Renovating Old Victorian Floor Tiles at a Lancaster Garage

We don’t get many requests to clean garage floors but this particular floor was quite old and tiled in black and red Victorian tiles. Many would have just washed it down with a hose pipe however this garage in the city of Lancaster housed a classic British built AC sports car which doesn’t like getting dust in its Carburettor’s and as a result the owner was keen to have the floor restored.

Lancaster Garage AC Sports Car

You can see from the photograph below the floor was in quite a state and as such the whole floor needed a thorough deep clean to remove the ingrained dirt and grease and then sealing to protect it.

Lancaster Garage Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Garage Floor

With the exception of moving the vehicle little preparation was required and we soon got on with the job starting with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is a great product for deep cleaning tile and grout. The solution was left to soak into the tile for ten or so minutes before being worked in with a buffing machine fitted with a black buffing pad. This soon lifted the dirt from the tile turning the cleaning solution into a dark fluid that was rinsed from the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

With old floors like these where no damp proof course has been installed it’s not unusual to get white salt marks appearing which leave a white bloom on the surface of the tile. This problem is known as efflorescence however it can be treated early on by giving the floor a wash with a strong acid which removes the salts. So the next step was to apply a Tile Doctor Acid Gel which being in gel form makes it easy to control once it’s on the floor, naturally acids are not good in general for any floor so it was not left on the tiles for too long before being extracted.

Last step was to give the floor a good rinse with water to remove any remaining trace of cleaning products before sealing, once this was done we used the wet vacuum to suck up as much moisture from the floor as possible.

Because of the water that was used, we had to let the floor dry out for several days before the sealer could be applied, this is especially relevant in the winter months when the water tables are high and thus a longer time is required for drying. Modern floors have a damp proof membrane so drying out can take twelve hours or less.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Garage Floor

When we returned to seal the floor we first checked the floor was suitably dry by checking for dampness using a damp meter. The readings were good so several coats of a breathable sealer called Tile Doctor Colour Grow which has a matt finish was applied. I should mention that Colour Grow has good VMT (Vapour Moisture Transmission) properties that will ensure any trapped moisture can rise up through the tile and sealer, it also lifts the colours of the clay and gives its a deeper hue, in fact its one of our most popular sealers for these tiles. Having good VMT properties also means that is , Also if efflorescence do come back, the sealer allows the substance to breathe through and you can just wash off the crystals with a wetted mop.

Lancaster Garage Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning

Last photo is of the car being parked in the garage by the owner, happy in the knowledge his prized possession is now living in a clean environment.

Lancaster Garage Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning

 
 

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Floor

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored to New in Lancaster

Sometimes we get asked to do restore very small areas of tiles, while more usually we will restore large area of up to 30 metres squared. However, we don’t mind adding small jobs to our busy schedule, especially if it helps homeowners who are struggling to keep their tiles looking great.

Victorian floor Tile Vestibule Lancaster Before

A recent example of this was a small Victorian tiled doorway we restored at a property in Lancaster. It clearly had not seen a thorough clean or a fresh seal in a while, but with the right Tile Doctor cleaning products and methods. I knew I could restore its appearance very simply.

Victorian floor Tile Vestibule Lancaster Before

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Doorway

It doesn’t take that long to restore a small floor, but it still needs to be cleaned and sealed over two days. This is because we use a very strong cleaning system which involves chemicals that need to be rinsed away, and the tiles need to dry completely before we apply the sealer.

Our process for cleaning Victorian tiles involves firstly the application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to strip away any old and no longer effectual sealers. This exposes the stone and allows the cleaning products to penetrate and eliminate ingrained dirt and stains. Normally we would do this with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine however in this case due to the space restrictions it was easier to do it by hand with a scrubbing brush.

The tiles quickly began to regain their original character once the years of muck had been removed, but to complete the restoration they would also need to be sealed. First, however, they were left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Doorway

The next day, the Victorian tiles were ready to be sealed. Since there was was no damp proof membrane (DPM) present in the floor we need to use a fully breathable sealer and so for these tiles we used Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the tiles.

As a fully breathable sealer, Colour Grow will help ensure that the tiles won’t be affected by issues such as efflorescence where your left with white salt deposits on the surface of the tile, or damp issues which are very common with these old floors (the DPM is after all a fairly modern invention!)

Victorian floor Tile Vestibule Lancaster After

I’ve included a few photos to show the huge difference made over a couple of days. We’re always happy to restore these fantastic Victorian tiled floors, regardless of size and I have to say this customer was very happy with the results here.

Victorian floor Tile Vestibule Lancaster After

 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Lancashire

Milling and Sealing a Large Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor Near Lancaster

Here we have a six year old Indian Sandstone tiled floor located a property on the outskirts of Lancaster. Measuring 100 metres squared, the very large floor had under floor heating in the concrete sub base. The type of stone used inside the property is what we commonly refer to as ‘patio Sandstone’, a material which is usually used outside because of its very rough texture. It’s not particularly comfortable to walk across in bare feet, hence why many people consider it be impractical for internal flooring.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire before restoration

Nonetheless, the property owner was keen to make the rough textured floor as feet-friendly as possible for people walking over it. At Tile Doctor we have developed a process known as milling, which utilises diamond encrusted pads combined with a weighted rotary machine to smooth the rough surface, leaving it looking and feeling a lot nicer and more practical to live with. The milling process is only done once, but while the Sandstone will still need cleaning and sealing in the future, it won’t be nearly as difficult as when it was rough.

The job would take over two weeks to complete due to the fact that the existing grout needed to be removed and replaced with a flexible floor grout: a very time consuming process.

