Cracked Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Restored in Ormskirk

Cracks can appear in tiles for several different reasons, but in all cases, they spoil the overall appearance of the floor. I was contacted just before Christmas by a customer in the market town of Ormskirk with a significant problem with cracking in their warm and rustic Mexican Terracotta tiles, particularly in and around doorways. The area was quite large at 85 square yards and covered multiple rooms. In general, the tiles were also in need with a deep clean and fresh seal.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk Before Cleaning

After inspecting the tiles first-hand, I determined that the cracking was most likely due to the addition of an extension: the concrete floors were laid at separate intervals, causing some expansion and contraction issues. The effects are similar to shifting Tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust, if not so drastic (the tiles just tend to crack, rather than causing an earthquake!).

After agreeing on a quote for the work, I set about putting the situation right.

Repairing Cracked Mexican Terracotta Tiles

The more laborious and costly answer to the problem of damaged tiles would be to replace them with new ones, but we have found that implementing an expansion joint in the areas where the concrete floors touch each other is more effective.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk Showing Cracked Grout

We have done this before many times, using flexible adhesive and grout to fill the cracks and counteract any further movement between the different concrete floors. This repair work was carried or over two days, in order to allow time for the adhesive and then grout to set.

Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles

By the third day the tile repairs were complete, so we started cleaning the whole tiled area. We usually carry out repairs before cleaning to improve the chance of the repair blending in with the existing tile.

You can see from some of the photographs above that the tiles had started to get quite grubby and were proving difficult to keep clean. To clean and remove the old sealer we applied a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the tiles allowing it soak into the pores for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. The floor was rinsed with water and the resultant slurry was extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to give the grout lines a thorough scrub with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a reliable alkaline cleaner that works well on grout and tile. The dirty cleaning solution was then extracted with a wet vacuum and the whole floor rinsed with more water to remove any trace of cleaning product. The wet vacuum was then used again to get the floor as dry as possible before leaving for the day.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk After Cleaning

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles

On the fourth day, we returned to seal the floor, but not before checking first with a damp meter that it had dried completely. This is essential because excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk After Repair and Cleaning

Our choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which provides excellent surface protection along with an aesthetically pleasing deep sheen finish.

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk After and Sealing

As you can see from the photographs above, the result was fantastic. The customer was amazed by the improvement and very pleased that the difficult cracking problem had been resolved. Another satisfied customer!

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Floor Ormskirk After and Sealing

 
 

Professional Mexican Terracotta Tile Renovation in Lancashire

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

Restoring Red Jurassic Sandstone Steps and Landing in Preston

We often get called out when other trades with less experience in stone cleaning fail to make a difference which was the case with these Red Jurassic Sandstone Stone steps at a house in Preston which had been stained with paint splashes and years of grime. The customer had tried several solutions to restore these steps including having a go themselves buy applying some Chemicals from a local Tile Shop, however again this didn’t achieve the results the customer wanted so they called us after we were recommended to them.

Red jurassic sandstone steps before Red jurassic sandstone landing before cleaning

Burnishing Red Jurassic Sandstone

I took a look at the Sandstone and tested a few methods before deciding to go with a process called Burnishing which involves the application of diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The pads come in a set of four and are applied in sequence from Coarse, through medium, fine and super fine; you need to use a little water to lubricate as you go and also rinse with water between the application of each pad. Naturally due to the tight space I couldn’t use a set of full size pads, only he smaller 6 inch pads which fit a small hand buffer.

Red jurassic sandstone steps after burnishing

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and then I returned the next day to seal the whole floor with two coats of our impregnating sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The sealer fills the pores of the stone to prevent ingrained dirt and stains, while also emphasising the natural colours in the stone.

Red jurassic sandstone steps after sealing Red jurassic sandstone landing after sealing

The full process successfully restored the red colour in the Sandstone and have come up quite well considering they are over 300 years old.
 
 

Professional Restoration of Old Sandstone Steps Lancashire

300 Year Old Flagstone Tiles Treated for Shaling Issues in Chorley

This Flagstone tiled floor at a cottage in the market town of Chorley was suffering from significant shaling issues, which came as no surprise when I heard that the stone was laid nearly 300 years ago. The floor is an original feature of the property, but over recent years it had started to flake and become very rough, making it very difficult to keep clean, uncomfortable to live with, and not very pleasing to look at.

