Work by Location

Classic Black and White Marble Floor Renovated in Bamber Bridge

The tiles shown in the photographs below are classic distressed Black and White Italian Marble installed in the kitchen of a property in Bamber Bridge which is South of Preston. Some of the tiles had an issue with loose grout which I suspect was due to the suspended wooden floor and a small amount of movement had resulted in the grout cracking.

Classic Black and White Marble Kitchen Floor Before Renovation Bamber Bridge

Ideally more support would be needed under the floor to prevent this, in the meantime however I recommended removing the grout and replacing with a flexible grout product that could cope with the movement. The tiles also needed a clean, polish and reseal so it made sense to address the issue with the grout as part of the work.

Cleaning and Re-grouting a Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor

Working as a two-man team we started by cleaning the floor with a set of diamond burnishing pads starting with a coarse 400-grit, followed by 800 and 1500 grit. Water was used to lubricate the process and the floor was rinsed with water between pads with the fine slurry generated by the process extracted using a wet vacuum. These pads remove ingrained dirt and then slowly refine the appearance of the Marble building up its polished appearance in the process.

The next step was to rake out all the grout which as discussed was compromised and needed replacing. We had to be very careful when removing the grout due to the electric heating mat under the floor, any damage to that would require ripping the floor up. With the old grout removed and the floor cleaned the floor was then grouted using Mapei Ultra-colour which is a flexible and fully waterproof grout more than suitable for this situation.

Between us we managed to pack a lot into day one which was tough, however with the hardest tasks out of the way day two should be a lot easier.

Classic Black and White Marble Kitchen Floor During Grouting Bamber Bridge

Sealing a Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor

Day two started with an initial clean making sure to remove any excess grout smeared on the surface that can affect the look of the tile if not removed. This was followed by the application of the last of the set of burnishing pads which is a 3,000-grit pad that really brings up the polish on the marble. You only need a small amount of water sprayed onto the floor when applying this last pad so by late morning the floor was dry and ready for sealing. The customer wanted a better sheen appearance than they previously had, fortunately we find the Diamond burnishing pads do this well, they also tighten up the pores of the stone as well which means less sealer is needed.

The floor was then sealed with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that improves colour and soaks into the stone occupying the pores and thereby preventing dirt from becoming ingrained. Once complete the floor looked great and the client was very happy.

Classic Black and White Marble Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Bamber Bridge Classic Black and White Marble Kitchen Floor After Renovation Bamber Bridge

Sealers and Polish do wear down with use over time so before leaving I discussed our annual maintenance plan option which will ensure the appearance of the Marble floor always looks good. The plan involves returning once a year to further polish the floor with a high-grade burnishing pad and to add more sealer if required. We also discussed the use of Tile Doctor Stone Soap for regular cleaning, it is a pH neutral cleaner which is ideal for stone floors like Marble which are acid sensitive.

Classic Black and White Marble Kitchen Floor After Grouting Renovation Bamber Bridge

 

Professional Restoration of a Marble Tiled Kitchen in Lancashire

Yellow and Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiling Restored in Lancaster

I thought I would share this case history of a Yellow and Black Victorian Tiled floor that we worked on at a large house in Lancaster last year. It’s a great example of the typical problems we face with old Victorian floors, especially around door thresholds where the transition between the different foundation invariable cause problems.

I didn’t know the full history of the floor, but it was now in quite a state and recent renovation work had left the floor unstable with loose and cracked tiles. The tiles needed to be removed and then the damaged subfloor carefully scraped out and replaced. Once that was done the floor would need relaying and then cleaned and sealed so everything would blend in.

After visiting the property and providing a quotation we were given the go ahead and agreed a date to do the work.

Repairing a Yellow and Black Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We returned on the agreed date and set about carefully removing the loose and cracked Victorian tiles and put them aside for later use. Some would need replacing however this would not present a problem and they are still widely available, and I have several contacts I can turn to for this.

Yellow and Black Victorian Tile Floor During Restoration Lancaster

Once this was done and the subfloor exposed and cleaned up, I used self-levelling cement to bring the floor level up and in-line with the existing. This now needed to set hard, so the rest of the day was spent cleaning up the tiles we removed earlier with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and Pro-clean. Our goal is to reuse as many of the original tiles as possible to preserve the heritage of the floor.

