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

Old Terrazzo Floor Fully Restored as Part of Renovation Work in Llandudno

The Washington Hotel in Llandudno, North Wales, is a truly historic building and one of the enduring features on the promenade of the sea resort. This beautiful part of Wales was the holiday destination of choice for Lewis Carrol, the famed author of Alice in Wonderland, and you can see several statues of him in and around the town.

The Washington Hotel first opened in 1855, but was rebuilt in 1925 after being destroyed by a fire. The building most recently served as a nightclub, before it closed in 2012. Now, there is ongoing renovation work to turn it into a restaurant.

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant Before Restoration

As part of this renovation work, we were asked to restore bring the old Terrazzo floor back to life, which was certainly worse for wear after nearly a century of use. It had been covered in carpet, as well as old vinyl tiles, and was very heavily soiled with dirt and ingrained muck. This area of floor would eventually act as the entrance to the restaurant and bar area, so it was important to get this right for the customer.

Mosaic Terrazzo Rotating Door Floor Llandudno Restaurant Before Restoration

Burnishing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

There were three areas we were asked to restore, covering 36 square meters in total:

• Circular foyer (27 square meters)
• Internal entrance area (2 square meters)
• External entrance stairs: (7 squares meters)

We started the restoration process with the application of a Very Coarse 50 grit diamond pad to tear away all the old carpet and vinyl resin, clearing the area to allow us to work directly on the Terrazzo tiles. With the tiles exposed, we discovered two large, long cracks in the base of the floor, so we filled these with a flexible floor grout. We chose to use this instead of a resin compound because resin isn’t very flexible, and if there is any movement the crack will become exposed again after six to 12 months. A flexible floor grout will move with the contractions and expansions of the base, and if the movement is not too extreme the flexible grout will not crack in the future.

Llandudno Cracked Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

We then continued through our system of diamond burnishing pads, applying the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500 grit pads with a small amount of water as lubricant. Once the floor was fully dry we applied the final 3000 grit pad, which is the finest of the pads and produces a very high quality polished effect on the stone.

Llandudno Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

Once the floor had been polished, it needed to be sealed in order to protect it from dirt becoming ingrained into the pores of the stone. We did this using firstly two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is our impregnating, colour-enhancing sealer. The sealer works by penetrating the pores of the stone to fill them and block trapped dirt and stains. We then left the floor to dry off fully overnight.

The next day, we returned to the building to apply a crystallization powder known as Tile Doctor Shine Powder, which further enhanced the shine we had built up on the floor and give it extra sealer protection.

Llandudno Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

The customer was exceptionally happy with our work, as the restoration of the Terrazzo tiled flooring is an essential part of the renovation project overall. We wish them all the best in the eventual opening of the new restaurant!

Mosaic Terrazzo Rotating Door Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration

For aftercare, we recommended to the customer that the floor is maintained with Tile Doctor Stone Soap as this will not only clean the Terrazzo without damaging the sealer like many stronger cleaners, but also maintain its patina as well.

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration

 
 

Professional Terrazzo Tiled Restoration at a Restaurant in North Wales

100+ Year-Old Victorian Mosaic Hallway Rejuvenated in Lytham St Annes

Victorian tiled floors are well-known for their colourful and unique patterns which never fail to impress and are a very sought after period feature. Recently I was very impressed with the work that had gone into this hallway floor that I came across at a property in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes south of Blackpool on the Flyde coast. I was there to restore what I originally believed to be a stone Tesserae Mosaic floor, but after some chemical testing it was revealed to be a traditional Victorian tiled floor which are made of clay.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Lytham St Annes

In the case of this floor, each tile was approximately 1cm squared and they had been painstakingly installed throughout a 15m squared area by hand in the 1880s. I can only imagine the time and effort it must have taken to do this, and it is a testament to the Victorian craftsmen of the day that despite having many loose, missing, broken, and dirty tiles, the floor was still in a reasonable condition and could be restored back to its former condition.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Lytham St Annes

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

Now, if this had in fact been a stone Tesserae Mosaic floor, I would have cleaned the tiles using different methods. However, since it was a clay Victorian tiled floor, I decided – after conducting some product testing – to clean the whole floor with a black buffing pad in combination with Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. Oxy-Gel is a powerful high-alkaline formula designed to tackle dirt and stains on Tile, Stone and Grout.

