Stripping Wax from Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Tiles in Penwortham

My client from Penwortham, on the outskirts of Preston on the south bank of the River Ribble contacted me about their Mexican Terracotta kitchen floor as you can see from the photographs below was in a bit of a state.

Mexican Terracotta Floor Penwortham Before Cleaning
On the pictures you will see numerous white marks which have happened due to the use of bleach-based supermarket cleaning products on the tiles. The bleach has upset the original wax polish and over time layer after layer of new polish has been applied to try and hide it, but they had also continued to use the wrong cleaner, so the problem simply became worse. The floor was otherwise in good condition with very little damage, although the grout had also discoloured and needed deep cleaning.

Mexican Terracotta Floor Penwortham Before Cleaning

Stripping Wax off a Mexican Terracotta Tiles

Luckily Tile Doctor have recently brought out a new product called Tile Doctor Wax Away which is specifically formulated to remove layers and layers of compacted wax polish. It was the first time we had used it on a situation this bad before to it was in for a good test. I’m please to say Wax Away didn’t disappoint and is designed to melts the formula that makes the wax stick together. So, with the aid of a stiff deck brush the product was scrubbed into the floor and then extracted off the floor with an industrial wet vacuum.

Mexican Terracotta Floor Penwortham During Cleaning
With the old layers of wax removed the white markings that were spoiling the look of the surface disappeared. Stubborn areas had to be retreated but once all the wax slurry was removed using the wet vacuum you could see the improvement in the floor.

The grout was then cleaned using a Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbed into the grout line using a stiff brush, one done the soiled cleaning solution was rinsed off the floor with water and extracted using the wet vacuum. The only thing we couldn’t fix was the damage done to the grout by the bleaching agent which hydrates grout and turns it white. It often cracks the grout as well with long term usage as in this case. We did offer to apply a grout colourant over this once the sealer had fully dried, but this was an added cost the client didn’t want to bare which was understandable. This is a service we could return in the future to complete if the client wished.

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor

Once cleaned, we fully rinsed with water to remove any chemicals and left the kitchen floor to dry out overnight. Returning the following morning to seal the floor. Before starting the sealing process however I wanted to be sure the floor was indeed dry, so I ran a few checked with a moisture meter in different spots. Once satisfied we moved on to the sealing process.

Terracotta tiles being made of clay are very porous and so seven coats of sealer were applied before it was fully sealed. We used Tile Doctor Seal and Go for this, it’s an excellent choice for Terracotta as it brings out the true hue and texture of the clay as well as adding a nice subtle shine. The new sealer will make the floor much easier to maintain than the old wax polish they had previously been using.

Mexican Terracotta Floor Penwortham After Cleaning
For regular cleaning of sealed floors, we recommend using Tile Doctor Ph Neutral Tile Cleaner. Most supermarket cleaning products are acidic which will prematurely degrade the sealer over time.

As you can see from the after photos the floor was left looking much cleaner and brighter and the horrible white marks were no where to be seen. The client was very happy with the final result.

Mexican Terracotta Floor Penwortham After Cleaning
 

Professional Clean and Seal of a Mexican Terracotta Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Rough Copper Slate Tiled Floor Renovated in Heysham

This customer in the coastal village of Heysham had recently had these beautiful Copper Slate Tiles laid by a builder who had been working on the house. As part of the work he also sealed them with a solvent aerosol sealer. Floor tiles experience a lot of wear from foot traffic and as a result the sealer only lasted about two weeks before it had worn off and dirt had started to penetrate the pores of the stone. The photos below were taken two months after they were sealed.

Rough Slate Before Cleaning Heysham
Aerosol sealers are only good for wall Tiles where they experience minimum contact, we usually only recommend their use for shower cubicle or wet rooms and they need constant topping up every 6 months or so. In our experience floor surfaces receive a lot of abrasion from the traffic of shoes and so on which will diminish an aerosol applied sealer very quickly.

Rough Slate Before Cleaning Heysham

Cleaning Rough Copper Slate Tiles

It makes sense to clean tiled floors before applying a sealer otherwise you simply trap the dirt under the seal which will reduce its appearance. So before re-sealing the floor with something more effective it was treated to an abrasive clean using a 200-grit diamond encrusted floor burnishing pad fitted to a weighted buffer machine. The pad was run over the whole floor using water to lubricate and with the machine running at slow speed to reduce splashing.