The next day with the new subfloor set it was ready for tiling. This involves laying out the tiles first without adhesive carefully cutting and fitting new tiles as needed to maintain the overall pattern of the floor. Once I was happy the tiles were moved to a board and then fitted with fresh adhesive.

Yellow and Black Victorian Tile Floor During Restoration Lancaster

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I came back on day three with the aim of cleaning the floor so it could be sealed however whilst inspecting my new tiling I was disappointed to discover some were not as level as I had hoped. I had noticed the replacement tiles were not the same thickness as the originals the previous day but I had worked around this by using different levels of adhesive, clearly this plan was not as effective as I had hoped for.

To counter this problem, I used a set of 50-Grit, 100-grit and then 200-grit diamond pads in sequence to mill the floor flat and remove the lippage between them. This is done with water to lubricate the process and a weighted floor buffer. The pads generate a lot of slurry and so you need to rinse this off with more water and extract all the soil after each pad.

I followed this up with various Diamond burnishing pads of increasingly finer grits across the whole floor until we achieved a consistent finish and had the added benefit of getting the whole floor clean. More water is used to rinse the tiles after burnishing and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum as before. Once done and inspected the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

Tile Doctor Colour Grow was applied to enhance the appearance of the tiles and protect them going forward. This product copes well with damp which can always be a problem with old floors like this one with no damp proof membrane present.

Yellow and Black Victorian Tile Floor After Restoration Lancaster

The floor looked amazing when finished and our attention to detail had really paid off, in fact you simply could not tell we had done any tiling work or replaced any tiles. For aftercare I recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which is designed for the regular cleaning of sealed tiles.

Yellow and Black Victorian Tile Floor After Restoration Lancaster

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

Old Bitumen Covered Flagstone Floor Restored in Morecambe

Late last year I was asked to survey a Flagstone floor in Morecambe which appeared to be beyond restoration. The floor had a long history and at some point in its past was covered with carpet which had been secured onto self-levelling cement with bitumen. All the companies that had visited before we got there said nothing could be done with it and recommended replacing the carpet or covering it with vinyl. As mentioned, it had been previously covered with carpet however this is an old floor and damp had been rising though the floor causing the carpet to rot. My client didn’t want to entertain that as a solution and so kept on looking for a company that could restore the stone.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Morecambe Removing Self-Levelling Compound and Bitumen from Flagstones in Morecambe

Old houses like this one do not have a damp proof membrane installed under the floor and moisture rising through the stone needs to be allowed to evaporate or you will find damp spreads outwards towards the walls leading to rising damp. In this case I suspect the bitumen which acts as a water barrier had either failed or damp was coming up the wall and into the carpet and underlay. Certainly, in our experience, if you have an old natural stone floor like this it is best not to cover it with anything more than a rug.

Having inspected the floor, I recommended restoring the appearance of the flagstones by grinding the surface down a few millimetres to reveal new stone. We can do this using several different grades of coarse diamond encrusted diamond pads, a process we call Milling.

Cleaning/Repairing a Flagstone Tiled Hallway Floor

After being given instructions to restore the floor we returned on the schedule date and began by removing as much of the loose cement and bitumen by hand using hand tools.

Removing Self-Levelling Compound and Bitumen from Flagstones in Morecambe

milling the floor using a very coarse 50-Grit pad fitted with DRB segments (Diamond Resin Blocks). Cutting the surface of the stone like this is hard work and requires the use of a weighted floor buffer to apply the pads. The process is lubricated with water and generates a lot of slurry which is extracted off the floor with a wet vacuum. The 50-grit pad was followed with a 100-grit DRB pad and then 200-grit DRB pad which start the slow process of refining the surface. It’s a two-man job so I brought a colleague along, whilst one was milling the other could take a rest and help with the clean-up.

The milling did a great job of removing the Black Bitumen, Self-Levelling compound and old paint revealing the true beauty ` and colour of the Flagstones, in fact the stone had quite a variance of colour which was lovely to see coming through. Half the pointing was missing so after milling the stone we moved onto replacing what was left of the old pointing and replacing with a modern breathable product.

We called back the next day to finish the stone cleaning by further renovating the stone surface using finer grades of diamond encrusted burnishing pads of 400 and 800-grit. Again, you need to water to lubricate the process and rinse the slurry of the floor with water after each pad, then extract with a wet vacuum. This does leave the floor damp, so once we had finished it was left to dry out for a few days, old floors without a damp proof membrane can take longer to dry and especially so in the Winter months.