The process is natural to the Flagstone, and some people are quick to assume nothing can be done to counter it. In fact, the cleaning company that the property owner had recruited was only able to give the stone a basic mop, and had suggested having the entire floor replaced. The property owner was about to give up on the floor, but instead contacted Tile Doctor to see what could be done.

Flagstone floor before restoration in Chorley Flagstone floor before restoration in Chorley

Milling a Flagstone Floor with Shaling Issues

At Tile Doctor, we have created a process known as Milling, which involves smoothing out the rough surface of the stone, making it easier to keep clean. To do this we attached several diamond encrusted disc shaped milling pads of varying coarse grits to a rotary machine before running the machine over the floor, effectively grinding down the stone to remove the rough and leave the worn floor polished and looking at its best again.

I used plain water to periodically wash away any residue from the Milling, and soaked up the excess moisture with a wet-bad machine. With the floor surface now serviceable, the customer’s preferred cleaning company can mop it effectively without the mops being shredded by the jagged and uneven stone!

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Floor

To further ensure that the Flagstone would be easy to keep clean it would need to be sealed with an appropriate sealer. Once the floor had been allowed to dry fully, I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides a matte, colour-enhancing finish. As you can see from the before and after photographs, this really brought out the natural shades in the Flagstone.

As a fully breathable sealer which allows for Vapour Moisture Transmission (VMT), Colour Grow is the best product for an old floor like this one which does not have a Damp Proof Membrane (DMP) fitted. Whereas a lot of other similar sealers will not suffice, Colour Grow is ideal in this particular situation.

Flagstone floor after restoration in Chorley Flagstone floor after restoration in Chorley

The results were fantastic, and the customer is really pleased that they will no longer have to replace the tiles. The appearance and condition of the Flagstone had been improved so much that most people would not believe it had been laid nearly three centuries ago!
 
 

Restoring a Flaking Flagstone Floor 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

Fantastic Black Brazilian Slate Tiles Rejuvenated in Thornton-Cleveleys

Tenuous link I know but I worked on this semi riven Black Brazilian Slate Tiles in the kitchen and dining room of a house in the seaside town of Thornton-Cleveleys around the time of the Rio Olympics. I love working on Slate as although it’s appearance can degrade without proper maintenance due to a build-up of dirt I knew they would look fantastic by the time I had finished.

Brazilian Black Slate Before Cleaning Thornton Cleveleys

The tile itself had lost its rich black colour and the grout lines had become stained, leaving the floor as a whole looking very unattractive. Out of interest honed Slate has a smooth, refined texture whereas the riven Slate has a rougher, more natural texture, and this can make it more difficult to keep clean. Needless to say, the customer was keen to have the tiles restored to looking their best.

Brazilian Black Slate Before Cleaning Thornton Cleveleys

Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Slate, I cleaned the floor and removed what remained of the old sealer off using Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was scrubbed into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The floor was then rinsed with water, and the process repeated where necessary to tackle particularly stubborn areas of dirt.

As mentioned previously, the grout lines were in a particularly bad state, and would need special cleaning attention. I cleaned carefully with a strong 5-to-1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean with water, which is our high alkaline cleaner. The cleaning solution was scrubbed I’m using a stiff handheld grout brush, with the grout lines looking immediately cleaner. When I was satisfied that the grout lines had been restored to the best possible condition, I gave the floor a thorough rinse using the wet pickup function of a wet wax machine to get the floor as dry as possible and then left the whole floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry. This is important as any excess moisture would have prevented me from sealing the tiles, since it can cloud the sealer and damage it performance.

Previously I discussed sealer options with the customer and they stated that they would prefer a Satin finish, so I applied a sealer called Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which will both protect the Slate from dirt and stains, and also gave it the desired finish. As you can see from the below photographs, the rich, dark shades in the Slate were really enhanced.

Brazilian Black Slate After Cleaning Sealing Thornton Cleveleys

The customer was very pleased with the finished result, but was also concerned about keeping the Slate clean in the long-term. For regular cleaning I advised the customer to use a pH neutral cleaner for aftercare called Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. As a pH neutral cleaner, it will not erode the sealer compared to acidic cleaners you so often find in supermarkets.

Brazilian Black Slate After Cleaning Sealing Thornton Cleveleys

 
 

Professional Slate Floor Maintenance in Lancashire

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

Wax Covered Terracotta Tiled Floor Restored to New in Pendle

These Terracotta tiles, located at a property in the town of Pendle, Lancashire had the unique circumstances of being covered by a thick layer of wax which had turned black over the years. Anyone from the Lancs area will have heard of the famous Pendle Witch Trials, and we would need to channel some serious magic to successfully remove the unsightly wax.

