About Russell Taylor

Local Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance and cleaning expert covering the Lancashire region

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored to New in Lancaster

Sometimes we get asked to do restore very small areas of tiles, while more usually we will restore large area of up to 30 metres squared. However, we don’t mind adding small jobs to our busy schedule, especially if it helps homeowners who are struggling to keep their tiles looking great.

Victorian floor Tile Vestibule Lancaster Before

A recent example of this was a small Victorian tiled doorway we restored at a property in Lancaster. It clearly had not seen a thorough clean or a fresh seal in a while, but with the right Tile Doctor cleaning products and methods. I knew I could restore its appearance very simply.

Victorian floor Tile Vestibule Lancaster Before

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Doorway

It doesn’t take that long to restore a small floor, but it still needs to be cleaned and sealed over two days. This is because we use a very strong cleaning system which involves chemicals that need to be rinsed away, and the tiles need to dry completely before we apply the sealer.

Our process for cleaning Victorian tiles involves firstly the application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to strip away any old and no longer effectual sealers. This exposes the stone and allows the cleaning products to penetrate and eliminate ingrained dirt and stains. Normally we would do this with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine however in this case due to the space restrictions it was easier to do it by hand with a scrubbing brush.

The tiles quickly began to regain their original character once the years of muck had been removed, but to complete the restoration they would also need to be sealed. First, however, they were left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Doorway

The next day, the Victorian tiles were ready to be sealed. Since there was was no damp proof membrane (DPM) present in the floor we need to use a fully breathable sealer and so for these tiles we used Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the tiles.

As a fully breathable sealer, Colour Grow will help ensure that the tiles won’t be affected by issues such as efflorescence where your left with white salt deposits on the surface of the tile, or damp issues which are very common with these old floors (the DPM is after all a fairly modern invention!)

Victorian floor Tile Vestibule Lancaster After

I’ve included a few photos to show the huge difference made over a couple of days. We’re always happy to restore these fantastic Victorian tiled floors, regardless of size and I have to say this customer was very happy with the results here.

Victorian floor Tile Vestibule Lancaster After

 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Lancashire

Restoring Red Jurassic Sandstone Steps and Landing in Preston

We often get called out when other trades with less experience in stone cleaning fail to make a difference which was the case with these Red Jurassic Sandstone Stone steps at a house in Preston which had been stained with paint splashes and years of grime. The customer had tried several solutions to restore these steps including having a go themselves buy applying some Chemicals from a local Tile Shop, however again this didn’t achieve the results the customer wanted so they called us after we were recommended to them.

Red jurassic sandstone steps before Red jurassic sandstone landing before cleaning

Burnishing Red Jurassic Sandstone

I took a look at the Sandstone and tested a few methods before deciding to go with a process called Burnishing which involves the application of diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The pads come in a set of four and are applied in sequence from Coarse, through medium, fine and super fine; you need to use a little water to lubricate as you go and also rinse with water between the application of each pad. Naturally due to the tight space I couldn’t use a set of full size pads, only he smaller 6 inch pads which fit a small hand buffer.

Red jurassic sandstone steps after burnishing

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and then I returned the next day to seal the whole floor with two coats of our impregnating sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The sealer fills the pores of the stone to prevent ingrained dirt and stains, while also emphasising the natural colours in the stone.

Red jurassic sandstone steps after sealing Red jurassic sandstone landing after sealing

The full process successfully restored the red colour in the Sandstone and have come up quite well considering they are over 300 years old.
 
 

Professional Restoration of Old Sandstone Steps Lancashire

Grout Colouring and Cleaning of a Mosaic Tiled Kitchen Worktop in Silverdale

Tiled kitchen worktops work really well, but just like any other kind of tiled surface they will need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking great. Kitchen worktops in particular can fall into poor condition quickly when exposed to all manner of dirt and stains resulting from food preparation, with the grout lines often suffering the most which if you have tiles in your shower is a problem I’m sure you will be familiar with.

Mosaic tiled worktop before grout colouring

The grout lines on this Mosaic tiled kitchen worktop had become discoloured following years of exposure to soaps and washing up liquid from the nearby sink, as well as, most likely, food and drink spillages. The property was in the picturesque village of Silverdale, Morecambe Bay, and the owner had decided it was time to have the worktop professionally refreshed. This was a job that would only take a few hours to complete, and would involve both grout cleaning and recolouring.

Mosaic tiled worktop before grout colouring

Cleaning and Recolouring Dirty Grout for a Mosaic Worktop

Before beginning the restoration, I had to decide upon the best method. I realised that if I took out the grout to replace it completely I may have dislodged or even damaged the tiles – especially considering that they are at least 30 years old and give the age of the tiles it would be difficult if not impossible to find replacements if they were damaged.

As a result, I opted to clean the tiles and grout using Tile Doctor Oxy Gel. This product is a strong alkaline-based cleaner in gel form designed to break down dirt and grime, including soap scum and mildew stains. While it can be used on both horizontal and vertical surfaces, it is particularly suitable for the latter as the gel is able to dwell for a long time without running down the wall. Oxy Gel proved to be very effective in restoring the grout lines to top form, but I chose to follow by steam cleaning the area to get rid of any bacteria.

Mosaic tiled worktop during grout colouring

To finish the restoration, I recoloured the grout lines using our fresh White grout colourant – one of 10 available colours. Tile Doctor’s grout colourant seals and rejuvenates existing grout joints, and is equally effective for interior or exterior applications, including bathrooms and kitchens. The colourant was left for a little while to cure, before I polished off the excess with white sponge pads.

Mosaic tiled worktop after grout colouring

The result was a quick and effective transformation for the Mosaic tiled kitchen worktop that left the customer very happy!
 
 

Professional Mosaic Tiled Kitchen Worktop Restoration in Lancashire

300 Year Old Flagstone Tiles Treated for Shaling Issues in Chorley

This Flagstone tiled floor at a cottage in the market town of Chorley was suffering from significant shaling issues, which came as no surprise when I heard that the stone was laid nearly 300 years ago. The floor is an original feature of the property, but over recent years it had started to flake and become very rough, making it very difficult to keep clean, uncomfortable to live with, and not very pleasing to look at.

The process is natural to the Flagstone, and some people are quick to assume nothing can be done to counter it. In fact, the cleaning company that the property owner had recruited was only able to give the stone a basic mop, and had suggested having the entire floor replaced. The property owner was about to give up on the floor, but instead contacted Tile Doctor to see what could be done.

Flagstone floor before restoration in Chorley Flagstone floor before restoration in Chorley

Milling a Flagstone Floor with Shaling Issues

At Tile Doctor, we have created a process known as Milling, which involves smoothing out the rough surface of the stone, making it easier to keep clean. To do this we attached several diamond encrusted disc shaped milling pads of varying coarse grits to a rotary machine before running the machine over the floor, effectively grinding down the stone to remove the rough and leave the worn floor polished and looking at its best again.

I used plain water to periodically wash away any residue from the Milling, and soaked up the excess moisture with a wet-bad machine. With the floor surface now serviceable, the customer’s preferred cleaning company can mop it effectively without the mops being shredded by the jagged and uneven stone!

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Floor

To further ensure that the Flagstone would be easy to keep clean it would need to be sealed with an appropriate sealer. Once the floor had been allowed to dry fully, I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides a matte, colour-enhancing finish. As you can see from the before and after photographs, this really brought out the natural shades in the Flagstone.

As a fully breathable sealer which allows for Vapour Moisture Transmission (VMT), Colour Grow is the best product for an old floor like this one which does not have a Damp Proof Membrane (DMP) fitted. Whereas a lot of other similar sealers will not suffice, Colour Grow is ideal in this particular situation.

Flagstone floor after restoration in Chorley Flagstone floor after restoration in Chorley

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 nearly three centuries ago!
 
 

Restoring a Flaking Flagstone Floor in Lancashire

Milling and Sealing a Large Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor Near Lancaster

Here we have a six year old Indian Sandstone tiled floor located a property on the outskirts of Lancaster. Measuring 100 metres squared, the very large floor had under floor heating in the concrete sub base. The type of stone used inside the property is what we commonly refer to as ‘patio Sandstone’, a material which is usually used outside because of its very rough texture. It’s not particularly comfortable to walk across in bare feet, hence why many people consider it be impractical for internal flooring.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire before restoration

Nonetheless, the property owner was keen to make the rough textured floor as feet-friendly as possible for people walking over it. At Tile Doctor we have developed a process known as milling, which utilises diamond encrusted pads combined with a weighted rotary machine to smooth the rough surface, leaving it looking and feeling a lot nicer and more practical to live with. The milling process is only done once, but while the Sandstone will still need cleaning and sealing in the future, it won’t be nearly as difficult as when it was rough.

The job would take over two weeks to complete due to the fact that the existing grout needed to be removed and replaced with a flexible floor grout: a very time consuming process.

Milling an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

As mentioned, the surface of the Sandstone was very rough, and so needed to be milled down to make it a lot smoother to look after and make it easy to clean and seal. This was achieved by using Tile Doctor’s 50 Grit diamond encrusted burnishing pads, fitted to a weighed rotary machine and run along the entire surface area of the floor. Through this process the stone became much smoother and more aesthetic – completing one of our main objectives for the customer.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire during restoration

Next, we started breaking out the already loose and badly applied grout with our grout removal tools. The builder who had installed the floor had used a sand/cement-based grout which wasn’t flexible. As a result, it started to crumble and loosen quite quickly after exposure to the underfloor heating. We removed this and replaced it with a far more flexible grout.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire during restoration

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

Once the whole area had been successfully milled and the grout replaced, the Sandstone floor was left to dry out over the weekend. Upon our return to the property, we cleaned off any dust and resin left over from the milling and grouting processes, before leaving it to dry for a further 24 hours.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire after restoration

The next day we returned to seal the whole floor with two coats of our impregnating sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The sealer fills the pores of the Sandstone to prevent ingrained dirt and stains, while also emphasising the natural colours in the stone. It also provides a robust matte finish, which is what the customer wished for.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire after restoration

It wasn’t the easiest of processes to get the Indian Sandstone into a condition where it would be both suitable for internal flooring and aesthetically pleasing, but the results proved to be very much worth the time and effort invested. The customer was very pleased with the transformation.
 
 

Smoothing, Regrouting and Sealing a Rough Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Fantastic Black Brazilian Slate Tiles Rejuvenated in Thornton-Cleveleys

Tenuous link I know but I worked on this semi riven Black Brazilian Slate Tiles in the kitchen and dining room of a house in the seaside town of Thornton-Cleveleys around the time of the Rio Olympics. I love working on Slate as although it’s appearance can degrade without proper maintenance due to a build-up of dirt I knew they would look fantastic by the time I had finished.

Brazilian Black Slate Before Cleaning Thornton Cleveleys

The tile itself had lost its rich black colour and the grout lines had become stained, leaving the floor as a whole looking very unattractive. Out of interest honed Slate has a smooth, refined texture whereas the riven Slate has a rougher, more natural texture, and this can make it more difficult to keep clean. Needless to say, the customer was keen to have the tiles restored to looking their best.

