased that she could salvage these fantastic original tiles. Another satisfied customer.

Edwardian Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Lytham

 
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Edwardian Tiled Vestibule in the Fylde District

Old Flagstone Tiled Flooring Resurfaced in Great Harwood

This customer in Great Harwood was so fedup with their Flagstone tiled flooring on the ground floor of their property. In fact they were ready to take up the floor, put a new concrete base in place and lay a wood floor down on top. However this is the original floor from when the house was built in 1894 so was not replaceable as such, and the customer really wanted to restore the floor back to its original condition, as well as other material’s in the house, to recreate the Original Victorian feeling that had been missing for many years.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood

We have completed quite a lot of this type of work for customers in the past and we publish all out work on our website and it was one job similar to this that convinced the customer that we had the answer to her problem.

Milling an Old Flagstone Floor

A few years ago Tile Doctor invented a system called Milling to deal with problematic stone floors like this one. The system uses very coarse Diamond pads fitted to heavy machinery to mill the stone until it is a smooth as possible. This action gets rid of years of traffic marks, ingrained dirt as well as old wax and sealers. There’s nothing harder than Diamond so we find this system woks really well on an old damaged floor like this one.

The process will leave the stone looking rough so once finished with the coarse pads we then apply a lighter Diamond grit pad to remove the scratch marks that the heavy diamond grits leave behind. The floor is rinsed between pads and a little water is also used to provide lubrication.

After resolving the stone issues we re-grouted the whole floor and conduct one more final clean using Tile Doctor Neutral Clean before leaving it to dry out ready for sealing a few days later.

Sealing an Old Flagstone Floor

On our return the sealer we chose for these old flagstone was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, it penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and in the processes lift the natural colours in the Stone.

Colour Grow is a breathable sealer which you need when sealing these old stone floors which won’t have a damp proof membrane installed. A wet look or polishing sealer will eventually spoil in damper wetter weather.

Another advantage of Colour Grow is it leaves a Matt finish which is a more natural look for Sandstone Flagstones like these. They will also be easier to clean as the milling process made the stone much smoother to the touch, so it becomes a lot easier to maintain in the future.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood

The results were fantastic, and the customer is really pleased that they will no longer have to replace the tiles. The appearance and condition of the Flagstone had been improved so much that most people would not believe it had been laid 123 years ago!
 
 

Restoring an Old Flagstone Floor in Lancashire

Old Terrazzo Floor Fully Restored as Part of Renovation Work in Llandudno

The Washington Hotel in Llandudno, North Wales, is a truly historic building and one of the enduring features on the promenade of the sea resort. This beautiful part of Wales was the holiday destination of choice for Lewis Carrol, the famed author of Alice in Wonderland, and you can see several statues of him in and around the town.

The Washington Hotel first opened in 1855, but was rebuilt in 1925 after being destroyed by a fire. The building most recently served as a nightclub, before it closed in 2012. Now, there is ongoing renovation work to turn it into a restaurant.

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant Before Restoration

As part of this renovation work, we were asked to restore bring the old Terrazzo floor back to life, which was certainly worse for wear after nearly a century of use. It had been covered in carpet, as well as old vinyl tiles, and was very heavily soiled with dirt and ingrained muck. This area of floor would eventually act as the entrance to the restaurant and bar area, so it was important to get this right for the customer.

Mosaic Terrazzo Rotating Door Floor Llandudno Restaurant Before Restoration

Burnishing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

There were three areas we were asked to restore, covering 36 square meters in total:

• Circular foyer (27 square meters)
• Internal entrance area (2 square meters)
• External entrance stairs: (7 squares meters)

We started the restoration process with the application of a Very Coarse 50 grit diamond pad to tear away all the old carpet and vinyl resin, clearing the area to allow us to work directly on the Terrazzo tiles. With the tiles exposed, we discovered two large, long cracks in the base of the floor, so we filled these with a flexible floor grout. We chose to use this instead of a resin compound because resin isn’t very flexible, and if there is any movement the crack will become exposed again after six to 12 months. A flexible floor grout will move with the contractions and expansions of the base, and if the movement is not too extreme the flexible grout will not crack in the future.

Llandudno Cracked Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

We then continued through our system of diamond burnishing pads, applying the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500 grit pads with a small amount of water as lubricant. Once the floor was fully dry we applied the final 3000 grit pad, which is the finest of the pads and produces a very high quality polished effect on the stone.