The wax had been settled on the tiles for many years, proving difficult to remove even for a seasoned tile cleaning professional, especially since Terracotta has a high porosity and therefore allows the muck to become more easily ingrained. We had to employ all of our years of experience to get the job done. Here’s how we did it.

Black Terracotta in Pendle Before Cleaning Black Terracotta in Pendle Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Wax Covered Terracotta Tiled Floor

Our main product of choice when dealing with the heavy wax build-up was the strong alkaline gel cleaner, Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. Oxy-Gel is a stripper and degreaser that functions very similarly to our liquid alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, the main difference being that Oxy-Gel is in gel form, making it usable on vertical and sloped surfaces.

The thicker consistency of Oxy-Gel would make for a better foil for the thick buildup of wax: we applied it to the tiles and worked it in using a series of buffing pads fitted to a buffing machine. We also employed the assistance of a steaming machine that helped to soften the wax and make it easier to break down. A lot of rinsing with clean water was required, and several wet-vax machines were used to remove the excess cleaning residue, but it quickly became clear that we had finally achieved the result the customer was hoping for.

Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning Before Sealing

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

As was to be expected, the new unveiled tiles were very dull and lifeless, having not been sealed properly for a number of years. To restore the colour and lustre to the tiles we opted to use two different sealers. The first was one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which penetrates into the pores of the Terracotta to block dirt from becoming trapped. It also contains colour intensifying properties which really brought out the natural reddish shades in the stone.

The second was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which differs from its impregnating counterpart in that it is a topical sealer. This means that it forms a layer of protection of the surface of the tiles, as opposed to in the pores of the stone. Seal and Go eliminates the need for two-step sealing by providing both a protective layer and a durable, aesthetic sheen finish in the same product.

As you can see from the last two photographs, this combination of sealers really helped in getting these Terracotta tiles looking at their best again after years of neglect under the layer of black wax. We left our very happy customer with some advice to only use pH neutral cleaners for aftercare as general maintenance producers, including bleaches and washing up liquids can reduce the life of the sealer.

Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning and Sealing Black Terracotta in Pendle After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Wax Covered Terracotta Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Flood Damaged Jura Limestone Floor Restored in Kirkby Lonsdale

The recent winter floods had a devastating effect on Cumbria, with many houses suffering severe damage from exposure to the water. This property in Kirkby Lonsdale had been flooded, and while the contract cleaners had made some basic repairs, the Jura Limestone floor had been left dull and patchy, and in dire need of a professional restoration.

Jura Limestone After Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale
Jura Limestone has been around for over 180 million years and is an absolutely top quality stone, consisting of up to 97% dense calcium carbonate. Thanks to its density it is far less porous than other types of Limestone available on the market. Generally speaking, this makes it easy to look after as it is more difficult for dirt to become ingrained.

Jura Limestone Before Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale

Burnishing and Cleaning a Jura Limestone floor

To restore the surface of the floor we used a process known as burnishing, which achieves particularly good results on polished stone tiles. It involves the application of several burnishing pads with different grades of grit to break down any old sealer and dirt, and to gradually smooth and polish the rough surface of the tiles.

In this case, I worked my way through through the four pad system, starting with a Coarse pad lubricated with a little water before moving on to Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads to achieve the desired polished finish.

Following this, we decided that the grout would also benefit from a special clean with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, and so applied the high alkaline cleaner to tackle the outstanding stains and dirt. The whole floor was then rinsed with clean water to remove any remaining slurry and then left to dry.

Sealing a Jura Limestone floor

We returned to the property the following day, by which time the floor had dried completely. I gave the tiles another polish with an Extra Fine burnishing pad, before proceeding to seal the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone to provide durable protection whilst enhancing the natural shades in the Limestone.

Jura Limestone After Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale
Finally, I gave the floor one last polish with the Extra Fine burnishing pad just to tighten up the hone and polish off any extra sealer.Jura-Limestone-After-Cleaning-in-Kirby-Lonsdale

You can see the results in the corresponding photographs, and needless to say, the customers were exceptionally pleased to have their fantastic floor back to looking its best, especially considering the significant damage caused by the floods.

Limestone Floor Restoration in Kirkby Londsdale

Poorly Maintained Victorian Tiled Floor Revitalised in Ribchester

This post details the work we did at a house in the Lancashire town of Ribchester where the floor had been covered with a carpet for many years and the owner now wanted the floor restoring. As you see from the photographs, these Victorian tiles were in an extremely dirty condition and in dire need of a deep clean.