Brazilian Black Slate Before Cleaning Thornton Cleveleys

Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Slate, I cleaned the floor and removed what remained of the old sealer off using Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was scrubbed into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The floor was then rinsed with water, and the process repeated where necessary to tackle particularly stubborn areas of dirt.

As mentioned previously, the grout lines were in a particularly bad state, and would need special cleaning attention. I cleaned carefully with a strong 5-to-1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean with water, which is our high alkaline cleaner. The cleaning solution was scrubbed I’m using a stiff handheld grout brush, with the grout lines looking immediately cleaner. When I was satisfied that the grout lines had been restored to the best possible condition, I gave the floor a thorough rinse using the wet pickup function of a wet wax machine to get the floor as dry as possible and then left the whole floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry. This is important as any excess moisture would have prevented me from sealing the tiles, since it can cloud the sealer and damage it performance.

Previously I discussed sealer options with the customer and they stated that they would prefer a Satin finish, so I applied a sealer called Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which will both protect the Slate from dirt and stains, and also gave it the desired finish. As you can see from the below photographs, the rich, dark shades in the Slate were really enhanced.

Brazilian Black Slate After Cleaning Sealing Thornton Cleveleys

The customer was very pleased with the finished result, but was also concerned about keeping the Slate clean in the long-term. For regular cleaning I advised the customer to use a pH neutral cleaner for aftercare called Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. As a pH neutral cleaner, it will not erode the sealer compared to acidic cleaners you so often find in supermarkets.

Brazilian Black Slate After Cleaning Sealing Thornton Cleveleys

 
 

Professional Slate Floor Maintenance in Lancashire

Cleaning and Sealing a Mouldy Ceramic Tiled Shower in Galgate

If you have a tiled shower area in your home, it’s very likely you’ve experienced problems with the grout becoming excessively dirty and ridden with displeasing black spots of mould. The underlying issue is due to inadequate ventilation which can be a real problem in modern insulated houses and occasionally the grout can get so imbued with contamination that the problem needs to be resolved professionally.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaned with Mould in Galgate

In the case of this Ceramic tiled shower area, located at a property in Galgate, Lancashire, mould had turned the grout black and had got into the sealant strip around the base. The property owner had tried using the run-of-the-mill cleaning products you can buy in superstores, but they simply couldn’t get the job done. So, she contacted me to see what could be done.

Cleaning Mouldy Ceramic Shower Tiles

At Tile Doctor, we come across the problem of mouldy shower tiles very often. Excess soaps and shampoos – many of which contain chemicals that harmful to the grout – can quickly build-up if not removed, causing mould and soap scum to emerge quickly, and before you know it, you have a problem like this one.

Thankfully, with the right strength product and cleaning methods, mould can be removed quite easily. The cleaning product used here was Tile Doctor Mould Away, which does what it says on the bottle and can quickly remove mould and black spots from grout and silicone. I applied Mould Away to the grout and surrounding Ceramic tiles and left it to dwell for a short period, before starting to clean the affected areas carefully using soft nail brushes and a small amount of water.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaned with Mould in Galgate

Sometimes it is necessary to repeat this process several times to achieve the best possible results, but in this case two attempts was all it took to get the grout looking like new once again.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Part Cleaned with Mould Away in Galgate

Sealing Grout

Following the cleaning, the area was rinsed thoroughly with water, before bring dried off quickly with a heat gun on a low setting. I then sealed the grout with a single coat of Tile Doctor Wall Grout Sealer, which is a water-based sealer designed to protect against water, oil and acid-based contaminants, and stop them from spoiling the appearance of the grout. It also provides a transparent finish that does not diminish the original colouring of the grout. To add the finishing touches, I polished off the Ceramic tiles as these were already fully glazed and did not require any extra sealer.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaned with Mould Away in Galgate

The before and after photos are a testament to how significantly the condition and appearance of the grout was quickly improved and needless to say, the customer was very satisfied with the result.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaned After Cleaning Mould Away in Galgate

 
 

Dealing with Mouldy Grout and Sealant in Lancashire

Wax Covered Terracotta Tiled Floor Restored to New in Pendle

These Terracotta tiles, located at a property in the town of Pendle, Lancashire had the unique circumstances of being covered by a thick layer of wax which had turned black over the years. Anyone from the Lancs area will have heard of the famous Pendle Witch Trials, and we would need to channel some serious magic to successfully remove the unsightly wax.

The wax had been settled on the tiles for many years, proving difficult to remove even for a seasoned tile cleaning professional, especially since Terracotta has a high porosity and therefore allows the muck to become more easily ingrained. We had to employ all of our years of experience to get the job done. Here’s how we did it.

Black Terracotta in Pendle Before Cleaning Black Terracotta in Pendle Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Wax Covered Terracotta Tiled Floor

Our main product of choice when dealing with the heavy wax build-up was the strong alkaline gel cleaner, Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. Oxy-Gel is a stripper and degreaser that functions very similarly to our liquid alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, the main difference being that Oxy-Gel is in gel form, making it usable on vertical and sloped surfaces.

The thicker consistency of Oxy-Gel would make for a better foil for the thick buildup of wax: we applied it to the tiles and worked it in using a series of buffing pads fitted to a buffing machine. We also employed the assistance of a steaming machine that helped to soften the wax and make it easier to break down. A lot of rinsing with clean water was required, and several wet-vax machines were used to remove the excess cleaning residue, but it quickly became clear that we had finally achieved the result the customer was hoping for.

Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning Before Sealing

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

As was to be expected, the new unveiled tiles were very dull and lifeless, having not been sealed properly for a number of years. To restore the colour and lustre to the tiles we opted to use two different sealers. The first was one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which penetrates into the pores of the Terracotta to block dirt from becoming trapped. It also contains colour intensifying properties which really brought out the natural reddish shades in the stone.

The second was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which differs from its impregnating counterpart in that it is a topical sealer. This means that it forms a layer of protection of the surface of the tiles, as opposed to in the pores of the stone. Seal and Go eliminates the need for two-step sealing by providing both a protective layer and a durable, aesthetic sheen finish in the same product.

As you can see from the last two photographs, this combination of sealers really helped in getting these Terracotta tiles looking at their best again after years of neglect under the layer of black wax. We left our very happy customer with some advice to only use pH neutral cleaners for aftercare as general maintenance producers, including bleaches and washing up liquids can reduce the life of the sealer.

Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning and Sealing Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Wax Covered Terracotta Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Grout Cleaning and Colouring for a Ceramic Terracotta Tiled Floor in Preston

Well maintained grout is fundamental to achieving a great looking tiled floor, whatever your choice of tile or stone. Even if the tiles themselves are in reasonably good condition, dirty and damaged grout lines can really upset the overall appearance of the floor.

Such was the case with this Ceramic Terracotta tiled floor in the bustling Lancashire town of Preston. The property owner recently had a new kitchen installed, but chose not to have new tiles fitted since the original tiles (dating back a good 15 years) were still in fantastic physical condition, with no chips or breaks. This is quite surprising considering that the kitchen is typically one of the main areas of traffic in any house however Ceramic and Porcelain tiles are very durable.

The grout, however, told a different story: it was very dirty and even missing in parts. Over the years it had come away and was replaced with new grout, however, this had left the whole floor with a displeasing patchy finish. Upon closer inspection it also became clear that the tiles themselves could do with a deep clean. I stepped in to discuss what could be done to improve the appearance of the floor and recommended a deep clean and grout colouring.

Grout Colouring Preston Before

Cleaning Ceramic Terracotta Tiles and Grout

Tile Doctor Pro Clean, a versatile high alkaline cleaner, was my choice of product for removing the dirt from the tiles. I applied it liberally across the floor before scrubbing it in with a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Pro Clean is a go-to product for the removal of dirt, stains and other muck on most kinds of natural stone floor, and is capable of dealing with small amounts of soil to heavy buildup.

Once the tiles had been cleaned I turned special attention to the grout. I cleaned it with a product called Grout Colourant Pre-Treatment Cleaner, which is slightly acidic to break down ingrained dirt and tackle inherent grout smears, while ensuring that grout colourant bonds to the grout once it is applied.

Colouring Grout for Ceramic Terracotta a Tiles

The job took two days to complete as it was quite a large floor stretching into several rooms. The floor also needed to dry off overnight once I had completed the cleaning process, so I decided to call back the next day once it had dried completely. Upon my return I proceeded to colour the freshly cleaned grout by applying one coat of natural grey colourant. Sometimes two coats might be required for blending purposes, but not on this occasion.

The customer was very happy with the results. She had, in fact, thought of ripping up the old tiles as part of the kitchen restoration, but she decided not to since she really likes the tiles. A restoration by the Lancashire Tile Doctor was the appropriate and much less expensive choice!

Grout Colouring Preston After

 
 

Professional Grout Cleaning and Colouring of a Ceramic Floor in Lancashire

Spanish Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Mallorca

As Tile Doctor operates in Europe as well as mainland UK we have to be ready for certain logistical challenges i.e. flying over to Mallorca to help a customer who has had a number of issues cleaning and sealing their Terracotta floor tiles at their residence on the island.  Naturally you would have thought a local firm would have been able to resolve these issues, unfortunately it seems this is not the case and we were asked to step in.

Terracotta-Tiled-Floor-Mallorca-View-from-Property Terracotta-Tiled-Floor-Mallorca-Picture-of-Castle

As is it was not economical to ship our machinery to the island the customer sourced the necessary machinery locally.

Stripping Old Sealer and Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

On this occasion we used a new product called Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a gel based version of the popular Tile Doctor Pro-Clean.  It is applied neat to the tile and then left to dwell for fifteen minutes or so and then using a black buffing pad attached to a buffing machine we then stripped the old sealer very effectively with this method adding water as required, the soiled solution was then extracted from the floor using a wet Vax.  Then we proceeded to rinse the floor with more water and repeat this process until all of the new Oxy-Gel and dirty water , this is called Neutralisation, if this isn’t done sufficiently then the chemical left in the clay can impact on the clay when it is sealed.

Terracotta-Tiled-Floor-Mallorca-Before-Cleaning

Sealing Victorian Tiles

The Terracotta was left to dry overnight and then a damp test was conducted after which it was dry enough to apply 1 coat for Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a breathable Impregnating Sealer and add colour to the Clay, this was polished off and left to dry for a couple of hours before we applied several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which then gave the Tiles a sheen and lifted the colours even more as you can see from the picture’s.

Terracotta-Tiled-Floor-Mallorca-After-Sealing

The customer was advised to use Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which we brought with us from the U.K.

This was only a 2 day visit to help with the issues with the floor, more time was needed to do all of the tiles in the house of which their was several rooms, the customer was of the mind to do the rest of the floor themselves which was the understanding before we flew out, this was a cost saving exercise on behalf of the customer of which we were happy to oblige as long as our expenses were met.

Maintaining Terracotta Floor Tiles in Mallorca

Flood Damaged Jura Limestone Floor Restored in Kirkby Lonsdale

The recent winter floods had a devastating effect on Cumbria, with many houses suffering severe damage from exposure to the water. This property in Kirkby Lonsdale had been flooded, and while the contract cleaners had made some basic repairs, the Jura Limestone floor had been left dull and patchy, and in dire need of a professional restoration.

