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.
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.
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
This Travertine tiled floor was laid in the kitchen, utility and hallway of a residence in Southport. The floor was in need of a clean and seal and there was an added complication that the customer had dropped a heavy Iron on the Travertine tile which had cracked and in turn had become loose causing it to catch under the door. To add to the complication the floor was fitted with electric under floor heating throughout. Normally I’m a big fan of under heated floors as it can speed up the drying process no end however I was concerned there was a chance that we might damage the cable. Given the situation the customer agreed to sign a waiver in case we damaged the wires whilst trying to replace the damaged stone.
Replacing the Cracked Travertine Tile
Normally to replace a tile it’s necessary to use an Angle Grinder or similar to remove the grout and then chip gingerly away at the tile until you have removed all the pieces, in this case however the Iron had done a good job of smashing the tile so it was just a case of carefully removing the pieces and then cleaning up the grouted edges. Naturally we had to take extra care due to avoid damaging the cable however once this was done we were soon onto re-applying tile adhesive, fitting a replacement tile and re-grouting. Whilst the tile adhesive was setting we were able to get on with the job of cleaning the remainder of the Travertine tiled floor.
Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine
To strip any remaining sealer from the floor and get it back to its original condition we used a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a Red stripper pad with water to remove the sealer and the move onto the White, Yellow and Green pads which polish the floor. Once the surface was restored we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural-look penetrating sealer that is recommended for food preparation areas such as a kitchen.
No damage was done to the under floor heating and the customer was once again happy to show off her floor, as it turns out we were the only company that was willing to take the problem on.
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.
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.
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.