Flagstone Floor After Restoration Morecambe

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning a few days later the stone was first checked with a damp meter to check it had dried out before sealing. The moisture readings were fine, so it was then sealed with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which penetrates deep into the stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours in the process.

Flagstone Floor After Restoration Morecambe

The flagstone floor was completely transformed by the process and our client was over the moon with the result. In fact, they have asked us back to do the same in the Kitchen as the vinyl in there has since been torn up and revealed the same stone.

 

Professional Restoration of a Flagstone Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

Renovating Flood Damaged Flagstone Floor in a Whalley Listed Building

This Flagstone floor was under water in 2015 due to a flood that affected the beautiful village of Whalley resulting in many residents being evacuated from their homes. Four years later and the floor had settled in places and large chunks of Limecrete pointing had become loose. As you can imagine the floor hadn’t been the same since.

It took a while before the customer could get back into the house and the insurance assessor said that because this was an original floor and the building was grade 2 listed the flagstone floor had to stay in place. There is no guarantee from the local council that the house and adjacent streets won’t get flooded again in the future, but this type of floor is probably the most hardwearing for this situation so is best left in place. Wood flooring, carpet, vinyl etc will not stand up to another flood and would have to be replaced every time.

Flagstone-Floor Before Restoration in Whalley Flagstone-Floor Before Restoration in Whalley

I was asked to come up with some solutions for renovating the flagstone floor and replacing the Limecrete pointing which was tricky as whatever replaced the Limecrete pointing needed to be fully breathable as did the sealer that went on the stone.

After some research we decided to use a German product called VDW 800 for the pointing instead of Limecrete. it’s designed to be fully breathable (permeable) and suitable for outside use such as patios and porches etc which made it ideal for a floor that may face flooding again. Its highly flexible, durable and comes in four colours. It can be cleaned via a pressure washer on a wide fan and it won’t loosen, so I was confident that if another flood hit the town all this floor would need was a clean down.

The client was very happy to hear this news and wanted us to go ahead as soon as possible and get the floor restored. With a restoration plan worked out we agreed a date for our return to complete the work.

Cleaning and Repointing a Flagstone Floor

On our return our first course of action was to clean the stone using a 100 and 200-grit milling pads which were run several times over each flagstone using water for lubrication. The resulting slurry was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor was then treated to an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up. After a rinse with water and extraction with the wet vacuum the flagstones were given a final clean using a 400-grit diamond burnishing pad.

With the floor now clean we set about removing the old pointing using an 8lb pneumatic drill, whilst noisy it did make quick work of the task. After a another clean to remove the debris the floor was repointed using the VDW 800 product mentioned earlier. The floor was then left to dry overnight.

Flagstone-Floor During Restoration in Whalley Flagstone-Floor During Restoration in Whalley

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Floor in Lancashire

I came back the next day to review the previous days work and ensure I was happy with the state of the floor before applying a sealer. This is important as otherwise you risk sealing in dirt which would affect the appearance. It’s tricky to tell when a floor it wet and on this occasion I felt the stone would benefit from another clean so I cleaned the floor one last time using a black buffing pad and water. The water was then removed as before with a wet vacuum.

Flagstone-Floor After Restoration in Whalley Flagstone-Floor After Restoration in Whalley

The floor was left to fully dry out for a further 24 hours and I called back one more time to review the floor and apply three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a breathable sealer that also enhances the natural colours in the stone.

Once finished the floor looked great again and the clients were over the moon with the result. Fingers crossed there would be no further flooding in the future, however even if there was the new grout should stand up to it.

 

Professional Restoration of a Flood Damaged Flagstone Floor in Lancashire

Renovation of a Black Slate Kitchen Floor in Lancaster

The photographs below are of a dull and dirty Black Slate floor that I was recently asked to renovate at a property in the City of Lancaster which is a few miles south of our base in Carnforth.

Black Slate Floor Before Renovation Lancaster

Slate isn’t very porous which is why you often find it being used as roofing; however, this means any sealer applied is primarily active on the surface where it is more prone to wear from foot traffic. Regular cleaning with a pH neutral tile cleaner combined with topping up the sealer every 12 to 18 months will make the sealer last a lot longer. This rarely happens though and once a sealer has been worn off dirt will begin to penetrate the stone making it difficult to clean and dull.