Jura Limestone After Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale
Jura Limestone has been around for over 180 million years and is an absolutely top quality stone, consisting of up to 97% dense calcium carbonate. Thanks to its density it is far less porous than other types of Limestone available on the market. Generally speaking, this makes it easy to look after as it is more difficult for dirt to become ingrained.

Jura Limestone Before Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale

Burnishing and Cleaning a Jura Limestone floor

To restore the surface of the floor we used a process known as burnishing, which achieves particularly good results on polished stone tiles. It involves the application of several burnishing pads with different grades of grit to break down any old sealer and dirt, and to gradually smooth and polish the rough surface of the tiles.

In this case, I worked my way through through the four pad system, starting with a Coarse pad lubricated with a little water before moving on to Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads to achieve the desired polished finish.

Following this, we decided that the grout would also benefit from a special clean with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, and so applied the high alkaline cleaner to tackle the outstanding stains and dirt. The whole floor was then rinsed with clean water to remove any remaining slurry and then left to dry.

Sealing a Jura Limestone floor

We returned to the property the following day, by which time the floor had dried completely. I gave the tiles another polish with an Extra Fine burnishing pad, before proceeding to seal the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone to provide durable protection whilst enhancing the natural shades in the Limestone.

Jura Limestone After Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale
Finally, I gave the floor one last polish with the Extra Fine burnishing pad just to tighten up the hone and polish off any extra sealer.Jura-Limestone-After-Cleaning-in-Kirby-Lonsdale

You can see the results in the corresponding photographs, and needless to say, the customers were exceptionally pleased to have their fantastic floor back to looking its best, especially considering the significant damage caused by the floods.

Limestone Floor Restoration in Kirkby Londsdale

Poorly Maintained Victorian Tiled Floor Revitalised in Ribchester

This post details the work we did at a house in the Lancashire town of Ribchester where the floor had been covered with a carpet for many years and the owner now wanted the floor restoring. As you see from the photographs, these Victorian tiles were in an extremely dirty condition and in dire need of a deep clean.

Upon visiting the property and witnessing the condition of the tiles first hand, I decided that rather than spending time attempting to penetrate through the thick layers of ingrained dirt, it would be more effective to go with the application of coarse 200 grit diamond encrusted pads (also known as burnishing pads).

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester Before Cleaning Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester Before Cleaning

Usually we only use this type of pad on stone floors, including Limestone; however, we have been successfully experimenting with them on other surfaces at the Tile Doctor training centre including Victorian Tiles so I was confident they would do well.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor

In the case of this floor a carpet underlay had been in place and this is something that has often proved very difficult to remove in the past, but by using the 200 grit pads to open the pores of the clay it proved not to be a problem. The pads worked well on the main floor however being circular they do struggle to get into corners and right up to the edges so ensure these areas were equally cleaned I used small hand held burnishing pads.

One problem I did find, nonetheless, was that the pads revealed a pattern had been impressed onto the floor. To remove this I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. This was so effective that within ten minutes the pattern had completely disappeared.

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester During Cleaning

Following this, I gave the floor a thorough wash with water, and the resulting slurry was extracted by a wet vacuum. The property owner and I then agreed that I would return to the house in a few days, leaving the area enough time to fully dry.

I returned to the property two days later to find that alkaline salt deposits (commonly known as efflorescence) had appeared on the floor while it was drying out, with the exception of the area to which I had applied Acid Gel. I polished off the efflorescence with a cloth, before giving the whole floor a rinse with Acid Gel to neutralise the salts. The floor was then given another rinse with water to remove any trace of the product, and was thoroughly dried using a wet vacuum to extract the moisture.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry unassisted for a few hours before running damp tests. All tests came back with decent results, and so I proceeded to seal the floor using three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

This is a breathable solvent sealer, particularly notable for its capability to cope with any further efflorescence salt issues that could potentially affect most normal surface sealers. It also contains properties which intensify the natural colours and shades in the stone, leaving a bold and vibrant appearance.

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester After Cleaning and Sealing Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester After Cleaning and Sealing

The owner was very happy with the big improvement in the floor, leaving the following feedback:
“Thanks Russell for doing such a good job on the Victorian tiles.”
 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Lancashire

Tiled Floor Restored In Morecambe With Quick And Effective Grout Colouring

Details below of a Grout colouring job I recently completed at a house in Morecambe. In this instance, the grout had become stained, and my client was no longer happy with it.

There are a number of reasons grout can lose its appearance including the build-up of mould in damp and unvented areas, staining from liquids accidentally spilt on the floor and surprisingly if you have a coloured grout it can lose its colour due to the bleach found in common types of household cleaning products. Grout contains lime which is acid-sensitive and will react to acidic cleaning products so for general cleaning do use a pH Neutral Cleaning product.

Grout Colouring Morecambe 1 Before Grout Colouring Morecambe 2 Before

To tackle the stained grout I first tried Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which can be used at different levels of concentration to increase its potency. In this case however when this grout dried it went back to being patchy so then the only answer was to restore its appearance using a Grout Colouring kit.

Grout Cleaning and Colouring

To form a better bond with the Grout Colourant I first treated the grout with a Tile Doctor Pre-Treat Cleaner, which is very slightly acidic and effectively etches the grout. If you have a particularly acid-sensitive stone tile (Limestone, for example), it is recommended to use Tile Doctor Oxy-Pro cleaner instead as this won’t upset the stone, yet still clean the Grout ready for colouring.

Once the Grout had dried (which is some cases can be several hours), I applied a thin coating of the Grout Colourant, as a thin coat dries quicker and provides a more even finish. A second coat was then added, before polishing off the excess from the edges of the tiles. After about half an hour the Grout Colourant was dry to the touch (at this stage you should be able to walk on the floor). Note that if you are Grout colouring a wall tile in a shower cubicle, it is best to leave the area for 24 hours before using the shower.

Grout Colouring Morecambe 2 After Grout Colouring Morecambe 2 After

As you can see from the photographs, the result was very effective, and needless to say my client was very happy with the rejuvenated appearance of her grout.
 
 

Professional Grout Cleaning and Colouring in Lancashire

Heavily Worn Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Restored in Garstang

This Terracotta tiled floor was installed in the conservatory of a house in the old market town of Garstang, Lancashire, famous for being the world’s first ever ‘Fairtrade Town’.

There were quite a few problems with this floor; for one, my client had not re-sealed the tiles in many years and had therefore allowed the existing seal to become very worn and almost completely ineffectual. This had subsequently allowed the floor to become very dirty and marked with white blotches. These white blotches had occurred where the fertilizer held in decorative plant pots had started to eat away at the sealer.

Terracotta conservatory floor Before cleaning Garstang

Cleaning a dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

The tiles were cleaned with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner. The solution was liberally applied to the floor and left to dwell for a short period, allowing time for the cleaner to seep into the pores of the Terracotta and lift the ingrained dirt to the surface. The solution was then agitated using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy rotary machine, making a marked difference to the appearance of the tiles within a matter of minutes.

Terracotta conservatory floor Before cleaning Garstang

Tile Doctor Acid Gel was then used to spot treat the white marks, the acid content in the product breaks down the alkaline salts that had developed, left behind by the leaked plant fertilizer.

The entire floor was then rinsed several times to remove the soiled cleaning residue and the excess moisture was extracted using a wet-vac machine.

Terracotta conservatory floor after cleaning Garstang

Sealing a Terracotta tiled floor

The Terracotta tiles were left to dry for an entire week as there was no evident damp proof membrane in place at the property. I used damp testers to approximate when the tiles would be dry enough to seal, which was very important as any excess moisture can upset the performance of the sealer.

My first choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer that also intensifies the natural colours in the stone. A single coat of Colour Grow was applied, before I opted to follow this up with six coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides a very robust surface seal and also helped to give the Terracotta the aesthetically pleasing my client had requested.

Terracotta conservatory floor after cleaning Garstang

Before leaving the property with its newly restored Terracotta tiled conservatory, I made sure to give my client some tile maintenance advice. Needless to say, she was very pleased with the results.
 
 

Professional Terracotta Tile Restoration in Lancashire

Badly Neglected Terracotta Tiled Floor Restored in Fulwood

Not too long ago, I visited a house in the town of Fulwood in Preston, Lancashire. My client had a Terracotta tiled floor which had been neglected for many years and in their attempt to improve it had unfortunately been given some very poor advice by tile retailers, all of whom sold him different products, and each of which was unsuitable. Using these different products in succession had resulted in the depreciation of the floor’s texture and smoothness, in turn making the clay difficult to clean and maintain.

As per my usual process I ran a small test clean to demonstrate what could be done to improve the floor and I was commissioned to restore the floor back to its former glory.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Fullwood

Cleaning a badly neglected Terracotta floor

I started by mixing a strong cleaning solution consisting of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to three parts water. The solution was applied to the floor and left it to dwell for a short period. The high alkaline cleaner seeps into the pores of the tile getting underneath and lifting out the ingrained dirt and breaking down the old sealers. Then, I agitated the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine before using a wet vacuum to suck up the resulting soiled solution.

There were a few paint marks dotted across the floor, but these were not noticeable until after I had given the Terracotta a deep clean. To remove the paint marks I used Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is specially formulated to break down paint stains, adhesives and coatings. This product was used in combination with a steamer which, when applied directly to the tiles, helped to lift the paint out. Following this, I rinsed the entire floor a couple of times to remove any trace of cleaning product, and vacuumed up the excess moisture.

Sealing a Terracotta floor

It’s always best to let the floor dry completely prior to sealing as applying sealer to a damp floor will affect the sealer. I left the house to allow this to take place overnight returning the next day. To get the best out of the Terracotta I sealed the floor using one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile and acts as both as a bonding sealer enhancing the natural colours and darkening the clay (as requested by my client).

After the coat of Colour Grow had dried, I applied a further seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which achieves a nice, low sheen Satin finish. Before leaving my happy client to enjoy his newly restored Terracotta floor, I made sure to provide some professional cleaning and long-term maintenance advice.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Fullwood

 
 

Neglected Terracotta Tiles Professionally Cleaned and in Lancashire

Travertine Table Top Restoration In Preston

Here’s a quick job I did at a house in the town of Preston, located on the north bank of the River Ribble. My customer had a Travertine table top that had become dull and lost its shine however being a polished stone I knew it should be possible to burnish the shine back.

Travertine is very popular for both commercial and residential use, as it is a natural material with unique features and characters that distinguish it from other types of stone. It can be used for floor tile, kitchen flooring, bathroom wall tile, patios and, in like in this case, table tops.

Travertine Table Top Before Restoration Preston

Burnishing a Travertine table top

My first main task was to restore a nice polished finish to the table top. I did this using a system of four small six inch Tile Doctor Diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The pads come in different grits and attached to a small hand held buffing machine are used in turn with a little water starting with a Coarse grit before moving on to pads with Medium, Fine and Very Fine grits. Despite being quite a physical task, the impact the process of burnishing can have on a dull surface in a short space of time is incredible (as the photos show).

