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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Uneven Limestone tile problems resolved in Lancaster
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Tiled Floor Problems resolved 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think you will agree the floor looks transformed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Details of an original Flagstone Floor cleaning job below from a Victorian House in the City of Lancaster, we often find flagstone floor tiles in kitchens and hallways and in this case they were in the hallway. You can see from the photographs below that the flagstone floor tiles were in a very bad state and it became clear that no amount of cleaning was really going to remove the decades of trapped dirt embedded in the pores of the Sandstone.
Cleaning the Flagstone Floor
To get over this problem it was necessary to remove the top surface of the flagstone using a milling pad together with a small amount of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The flagstones were then washed down with water which was then removed using a wet and dry vax machine. There was no damp proof course under the tiles so I left it to dry for a week before coming back to seal.
Sealing and Restoration of Flagstone Floor
The milling process had opened up the pores in the sandstone flagstone floor tile so to seal it I used 1 coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow in order to bring out the colour in the stone and then topped this off wth a further 3 coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go.
Details below of a Victorian Floor in the hallway of a house in Lancaster which the owner wanted restoring after it was discovered in poor condition under a carpet.
Removing the Carpet from the Victorian Floor
We removed the old carpet and applied a 50/50 mix of Remove and Go and Nanotech Ultra-clean which we left to soak for a couple of hours. We then cleaned the floor with a Steamer to remove all the dirt and muck and get any old sealer and waxes etc. to rise to the surface ready for a final rinse down.
Victorian floor in Lancaster showing tile covered by Carpet
A number of Victorian Tiles where either broken or missing so some tiling work was in order before work could continue.
Victorian floor Restoration in Lancaster after cleaning and then sealing
Sealing the Victorian Floor
The floor was cleaned again for a final time and left to dry thoroughly before applying the sealer. For Victorian Floors we always recommend Seal and Go which is a water based sealer and gives a nice low sheen, provides definition and lifts the colours to the surface.
Here are some details of a small 4m2 Tile Cleaning and Grout Colouring job we did in a shower room in Lancaster. The tiles were recently laid and unfortunately the 5mm wide grout had discoloured because the tiler had used the same bucket to mix the adhesive with and some of the remnants from that had got into the grout mix. If the tiler had used a separate bucket this wouldn’t have happened. The tiler didn’t know what to do to rectify the problem so Tile Doctor got the call. He had done a good job on the rest of the bathroom and the customer didn’t want to upset him over it any further so she was quite happy to pay me to sort the problem out, as long as it didn’t look false.
Before Grout Colouring
First I cleaned the grout with the pre-treater spray that comes with the kit and washed off the excess with water. Although the directions recommend leaving the grout to dry for 2 hours I left it for 30 minutes followed by a blast from my heat gun to dry any dark wet spots, this speeds up the process immensely.
Applying the Grout Colouring
Next I applied the Grout Colourant, fortunately the tiles were ceramic and the excess grout colourant came off the tiles very easily where I had got some on by accident. The kit came with a special white abrasive cloth which is excellent at removing excess grout colourant from the tiles. I often find unglazed tiles or stone and even some porcelain tiles are slightly porous on the surface and if the grout colourant gets on to these tiles then it can be quite hard to get off. I find it’s always best to do a test first on a couple of rows, if you get any on the tiles, don’t leave it on for more than 10 to 15 minutes as it sets very hard. Porous stones should always be sealed beforehand as it will make them a lot easier to clean. Its worth noting that the Grout Colourant acts as a barrier and so will never need to be sealed, it’s also completely washable.
Tiled Ceramic Floor after Grout Colouring
Grout Colouring a Ceramic Tiled Bathroom floor in Lancaster
Uri Geller calls in Tile Doctor to Restore a Victorian Floor
As a Designer Uri Geller invited Tile Doctor along to a House he has been asked to help out with using his own creative ideas, We gladly helped to refurbish the Old Victorian floor Tiles that are original to the house using great care and skill and replace some broken ones that have lifted over the Years.
He was so impressed with the results that he kindly provided the above Video Testimonial. While I was there he also bent my House Key, but unfortunately we couldn’t get this on camera due to his contract with Warner Bros, who am I to argue with that. I can say there was no trickery involved as I was as skeptical as anyone else out there, but he bent it using an index finger and holding the key on a flat floor and just rubbing it with his finger for about 5 seconds, very impressed, so it means quite something to me that he is impressed with my work as well.
Please note Tile Doctor don’t just cover Residential property and interior designers we also provide Tile Cleaning services to facility managers, general contractors, as well as the numerous tile contractors and cleaning companies that use our services and products everyday. Unlike other tile cleaning companies we cover a broad ranges of tiled surfaces including Ceramic, Granite, Limestone, Marble, Porcelain, Quarry, Sandstone, Slate, Terracotta And Victorian Floor Tiles.
To polish the floor we used a Green Burnishing Pad and then sealed using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying sealer that provides durable surface protection as well as allowing the surface to breath.
Jerusalem Limestone Floor After Cleaning
Needless to say the customer was very pleased with the results
Recently cleaned a tiled kitchen floor which had been laid with Oyster Quartzite tiles, these tiles come from a fine grained rock formed from layers of clay and shale deposits producing a textured finish which although hard wearing can over time allow dirt to get stuck into the grooves.
Oyster Quartzite Tiles before Cleaning
To get the floor clean I used Tile Doctor Remove and Go mixed 50/50 with Tile Doctor Nano-Tech and then left it for an hour to soak. after this time had elapsed I used a Spinner rotary pressure cleaning tool followed with a Wet Vacuum to clean and remove the old sealer and dirt.
Oyster Quartzite Tiles After Cleaning
The effect was very pleasing to the eye but the process does require the use of a lot of water though so prior to starting I used clear silicone to secure the kitchen unit kicking boards and avoid water ingress into the wood.
Terracotta Tiles cleaned With Tile Doctor Pro-clean and 2 Black Buffing pads, there were some awkward stains in corners and such so I used Remove and Go and some Nano-scrub cleaner on these, but only after they had been pre-wetted first otherwise Remove and Go is hard to get out of the clay.
Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing
Lots of Rinsing with water, left to dry overnight and came back the next day to Seal, turned the heating up, opened a couple of small windows front and back to allow for some Airflow and then started to apply 9 coats of Seal and Go with a Paint pad, this took all day, so quite a bit of waiting around, good time to catch up on my paperwork in the van in between sealer drying times.
You can see from the pictures, the floor had been covered first old plastic vinyl which had been glued down with a strong adhesive and then later with a carpet.
The customer had tried removing the vinyl themselves to reveal the real floor but gave up after eight hours and called in Tile Doctor.
Removing the Vinyl was arduous work and care was required not to damage the floor underneath. Naturally we managed and then had to contend with the rubber matting that the vinyl was stuck to and this proved to be even harder to lift.
Removing the Lino glued to a Victorian Floor
To remove the rubber matting and adhesive the whole floor had to be covered with a special product that breaks down the glue. Once the rubber had been disposed of we got down to cleaning the floor and removed any remaining stubborn marks.
Victorian Floor Revealed
The revealed floor looked dull so we then sealed it using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which really brought out the colour.
Restored Victorian Floor
As you can see from the comment below the customer was ecstatic with the result.
“Just got the second e-mail with the photos – they are great and really show how much hard work went into the job. As I said we did get several “Tile Experts” in to look at the job and they wouldn’t touch the lino, so well done done and many thanks again – would definately recommend you to prospective customers. Regards John.”