In this case my client explained that the sealer had been applied by the tiler a few years ago and that they had been using washing up liquid to clean the floor. pH levels for washing up liquids vary but the most popular product has a pH level of 9 which is far too acidic for use on a sealed tile and slowly stripped the sealer away. I discussed with the client the process for renovating the slate floor, agreed a price for the work and arranged to come back a few weeks later.

Cleaning a Black Slate Floor Tiled Kitchen Floor

To renovate the floor, I first attached a coarse 200-grit Diamond pad to a buffing machine and ran it over the floor using water as a lubricant. This removed what was left of the old sealer deep cleaned the stone. The Grout was then scrubbed with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and the floor was then rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum.

The floor was then inspected, and stubborn areas were spot treated with a little Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was sprayed on and left to soak in for ten minutes before being scrubbed in and rinsed off.

We finished the clean with a 400-Grit diamond padf followed by an Acid Wash with Grout Clean-Up, this left the Slate with a slightly acidic pH which helps bond the new sealer and counters the alkaline pH of the floor following the use of alkaline cleaning products.

Sealing a Black Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Before we sealed the whole floor, we always do some damp testing to make sure it is dry before sealing. This was an old floor with no damp proof membrane underneath so it needed to be very dry before we could apply the sealer.

Black Slate Floor Moisture Testing Before Sealing Lancaster

The client wanted a very high gloss finish, so we applied four coats of Tile Doctor High Shine sealer which is an acrylic sealer ideal for achieving this affect. If the floor wasn’t fully dry, we would have left it another day or two, but we find you can often speed up the drying process with the use of a dehumidifier and some air blowers.

Black Slate Floor During Renovation Lancaster

The client was very happy with the transformation in the Black Slate floor, they had looked dull and drab for quite a while and it was refreshing to see them look like new again. They also felt more confident that now they understood what had caused the problem and would be better able to maintain the floor going forward.

Black Slate Floor After Renovation Lancaster

 

Professional Restoration of a Black Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Victorian Tiled Lobby Floor Rebuild in Lytham St Annes

I visited this property in Lytham St Annes to survey a small Victorian tiled lobby which was in a sorry state. The client was keen to have it restored and wanted to know if it was possible. I discussed with them what we could do, and I gave them a quote for the work. Although it was only a small lobby, I could see the job could be quite involved and would be subject to the replacement tiles which I was confident we could source.

Victorian Tiled Lobby Before Rebuild Lytham St Annes

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Lobby Floor

This is one of those jobs you wish you hadn’t started as there were a lot more tiles to remove than anticipated and it mushroomed into replacing half the floor. Once the area was cleaned up, I applied a self-levelling compound to bring up the height of the base.

Victorian Tiled Lobby During Rebuild Lytham St Annes

Once the levelling compound had set, I was able relay the Victorian tiles using a combination of original tiles and replacements which had to be cut to shape. Cutting tiles to fit is quite intricate and time-consuming work especially when you consider new tiles are all metric in size and a 2mm difference becomes very telling after a foot or so! My solution was to use 150 mm tiles which are the biggest the stockist offers and then cut them down on my Rubi cutter using a template made from the original tiles. This the only way I could get it to look tight, it takes longer but it makes for a thorough job and a better finish.

Victorian Tiled Lobby During Rebuild Lytham St Annes

I always use flexible floor adhesive when laying tiles, my preference is Keraquick Grey from Mapei. There are other brands off course but this one is quite easy to get hold of and as the term grouting is a relatively modern invention (in the past it was called pointing ) I find it looks right with this type of tile and similar to the screed cement the Victorians used in the past.

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Lobby Floor

After the tiling had been completed, I left the floor to cure and fully dry and returned at a later date to give the floor an overall clean. For this I ran a coarse 200-grit diamond floor pad across the floor lubricated with water and used handheld diamond blocks for the edges where the pad can’t reach. The slurry was rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

With old floors like this, which don’t have a damp-proof membrane installed under the floor, efflorescence is always a concern and can lead to white salts appearing on the surface of the tile as moisture rises through the floor. To counter this, I finished cleaning the floor by scrubbing it with Tile Doctor Acid Gel. This was then rinsed off with water and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Lobby Floor

The client was happy to seal the floor themselves (they wanted to save some money and it wasn’t a big area) so I supplied them with a bottle of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. I recommended this sealer as it will enhance the dark colours and being fully breathable it will cope with any moisture rising through the base. I recommended they apply two coats to start leaving time to allow the first coast to dry they could also then decide to leave it at that if they were happy with the finish.