Travertine Table Top During Restoration Preston

Sealing a Travertine table top

After completing the burnishing, the second half of the job centred on sealing the newly polished table top. This was done using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a solvent-based, penetrating sealer specially designed to provide maximum protection against dirt and stains.

Ultra-Seal is particularly useful for sealing table tops in kitchens upon which food is prepared and served. It also accentuates the natural look of the Travertine while allowing the stone to breathe moisture. The product is suitable for use on most types of natural stone, including Marble, Granite, Slate, Travertine, Limestone, and more.

Travertine Table Top After Restoration Preston

 
 

Putting the shine back on a Travertine stone table top in Lancashire

Cleaning and Sealing tiles at a French chateau in Arcis-le-Ponsart, France

It’s not often that we get called abroad for a job, but when we do, it’s always a fantastic experience. We have done a few jobs abroad in the past, including the restoration of Terracotta tiled restaurant floor at a hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This job was closer to home at a chateau in the town of Arcis-le-Ponsart near Reims, located in the Champagne-Ardenne region of North Eastern France. As its name suggests, the Champagne-Ardenne region is famous for its champagne.

French Chateaux Reims
The owner of the chateau was, in fact, an English property developer. He asked us to work on two floors: a Terracotta tiled hallway, and a French Victorian tiled floor. The French style of Victorian tiles are actually made of encaustic cement rather than clay, so we were excited to have the chance to work on something a bit out of the ordinary.

It was going to be a long trip, so after packing the van with the necessary equipment and Tile Doctor products Heidi and I set off to France via the Channel Tunnel. Fortunately, we avoided any disruptions both on the way there and the way back!

On arrival at the chateau, we immediately spent two hours running tests on the two floors to determine the most effective processes. We had four days in which to complete the job, so it was essential to make sure our methods were correct before beginning to avoid any unwelcome surprises later on!

Encaustic Cement Tile Before Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Encaustic Cement Tile Before Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Zoom

Cleaning and sealing French Victorian tiled floor

After running the tests, we set about cleaning the Victorian tiles using a combination of clean water and diamond burnishing pads. No damage was done to the tiles, and they polished up well. Following the cleaning process, we began sealing the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a sealer which helps to bring out the colour in the stone while also providing durable surface protection. We were only able to apply one coat of sealer, however, as the second coat kept smearing, preventing the shine from settling in – this was despite testing the process earlier. Nonetheless, we resolved to polish off the one coat we could apply with a fine burnishing pad. Thankfully, the results were still very good.

Encaustic Cement Tile During Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Encaustic Cement-Tiles After Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

Cleaning and sealing Terracotta hallway tiles

The Terracotta tiled hallway had no sealer, and so it had, over time, become very dirty. We cleaned the tiles using a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to five parts clean water, in combination with a couple of black burnishing pads.

Quarry Tiles before cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Quarry Tiles before cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

As you can see from the pictures, the combination really helped to lift out the ingrained dirt, leaving the tiles looking at their best again. The floor took three days to dry completely before we could begin the sealing process. Once the floor was dry enough to seal, we applied eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is suitable for use on a variety of internal, unsealed porous surfaces.

Quarry Tiles after cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Quarry Tiles after cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

It was a long and exhausting week but the client was delighted with the results on both floors and left the following comments, he also mentioned using Tile Doctor in the future to work on the other properties he is developing.

“Thanks for yours and Heidi’s work in renovating our floors. It was also great to meet you guys and I hope you have enjoyed your visit to champagne and will come back some time. “

Heidi and Russell at the French Chateaux Reims
 

Putting life back into old tiled floors in France

Resolving Lippage Issues With Uneven Victorian Floor Tiles In Turton

Recently Heidi and I worked on a Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in Turton, Lancashire, an area which lies on the southern slopes of the West Pennine Moors. Victorian tile floors are commonly found in the reception area and hallways of older houses and public buildings, many of which date back to the reign of Queen Victoria (hence ‘Victorian’ tiles). It was during this time that the tile industry really started to boom.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton Before

Upon inspection it was evident that the floor in question had suffered from some settlement in the past resulting in a crack in the base under the tiles which had lifted one side and dropped the other; this is quite common in old houses resulting in some of the tiles becoming loose and would need to be fixed back in place before the floor could be given a good clean and re-seal.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton Before

Removing Lippage from Victorian Tiles

The concrete floor under the tile was patched as best as could be without pulling up more of the floor and the tiles were fixed in place, unfortunately however many of the triangular tiles in the adjacent border would not lay flat resulting in a lippage issue between them which naturally the customer was not very happy about.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton Tiles Relaid

Not wishing to cause the customer the extra expense of pulling up more tiles and relaying the concrete subfloor I left the tiles to fully set and then came back a few days later with a handheld Flex Machine fitted with a small 220 Grit Diamond pad to grind the tiles flat. As the pictures show, this made the difference and the diamond did not scratch the tiles despite the surface being dry.

Diamond pads are usually used on stone floors but after some investigation back at the Tile Doctor training centre we also realised they can be used on other types of tile including Victorian.

Once this was resolved the entire floor was given a thorough clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in with a scrubbing pad. As well as cleaning the tile and grout it also removed any remaining sealer which is important if you don’t know the history of the floor as the previous coating maybe incompatible with the new sealer. Once done the floor was given a thorough rinse with water which was then extracted from the floor with a wet vacuum.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton During Grinding

Sealing Victorian Tiles

The floor was left to dry and I returned later to seal the tiles with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile and intensifies colour whilst also providing durable protection from within. Normally I use Seal and Go on Victorian Tiles however in this case the customer had specified a matt finish.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton After

The results were fantastic and the client was very pleased with the now flat Victorian tiled floor which, thanks to the cleaning and sealing, was back to looking its best. Another happy customer for the Lancashire Tile Doctor!
 
 

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Floor with settlement issues

Replacing the Silicone Sealant around a Sink in Garstang

We often get calls to refresh bathrooms, which by the way if your selling your house is highly recommended as its cheap to do and it can transform a dingy bathroom into one that looks like it has just been installed; so replacing the silicone sealant strip around sinks and baths is something we tend to do a lot of and if you have ever done this yourself you will probably realise how tricky it can be.

This customer in Garstang only needed the strip around the sink replacing which isn’t a large job so I agreed to pop-in on the way back from another job in the local area and sort it out. The process is relatively simple, you use a sharp knife to remove the old sealant, clean the area up and then apply new, the trick is to apply just the right amount of silicone and then shape it with an angled tool. My preference is to use a Mapei silicone which if you live in Garstang can be sourced from Rockform tiles.

Silicone Seal Replacement Garstang Before Silicone Seal Replacement Garstang After

On the subject of bathroom maintenance I can highly recommend a product we sell called Tile Doctor Mould Away which used regularly does a great job of keeping your Silicone mould free.
 
 

Bathroom Refresh in Garstang

Amtico Floor in Manchester For Corrination Street Actor

As well as Tile and Stone Tile Doctor also have the ability to restore Amtico and Karndean vinyl flooring such as this Hallway in Manchester owned by none other than Coronation Street actor Philip Middlemiss aka Des Barnes which had become ingrained with dirt and was becoming difficult to clean properly.

Tile Doctor Russell-Taylor and Phil Middlemiss aka Des Barnes

Tile Doctor Russell-Taylor and Phil Middlemiss aka Des Barnes

First I applied a small tester of Tile Doctor Woodstrip, which although very good at stripping wax and polish off wooden flooring is also very good at doing the same on a quality Vinyl flooring such as Amtico and Karndean.

Amtico flooring in a Hallway Manchester

Amtico flooring in a Hallway Manchester

I did some initial testing to work out the right dilution ration and settled on five parts water to one part Woodstrip. This was then applied to the larger area and worked in using a tan buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine which is the best pad to use on Vinyl. I should add that you do have to be careful which chemicals and cleaning tools you use on these floors in case Damage is caused.

Once I had the floor clean I gave it a thorough rinse with water and removed all the soil and water with a wet vacuum to reveal a new cleaner floor. Mr Middlemiss wanted a Matt finish so we decided not to apply a sealer however I would normally recommend a sealer called WoodSeal which will protect the floor from staining.

Amtico Hallway Floor in Manchester- After Cleaning

Amtico Hallway Floor in Manchester- After Cleaning

Mr Middlemiss was really happy with the floor and was kind enough to leave the following message for me.

I would like to thank Russell Taylor, the ‘Tile Doctor’, for transforming our hall floor. The Karndean flooring we had laid, over the years had accumulated lots of dirt and staining which we have been unable to remove, yet within 2 hours Russell had transformed our floor back to its original state. He was professional, affable and highly efficient, I would highly recommend this service to anyone.
Philip Middlemiss

Rockform Tiles Preston

I took the photographs below at Rockform who we often use for sourcing difficult to find tiles. Tony and Mark who run the shop have been in the business for many years and have a vast wealth of knowledge so I can highly recommend them; they can be found on the (A6) Garstang Road at Brock, Near Preston.

Rockform Tiles Preston
Rockform Tiles Preston Rockform Tiles Preston
Rockform Tiles Preston Rockform Tiles Preston

Rockform Ltd can be found on the (A6) Garstang Road, Brock, Near Preston, Lancashire, PR3 0RD

Grout Cleaning and Colouring Bathroom Wall Tiles in Preston

I recently paid a visit to a customer at a house in the town of Preston to restore the colour of the grout in their bathroom which due to years of using strong cleaning products had bleached the grout of any colour. The tiles themselves were not the issue they seemed fine but the grout was looking Tired; we discussed the options and decided the best course of action would be to apply a grout colourant. Two different colours were chosen, white for the shower area and Sandstone for the toilet area.

WC Grout Colouring in Preston Before Shower Cubicle Grout Colouring in Preston Before

Colouring Wall Grout

Before applying the grout colourant it’s important to give the grout a deep clean using the Pre-Treater that comes with the kit; the solution is sprayed on and scrubbed in by hand before being rinsed off with water.

Once the grout had dried I started to apply the Grout colour which restores the colour and seals the grout as well, thus making it easier to clean afterwards. Grout colouring is fiddly work but you do get the gratification of an instant change. Once done I called the customer in who was delighted with the new effect as Grout colour if used correctly looks very natural and not as if someone has painted the grout making it look false.

WC Grout Colouring in Preston After Shower Cubicle Grout Colouring in Preston After

We discussed using the correct type of cleaning product for aftercare as this seemed to be the issue to start with and I recommended Tile Doctor Aqua-Pro as this can be sprayed onto the Tiles and mopped off which is ideal where a small amount of water is required. For regular cleaning Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner was also mentioned as this is diluted into water where more cleaning is needed and mopped onto the floor area.