Upon visiting the property and witnessing the condition of the tiles first hand, I decided that rather than spending time attempting to penetrate through the thick layers of ingrained dirt, it would be more effective to go with the application of coarse 200 grit diamond encrusted pads (also known as burnishing pads).

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester Before Cleaning Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester Before Cleaning

Usually we only use this type of pad on stone floors, including Limestone; however, we have been successfully experimenting with them on other surfaces at the Tile Doctor training centre including Victorian Tiles so I was confident they would do well.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor

In the case of this floor a carpet underlay had been in place and this is something that has often proved very difficult to remove in the past, but by using the 200 grit pads to open the pores of the clay it proved not to be a problem. The pads worked well on the main floor however being circular they do struggle to get into corners and right up to the edges so ensure these areas were equally cleaned I used small hand held burnishing pads.

One problem I did find, nonetheless, was that the pads revealed a pattern had been impressed onto the floor. To remove this I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. This was so effective that within ten minutes the pattern had completely disappeared.

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester During Cleaning

Following this, I gave the floor a thorough wash with water, and the resulting slurry was extracted by a wet vacuum. The property owner and I then agreed that I would return to the house in a few days, leaving the area enough time to fully dry.

I returned to the property two days later to find that alkaline salt deposits (commonly known as efflorescence) had appeared on the floor while it was drying out, with the exception of the area to which I had applied Acid Gel. I polished off the efflorescence with a cloth, before giving the whole floor a rinse with Acid Gel to neutralise the salts. The floor was then given another rinse with water to remove any trace of the product, and was thoroughly dried using a wet vacuum to extract the moisture.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry unassisted for a few hours before running damp tests. All tests came back with decent results, and so I proceeded to seal the floor using three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

This is a breathable solvent sealer, particularly notable for its capability to cope with any further efflorescence salt issues that could potentially affect most normal surface sealers. It also contains properties which intensify the natural colours and shades in the stone, leaving a bold and vibrant appearance.

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester After Cleaning and Sealing Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester After Cleaning and Sealing

The owner was very happy with the big improvement in the floor, leaving the following feedback:
“Thanks Russell for doing such a good job on the Victorian tiles.”
 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Lancashire

Heavily Worn Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Restored in Garstang

This Terracotta tiled floor was installed in the conservatory of a house in the old market town of Garstang, Lancashire, famous for being the world’s first ever ‘Fairtrade Town’.

There were quite a few problems with this floor; for one, my client had not re-sealed the tiles in many years and had therefore allowed the existing seal to become very worn and almost completely ineffectual. This had subsequently allowed the floor to become very dirty and marked with white blotches. These white blotches had occurred where the fertilizer held in decorative plant pots had started to eat away at the sealer.

Terracotta conservatory floor Before cleaning Garstang

Cleaning a dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

The tiles were cleaned with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner. The solution was liberally applied to the floor and left to dwell for a short period, allowing time for the cleaner to seep into the pores of the Terracotta and lift the ingrained dirt to the surface. The solution was then agitated using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy rotary machine, making a marked difference to the appearance of the tiles within a matter of minutes.

Terracotta conservatory floor Before cleaning Garstang

Tile Doctor Acid Gel was then used to spot treat the white marks, the acid content in the product breaks down the alkaline salts that had developed, left behind by the leaked plant fertilizer.

The entire floor was then rinsed several times to remove the soiled cleaning residue and the excess moisture was extracted using a wet-vac machine.

Terracotta conservatory floor after cleaning Garstang

Sealing a Terracotta tiled floor

The Terracotta tiles were left to dry for an entire week as there was no evident damp proof membrane in place at the property. I used damp testers to approximate when the tiles would be dry enough to seal, which was very important as any excess moisture can upset the performance of the sealer.

My first choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer that also intensifies the natural colours in the stone. A single coat of Colour Grow was applied, before I opted to follow this up with six coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides a very robust surface seal and also helped to give the Terracotta the aesthetically pleasing my client had requested.

Terracotta conservatory floor after cleaning Garstang

Before leaving the property with its newly restored Terracotta tiled conservatory, I made sure to give my client some tile maintenance advice. Needless to say, she was very pleased with the results.
 