Victorian Tiled Lobby After Rebuild Lytham St Annes

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

Renovating Amtico Vinyl Flooring in Silverdale

This client from Silverdale had called us over to renovate their 12-year-old Amtico vinyl floor that runs from the back door, through the kitchen and then over to the dining room. Although modern brands of Vinyl are much more durable than in the past, they do require a sealer to protect the surface from marking, enhance the colour and general appearance. This floor had not been retreated for twelve years and so its appearance had become dull and patchy in places.

Amtico Floor Silverdale Before Cleaning Amtico Floor Silverdale Before Cleaning

Tile Doctors are trained in the renovation of all types of Tile and this includes Vinyl flooring with which we use the same methods and equipment to strip the old sealer away and replace with new. Vinyl if a manufactured material so the products we use are different and Tile Doctor supply a Stripper and Sealer which are designed for the job.

Cleaning and Stripping an Amtico Vinyl Floor

We started by applying a clear mastic silicone around the base of the MDF panels in the kitchen, we would be using water in the cleaning process, so this was done to prevent any moisture being absorbed via capillary action which would ruin the panels.

Amtico Floor Silverdale Prep Before Cleaning

Once the area was prepped, we started stripping the old sealer off the Amtico using Tile Doctor Vinyl Strip diluted with five parts warm water. The solution was gradually applied as a slow speed buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad was run over the surface. The soil generated was rinsed off the floor with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum

The floor was then steam cleaned to remove any excess product from the Vinyl, as well as making sure the floor area was as clean and dust free as possible before moving onto the next step of applying a fresh sealer.

Amtico Floor Silverdale During Steam Cleaning

The Amtico would need to be dry in order to seal it so as much moisture as possible was removed using the wet vacuum and then left to dry for about an hour with air blowers in place. This is very important as applying sealer to a damp Vinyl floor can cause issues with the bonding process resulting in the affected area turning white and feeling sticky.

Amtico Floor Silverdale Drying After Cleaning

Sealing Amtico Vinyl Flooring

Once I was satisfied the floor was dry three thin coats of Tile Doctor Vinyl Shine applied to the Amtico leaving the floor to dry for up to forty minutes between coats. Thin coats are the key, if it has a blueish tinge to the seal (what we call pooling) then the coat is too thick and needs to be thinned out which is best done with a paint pad. If the first coat is patchy, we just let it dry and then add a second coat to which will even out the patchiness.

Amtico Floor Silverdale After Cleaning Amtico Floor Silverdale After Cleaning

Tile Doctor Vinyl Shine is a modern high solids polymer floor seal and polish designed to protect and enhance the appearance of Vinyl floor tiles. It works well on all types of Vinyl including Amtico and Karndean and the optional third coat adds a super high gloss finish.

The floor looked great and really lifted the room. The client was very happy with the result and was kind enough to leave the following feedback.

”Very professional, efficient service, with an excellent end result. Very clean and tidy, punctual and made sure the job was finished to a high standard. Very pleased with the finish on my Amtico floor. – Sheila and Kevin S”

 

Professional Clean and Seal of an Amtico Tiled Kitchen in Lancashire

Renovating a Bolivian Black Slate floor in Blackpool

This kitchen floor in Blackpool was laid 20 years prior and comprised of Bolivian Black Slate inlaid with White Ceramic Tozzettos. The slate was now looking dull and unloved and the owner now wanted the floor deep cleaning and resealing to restore its appearance.

We visited the property in Blackpool to inspect the floor and discuss what would be needed to restore the floor. It was clear that the old seal had worn away with use which left the stone vulnerable to ingrained dirt and hard to keep clean. Additionally, there were a few broken tiles near the glazed patio doors that would need replacing but the rest of the floor was solid and just in need of some love and care.

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos Before Cleaning Blackpool Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos Before Cleaning Blackpool

We discussed the process which would involve tile replacement, tile and grout cleaning and then sealing. I worked out a price to complete the job which was accepted and booked in for later in the month.