Llandudno Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

Once the floor had been polished, it needed to be sealed in order to protect it from dirt becoming ingrained into the pores of the stone. We did this using firstly two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is our impregnating, colour-enhancing sealer. The sealer works by penetrating the pores of the stone to fill them and block trapped dirt and stains. We then left the floor to dry off fully overnight.

The next day, we returned to the building to apply a crystallization powder known as Tile Doctor Shine Powder, which further enhanced the shine we had built up on the floor and give it extra sealer protection.

Llandudno Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

The customer was exceptionally happy with our work, as the restoration of the Terrazzo tiled flooring is an essential part of the renovation project overall. We wish them all the best in the eventual opening of the new restaurant!

Mosaic Terrazzo Rotating Door Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration

For aftercare, we recommended to the customer that the floor is maintained with Tile Doctor Stone Soap as this will not only clean the Terrazzo without damaging the sealer like many stronger cleaners, but also maintain its patina as well.

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration

 
 

Professional Terrazzo Tiled Restoration at a Restaurant in North Wales

100+ Year-Old Victorian Mosaic Hallway Rejuvenated in Lytham St Annes

Victorian tiled floors are well-known for their colourful and unique patterns which never fail to impress and are a very sought after period feature. Recently I was very impressed with the work that had gone into this hallway floor that I came across at a property in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes south of Blackpool on the Flyde coast. I was there to restore what I originally believed to be a stone Tesserae Mosaic floor, but after some chemical testing it was revealed to be a traditional Victorian tiled floor which are made of clay.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Lytham St Annes

In the case of this floor, each tile was approximately 1cm squared and they had been painstakingly installed throughout a 15m squared area by hand in the 1880s. I can only imagine the time and effort it must have taken to do this, and it is a testament to the Victorian craftsmen of the day that despite having many loose, missing, broken, and dirty tiles, the floor was still in a reasonable condition and could be restored back to its former condition.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Lytham St Annes

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

Now, if this had in fact been a stone Tesserae Mosaic floor, I would have cleaned the tiles using different methods. However, since it was a clay Victorian tiled floor, I decided – after conducting some product testing – to clean the whole floor with a black buffing pad in combination with Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. Oxy-Gel is a powerful high-alkaline formula designed to tackle dirt and stains on Tile, Stone and Grout.

I followed this by steam cleaning the tiles and then gave the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. This was needed to keep efflorescent salt issues at bay which are a problem with these old floors with no damp proof membrane has been installed.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a fully breathable and colour enhancing product. The sealer is impregnating – meaning that it penetrates the pores of the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt and stains. We recommend Colour Grow for both internal and external applications and especially for areas where no damp proof membrane is evident, since the sealer allows for the floor to breathe moisture.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Lytham St Annes

Despite the floor being well over a century old it came up really well and the sealer will now add a layer of protection that will keep it that way for some time to come.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Lytham St Annes

 
 

Rejuvenating a 100-Year Old Victorian Floor in Lytham St Annes

Victorian Tiled Porch Hidden Under Vinyl Restored in Lytham

Some Floor Tiles can be too damaged to be able to do anything with, but Victorian Tiles are nearly indestructible and we often find we can restore them to like new condition. Additionally, period features are very much sought after by potential buyers and add a lot of value to a house so well worth taking the effort to restore.

This small Victorian Tiled porch at the entrance to a house in Lytham near Blackpool is a good example of just how resilient these floors can be. There was some damage to it and I suspect at some time in the past a previous owner had decided to cover it up with Linoleum rather than face the expense of repairing it, fortunately for the floor the current owner was keen to restore it.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Doorway

The first job was to strip off the old Vinyl covering which had been glued down with some strong adhesive. We carefully scraped off as much as possible by hand and then soaked the floor in Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a strong tile cleaning product which being in a gel doesn’t run off and for stays in position. We left it to dwell on the tiles in order to break down the glue and then scrubbed it in and followed up with a steamer and a rinse with water to remove the soil.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham

To finish off he cleaning the tiles were treated to an acid rinse by applying Acid Gel which will remove any grout smears and treat any mineral salt issues rising through the floor overnight as the floor dries.