Next step was to clean the recessed grout which pads can struggle to reach, this was done by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines and then scrubbing it in with a stiff grout brush by hand. Once done the residue from the tile and grout cleaning was rinsed off the floor with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.

Sealing Rough Copper Slate Tiles

The floor was left to dry off completely overnight and I returned the next day to re-seal, this time with a more suitable product. My sealer of choice for Slate is Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will not only protect the stone from dirt and staining but also adds a very pleasing sheen finish. The new sealer really brought out the black and copper colours in the stone and now looks amazing.

Rough Slate After Cleaning Heysham
For long-term care I always recommend customers avoid the use of steam cleaners and acidic or strong alkaline cleaning products which can prematurely reduce the life of the sealer resulting in dirt becoming trapped in the pores of the stone again. Naturally Tile Doctor have designed a product for this which is called Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, supplied in concentrated form when diluted with water it becomes pH neutral and safe to use on sealed surfaces. I always leave my customers with a complimentary bottle after cleaning their floor, so they are reminded what to use.

Rough Copper Slate After Cleaning Heysham

Professional Slate Floor Maintenance in Lancashire

Carpet Covered Mexican Terracotta Floor Restored in Elswick

Mexican Terracotta is quite a difficult tile to deal with, mainly due to the fact it is very porous clay and partly fired, unlike a Spanish or French equivalent which is fully fired and a lot less porous as a result. Although difficult to maintain they are full of character and colour so it’s understandable why they are so popular.

Mexican Terracotta Before Cleaning Elswick

This particular Mexican Terracotta floor was installed in the kitchen and garden room of a house in Elswick near Preston around twenty years prior. The house had recently changed hands and the new owner wanted the floor in the garden room renovating, it had been covered with a carpet in the past and had now lost all its colour due to ingrained dirt.

Mexican Terracotta Before Cleaning Elswick Mexican Terracotta Before Cleaning Elswick

Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles

You can see from some of the photographs that the tiles were quite grubby, so I knew we would have to give this floor a really deep clean to get the dirt out. I felt the best way forward would be to apply Tile Doctor Oxy Gel to the Terracotta and leave it to soak in. This product is a very strong gel version of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, our popular tile and grout cleaner and needs a lot of dwell time to break down fully what was left of the sealer, carpet adhesive and extract the dirt from the pores of the clay.

The product was then worked into the tile and grout using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer running at a slow speed. This action worked as predicted and the now soiled cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. A lot of rinsing with water was required after this to remove all the dirt and traces of product from the tiles. I wanted to ensure all traces of the alkaline cleaning solution were rinsed from the pores of the clay, if we left any of this in the clay it could cause issues with the new sealer.

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles

The floor was left to fully dry out which can take some time with Terracotta so after returning to seal the floor damp meter readings were taken first so we could be sure it had dried completely. This is essential because excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Our choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which provides excellent surface protection along with an aesthetically pleasing deep sheen finish that the customer wanted. The sealer is also water based so you don’t get that solvent smell as it dries.

Mexican Terracotta Before Cleaning Elswick

As you can see from the photographs, the result was fantastic, and it just goes to show even a twenty-year-old Terracotta floor can be rejuvenated and make it look like almost new.

Excellent results on terracotta tiled floor that had had carpet laid on top so was covered with glue and pretty dirty! Wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.
Caroline M, Nr Preston

Mexican Terracotta Before Cleaning Elswick

 
 

Professional Mexican Terracotta Tile Renovation in Lancashire

Restoring Eight Bathrooms at Self-Catering Cottages in County Meath

At Tile a Doctor, we often get asked about doing work abroad – and we are more than happy to oblige under the right circumstances for customers who are interested in benefitting from our services. I myself have been as far as France, Mallorca and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia

On this occasion the job was in County Meath in the Republic of Ireland, colloquially known as The Royal County” due to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland.

Decoy Cottages Ireland

The customer was looking to struggling to restore the tiled shower cubicles and bathrooms in eight different apartments at their luxury, five-star holiday accommodation known as Decoy Cottages, but was struggling to find a local tradesman who specialises in replacing silicone to the standard required.

The last time it had been done was by a local builder who had made a bit of a mess of it, so you can understand the customer’s concern. Applying silicone sounds straight-forward but there is an art to it, in-fact this is something we focus on in our Tile Doctor training program. He found Tile Doctor online and, after the discussing the project in more detail and sharing examples of our previous work, we agreed a date and price for the job to be completed.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland Before Cleaning Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland Before Cleaning

With a deposit put down to cover travel costs, we went across on the ferry to Ireland, arriving the day before we were scheduled to start in order settle in.