Cleaning and Repairing a Bolivian Slate Kitchen Floor

We cleaned the tiles with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was sprayed onto the floor and left to soak in for ten minutes before being scrubbed in. To scrub the floor, I used a rotary buffing machine fitted with a with a black scrubbing pad and approximately 15kg of additional weight to give the pad more bite. This removed what was left of the original matt sealer which was still evident in the less used parts of the floor. This process released the ingrained dirt from the stone into the cleaning solution which was then rinsed off the floor and extracted with a wet vacuum.

The grout was then deep cleaned with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed in with a narrow brush and finished with a wire brush on some of the more stained grout lines. After this the wet vacuum was used again machine to extract the loose dirt and sediment and the floor rinsed down with water a few times to restore the pH balance in the floor. With the cleaning finished the floor now needed to dry off so it would be ready for sealing the next day.

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos During Repair Blackpool

Next step was to turn my attention to the cracked tiles near the patio door. I suspect the patio doors were not an original feature and there had been some settlement over the years in the underlying cement. The cracked tiles were removed, and old adhesive and grout scraped out. Fortunately, the customer still had some spares, so these were laid in place with rapid setting adhesive and then grouted in.

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos Before Cleaning Blackpool

Sealing a Bolivian Tiled Kitchen Floor

On the 2nd day we applied a tester of 2 coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go in a corner area as the customer wasn’t sure if she should stick with a matt colour enhanced finish or satin. The customer liked the satin finish, so we applied four further coats of the Tile Doctor Seal and Go throughout. Each coat is left to dry before applying the next so this process can take some time.

The floor looked fabulous when finished in fact the customer said it almost looked like new, which wasn’t bad for a floor that was 20 years old!

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos After Cleaning Blackpool Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos After Cleaning Blackpool

As usual before leaving we discussed aftercare which for the regular cleaning of the Slate I recommend Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. Neutral Cleaner as its name suggest is pH neutral so it won’t damage the sealer which can be a problem for cleaning products you find in supermarkets which are basically too strong. You really do need to check the label when choosing a cleaning product for a natural stone or sealed floor as many products are made from a derivative of a bleach which will erode the sealer prematurely with regular use.

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos After Cleaning Blackpool

 

Professional Restoration of Black Slate Kitchen Tiles in Lancashire

Old Quarry Tiled Floor Repaired and Renovated in Lancaster

The pictures below are taken from a property in Lancaster which had two areas of tiled flooring that needed work, one Quarry tiled and the other an original Victorian tiled hallway which was over 100 years old.

We often get called out to restore broken tiles, replace missing pieces and then do a clean and seal afterwards to make it all look as good as possible. Tile Doctor covers both areas and our aim is to restore a tiled floor to its best possible condition, ideally making it look new or at least as close to new as is feasible with an old floor.

Quarry Tiled Floor Lancaster Before Repair

Repairing a Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancaster

The focus of this article will be the renovation of the Quarry tiled floor which required a lot of tiling work due to cracked and missing tiling. This presents a problem as it can be difficult to find exact match replacements, especially when the floor has been down for some time. There are a few companies that specialise in reproduction Victorian tiles however Quarry tiles don’t have a dedicated store or website where we can get matching tiles. In this case the client had scoured the internet and hunted down replacements which came close to matching the original.

Quarry Tiled Floor Lancaster During Repair
The first step in repairing a tiled floor is to carefully remove any damaged tiles and, in this case, there were quite a few. The exposed area is the cleaned of old adhesive and grout and the subbase is made good where required. Next the replacement tiles are laid onto a base of new rapid set flexible floor adhesive, I prefer to use a flexible adhesive as it will allow for any further moment in the floor. Once the adhesive had set the tiles were grouted in and we then left floor to fully set overnight.

Deep Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancaster

I came back the next day with our cleaning equipment and products to get the floor clean which should help blend the new tile in with the original.

I started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the Quarry tiles and then scrubbed it in with a rotary floor machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a strong and effective alkaline cleaner which is safe to use on Tile and Stone and unlike acid wont damage the clay. The cleaning solution soon turned black with the dirt that had been released from the old Quarry Tiles, so I gave the floor a rinse with water and extracted the soil with a wet vacuum.

The last job was to give the tiles a light acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, this isn’t a strong acid like the brick acid you find in DIY stores so it’s safe to use on most surfaces if it isn’t left for too long. The Grout Clean-up removes any old grout and minerals such as efflorescent salts from the Quarry tiles and is then rinsed off with water and extracted with the wet vacuum. The other advantage of giving the floor an acid rinse is it counters the alkaline cleaning products used earlier effectively neutralising the pH level of the tiles. Lastly the acid slightly etches the clay tile ensuring a much stronger bond with the sealer.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancaster

The Quarry tiled floor was then sealed with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a matt sealer that impregnates the pores of the clay enhancing colour in the process and effectively adding protection to the tile from within.