Grout Colouring Wall Grout in Lancashire

Application of Anti-Slip Treatment at an Office Block

We recently had a request to take a look at the Ceramic floor tiles installed at a fairly new office building in Lancaster. Well over 300 people work at the builder and they all come and go via the entrance hall where ceramic tiles have been installed which when wet were very slippery. To confirm this we conducted a pendulum test which is a specially designed piece of certified equipment that measures the surface co-efficient of friction which basically is a recognised measure of how much traction a surface has. The testing is very detailed and the output is an official report that can be used for insurance purposes; the report came back high risk which was expected so no surprise there, the next step was to see how this could be improved.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster Before

Cleaning Porcelain Tiles ready for Anti-Slip treatment

As well as maintaining Tile and Stone Tile Doctor are also trained in the application of Anti-Slip treatments so we were asked to apply Anti-Slip to the 36m2 of Ceramic tiles in the entrance and rectify the problem. We do this by first getting the floor as clean as possible for which we use a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The dirty cleaning solution is removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed with clean water.

Applying Anti-Slip treatment to Porcelain tiles

The second step is to apply a Priming and Locking solution which is part of the treatment diluted one part solution to four parts water. This is then left to dry and once dry is followed by the application of the Anti-Slip treatment itself.

The third step in the treatment is to re-apply the diluted Priming and Locking solution before the floor fully dries out and it’s this last step that activates the treatment and locks it in place. There’s no need to wait for the floor to dry at this point it can be used immediately after the last step has been applied.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster During
Once completed we conducted another Pendulum test so this could be compare to the original test to see if there had been any improvement. I’m glad to report the treatment worked as expected and the latest report came back as low risk. The customer keeps this to prove to any potential insurance claimant that steps had been taken to make the floor as safe as possible. You might notice that floor looks much better as well.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster After
I should mention that the work was carried out outside of working hours so no disruption was made to the normal operation of the building.

Surface Friction improvement at Derbyshire Golf Club

Milling and Polishing Blue Lias Limestone tiles in Silverdale

The owner of this Blue Lias Limestone tiled floor in the village of Silverdale was not happy with the installation which had occurred two years earlier and several attempts by the Builder/Tiler to put it right had not resolved the problem. Basically the floor was not flat and had several raised tile edges resulting in what is known in the trade as a Lippage problem. Fortunately natural stone can be ground down to remove this issue.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone Before Milling Blue Lias Limestone Before

Milling and Polishing Limestone Tiles

To level a stone surface such as Limestone you need to use a special grinding disc formed of diamond segments that is attached to a heavy rotary machine and run over the tiles until the desired effect is achieved, in our case up to 4mm of Limestone had to be removed in some areas to ensure the tiles were flat. Once this was done the floor was rinsed down to remove the slurry that was generated from the milling process and also scrubbed clean with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with particular attention paid to the grout lines.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone Milling Pad
Once the surface was level the next step is to burnish the Limestone tiles and restore the polish which is done via the application of a different set of diamond encrusted pads which come in a set of four. You start with a coarse stripper pad with water to strip back the surface and then move onto the finer pads to polish the floor.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Being a natural stone the tile needs protecting from contaminates which can stain and this is especially relevant in a kitchen. So the next step was to wait for the floor to dry and then seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone. Colour grow is a great sealer to use on natural stone as not only does it offer good stain protection but it also brings out the colours in the stone.

Whilst sorting out the floor we noticed that the skirting boards and kitchen units had not been sealed to the tile with silicone to prevent water ingress that could damage the wood so to finish the job off we sealed in-between.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone Tile Silicone
The customer was extremely pleased with the end results as they were considering taking it all up and starting again, and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor website.

We’re absolutely delighted with the result. The floor, of blue limestone, was laid unevenly and unpolished. Russell and Heidi removed the lippage, polished and buffed the stone and sealed it properly, so it now looks the way it ought to have looked in the first place. It was certainly not cheap; but it was considerably cheaper than having a new floor laid – and it was done in three days without putting the kitchen completely out of action.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone After Milling Blue Lias Limestone After

 

Uneven Limestone tile problems resolved in Lancaster

Cleaning Rough Black Slate at an Enterprise Centre in Millom

These photographs are taken at an Enterprise Centre in Millom where local business are encouraged to network and they also offer various training courses, all of which results in a large amount of people coming and going across the 120m2 of rough black Slate which covers the communal areas. Interestingly enough this is not the first time we have cleaned and sealed this floor with the last visit being five years ago. Five years of wear and tear had taken its toll on the tiles though and the black Slate was looking tired but not horrendous given its location so I think it’s fair to say the sealer had performed well over the Intermitting period.

Rough Black Slate Millom Before Cleaning

Cleaning Rough Black Slate

As I mentioned before the area in total was about 120m2 which is a large area so we operated in sections working around the public and ensuring the correct signage was displayed were relevant.

To clean the Slate tile and grout and remove the remaining sealer the floor a good deep clean using a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go leaving it to soak in for fifteen minutes before working it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This process was followed by rinsing and cleaning with fresh water, stubborn areas were retreated and the water was removed using a wet vacuum to the get the floor as dry as possible.

Sealing Rough Black Slate

Once the section of floor was clean we left it to dry and moved onto cleaning the next section coming back later to seal it which we did with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores preventing contaminates from becoming ingrained. Colour Grow is also a colour enhancing sealer that brings out the deep colour in the slate.

Rough Black Slate Millom After Cleaning
The customer knew about using the right cleaning solution for regular cleaning however as it had been five years since our last visit we thought it best to remind them and recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which will not reduce the life of the sealer like an acidic cleaning product would.

To source slate tiles similar to these visit www.PremierTilesBarrow.co.uk

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled floor in Southport

Application of Anti-Slip Treatment at a Derbyshire Golf Club

I recently paid a visit to a Golf Club in Derbyshire to assist local Tile Doctor Steve Carpenter with the application of Anti-Slip treatment to the 6inch porcelain tiles in the men’s changing rooms. This is the advantage of being a member of a large network, if a fellow member needs assistance on a time consuming job they can just ask for assistance. In this case the floor was only around 12m2 but the Golf Club were hosting a Tournament later that afternoon and needed the work completing before 1pm.

Anti-Slip Preparation Derbyshire Golf Course

Cleaning Porcelain Tiles ready for Anti-Slip treatment

For best results the Anti-Slip treatment requires a clean surface so the first job was to give the tiles a thorough wash using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The resultant dirty cleaning solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed with clean water.

Applying Anti-Slip treatment to Porcelain tiles

The next step was to apply the Priming and Locking solution to the tile surface diluted one part solution to four parts water and this was left to dry. Once dry we applied the Anti-Slip treatment ensuring the tile was kept wet for up to 20 minutes in the process. The last step in the treatment was to re-apply the diluted Priming and Locking solution before the floor fully dried, it’s this last step that activates the treatment and locks it in place. There’s no need to wait for the floor to dry at this point it can be used immediately after the last step has been applied.

Anti-Slip Treatment Derbyshire Golf Course
To test the floor I invited the manager to try the floor dry and wet so he could experience the improvement in surface friction on a wet surface for himself. The treatment worked well and the manager was impressed, not only that we managed to complete the job with 45 minutes to spare.

For after care we recommend the floor should be cleaned daily by damp mopping with our Neutral Tile Cleaner, diluted at 35ml per 5-Litres of water periodically scrubbing the floor with a deck brush.

Surface Friction improvement at Derbyshire Golf Club

Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in Formby

We were asked to take a look at these Quarry Tiles at a house in the Lancashire town of Formby near Liverpool. The tiles had been sealed with varnish but a polyurethane sealer like Varnish which forms a thin coat on the surface of the tile is easily scratched as you can see in the photograph below:

Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaning Formby Before

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

To resolve the problem we had to strip off the Varnish coating from the Quarry tile using Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is especially designed for the safe removal of coatings from tile and stone. The product is diluted and spread over the floor allowing it to soak into the tile for around fifteen minutes before being scrubbed into the tile using a rotary floor scrubbing machine fitted with a black pad. The soiled solution is then washed off with clean water and extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. There were some stubborn areas and these were tackled by repeating the process but this time with the addition of a steamer.

A stiff brush was also used in the grout lines and when we were completely satisfied with the condition of the floor it was given an thorough rinse using cold water. The wet vacuum was used again to remove the water and get the floor as dry as possible.

Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaning Formby After Cleaning

Sealing Quarry Tiles

The floor was left to dry overnight and we came back the next day to seal the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect it going forward and it also adds a nice shine to the tile.

Varnished Quarry Tiles Cleaning Formby After Sealing
 

Quarry tile maintenance in Lancashire

Kendal Tile and Stone

Aside

I took the photographs below at Kendal Tile and Stone who we are one of the local suppliers we use to source replacement tile and grout etc. We have built a good relationship with Kendal Tiles since they started their operation over 7 years ago, it’s run by a small team of very experienced tile retailers including co-owners Rob Milligan and James Turner in fact Rob used to be an employee at the shop and he liked the business so much he bought the business.

Kendal Tiles are not just retailers who are looking to push products these guys really know their Onions so if you require valuable and factually correct advice on Tiles, Stone, Adhesives and Grout then I can highly recommend them; so if you live in the South Lakeland area do pop in and take a look, they can be found in the Shap Road Industrial Estate, Kendal.

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone

Kendal Tile and Stone is situated on the northern outskirts of Kendal in Chancel Place, Shap Road Industrial Estate, just off the A6 ‘Shap Road’, postcode LA9 6NZ.

Kitchen Tile and Grout Cleaning in Chorley

We received a call to visit a house in Chorley where the grout in the kitchen tiles had gone black with the build-up of dirt and the owner was having trouble cleaning it. Porcelain and Ceramic tiles are a great choice for kitchens as they are very easy to clean however what most people don’t realise is that the top layer of grout is actually porous and can becomes stained with dirt. With the agreement of the home owner I did a test clean using a strong cleaning product called Tile Doctor Remove and Go leaving it to dwell on the tile and grout before scrubbing it in by hand and then washing off the soiled solution; you can see from the photograph below that the tile and grout cleaned up nicely so I was booked to do the job the following week.

Chorley Tile and Grout Cleaning Test

Cleaning Tile and Grout

On my return I repeated the earlier process on the whole floor cleaning the grout with Remove and Go and working it in along the grout lines with a stiff grout brush making sure to thoroughly scrub every grout joint working in small sections at a time.

Chorley Tile and Grout Before Cleaning
Once I was happy with the grout in a section the floor would be rinsed off with clean water and a wet vacuum was used to remove the dirty water. I did this all over the floor until all the grout joints were clean retreating areas that needed extra attention.

Chorley Tile and Grout During Cleaning
The next step was to give the ceramic tiles a good clean by applying a strong general Tile and Grout cleaning product called Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The solution was scrubbed onto the floor and left to dwell for ten minutes scrubbed some more and then rinsed off. The floor was then washed down with clean water three times to make sure all the cleaning products had been removed and then dried with a wet vacuum. I then left the floor to completely dry for a couple of hours and came back later to check all the grout joints were clean and followed up with a bit of detail work on corners and edges rinsing the floor again when I had finished.