Ferry Crossing to Dublin

Restoring Several Tiled Shower Cubicles and Bathrooms

As I’ve mentioned, we had eight apartments in total to restore. In each case we started by stripping out all the mouldy silicone, before cleaning the grout lines carefully with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. Grout Clean-up was perfect product for this situation, as it’s an acidic cleaner that can remove grout smears, soap scum and hard water stains.

Once we were satisfied each area was clean, we set about installing fresh silicone sealant in an ivory colour which matched more effectively to the overall colour scheme than the original white silicone.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland After Cleaning

In total it took us took five days in total to strip, clean and re-silicone the eight bathrooms and eight shower cubicles. Naturally, this was quite a lot of work, but we managed it in the time given, and certainly to the customer’s satisfaction.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland After Cleaning

We did such a good job In fact we were asked to quote for more work and the customer left the following feedback on our website:

“Excellent and efficient service provided by Russell and his lovely wife Heidi. They worked really hard to rejuvenate the shower rooms and bathrooms at my self-catering holiday homes and did a fantastic job. Would highly recommend, in fact they are coming back to do my floors later in the year!”
 
 

Professional Bathroom Restoration at Self-Catering Apartments in County Meath

Cleaning and Sealing a Mouldy Ceramic Tiled Shower in Galgate

If you have a tiled shower area in your home, it’s very likely you’ve experienced problems with the grout becoming excessively dirty and ridden with displeasing black spots of mould. The underlying issue is due to inadequate ventilation which can be a real problem in modern insulated houses and occasionally the grout can get so imbued with contamination that the problem needs to be resolved professionally.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaned with Mould in Galgate

In the case of this Ceramic tiled shower area, located at a property in Galgate, Lancashire, mould had turned the grout black and had got into the sealant strip around the base. The property owner had tried using the run-of-the-mill cleaning products you can buy in superstores, but they simply couldn’t get the job done. So, she contacted me to see what could be done.

Cleaning Mouldy Ceramic Shower Tiles

At Tile Doctor, we come across the problem of mouldy shower tiles very often. Excess soaps and shampoos – many of which contain chemicals that harmful to the grout – can quickly build-up if not removed, causing mould and soap scum to emerge quickly, and before you know it, you have a problem like this one.

Thankfully, with the right strength product and cleaning methods, mould can be removed quite easily. The cleaning product used here was Tile Doctor Mould Away, which does what it says on the bottle and can quickly remove mould and black spots from grout and silicone. I applied Mould Away to the grout and surrounding Ceramic tiles and left it to dwell for a short period, before starting to clean the affected areas carefully using soft nail brushes and a small amount of water.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaned with Mould in Galgate

Sometimes it is necessary to repeat this process several times to achieve the best possible results, but in this case two attempts was all it took to get the grout looking like new once again.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Part Cleaned with Mould Away in Galgate

Sealing Grout

Following the cleaning, the area was rinsed thoroughly with water, before bring dried off quickly with a heat gun on a low setting. I then sealed the grout with a single coat of Tile Doctor Wall Grout Sealer, which is a water-based sealer designed to protect against water, oil and acid-based contaminants, and stop them from spoiling the appearance of the grout. It also provides a transparent finish that does not diminish the original colouring of the grout. To add the finishing touches, I polished off the Ceramic tiles as these were already fully glazed and did not require any extra sealer.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaned with Mould Away in Galgate

The before and after photos are a testament to how significantly the condition and appearance of the grout was quickly improved and needless to say, the customer was very satisfied with the result.

Ceramic Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaned After Cleaning Mould Away in Galgate

 
 

Dealing with Mouldy Grout and Sealant in Lancashire

Tiled Floor Restored In Morecambe With Quick And Effective Grout Colouring

Details below of a Grout colouring job I recently completed at a house in Morecambe. In this instance, the grout had become stained, and my client was no longer happy with it.

There are a number of reasons grout can lose its appearance including the build-up of mould in damp and unvented areas, staining from liquids accidentally spilt on the floor and surprisingly if you have a coloured grout it can lose its colour due to the bleach found in common types of household cleaning products. Grout contains lime which is acid-sensitive and will react to acidic cleaning products so for general cleaning do use a pH Neutral Cleaning product.