Quarry Tiled Floor Lancaster After Repair
The quarry tiled floor looked much cleaner and fresher following the work, the cracked tiles were gone, and our customer was pleased with transformation we had managed to achieve.

 

Professional Restoration of an Old Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Renovating Dull Semi Riven Black Slate Flooring in Bentham

This is a Semi Riven Black Slate floor which had been installed throughout much of the downstairs floor at a property in Bentham which is right on the Eastern edge of Lancashire. The Black slate and Grout had seen some wear and was now more Grey than black and having recently installed a new Kitchen the owner wanted the floor to look its best.

Rough stone can be especially hard to maintain if the wrong sealer has been applied. With rough or textured stone, it’s always best to use an Acrylic Sealer (aka ” Topical sealer”) where possible. Unlike a Matt finish impregnating sealer a Topical Sealer is designed to sit on the surface of the Stone preventing dirt from getting caught in the nooks and crevices making it much easier to clean.

Rough Black Slate Floor Before Cleaning Bentham

After surveying the floor, I recommend burnishing the stone with a coarse pad to deep clean the stone and remove any remaining sealer, then seal with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a Topical sealer which we find always has provides good results on this type of floors. Happy with the price and keen to get the floor renovated we were given the go ahead and scheduled a date to return to do the work.

Rough Black Slate Floor Before Cleaning Bentham

Deep Cleaning a Semi Riven Black Slate floor in Bentham

The last thing we want to do is cause any damage to their beautiful new wooden kitchen. So before starting the cleaning process I applied clear silicone to the base of the new Kitchen units, this prevents water from the cleaning process seeping into the woodwork through capillary action.

Rough Black Slate Floor Applying Silicone Bentham

To get the tiles clean we burnished the stone floor with a coarse 200-grit Diamond pad fitted to a buffing machine running at slow speed and using water for lubrication. This gives a really deep clean and was followed up with the application of a black scrubbing pad to remove any excess resin released from the Slate which is quite common with Black stones due to the oil content. Once the Slate was clean, we turned our attention to the grout which was scrubbed with Tile Doctor Pro-clean. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum, once done the floor was left dry out.

Whilst at the property we managed to resolve a problem with a poorly laid slate tile in the hallway which the customer had often tripped over, so much so they had covered it with a rug, which was fine, but you couldn’t see the Slate. Rather than lift and relay the tile I managed to cut back the surface of the stone with a hand held flex machine using several different diamond grits. You can see from the pictures how this looks before, during and after the seal. A further advantage of treating the stone in this way is that the slate takes on a more polished finish as the rough texture is cut back. The results speak for themselves and the customer certainly won’t be tripping over the tile from now. With no further need for the rug they can get the full benefit of the slate floor.

Rough Black Slate Tile Before During After Surface Correction Bentham

Sealing a Riven Black Slate Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and we returned the following day to apply a sealer first checking the floor was dry using a moisture meter. All was well, so we started to apply the first of several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. It was a large area across multiple rooms, so it took some time before the job was complete.

Rough Black Slate Floor After Cleaning Bentham

The sealer added a lovely subtle sheen to the floor and restored the black colour in the Slate, the grout was also much cleaner and floor look transformed from the grey dull appearance we first experienced. As usual before leaving we talked about aftercare, using warm water (not hot or cold) with a mop and bucket and half a cap of Tile Doctor concentrated Neutral Tile Cleaner. Using the correct cleaning product will ensure they get maximum life out of the sealer.

Rough Black Slate Floor After Cleaning Bentham

 

Professional Renovation of a Black Riven Slate Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Large Victorian Manor House Hall Floor Restored in Ulverston

Earlier this year we had the privilege to be involved in the restoration of a large Victorian tiled hall at Stone Cross Manor in Ulverston which is being sympathetically redeveloped into nineteen apartments by Persimmon Homes at a reported cost of £4 million. The magnificent Grade II-listed stately home was built in 1874 for Myles Kennedy who was a Limestone Quarry owner and chairman of an Ironworks.