Milling an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

As mentioned, the surface of the Sandstone was very rough, and so needed to be milled down to make it a lot smoother to look after and make it easy to clean and seal. This was achieved by using Tile Doctor’s 50 Grit diamond encrusted burnishing pads, fitted to a weighed rotary machine and run along the entire surface area of the floor. Through this process the stone became much smoother and more aesthetic – completing one of our main objectives for the customer.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire during restoration

Next, we started breaking out the already loose and badly applied grout with our grout removal tools. The builder who had installed the floor had used a sand/cement-based grout which wasn’t flexible. As a result, it started to crumble and loosen quite quickly after exposure to the underfloor heating. We removed this and replaced it with a far more flexible grout.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire during restoration

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

Once the whole area had been successfully milled and the grout replaced, the Sandstone floor was left to dry out over the weekend. Upon our return to the property, we cleaned off any dust and resin left over from the milling and grouting processes, before leaving it to dry for a further 24 hours.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire after restoration

The next day we returned to seal the whole floor with two coats of our impregnating sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The sealer fills the pores of the Sandstone to prevent ingrained dirt and stains, while also emphasising the natural colours in the stone. It also provides a robust matte finish, which is what the customer wished for.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire after restoration

It wasn’t the easiest of processes to get the Indian Sandstone into a condition where it would be both suitable for internal flooring and aesthetically pleasing, but the results proved to be very much worth the time and effort invested. The customer was very pleased with the transformation.
 
 

Smoothing, Regrouting and Sealing a Rough Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Application of Anti-Slip Treatment at an Office Block

We recently had a request to take a look at the Ceramic floor tiles installed at a fairly new office building in Lancaster. Well over 300 people work at the builder and they all come and go via the entrance hall where ceramic tiles have been installed which when wet were very slippery. To confirm this we conducted a pendulum test which is a specially designed piece of certified equipment that measures the surface co-efficient of friction which basically is a recognised measure of how much traction a surface has. The testing is very detailed and the output is an official report that can be used for insurance purposes; the report came back high risk which was expected so no surprise there, the next step was to see how this could be improved.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster Before

Cleaning Porcelain Tiles ready for Anti-Slip treatment

As well as maintaining Tile and Stone Tile Doctor are also trained in the application of Anti-Slip treatments so we were asked to apply Anti-Slip to the 36m2 of Ceramic tiles in the entrance and rectify the problem. We do this by first getting the floor as clean as possible for which we use a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The dirty cleaning solution is removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed with clean water.

Applying Anti-Slip treatment to Porcelain tiles

The second step is to apply a Priming and Locking solution which is part of the treatment diluted one part solution to four parts water. This is then left to dry and once dry is followed by the application of the Anti-Slip treatment itself.

The third step in the treatment is to re-apply the diluted Priming and Locking solution before the floor fully dries out and 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.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster During
Once completed we conducted another Pendulum test so this could be compare to the original test to see if there had been any improvement. I’m glad to report the treatment worked as expected and the latest report came back as low risk. The customer keeps this to prove to any potential insurance claimant that steps had been taken to make the floor as safe as possible. You might notice that floor looks much better as well.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster After
I should mention that the work was carried out outside of working hours so no disruption was made to the normal operation of the building.

Surface Friction improvement at Derbyshire Golf Club

Resolving Honed Travertine Tiled Floor Installation Problems in Lancashire

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.

Honed Travertine Lancaster Before

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 Lancaster After

 
 

Honed Travertine Tiled Floor Problems resolved in Lancaster

Cleaning and Milling Silver Pearl Pearlescent Slate floor 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.

Silver-Pearl-Milled-Slate-Lancaster-Before-Cleaing.jpg

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.

Silver-Pearl-Milled-Slate-Lancaster-After-Cleaing-and-ReSealing.jpg

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.

Rough Sandstone floor milled in Lancaster

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.

Sandstone Floor Lancaster Before Milling Sandstone Floor Lancaster Before Milling

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.

Milled Sandstone Floor Lancaster After Milled Sandstone Floor Lancaster After

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

Flagstone Floor in a Victorian House in Lancaster

Restoration of Flagstone Floor in the Kitchen

Details of an original Flagstone Floor cleaning job below from a Victorian House in the City of Lancaster, we often find flagstone floor tiles in kitchens and hallways and in this case they were in the hallway. You can see from the photographs below that the flagstone floor tiles were in a very bad state and it became clear that no amount of cleaning was really going to remove the decades of trapped dirt embedded in the pores of the Sandstone.

Flagstone Floor Before Cleaning Flagstone Floor Before Cleaning

Cleaning the Flagstone Floor

To get over this problem it was necessary to remove the top surface of the flagstone using a milling pad together with a small amount of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The flagstones were then washed down with water which was then removed using a wet and dry vax machine. There was no damp proof course under the tiles so I left it to dry for a week before coming back to seal.

Flagstone Floor After Cleaning Flagstone Floor After Cleaning

Sealing and Restoration of Flagstone Floor

The milling process had opened up the pores in the sandstone flagstone floor tile so to seal it I used 1 coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow in order to bring out the colour in the stone and then topped this off wth a further 3 coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go.

Flagstone Floor Restoration in Lancaster

Victorian Floor in Lancaster

Victorian Floor Restoration in Lancaster

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 Victorian Floor Exposed under carpet
Victorian floor in Lancaster showing tile covered by Carpet Victorian floor Restoration in Lancaster after Carpet Removal

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 Victorian floor Restoration in Lancaster after Sealing

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.

Victorian Floor Restoration in Lancaster

Lancaster Grout Colouring

Grout Colouring a Ceramic Floor in Lancaster

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.

Ceramic Tiled Bathroom floor before Grout Colouring

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.

Bathroom Grout Colouring After

Tiled Ceramic Floor after Grout Colouring

Grout Colouring a Ceramic Tiled Bathroom floor in Lancaster