Grout Colouring Morecambe 1 Before Grout Colouring Morecambe 2 Before

To tackle the stained grout I first tried Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which can be used at different levels of concentration to increase its potency. In this case however when this grout dried it went back to being patchy so then the only answer was to restore its appearance using a Grout Colouring kit.

Grout Cleaning and Colouring

To form a better bond with the Grout Colourant I first treated the grout with a Tile Doctor Pre-Treat Cleaner, which is very slightly acidic and effectively etches the grout. If you have a particularly acid-sensitive stone tile (Limestone, for example), it is recommended to use Tile Doctor Oxy-Pro cleaner instead as this won’t upset the stone, yet still clean the Grout ready for colouring.

Once the Grout had dried (which is some cases can be several hours), I applied a thin coating of the Grout Colourant, as a thin coat dries quicker and provides a more even finish. A second coat was then added, before polishing off the excess from the edges of the tiles. After about half an hour the Grout Colourant was dry to the touch (at this stage you should be able to walk on the floor). Note that if you are Grout colouring a wall tile in a shower cubicle, it is best to leave the area for 24 hours before using the shower.

Grout Colouring Morecambe 2 After Grout Colouring Morecambe 2 After

As you can see from the photographs, the result was very effective, and needless to say my client was very happy with the rejuvenated appearance of her grout.
 
 

Professional Grout Cleaning and Colouring in Lancashire

Grout Cleaning and Colouring Bathroom Wall Tiles in Preston

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.

WC Grout Colouring in Preston Before Shower Cubicle Grout Colouring in Preston Before

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.

WC Grout Colouring in Preston After Shower Cubicle Grout Colouring in Preston After

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.

Grout Colouring Wall Grout in Lancashire

Kitchen Tile and Grout Cleaning in Chorley

We received a call to visit a house in Chorley where the grout in the kitchen tiles had gone black with the build-up of dirt and the owner was having trouble cleaning it. Porcelain and Ceramic tiles are a great choice for kitchens as they are very easy to clean however what most people don’t realise is that the top layer of grout is actually porous and can becomes stained with dirt. With the agreement of the home owner I did a test clean using a strong cleaning product called Tile Doctor Remove and Go leaving it to dwell on the tile and grout before scrubbing it in by hand and then washing off the soiled solution; you can see from the photograph below that the tile and grout cleaned up nicely so I was booked to do the job the following week.

Chorley Tile and Grout Cleaning Test

Cleaning Tile and Grout

On my return I repeated the earlier process on the whole floor cleaning the grout with Remove and Go and working it in along the grout lines with a stiff grout brush making sure to thoroughly scrub every grout joint working in small sections at a time.

Chorley Tile and Grout Before Cleaning
Once I was happy with the grout in a section the floor would be rinsed off with clean water and a wet vacuum was used to remove the dirty water. I did this all over the floor until all the grout joints were clean retreating areas that needed extra attention.

Chorley Tile and Grout During Cleaning
The next step was to give the ceramic tiles a good clean by applying a strong general Tile and Grout cleaning product called Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The solution was scrubbed onto the floor and left to dwell for ten minutes scrubbed some more and then rinsed off. The floor was then washed down with clean water three times to make sure all the cleaning products had been removed and then dried with a wet vacuum. I then left the floor to completely dry for a couple of hours and came back later to check all the grout joints were clean and followed up with a bit of detail work on corners and edges rinsing the floor again when I had finished.

Chorley Tile and Grout After Cleaning
I managed to complete the job in a day and with all the cleaning the tile and grout came up much lighter than before making it look like a new floor had been installed. The customer was really happy with the final result and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

Heidi cleaned a very dirty tiled floor back to its original state and it now looks superb. She was extremely professional and courteous but just as important she didn’t leave a mess like a lot of tradesmen do!!! I would have no hesitation in recommending Heidi to any of my friends to carry out similar work. A job well done!!!
Chris Palmer, Chorley

Chorley Tile and Grout Before and After Cleaning
 

Cleaning Tile and Grout in Lancashire

Grout Cleaning and Colouring 25m2 of Tiles in Preston

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.

Grout colouring Preston Ceramic Wall Tile Before

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).

Grout colouring Preston Ceramic Wall Tile After

 
 

Cleaning and Colouring of Grouts in Lancashire

Grout Colouring in Chorley

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.

Grout Colouring Before

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.

Grout Colouring During

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.

Grout Colouring After

 
 

Colouring Grout in Lancashire