Chorley Tile and Grout After Cleaning
I managed to complete the job in a day and with all the cleaning the tile and grout came up much lighter than before making it look like a new floor had been installed. The customer was really happy with the final result and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

Heidi cleaned a very dirty tiled floor back to its original state and it now looks superb. She was extremely professional and courteous but just as important she didn’t leave a mess like a lot of tradesmen do!!! I would have no hesitation in recommending Heidi to any of my friends to carry out similar work. A job well done!!!
Chris Palmer, Chorley

Chorley Tile and Grout Before and After Cleaning
 

Cleaning Tile and Grout in Lancashire

Grout Colouring porcelain tiled kitchen floor in Leyland

A customer in Leyland near Preston reported a grouting issue with their porcelain tiled kitchen floor, the tiles were fine but the grout had become discoloured and grey, they were also finding it difficult to keep clean. This is not an unusual story for Porcelain or Ceramic tiled floors which are generally very low maintenance and you find the grout needs attention before the tiles do.

Grout Colouring in Leyland Before

Applying Grout Colourant

On arrival I set up my equipment and cleaned the floor to make sure all the grout joints were free from any dirt etc., I then did a colour test on a less obvious part of the floor with the grout colour. I wanted to make sure the colourant would take to the grout and also to make sure the customer was happy with her colour choice.

The process for grout colouring is fairly tedious but straightforward, it involves giving the bottle a good shake and applying a small amount to a toothbrush and working the grout colorant into joints using a back-and-forth motion. I find the best way to apply it is by working in small areas and adding thin even coats to limit the amount of grout colorant that gets on the tile. They were large format tiles covering 9m2 so I only needed one bottle of buff grout colourant to do the entire floor.

After the Grout Colorant dries (it takes between twenty and sixty minutes depending on how warm the house) you mist the surface with water and let stand for five minutes, excess grout colorant is then removed from the tile surface using a white nylon scrub pad.

Grout Colouring in Leyland During
The floor was ready for surface traffic in 2 hours but there was a white mist over the floor which you can get with porcelain tiles so I fitted a white buffing pad to my rotary floor polishing machine and buffed the floor to remove the power and water marks, once finished the floor looked like new. Before leaving I left the customer with some after care instructions and how to keep it floor looking good for the future.

Grout Colouring in Leyland After
 

Grout Colouring in Leyland, Lancashire

Cleaning Black Slate with White Marble Inserts in Southport

An unusual but attractive combination of semi riven black Slate with white Marble inserts had been installed in the hallway of this residence in the town of Southport. This floor had not been cleaned properly in some time, in fact the local Tile Shop had given the customer the incorrect tile cleaning product for the job which had slowly stripped the sealer off the tile leading to dirt becoming ingrained into the tile and making it difficult to clean which resulted in the deteriorated condition you see on the picture below:

Black Slate with White Marble Inserts Southport Before Cleaning

Cleaning Black Slate and Marble Inserts

The remedy was to give the floor a good deep clean and then reseal so I got to work and applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean onto the floor leaving it to soak in for fifteen minutes before working it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This process soon had the dirt running out of the floor and the soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum. The process was repeated for stubborn area and this time the grout was scrubbed by hand using a stiff brush and more Pro-Clean. Pro-Clean is a multi-purpose alkaline based cleaning product that’s safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout and given there was hardly any sealer left it wasn’t necessary to use a stronger dilution.

Once I was happy with the floor it was washed down with more water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then the water removed using the wet vacuum and then left to dry overnight.

Sealing Black Slate and Marble Inserts

We have a number of sealing products suitable for Slate and Marble each one with a different effect but given then floor was predominately slate I decided opt for four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides stain protection and leaves a nice low sheen finish.

Black Slate with White Marble Inserts Southport After Cleaning
Before leaving I let them know about Tile Doctor Neutral Clean which is a cleaning product that has a near neutral PH and is specially designed for cleaning sealed floors.

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled floor in Southport

Victorian Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Southport

Southport is an interesting seaside town with many Victorian terraced properties so it came as no surprise when I was asked to maintain a Victorian Tiled hallway in the town.

Cleaning a Victorian Floor Tiles

The floor was in good condition for its age and just in need of a clean and re-seal to keep it looking good, hallway area’s as you can imagine get more footfall than other parts of the house so are more likely to need a regular deep clean.

Victorian Tiles Southport Before Cleaning

To get the floor clean and remove any remaining sealer the floor was sprayed with Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the tile for five minutes before being scrubbed in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The next step was to wash off the residue with water which was then removed using a wet vacuum. Following this the tiles were given a rinse in Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is an acid based product that can remove grout smears and mineral deposits, it also improves the ability of the sealer to bond with the tile. Last step before sealing was to give the floor a thorough wash down with clean water, which is designed to remove any trace of cleaning products before sealing; the water was removed with the wet vacuum and then left to dry overnight.

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

The next day I returned and checked the floor for dampness using a Damp Meter which indicated the floor was dry and ready for sealing. For Victorian Floor tiles I recommend several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides a low sheen finish whilst offering great stain protection.

Victorian Tiles Southport After Cleaning

 
 

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor in Stockport

Stained Terrazzo Tiles Cleaned at a Wigan Fish and Chip Shop

These photographs are of a Stained Terrazzo Tiled floor from an old Fish and Chip shop in Wigan which had been closed for several months due to the owner being ill. The shop had then been sold and the new owners asked us to call in and re-furbish the tired and badly stained tiles rather than go to the expense of re-tiling or re-surfacing the Floor area, which would have cost a lot more than what we charged.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Before Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Before

Terrazzo is a composite tile made up of Marble and Limestone chippings, sometime Granite, all mixed into a clear cement resin and then made up into tiles of all sizes. We estimated these tiles we laid more than fifty years prior and were not looking their best after being stained with rust stains from heavy equipment, cooking oil and grease, ingrained dirt and grime. Although a tough job to tackle it didn’t put us off and as you will see we still managed to get them clean again.

Cleaning Terrazzo Tile

The method we used to restore the surface was to cut them back using a set of burnishing pads which take off a few millimetres off the tile surface and regrinds to make them look as good as new, this is something you can’t do with Vinyl Tiles or Ceramic and Porcelain. The pads are encrusted with diamonds and are used in conjunction with a little water; you start with a coarse pad and work through the set of pads which become finer in grade as you progress until your polishing the surface. Once this process is complete the floor was given a good wash down to remove any soil and allow us to spot any areas that needed further attention.

Sealing Terrazzo Tile

When the Terrazzo tile was dry it was sealed sealing with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating matt sealer that brings out the colours in natural stone, the client had also specified they didn’t want a shiny finish as they had a concern about slippery surface that could lead to slips and falls. Once the sealer was dry it was buffed using a white buffing pad.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop After Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop After

The results are quite satisfying given the age of the floor and the stains we had to deal with not only that but the owner had engaged a number of other cleaning companies who had tried a test clean and he had even tried cleaning it himself but the results were poor.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Completed

 
 

Original Terrazzo tiles restored in a Wigan Shop

Resolving Honed Travertine Tiled Floor Installation Problems in Lancashire

This honed Travertine tiled floor was newly laid by a professional tiler in South Lancaster, unfortunately however the tiler mistook some white lines in the stone as resin post installation and tried very hard to remove them damaging the finish of the stone (it’s quite common for new stone to have this issue). The white marks turned out be in the stone itself and not on the surface, to complicate things further the Travertine had been laid onto electric under floor heating so it would have been tricky to lift and replace the tiles without compromising the expensive heating matts placed underneath the stone.

The customer was left in a dilemma as the suppliers of the stone were blaming the tiler and the tiler the supplier, the only option was to call out Tile Doctor. On inspection and after conducting two cleaning tests we managed to get a result with our burnishing system with no white lines showing after the Travertine had dried out.

Honed Travertine Lancaster Before

Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine

To get the Travertine looking new again we had to strip back the surface of the tile using a set of Diamond Encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse stripper pad with water to strip back the surface and then move onto the finer pads to polish the floor. We also use some grinding discs to remove scratches left behind by the kitchen fitters who were clumsy when fitting the kitchen.

Once I was happy that all the problems had been resolved with the Travertine tile we resealed it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to get a nice overall finish for the floor. Colour grow is a great sealer to use on natural stone as now only will it offer good stain protection it brings out the colours in the stone.

Honed Travertine Lancaster After

 
 

Honed Travertine Tiled Floor Problems resolved in Lancaster

Cleaning and Milling Silver Pearl Pearlescent Slate floor in Lancaster

Previously I had solved a lippage problem on this customers Limestone kitchen floor where the tiler had laid the tiles unevenly and they had asked me to remove and level the edges which we can do with diamond encrusted burnishing pads. I sorted that out and they asked me back to look at their Conservatory floor as well which was a Silver Black Pearlescent Slate, again laid with lippage but the slate had also been oiled prior to sealing causing it to loose all its Silver colouring making it look black all over. It was at this point the customer shared the whole story of how the floor had been laid when she had been away on her holidays and had trusted the Tiler to do a good job; unfortunately he hadn’t and was unable to correct the problem. The floor was left in a sad and sorry state for a number of years and the owner unhappy with the floor had to cover most of the floor in rugs so she wouldn’t trip on the lippage. It probably would have stayed that way until one day they noticed my Tile Doctor Van in a Lancaster car park where they stopped me so to get my business card.

Silver-Pearl-Milled-Slate-Lancaster-Before-Cleaing.jpg

So a few days later I called round to assess the problem and came up with a solution; I offered to Mill the whole floor with Diamond segments using burnishing pads and just to prove my faith in this system to help solve her floor issues, I moved the settee away and proceeded to Mill a small section, after rinsing with water and Vaxing the waste up, the customer was delighted with the results, not only had the rough lippage disappeared but she could see the Silver Pearlescent colour shine through the Black Slate, which is exactly why she bought the Tiles. We think the Tiler oiled the floor to darken it so you couldn’t see what a bad job he had done on laying the tiles, unfortunately this didn’t stop people tripping over them.

The great thing about milling a stone tile is it actually improves the look not diminish it, unlike wood the more it’s worked at the better it will look. I spent an extra day on this floor to get it right for the customer and the results were very satisfying for us both especially after I had put down several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go on The Slate to lift the colours in the stone and also add a sheen to the tiles as well.

Silver-Pearl-Milled-Slate-Lancaster-After-Cleaing-and-ReSealing.jpg

I always mention to my customers the importance of using a nuetral cleaner like PH Neutral cleaning product for aftercare cleaning and not to use a bleach based cleaning product like flash, Domestos etc, or even Washing up Liquid which is slightly Acidic; all these will damage a stone sealer given time and diminish it’s protective qualities.

Rough Sandstone floor milled in Lancaster

Sandstone is generally a rough textured surface requiring regular cleaning and sealing to keep it looking good, I’ve also known customers to complain that the rough texture can shred mops during regular cleaning. This Sandstone tiled floor installed in a house in Lancaster was no different and so with the owner’s approval we decided to gently grind the sandstone to produce a smoother more manageable surface. At Tile Doctor we refer to this process as Milling and it’s especially useful for flattening a raised surface between tiles often called lippage.

