Large Victorian Manor House Hall Floor Restored in Ulverston

Earlier this year we had the privilege to be involved in the restoration of a large Victorian tiled hall at Stone Cross Manor in Ulverston which is being sympathetically redeveloped into nineteen apartments by Persimmon Homes at a reported cost of £4 million. The magnificent Grade II-listed stately home was built in 1874 for Myles Kennedy who was a Limestone Quarry owner and chairman of an Ironworks.

The property continued to be occupied by the Kennedy family until 1943 when it was requisitioned by the military who then sold it to Lancashire County Council in 1946. The council used it as a boarding school for some decades and allegedly had the central oak staircase removed so the hall could be used to play indoor football. Since that time, it has had different owners and states of disrepair until finally being acquired by Persimmon who contacted us to quote for restoring the floor to its former glory. This would be no easy task and would require plenty of help. However, we are a resourceful bunch and being part of a large network of Tile Doctors means we were able to draft in other Tile Doctors to assist.

Stone Cross Manor Ulverston

Before we took the job on, I went over to survey the floor and was immediately taken aback by the sheer size and scale of the project. The impressive Victorian hall has now had its large wooden staircase rebuilt and this sits in the centre of a series of architectural stone columns.

The floor was in a sorry state though and it certainly had a story to tell. At some point in its long history sections of the beautiful Victorian tiles had been cut out for the installation of central heating and then back filled with cement. There were also other areas that had been given the same treatment for some inexplicable reason. I suspect that the floor must have been covered in carpet during its later life to hide the mess.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

The biggest problem was the realisation that with so many tiles missing the only way we could get exact duplicates would be to have them made by a company such as Craven and Dunhill. They are specialist tile manufacturer who date back to 1872 and can reproduce old tiles using the same tones and colours to match the originals. This was a high spec job, so this was the right approach however the price for the moulds and the time needed to manufacture threatened to push the cost of renovating the floor off the scale.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

We discussed this with the developer and manged to come to a compromise by reusing tiles from another room in the property. Many of the tiles in that room had been damaged and were beyond restoration however there were enough tiles in good condition to fulfil our requirements in the main hall. They would have to be carefully lifted and cleaned but the tiles matched the colour and tone, size and texture to the main hallway perfectly. When you look at the before and after pictures on this page you will really struggle to see any difference and this is rare on old floor like this, the only exception being the black tiles underneath the radiators where a matching tone wasn’t available.

Rebuilding a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The first week was spent lifting and replacing broken tiles, it was a large floor area of about 120m2 which was set to be the main showpiece of the building, so it had to be right. As part of the floor prep it was also necessary to level parts of the floor with the application of a a self-levelling compound. We brought in Cardiff Tile Doctor Julian Iaconno to run this part of the job, he is an absolute master tiler and one of the best Victorian Tile installers in the country. At one point there was three of us working on the floor in order to keep to schedule.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Deep Cleaning a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The second week was spent cleaning the floor various Diamond burnishing pads, moving though increasingly finer girts until we achieved the desired finish. We also used a lot of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and Pro-clean to remove the old grout and dirt from the recycled tiles. As is always the case on a building site you get a lot of tradesmen who like to have a look at what we have done and walk all over our nice clean tiles, thus leaving dusty footprints everywhere. I must give credit to the Site Foreman for keeping these guys out although best intentioned they weren’t helping with the cleaning process, so all doors were locked off and access was limited to the site foreman and Tile Doctor only.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Sealing a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We applied a Matt finish sealer called Colour Grow, which copes very well with potential damp issues that can cause problems with old floors with no damp proof course, it’s also excellent at bringing out the colour of Tiles whether Clay or Stone. Four coats of Colour Grow were applied to the Victorian tiles and being such a large floor area, it took a few days to fully seal the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We cannot praise Persimmon enough for the dedication they have shown in the restoration of this historic property which has had a chequered past and will now have a long future.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

Bitumen Stained Victorian Geometric Hallway Rejuvenated in Barrow in Furness

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

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

Deep Cleaning an Old Victorian Tiled Floor

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

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness

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

Geometric floor before Milling Barrow in Furness

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

Geometric floor After Milling Barrow in Furness

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

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

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

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

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

Cleaning a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor Tiles Preston

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

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston Before Cleaning

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

Sandstone Fireplace Preston Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Sandstone Fireplace

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

Sandstone Fireplace Preston After Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

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

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

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

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston After Cleaning

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor in Lancashire

Original Edwardian Tiles Refreshed and Revitalised in Lytham St Annes

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

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

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

Edwardian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Lytham

Cleaning Original Edwardian Tiles

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

Edwardian Tiled Floor During Tile Repair in Lytham

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

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

Edwardian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Lytham

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

Edwardian Tiled Floor During Cleaning in Lytham

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

Sealing Original Edwardian Tiles

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

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

Edwardian Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Lytham

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

Edwardian Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Lytham

 
 

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

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

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

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