Once the floor was clean and free of all the glue etc. it was time to repair the corner of the floor where several tiles were missing. Before started work I had managed to source replacements from Original Style Tiles who offer a wide range of colours and styles to suit the original floor. I set the replacement tiles in place and then grouted them in.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham

After the tile adhesive and grout had set I gave the floor a light clean with a damp sponge and then covered the floor with a clean dust sheet before leaving it to fully dry overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Porch

The next day the floor was checked for any issues and also dampness before moving onto seal the tiles. To seal the tiles, we then applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a fully breathable sealer that is suitable for internal and external use, it also lifts the colour of the tiles and will prevent them from ingrained dirt in the future making the tiles easy to clean.

Victorian Porch After Restoration Lytham

 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Porch Restoration in Lancashire

Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in a Heysham Kitchen

Photographs below from the maintenance of Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles in the kitchen of a house in the village of Heysham which is famous for its ferry port that has links to the Isle of Man and Ireland. This Vinyl wasn’t that dirty but it was starting to lose its sheen and when this happens it’s an indication that the sealer has started to wear down leaving it looking patchy in the high traffic areas. Once the sealer has failed then dirt will start to accumulate making it look less appealing, so my customer decided to call Tile Doctor in before it got to that point.

Amtico Vinyl Before Cleaning in Heysham

It wasn’t a big area and unlike a clay or Stone tile, Vinyl is a lot less porous and can be cleaned and sealed within the same day rather than leave it do dry overnight or even longer. This means less hassle for the customer and a better price for doing the work as well. As a guideline, a 10m2 floor area usually takes around two to three hours to deep clean and re-seal, naturally the larger the area the longer it takes.

Deep Cleaning Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles

We started with a deep cleaning product developed for Tile Doctor called Vinyl strip which as well as leaving a pleasant floral aroma is biodegradable and phosphate free. You dilute the concentrate with ten parts of water to 1 part Vinyl Strip or if you prefer a litre of water to 100ml of product. This was mixed together in a clear container and then applied to the area to be cleaned. It’s left to soak into the floor for a while so it can break down any remaining old sealer and dirt and then scrubbed in using a deck brush.

Amtico Vinyl During Cleaning in Heysham

I find a wet vacuum machine invaluable at this point at this junction, mopping is okay but you really need to make sure all the product is extracted off the surface to be sealed otherwise it will do to the new sealer what it has done to the old. We call this process Neutralisation and a good rinse with fresh water also helps as does having an industrial air mover in place to help speed dry the floor.

Sealing Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles

You can’t seal the Vinyl until the tiles are dry as dampness can cloud the sealer so if you don’t have an air blower we recommend leaving the floor for six to eight hours. Our air mover is quite large and it soon had the floor dry so we could move onto sealing quite quickly and applied three coats of Vinyl Shine which gave the floor a nice sheen. Each coat must dry out before the next coat can be applied but it’s worth doing correctly as each coat builds up another layer of protection on the Vinyl, again we used an Air blower to speed up the drying process.

Amtico Vinyl After Cleaning and Sealing in Heysham

Amtico Vinyl Floor After Care

Once dried we left the customer with a free bottle of Tile Doctor PH Neutral Tile Cleaner for the regular cleaning of the floor. We always recommend this product for the regular cleaning of sealed surfaces as it’s PH neutral and won’t degrade the sealer like most domestic cleaning products you find on supermarket shelves.
 
 

Maintaining Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles in Lancashire

Milling and Sealing Uneven Flagstone Flooring in Haslingden

Flagstones are a durable Sandstone based material that give a solid feel to any floor, however while large and impressive to look at they can be very rough and un-even. This isn’t so much of a problem when Flagstones are used externally for patios and pathways, but rough surfaces trap dirt and when these tiles are used internally, they are much easier to maintain if the stone is smooth and sealed.

This customer, who lives in the Lancashire town of Haslingden, had this problem with their Flagstone tiled floor and like most things related to tile, stone and grout we have a solution in the form of a process known as milling. This basically involves grinding down the surface of the tile using coarse diamond encrusted pads to make it smooth.

Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon

The customer booked me in to get the job done, having seen some previous milling work of ours on our website and liking what we had achieved for other people with similar floors.

Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon

Milling an Uneven Flagstone Tiled Floor

Milling the stone involves the use of a set of thee millings pads of different grades (50, 100 and 200 grit) which are applied in sequence. You start with the coarse and abrasive 50 grit milling pad and follow this by smoothing this surface with the finer 100 and 200 diamond grit milling pads. Water is used to lubricate and capture the dust which is created during the process resulting in a slurry which needs to be rinsed away and extracted between each pad. The process requires the use of a solid weighted rotary machine and a fair bit of muscle power to guide it.

We successfully managed to mill the Flagstone tiles virtually flat in places and the process removed the unappealing stained and dirty layer of stone that was ruining the appearance of the floor. Interestingly we usually find that by grinding away the old and dirty layer of stone the true colour of the tiles that had been hidden under many years’ worth of muck is revealed. Unfortunately, in this case, due to the darkness of this stone it was difficult to see a great deal of colour change.

Sealing Flagstone Floor Tiles

Finally, the floor needed to be sealed to protect against future instances of staining and ingrained dirt. To do this I sealed the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour enhancing sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone and occupies that space preventing dirt from become ingrained. The sealer also leaves a matte, natural looking finish, which is a perfect match for the rustic character of the Flagstone tiles.

Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon

Now that the floor has been levelled and sealed, the surface is smooth and protected. This means the customer will not be ruining any more mops when the cleaning bucket comes out!

Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon

 
 

Professional Milling and Sealing of Stained and Uneven Floor in Lancashire

Cracked Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Restored in Ormskirk

Cracks can appear in tiles for several different reasons, but in all cases, they spoil the overall appearance of the floor. I was contacted just before Christmas by a customer in the market town of Ormskirk with a significant problem with cracking in their warm and rustic Mexican Terracotta tiles, particularly in and around doorways. The area was quite large at 85 square yards and covered multiple rooms. In general, the tiles were also in need with a deep clean and fresh seal.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk Before Cleaning

After inspecting the tiles first-hand, I determined that the cracking was most likely due to the addition of an extension: the concrete floors were laid at separate intervals, causing some expansion and contraction issues. The effects are similar to shifting Tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust, if not so drastic (the tiles just tend to crack, rather than causing an earthquake!).

After agreeing on a quote for the work, I set about putting the situation right.

Repairing Cracked Mexican Terracotta Tiles

The more laborious and costly answer to the problem of damaged tiles would be to replace them with new ones, but we have found that implementing an expansion joint in the areas where the concrete floors touch each other is more effective.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk Showing Cracked Grout

We have done this before many times, using flexible adhesive and grout to fill the cracks and counteract any further movement between the different concrete floors. This repair work was carried or over two days, in order to allow time for the adhesive and then grout to set.

Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles

By the third day the tile repairs were complete, so we started cleaning the whole tiled area. We usually carry out repairs before cleaning to improve the chance of the repair blending in with the existing tile.

You can see from some of the photographs above that the tiles had started to get quite grubby and were proving difficult to keep clean. To clean and remove the old sealer we applied a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the tiles allowing it soak into the pores for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. The floor was rinsed with water and the resultant slurry was extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to give the grout lines a thorough scrub with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a reliable alkaline cleaner that works well on grout and tile. The dirty cleaning solution was then extracted with a wet vacuum and the whole floor rinsed with more water to remove any trace of cleaning product. The wet vacuum was then used again to get the floor as dry as possible before leaving for the day.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk After Cleaning

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles

On the fourth day, we returned to seal the floor, but not before checking first with a damp meter that it had dried completely. This is essential because excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk After Repair and Cleaning

Our choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which provides excellent surface protection along with an aesthetically pleasing deep sheen finish.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk After and Sealing

As you can see from the photographs above, the result was fantastic. The customer was amazed by the improvement and very pleased that the difficult cracking problem had been resolved. Another satisfied customer!

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk After and Sealing

 
 

Professional Mexican Terracotta Tile Renovation in Lancashire

Restoring Eight Bathrooms at Self-Catering Cottages in County Meath

At Tile a Doctor, we often get asked about doing work abroad – and we are more than happy to oblige under the right circumstances for customers who are interested in benefitting from our services. I myself have been as far as France, Mallorca and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia

On this occasion the job was in County Meath in the Republic of Ireland, colloquially known as The Royal County” due to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland.

Decoy Cottages Ireland

The customer was looking to struggling to restore the tiled shower cubicles and bathrooms in eight different apartments at their luxury, five-star holiday accommodation known as Decoy Cottages, but was struggling to find a local tradesman who specialises in replacing silicone to the standard required.