Sandstone Floor Lancaster Before Milling Sandstone Floor Lancaster Before Milling

Milling and Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor

As far as I know Milling was developed at Tile Doctor to basically smooth down a rough textured surface to make it easy to clean, seal and maintain; it’s a one off process and is akin to sanding down a rough piece of wood with sandpaper. We don’t use sandpaper for this purpose but diamond encrusted burnishing pads which like sandpaper come in different levels of coarseness. Milling actually reveals more of the character in the surface of the stone which is further enhanced during sealing for which recommend the use of a matt finish sealer such as Tile Doctor Colour Grow or if there is still a bit of texture in the stone we recommend the use of a topical sealer such as Tile Doctor Seal and Go which also leaves a nice low sheen finish.

Milled Sandstone Floor Lancaster After Milled Sandstone Floor Lancaster After

The customer was on holiday when the work was done but was so pleased with the effect of the milled Sandstone floor she rang me up personally to say thanks and left the comment below on the Tile Doctor feedback system, she was experiencing a lot of trouble cleaning this floor and we managed to resolve that and still keep the texture and character of this beautiful floor.

“Total transformation of our floor. Can’t quite believe the results. No mess and an amazing result. Thank you v much
D. Rix, Lancaster”
 
 

Smoothing a Rough Textured Sandstone Floor in Lancashire

Dennis Ruabon Quarry Tiles cleaned and sealed in Low Bentham

Customer had these Dennis Ruabon Quarry Tiles fitted over 20 years ago in the WC of his house in Low Bentham, various cleaning and sealing products have been used since however this left a build-up of contamination on the Tiles which was detrimental to their aesthetic appeal and also left a noticeable residue smell.

Black Quarry Tiles Before Black Quarry Tiles Before

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

To clean the Tiles and strip off previous sealing coatings we used Tile Doctor Pro-clean diluted 1 to 10 with warm water. This was left to dwell on the floor for a while before being worked into the tile using and black buffer pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. The whole area was cleaned in this manner along with a stiff hand brush to get into the grout lines and a wet vacuum which was used to suck up the dirty residue before the floor was rinsed down with cold water. The wet vacuum was used again to remove the water, one tile was loose so this was re-fixed and the floor left to dry.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

Once the floor was fully dry we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will protect it going forward and also helps to bring out the colour in the tile whilst maintaining a more natural appearance. There were some stubborn stains and discolouration on the tiles that could not be treated however I think you will agree it is much improved and you will have to take my word for this but it also smells better

Black Quarry Tiles After Black Quarry Tiles After

Before leaving we left the customer with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner, this product is recommended for sealed floors due to its very low PH formula; there are a number of acidic floor cleaning products available which should not be used with stone or sealed floors as the acid will eat into the seal or stone surface over time reducing its life.
 
 

Restoring old Quarry tiles floor in Lancashire

Cleaning a Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle in Silverdale

This ceramic tiled shower cubicle was installed at house in Silverdale, you can see from the photographs below that there was staining from the chemicals in domestic products and there was also a build-up of mould on some parts of the grout and silicone sealant. Mould can get a grip here due to a porous top layer and this is especially a problem in the UK where bathrooms tend to be small with inadequate ventilation.

Shower Cubicle Silverdale Before Shower Cubicle Silverdale Before

Cleaning Tile and Grout

The ceramic tiles and grout was treated using Tile Doctor Oxy Pro which is a ready to use tile and grout shower cleaner that comes with a trigger spray attachment which allows the cleaner to mix with air making it lighter and allowing it to stick to vertical surfaces. It was then worked in using a stiff scrubbing brush by hand before being rinsed off with water; this process was repeated a number of times until we had managed to clean all the areas and then left to dry.

Unfortunately it’s not possible to remove mould from silicone sealant, the only solution is to have it stripped off and replaced. Once this was done the edges were cleaned up and fresh mould resistant silicone was applied.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that silicone will last longer if the residue from soaps, shampoos and body washes etc. are rinsed away with clean water after having a shower as it’s the chemical and not the water that damages the silicone in the first place.

Shower Cubicle Silverdale After Shower Cubicle Silverdale After

The results are plain to see and my customer was very satisfied with the work.

Prevention is always better than the cure and another tip you might find useful is to improve ventilation which is a major problem with draught free modern housing fitted with insulation and double glazing, if this is not possible try leaving your shower room door wide open after having a shower. Another option is to look at installing a ventilation and heat recovery system which extracts the hot air from kitchens and bathrooms through a heat exchanger to warm up fresh air from outside and recycles it back into the house.
 
 

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled Shower room in Lancashire

Grout Cleaning and Colouring 25m2 of Tiles in Preston

Oddly Enough I had sold these Ceramic tiles to the customer in Preston when I used to work at a local Tile Shop many years prior. I had also been back to clean and seal the grout on his floor tiles originally in 2007 and then again in January 2010 when we used a Grout Colourant on them. It’s nice to get called back like this as it shows they appreciate the service you provide; for this visit the request was to freshen up the floor tiles and also the Ceramic Kitchen wall tile and Grout which had become ingrained with Grease from the cooker.

Grout colouring Preston Ceramic Wall Tile Before

Cleaning Tile and Grout

The total area was approximately 25m2 and it took me a day and half to give the Tile and Grout a deep clean. For the most part I used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean but for the wall tiles where Grout Colourant has been applied I used Tile Doctor OxyPro which is a ready to use Tile and Grout cleaner that comes in a spray bottle, when applying any liquid to a wall its best to mix it with air in a spray bottle as this makes it lighter and helps it stick and soak into the to the tile and grout as opposed to running down it. It was noticeable that the grout colour was mainly intact and it had just needed a good clean on the whole apart from maybe near the cooker which I topped up with new Grout colour in the original shade.

Applying Grout Colourant

Once everything had been rinsed and the grout had dried I was able to apply the grout colourant using my colour applicator (toothbrush). You have to be fairly methodical doing this so it can take a while, you can remove excess colourant by spraying plain water and scrubbing with a white pad (don’t used a coloured pad as you can transfer the dye from the coloured pad to the surface).

Grout colouring Preston Ceramic Wall Tile After

 
 

Cleaning and Colouring of Grouts in Lancashire

Hardened Chlorine Removal from Tiles at Leisure Centre Pool and Spa

Not sure if these pictures do the job justice but we had a tough job on our hands cleaning the anti-slip ceramic tiles around this swimming pool at a leisure centre near Kendal in Cumbria. Including the changing rooms the area measured approximately 1110m2 and fortunately most of the tiles were just in need of a good scrub and clean but there were also some areas where there was a build-up of hardened chlorine around the drains and dips in the floor allowing it to settle and calcify on the tile.

Hardened Chlorine Around Spa Area Hardened Chlorine Around Changing Area

To clean the tile we used Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is a heavy duty cleaning product specifically designed for tile cleaning. The area was large but fortunately only about 10m2 needed to be cleaned by hand for the rest we were able to use a rotary machine fitted with and a Black Buffing pad; lots of rinsing was required and we used a wet vacuum to remove the water as naturally it was important not to let any chemical contaminate the pool.

Swimming Pool Tile Cleaning in Action

For the difficult areas that had to be done by hand we used a Fein Multimaster which is a versatile electric tool that has a special attachment that allowed us to remove the Chlorine build-up

Spa Area After Cleaning

The area took two of us four days to complete and the client was pleased with the different we made and left the following feedback on our website.

They arrived on the day they said and they finished on the day they said and we were well satisfied with both their work and professionalism and would have no hesitation in recommending them to future clients
 
To source tiles similar to these visit www.KendalTileandStone.co.uk
 

Swimming pool tiles cleaned at a Leisure Centre in Cumbria

Sandstone floor maintained in Stodday, Lancashire

This sandstone floor was installed in a house in the village of Stodday, Lancashire, the floor was looking dull and if you look closely you should be able to see surface staining, there were also a number of marks the customer was eager for us to deal with.

Sandstone floor in Stodday before Sandstone floor in Stodday before

Cleaning Sandstone

We cleaned the floor using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with 10 parts warm water and worked in using a Black Scrubbing pad. This action certainly gave the floor a good clean but the marks mentioned earlier were proving stubborn to shift so we tried a stronger product called Remove and Go combined 50/50 with NanoTech UltraClean which add nano sized abrasive particles. We left the resulting formula to soak into the stone for about an hour and then used a steam cleaner to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone and lift out the dirt, this did the trick and so we then removed the cleaning products with a wet vacuum and washed down the floor with clean water to neutralise the floor before sealing and left for the evening so the floor could dry overnight.

Sandstone floor in Stodday after

Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor

We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The sandstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which gives a nice low sheen finish, Sandstone is fairly porous so it took five coats of sealer in the end. Seal and Go is a topical sealer and really brings out the true colour of the Stone and also leaves them a lot easier to clean with a mop as it takes a lot of the rough texture out of the stone.

Sandstone floor in Stodday after

 
 

Sandstone Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Lancashire

Black and White Victorian flooring cleaning in Sedbergh

This black and white Victorian tiled floor was located in the hallway of a house in Sedbergh which is an old market town between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The floor was dirty and had some brown staining but it was in good physical condition and just in need of a good clean.

Cleaning Victorian Floor Tiles

Before starting the clean I took several readings with a damp meter to understand if there were any underlying damp issues that may have been exacerbated. Fortunately there was no evidence of dampness so I proceeded with the cleaning by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective alkaline cleaner and left it to dwell on the floor for ten minutes before working it in with a Rotary Machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. It was then time to break out a stiff brush to get into the grout lines where the pads can struggle to reach. The last step was to remove the soiled cleaning solution with a wet vacuum and give the floor a good rinse down with water to neutralise the floor before sealing.

Victorian Tile Before Victorian Tile Cleaning Before

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

I came back the following day and damp tested several areas again to make sure the floor was dry; the results confirmed the floor had dried and ready for sealing. I sealed the floor using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water rather than solvent based sealer that provides a low sheen finish whilst offering excellent stain protection. You have to leave each coat to dry before applying the next so this process can take some time.

Victorian Tile Cleaning After Victorian Tile Cleaning After

I left the customer details of our free Tile Cleaner offer and recommend that they top up the Seal once a year with a single coat of Seal And go just to keep it fresh.
 
 

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor in Cumbria

Grout Colouring in Chorley

The surface of grout is porous and as a result it can get so dirty it becomes impossible to clean it successfully, even our most powerful cleaners struggle if it gets to this stage. If you get to this point you could use the flat end of a screwdriver to scrape out the grout and re-grout the whole floor to ensure a consistent colour, naturally this is arduous work and can be time consuming however there is a second option and that is to apply a Grout Colourant instead. The grout colouring products we use not only change the colour but it also provides a protective barrier that seals the grout as well ensuring it keeps it appearance well into the future.

Grout Colouring Before

Preparing the Grout

Before applying a Grout Colour it’s important to ensure the grout is clean of grease and any sealer that may have been applied to the adjacent tile; Tile Doctor Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner that’s good for this purpose, for best results you should allow the cleaner to dwell for a while and then get into the grout joints by hand with a stiff brush. Last step is to rinse the floor down with clean water to remove any chemical that might upset the colourant, I recommend the use of a wet vacuum at this point to remove liquids from the floor.