 

Professional Terracotta Tile Restoration in Lancashire

Badly Neglected Terracotta Tiled Floor Restored in Fulwood

Not too long ago, I visited a house in the town of Fulwood in Preston, Lancashire. My client had a Terracotta tiled floor which had been neglected for many years and in their attempt to improve it had unfortunately been given some very poor advice by tile retailers, all of whom sold him different products, and each of which was unsuitable. Using these different products in succession had resulted in the depreciation of the floor’s texture and smoothness, in turn making the clay difficult to clean and maintain.

As per my usual process I ran a small test clean to demonstrate what could be done to improve the floor and I was commissioned to restore the floor back to its former glory.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning Fullwood

Cleaning a badly neglected Terracotta floor

I started by mixing a strong cleaning solution consisting of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to three parts water. The solution was applied to the floor and left it to dwell for a short period. The high alkaline cleaner seeps into the pores of the tile getting underneath and lifting out the ingrained dirt and breaking down the old sealers. Then, I agitated the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine before using a wet vacuum to suck up the resulting soiled solution.

There were a few paint marks dotted across the floor, but these were not noticeable until after I had given the Terracotta a deep clean. To remove the paint marks I used Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is specially formulated to break down paint stains, adhesives and coatings. This product was used in combination with a steamer which, when applied directly to the tiles, helped to lift the paint out. Following this, I rinsed the entire floor a couple of times to remove any trace of cleaning product, and vacuumed up the excess moisture.

Sealing a Terracotta floor

It’s always best to let the floor dry completely prior to sealing as applying sealer to a damp floor will affect the sealer. I left the house to allow this to take place overnight returning the next day. To get the best out of the Terracotta I sealed the floor using one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile and acts as both as a bonding sealer enhancing the natural colours and darkening the clay (as requested by my client).

After the coat of Colour Grow had dried, I applied a further seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which achieves a nice, low sheen Satin finish. Before leaving my happy client to enjoy his newly restored Terracotta floor, I made sure to provide some professional cleaning and long-term maintenance advice.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning Fullwood

 
 

Neglected Terracotta Tiles Professionally Cleaned and in Lancashire

Travertine Table Top Restoration In Preston

Here’s a quick job I did at a house in the town of Preston, located on the north bank of the River Ribble. My customer had a Travertine table top that had become dull and lost its shine however being a polished stone I knew it should be possible to burnish the shine back.

Travertine is very popular for both commercial and residential use, as it is a natural material with unique features and characters that distinguish it from other types of stone. It can be used for floor tile, kitchen flooring, bathroom wall tile, patios and, in like in this case, table tops.

Travertine Table Top Before Restoration Preston

Burnishing a Travertine table top

My first main task was to restore a nice polished finish to the table top. I did this using a system of four small six inch Tile Doctor Diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The pads come in different grits and attached to a small hand held buffing machine are used in turn with a little water starting with a Coarse grit before moving on to pads with Medium, Fine and Very Fine grits. Despite being quite a physical task, the impact the process of burnishing can have on a dull surface in a short space of time is incredible (as the photos show).

Travertine Table Top During Restoration Preston

Sealing a Travertine table top

After completing the burnishing, the second half of the job centred on sealing the newly polished table top. This was done using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a solvent-based, penetrating sealer specially designed to provide maximum protection against dirt and stains.

Ultra-Seal is particularly useful for sealing table tops in kitchens upon which food is prepared and served. It also accentuates the natural look of the Travertine while allowing the stone to breathe moisture. The product is suitable for use on most types of natural stone, including Marble, Granite, Slate, Travertine, Limestone, and more.

Travertine Table Top After Restoration Preston

 
 

Putting the shine back on a Travertine stone table top in Lancashire

Cleaning and Sealing tiles at a French chateau in Arcis-le-Ponsart, France

It’s not often that we get called abroad for a job, but when we do, it’s always a fantastic experience. We have done a few jobs abroad in the past, including the restoration of Terracotta tiled restaurant floor at a hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This job was closer to home at a chateau in the town of Arcis-le-Ponsart near Reims, located in the Champagne-Ardenne region of North Eastern France. As its name suggests, the Champagne-Ardenne region is famous for its champagne.

French Chateaux Reims
The owner of the chateau was, in fact, an English property developer. He asked us to work on two floors: a Terracotta tiled hallway, and a French Victorian tiled floor. The French style of Victorian tiles are actually made of encaustic cement rather than clay, so we were excited to have the chance to work on something a bit out of the ordinary.

It was going to be a long trip, so after packing the van with the necessary equipment and Tile Doctor products Heidi and I set off to France via the Channel Tunnel. Fortunately, we avoided any disruptions both on the way there and the way back!