The last time it had been done was by a local builder who had made a bit of a mess of it, so you can understand the customer’s concern. Applying silicone sounds straight-forward but there is an art to it, in-fact this is something we focus on in our Tile Doctor training program. He found Tile Doctor online and, after the discussing the project in more detail and sharing examples of our previous work, we agreed a date and price for the job to be completed.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland Before Cleaning Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland Before Cleaning

With a deposit put down to cover travel costs, we went across on the ferry to Ireland, arriving the day before we were scheduled to start in order settle in.

Ferry Crossing to Dublin

Restoring Several Tiled Shower Cubicles and Bathrooms

As I’ve mentioned, we had eight apartments in total to restore. In each case we started by stripping out all the mouldy silicone, before cleaning the grout lines carefully with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. Grout Clean-up was perfect product for this situation, as it’s an acidic cleaner that can remove grout smears, soap scum and hard water stains.

Once we were satisfied each area was clean, we set about installing fresh silicone sealant in an ivory colour which matched more effectively to the overall colour scheme than the original white silicone.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland After Cleaning

In total it took us took five days in total to strip, clean and re-silicone the eight bathrooms and eight shower cubicles. Naturally, this was quite a lot of work, but we managed it in the time given, and certainly to the customer’s satisfaction.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland After Cleaning

We did such a good job In fact we were asked to quote for more work and the customer left the following feedback on our website:

“Excellent and efficient service provided by Russell and his lovely wife Heidi. They worked really hard to rejuvenate the shower rooms and bathrooms at my self-catering holiday homes and did a fantastic job. Would highly recommend, in fact they are coming back to do my floors later in the year!”
 
 

Professional Bathroom Restoration at Self-Catering Apartments in County Meath

Renovating Old Victorian Floor Tiles at a Lancaster Garage

We don’t get many requests to clean garage floors but this particular floor was quite old and tiled in black and red Victorian tiles. Many would have just washed it down with a hose pipe however this garage in the city of Lancaster housed a classic British built AC sports car which doesn’t like getting dust in its Carburettor’s and as a result the owner was keen to have the floor restored.

Lancaster Garage AC Sports Car

You can see from the photograph below the floor was in quite a state and as such the whole floor needed a thorough deep clean to remove the ingrained dirt and grease and then sealing to protect it.

Lancaster Garage Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Garage Floor

With the exception of moving the vehicle little preparation was required and we soon got on with the job starting with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is a great product for deep cleaning tile and grout. The solution was left to soak into the tile for ten or so minutes before being worked in with a buffing machine fitted with a black buffing pad. This soon lifted the dirt from the tile turning the cleaning solution into a dark fluid that was rinsed from the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

With old floors like these where no damp proof course has been installed it’s not unusual to get white salt marks appearing which leave a white bloom on the surface of the tile. This problem is known as efflorescence however it can be treated early on by giving the floor a wash with a strong acid which removes the salts. So the next step was to apply a Tile Doctor Acid Gel which being in gel form makes it easy to control once it’s on the floor, naturally acids are not good in general for any floor so it was not left on the tiles for too long before being extracted.

Last step was to give the floor a good rinse with water to remove any remaining trace of cleaning products before sealing, once this was done we used the wet vacuum to suck up as much moisture from the floor as possible.

Because of the water that was used, we had to let the floor dry out for several days before the sealer could be applied, this is especially relevant in the winter months when the water tables are high and thus a longer time is required for drying. Modern floors have a damp proof membrane so drying out can take twelve hours or less.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Garage Floor

When we returned to seal the floor we first checked the floor was suitably dry by checking for dampness using a damp meter. The readings were good so several coats of a breathable sealer called Tile Doctor Colour Grow which has a matt finish was applied. I should mention that Colour Grow has good VMT (Vapour Moisture Transmission) properties that will ensure any trapped moisture can rise up through the tile and sealer, it also lifts the colours of the clay and gives its a deeper hue, in fact its one of our most popular sealers for these tiles. Having good VMT properties also means that is , Also if efflorescence do come back, the sealer allows the substance to breathe through and you can just wash off the crystals with a wetted mop.

Lancaster Garage Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning

Last photo is of the car being parked in the garage by the owner, happy in the knowledge his prized possession is now living in a clean environment.

Lancaster Garage Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning

 
 

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Floor