I followed this by steam cleaning the tiles and then gave the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. This was needed to keep efflorescent salt issues at bay which are a problem with these old floors with no damp proof membrane has been installed.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a fully breathable and colour enhancing product. The sealer 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.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Lytham St Annes

Despite the floor being well over a century old it came up really well and the sealer will now add a layer of protection that will keep it that way for some time to come.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Lytham St Annes

 
 

Rejuvenating a 100-Year Old Victorian Floor in Lytham St Annes

Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in a Heysham Kitchen

Photographs below from the maintenance of Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles in the kitchen of a house in the village of Heysham which is famous for its ferry port that has links to the Isle of Man and Ireland. This Vinyl wasn’t that dirty but it was starting to lose its sheen and when this happens it’s an indication that the sealer has started to wear down leaving it looking patchy in the high traffic areas. Once the sealer has failed then dirt will start to accumulate making it look less appealing, so my customer decided to call Tile Doctor in before it got to that point.

Amtico Vinyl Before Cleaning in Heysham

It wasn’t a big area and unlike a clay or Stone tile, Vinyl is a lot less porous and can be cleaned and sealed within the same day rather than leave it do dry overnight or even longer. This means less hassle for the customer and a better price for doing the work as well. As a guideline, a 10m2 floor area usually takes around two to three hours to deep clean and re-seal, naturally the larger the area the longer it takes.

Deep Cleaning Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles

We started with a deep cleaning product developed for Tile Doctor called Vinyl strip which as well as leaving a pleasant floral aroma is biodegradable and phosphate free. You dilute the concentrate with ten parts of water to 1 part Vinyl Strip or if you prefer a litre of water to 100ml of product. This was mixed together in a clear container and then applied to the area to be cleaned. It’s left to soak into the floor for a while so it can break down any remaining old sealer and dirt and then scrubbed in using a deck brush.

Amtico Vinyl During Cleaning in Heysham

I find a wet vacuum machine invaluable at this point at this junction, mopping is okay but you really need to make sure all the product is extracted off the surface to be sealed otherwise it will do to the new sealer what it has done to the old. We call this process Neutralisation and a good rinse with fresh water also helps as does having an industrial air mover in place to help speed dry the floor.

Sealing Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles

You can’t seal the Vinyl until the tiles are dry as dampness can cloud the sealer so if you don’t have an air blower we recommend leaving the floor for six to eight hours. Our air mover is quite large and it soon had the floor dry so we could move onto sealing quite quickly and applied three coats of Vinyl Shine which gave the floor a nice sheen. Each coat must dry out before the next coat can be applied but it’s worth doing correctly as each coat builds up another layer of protection on the Vinyl, again we used an Air blower to speed up the drying process.

Amtico Vinyl After Cleaning and Sealing in Heysham

Amtico Vinyl Floor After Care

Once dried we left the customer with a free bottle of Tile Doctor PH Neutral Tile Cleaner for the regular cleaning of the floor. We always recommend this product for the regular cleaning of sealed surfaces as it’s PH neutral and won’t degrade the sealer like most domestic cleaning products you find on supermarket shelves.
 
 

Maintaining Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles in Lancashire

Spanish Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Mallorca

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

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

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

Stripping Old Sealer and Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

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

Terracotta-Tiled-Floor-Mallorca-Before-Cleaning

Sealing Victorian Tiles

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

Terracotta-Tiled-Floor-Mallorca-After-Sealing

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

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

Maintaining Terracotta Floor Tiles in Mallorca

Jerusalem Limestone Floor in Whalley, Lancashire

Few pictures below of a Jerusalem Limestone Floor refresh that we did in Whalley, Lancashire; hopefully you can see the improvement in the photographs.

The first photograph below shows a crack in one of the Limestone floor tiles.

Jerusalem Limestone before and after repair by Tile Doctor Lancashire

Jerusalem Limestone Before and after Repair

To repair the crack we applied Mapei Ultra-Color thinly grained Grout using the Jasmine 130 colour and spread on the Tiles, polished off with a sponge and then allowed to dry.

Jerusalem Limestone Floor Before Cleaning by Tile Doctor Lancashire

Jerusalem Limestone Floor Before Cleaning

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 by Tile Doctor Lancashire

Jerusalem Limestone Floor After Cleaning

Needless to say the customer was very pleased with the results