On arrival at the chateau, we immediately spent two hours running tests on the two floors to determine the most effective processes. We had four days in which to complete the job, so it was essential to make sure our methods were correct before beginning to avoid any unwelcome surprises later on!

Encaustic Cement Tile Before Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Encaustic Cement Tile Before Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Zoom

Cleaning and sealing French Victorian tiled floor

After running the tests, we set about cleaning the Victorian tiles using a combination of clean water and diamond burnishing pads. No damage was done to the tiles, and they polished up well. Following the cleaning process, we began sealing the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a sealer which helps to bring out the colour in the stone while also providing durable surface protection. We were only able to apply one coat of sealer, however, as the second coat kept smearing, preventing the shine from settling in – this was despite testing the process earlier. Nonetheless, we resolved to polish off the one coat we could apply with a fine burnishing pad. Thankfully, the results were still very good.

Encaustic Cement Tile During Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Encaustic Cement-Tiles After Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

Cleaning and sealing Terracotta hallway tiles

The Terracotta tiled hallway had no sealer, and so it had, over time, become very dirty. We cleaned the tiles using a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to five parts clean water, in combination with a couple of black burnishing pads.

Quarry Tiles before cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Quarry Tiles before cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

As you can see from the pictures, the combination really helped to lift out the ingrained dirt, leaving the tiles looking at their best again. The floor took three days to dry completely before we could begin the sealing process. Once the floor was dry enough to seal, we applied eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is suitable for use on a variety of internal, unsealed porous surfaces.

Quarry Tiles after cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Quarry Tiles after cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

It was a long and exhausting week but the client was delighted with the results on both floors and left the following comments, he also mentioned using Tile Doctor in the future to work on the other properties he is developing.

“Thanks for yours and Heidi’s work in renovating our floors. It was also great to meet you guys and I hope you have enjoyed your visit to champagne and will come back some time. “

Heidi and Russell at the French Chateaux Reims
 

Putting life back into old tiled floors in France

Resolving Lippage Issues With Uneven Victorian Floor Tiles In Turton

Recently Heidi and I worked on a Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in Turton, Lancashire, an area which lies on the southern slopes of the West Pennine Moors. Victorian tile floors are commonly found in the reception area and hallways of older houses and public buildings, many of which date back to the reign of Queen Victoria (hence ‘Victorian’ tiles). It was during this time that the tile industry really started to boom.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton Before

Upon inspection it was evident that the floor in question had suffered from some settlement in the past resulting in a crack in the base under the tiles which had lifted one side and dropped the other; this is quite common in old houses resulting in some of the tiles becoming loose and would need to be fixed back in place before the floor could be given a good clean and re-seal.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton Before

Removing Lippage from Victorian Tiles

The concrete floor under the tile was patched as best as could be without pulling up more of the floor and the tiles were fixed in place, unfortunately however many of the triangular tiles in the adjacent border would not lay flat resulting in a lippage issue between them which naturally the customer was not very happy about.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton Tiles Relaid

Not wishing to cause the customer the extra expense of pulling up more tiles and relaying the concrete subfloor I left the tiles to fully set and then came back a few days later with a handheld Flex Machine fitted with a small 220 Grit Diamond pad to grind the tiles flat. As the pictures show, this made the difference and the diamond did not scratch the tiles despite the surface being dry.

Diamond pads are usually used on stone floors but after some investigation back at the Tile Doctor training centre we also realised they can be used on other types of tile including Victorian.

Once this was resolved the entire floor was given a thorough clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in with a scrubbing pad. As well as cleaning the tile and grout it also removed any remaining sealer which is important if you don’t know the history of the floor as the previous coating maybe incompatible with the new sealer. Once done the floor was given a thorough rinse with water which was then extracted from the floor with a wet vacuum.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton During Grinding

Sealing Victorian Tiles

The floor was left to dry and I returned later to seal the tiles with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile and intensifies colour whilst also providing durable protection from within. Normally I use Seal and Go on Victorian Tiles however in this case the customer had specified a matt finish.

Victorian Tile Lippage Turton After

The results were fantastic and the client was very pleased with the now flat Victorian tiled floor which, thanks to the cleaning and sealing, was back to looking its best. Another happy customer for the Lancashire Tile Doctor!
 
 

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Floor with settlement issues

Victorian Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Southport

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.

Victorian Tiles Southport Before Cleaning

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.

Victorian Tiles Southport After Cleaning

 
 

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor in Stockport