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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
Recently restored a Slate floor in a kitchen which was covered in paint, grout haze and cement. The answer was to mill the slate which got rid of the paint and the roughness of the slate and 90%of the Grout haze.
Painted Slate Floor before Restoration by Tile Doctor Lancashire
We used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to remove the remaining grout haze, rinsed the tiles down with water and then left them to dry overnight. Once dry (the next day) we applied 5 coats of Tile Doctor seal and Go, which gave them a sheen and lifted the deep colour in the Slate, which had not been diversely afftected by the use of the Milling pads but instead help to lift the colour out of the Slate instead, this system works equally well with Sandstone.