Grout Colouring During

Applying the Grout Colour

Once the grout has dried you can start applying the colourant which is a relatively straightforward process of squeezing the product onto a toothbrush and running it onto the grout. Don’t be tempted to use an old toothbrush for this purpose as it may contaminate the colourant leading to discolouration in the finish. The product sets in a couple of hours so I was able to do the whole floor in a day.

Grout Colouring After

 
 

Colouring Grout in Lancashire

Quarry floor restored in Borwick, Lancashire

This Quarry tiled floor is installed in a house that was built circa 1920, well before the invention of damp proof course. Although there was no evidence of damp there was quite a bit of old plaster, trapped dirt and pain splashes on the quarry tiles, the photograph below gives you a good idea of the state it was in.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration

Cleaning Quarry flagged flooring

We cleaned the Quarry tiles first with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean which improved the floor but struggled to shift the stubborn areas. Something stronger was required to we applied Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up on the Plaster and Grout followed by a small amount of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to get rid of the Paint Splashes. The floor was then rinsed down with clean water which was then vacuumed off the floor using a wet vacuum and left it to dry overnight.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration

Sealing Quarry floor tile

The next morning we used a damp meter to verify the floor had dried sufficiently for sealing, it’s always possible to hurry this along with an industrial fan or heat gun for small areas. In this case the floor was fine and we proceeded to seal it using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which results in a nice low sheen finish as well as providing lasting stain protection, four coats of Seal and Go were needed to seal the Quarry Tiles.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration

I think you will agree the floor looks transformed.
 
 

Restoring a Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Sandstone floor restored in Leyland

These pictures are of a Sandstone floor installed in a house in Leyland, the dog seems quite content with the floor but the owner wasn’t; the trouble with Sandstone is that is a relatively soft sedimentary stone which doesn’t provide the best foundation for a sealer causing it to breakdown faster. To counteract this I usually apply as much sealer as the floor will accept and then leave any spare with the customer so they can top it up when the shine starts to wear off. I find this works better than to let the Sealer break down as this will allow dirt to get trapped in the stone and then you have to start all over again with the clean and seal. Applying a regular top up of sealer will keep the floor in good condition for several years before it needs to be done again saving the customer time and money in the long run.

Cleaning Sandstone flagged flooring

We cleaned the Sandstone flags with a 1 to 10 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and warm water agitated with a Black buffing pad attached to our floor scrubbing machine. The soiled solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed off with water, judging by the colour of the dirty water it was clear we had managed to dislodge a large amount of dirt. The process was repeated a few times until we were confident the floor was as clean as it could be and then we left it to dry overnight.

Sandstone floor in leyland before

Sealing Sandstone floor tile

The next morning the floor had dried and we proceeded to seal the sandstone with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is highly recommended for this type of stone providing a good level of stain protection combined with a nice low sheen finish. Five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were needed to cover the floor which can take some time to apply as each coat needs to dry first before you can apply the next.

Sandstone floor in leyland After

 
 

Restoring a Sandstone Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Black Honed Slate Tiled Floor in Ambleside Pub Toilet

I guess it was inevitable that I would be asked to clean the floor in a public toilet at some point; fortunately for me this one in a pub in Ambleside Cumbria was in a reasonably pleasant condition. The floor was Black Honed Slate Tiles but the sealer had been badly etched by Uric Acid (aka urine) around the cubicles, and a bad smell was building up from the reaction with various sealers and coatings that had been applied previously which were unsuitable for a stone floor. Ambleside of course is in the centre of the English Lake District which is famous for its walking and so naturally these floors tend to get a lot of muddy boots trampling over them from the thousands of tourists that visit this area every year.

Black Honed Slate in WC Before Black Honed Slate in WC before

Cleaning the Black Honed Slate Tiles

I manage to strip the products from the floor using Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined 50/50 with Nano-Tech Ultra-Clean followed by the use of a Steam Cleaner which neutralised the remaining odours as well as helping to remove any remaining cleaning products. Finally the floor was rinsed with water all of which was removed using a wet Vaccum and then left to dry before sealing.

Sealing Black Honed Slate Tiles

We have a number of sealing products for Slate tiles, each one providing a different effect; in this case we opted for two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which enhances the colours in the natural stone and provides stain protection combined with a nice matt finish, which was very practical for this situation. However the customer wanted a higher sheen effect so we added two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to the surface as well. It isn’t always possible to do this with sealers as their can be compatibility issues.

Black Honed Slate in WC After Black Honed Slate in WC After

Before leaving I left the customer with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which is an PH neutral product specially designed for cleaning sealed stone floors.

Cleaning and Sealing a Black Honed Slate Tiled floor in an Ambleside Pub WC

Southport Travertine Tiled Floor Restoration

This Travertine tiled floor was laid in the kitchen, utility and hallway of a residence in Southport. The floor was in need of a clean and seal and there was an added complication that the customer had dropped a heavy Iron on the Travertine tile which had cracked and in turn had become loose causing it to catch under the door. To add to the complication the floor was fitted with electric under floor heating throughout. Normally I’m a big fan of under heated floors as it can speed up the drying process no end however I was concerned there was a chance that we might damage the cable. Given the situation the customer agreed to sign a waiver in case we damaged the wires whilst trying to replace the damaged stone.

Cracked Dirty Travertine Tile

Replacing the Cracked Travertine Tile

Normally to replace a tile it’s necessary to use an Angle Grinder or similar to remove the grout and then chip gingerly away at the tile until you have removed all the pieces, in this case however the Iron had done a good job of smashing the tile so it was just a case of carefully removing the pieces and then cleaning up the grouted edges. Naturally we had to take extra care due to avoid damaging the cable however once this was done we were soon onto re-applying tile adhesive, fitting a replacement tile and re-grouting. Whilst the tile adhesive was setting we were able to get on with the job of cleaning the remainder of the Travertine tiled floor.

Travertine Tile Removed

Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine

To strip any remaining sealer from the floor and get it back to its original condition we used a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a Red stripper pad with water to remove the sealer and the move onto the White, Yellow and Green pads which polish the floor. Once the surface was restored we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural-look penetrating sealer that is recommended for food preparation areas such as a kitchen.

Travertine Tile Restoration

No damage was done to the under floor heating and the customer was once again happy to show off her floor, as it turns out we were the only company that was willing to take the problem on.
 
 

Travertine Tiled Floor Restoration in Southport

Uncovered Victorian Floor Tiles Restored

Photographs below from the restoration of Victorian Floor Tiles in the hallway of a house in the town of Garstang near Preston. The owner of the house had discovered the tiled floor during renovations and was keen to repair and restore it as a period feature. The carpet had done a reasonable job of protecting the floor and I have come across floors in much worse condition in the past so we were confident it could be restored.

Cleaning a Victorian Floor Tiles

The floor was stained from carpet adhesives and some cement haze which we managed to remove using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which contains concentrated Hydrochloric Acid and solves a number of problems of this nature. Acids can dissolve calcium based stone so you have to be careful what you use it on, my advice is not to leave it too long on any surface and to wash it down afterwards with water.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Victorian Tiled Floor Before

The next step was to give the floor a thorough clean which we did using Tile Doctor Remove and Go mixed 50/50 with Nanotech Ultra-Clean; a steamer came in really handy at this point for those tricky stubborn areas. Last step was to give the floor a good rinse with water to remove any remaining chemical before sealing, if you’re doing this work yourself I recommend you hire a Wet Vacuum as it makes light work of removing surface water.

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

The last step was to seal the floor however before we could do that it need to be dry so we checked for dampness first using a Damp Meter. When we happy the floor was sufficiently dry with sealed the floor using 4 coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides a low sheen finish whilst offering excellent stain protection. You have to leave each coat to dry before applying the next.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Clean Victorian Tiled Floor After Clean

 
To source Victorian tiles similar to these visit www.rockform.co.uk
 

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Floor

Polishing Marble Tiles in Kendal

We were recently asked to look at a polished Marble Tile installed in the floor of a house in Kendal, Cumbria. They were recently fitted but the local Tiler had struggled to get the sheen right on the surface of the Marble, in fact the sealer he had used was badly smeared in some places and needed to come off.

Mrs Bass Marble Floor Before Polishing

To strip off the sealer we used with a Red diamond encrusted burnishing pad fitted to a rotary machine and then rinsed the floor with water which we then removed using a wet and dry Vax machine. We then used other pads in the burnishing system process to clean and polish the Marble floor until we had a nice overall sheen. We finished off the floor with a coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a premium, no-sheen, natural-look penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection.

Mrs Bass Marble Floor After Polishing

 
 

Polishing Marble Tiled Floor in Kendal, Cumrbia

Anti Slip for Tile at the Millennium Galleries, Sheffield

Anti Slip Tile Treatment for the Main Entrance at the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield Millennium Galleries Entrance Sheffield

The Millennium Galleries opened in 2001, is one of four Sheffield museums which collectively have over a million visitors every year. The museum hosts a number of Events and Exhibitions including permanent collections from Victorian writer John Ruskin and Metalwork, Sheffield being world famous for its metalworking past.

The museum buildings manager was concerned about slipping on the floor tiles in the main entrance lobby covering approx 144m2, the tiles are of a high gloss porcelain variety which are by their nature slippery when wet. We gladly responded to the request and applied the Tile Doctor Anti-Slip treatment to a small area so they could see for themselves how effective the treatment is. The solution we use is not an Anti Slip coating but an invisible treatment which only becomes active when wet. The management team soon came back with a positive response and gave us the green light to complete the remainder of the floor.

Millennium Galleries main entrance showing application of Tile Doctor Anti Slip

Millennium Galleries, Sheffield and Tile Doctor Anti Slip

Before applying the Anti Slip treatment we cleaned the floor using Anti-slip Pre-cleaner diluted 1 part cleaner to 4 parts water, this was applied using a slow speed buffing machine fitted with a black buffing pad and then the floor was rinsed with water and left to dry for 30 minutes.

Once dry the Anti-slip solution was applied neat using a pump action spray, this was then worked into the tiles using a deck brush taking care to avoid splashing any exposed metalwork or glass. After 4 to 5 minutes the Lock-in solution was applied again diluted 1 part solution to 4 parts water and applied directly on top of the Anti-slip solution, this was worked into the tile using a black buffing pad. We used a low speed Victor Trojan Buffing machine to do this, the low speed reduces splashing.

Millennium Galleries Floor Treated with Anti Sip

Millennium Galleries Floor Treated with Anti Sip treatment

The last step was to polish the floor with a white buffing pad and wash down with clean water to neutralise any remaining anti slip solution which was then removed with a Wet and Dry Vacuum.

The building manager was very happy with results and left the following message: The anti-slip treatment provided by the Tile Doctor is proving a complete success. The floor area treated which was rapidly resembling skating area where on wet days upwards of 75 people suffered slips has been transformed to a pedestrian friendly surface

Read more: Anti Slip Tile Treatment at the Millennium Galleries, Sheffield