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

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

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

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