The property continued to be occupied by the Kennedy family until 1943 when it was requisitioned by the military who then sold it to Lancashire County Council in 1946. The council used it as a boarding school for some decades and allegedly had the central oak staircase removed so the hall could be used to play indoor football. Since that time, it has had different owners and states of disrepair until finally being acquired by Persimmon who contacted us to quote for restoring the floor to its former glory. This would be no easy task and would require plenty of help. However, we are a resourceful bunch and being part of a large network of Tile Doctors means we were able to draft in other Tile Doctors to assist.

Stone Cross Manor Ulverston

Before we took the job on, I went over to survey the floor and was immediately taken aback by the sheer size and scale of the project. The impressive Victorian hall has now had its large wooden staircase rebuilt and this sits in the centre of a series of architectural stone columns.

The floor was in a sorry state though and it certainly had a story to tell. At some point in its long history sections of the beautiful Victorian tiles had been cut out for the installation of central heating and then back filled with cement. There were also other areas that had been given the same treatment for some inexplicable reason. I suspect that the floor must have been covered in carpet during its later life to hide the mess.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

The biggest problem was the realisation that with so many tiles missing the only way we could get exact duplicates would be to have them made by a company such as Craven and Dunhill. They are specialist tile manufacturer who date back to 1872 and can reproduce old tiles using the same tones and colours to match the originals. This was a high spec job, so this was the right approach however the price for the moulds and the time needed to manufacture threatened to push the cost of renovating the floor off the scale.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

We discussed this with the developer and manged to come to a compromise by reusing tiles from another room in the property. Many of the tiles in that room had been damaged and were beyond restoration however there were enough tiles in good condition to fulfil our requirements in the main hall. They would have to be carefully lifted and cleaned but the tiles matched the colour and tone, size and texture to the main hallway perfectly. When you look at the before and after pictures on this page you will really struggle to see any difference and this is rare on old floor like this, the only exception being the black tiles underneath the radiators where a matching tone wasn’t available.

Rebuilding a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The first week was spent lifting and replacing broken tiles, it was a large floor area of about 120m2 which was set to be the main showpiece of the building, so it had to be right. As part of the floor prep it was also necessary to level parts of the floor with the application of a a self-levelling compound. We brought in Cardiff Tile Doctor Julian Iaconno to run this part of the job, he is an absolute master tiler and one of the best Victorian Tile installers in the country. At one point there was three of us working on the floor in order to keep to schedule.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Deep Cleaning a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The second week was spent cleaning the floor various Diamond burnishing pads, moving though increasingly finer girts until we achieved the desired finish. We also used a lot of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and Pro-clean to remove the old grout and dirt from the recycled tiles. As is always the case on a building site you get a lot of tradesmen who like to have a look at what we have done and walk all over our nice clean tiles, thus leaving dusty footprints everywhere. I must give credit to the Site Foreman for keeping these guys out although best intentioned they weren’t helping with the cleaning process, so all doors were locked off and access was limited to the site foreman and Tile Doctor only.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Sealing a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The third week was reserved for Sealing the tiles however this dragged on due to issues with the heating which was basically non-existent at the time and not an ideal situation in January. Persimmon went out of the way to chase up the plumbers who had been running behind and got this sorted for us, without heat we would struggle to get the sealer to dry.

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We applied a Matt finish sealer called Colour Grow, which copes very well with potential damp issues that can cause problems with old floors with no damp proof course, it’s also excellent at bringing out the colour of Tiles whether Clay or Stone. Four coats of Colour Grow were applied to the Victorian tiles and being such a large floor area, it took a few days to fully seal the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We cannot praise Persimmon enough for the dedication they have shown in the restoration of this historic property which has had a chequered past and will now have a long future.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

Grout Colour Restoration on a Ceramic Kitchen Floor Ulverston

This client got in touch to see if we could clean the grout in her large kitchen floor which was tiled with Terracotta style Ceramic tiles. As per usual we visited the property first which was in the market town of Ulverston to survey the floor and get a better idea of what was required.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston

Believe it or not the grout had originally been Sandstone in colour, but poor cleaning practices had reduced the colour back to grey as all floor grouts (apart from white) are basically a cement grey with a colour dye added. I suspect the customer had been using a strong bleach-based product to clean the floor with which as well as removing colour can also lead to dehydration resulting in cracking. It’s work knowing that even the “Green Cleaning Products” on the market generally contain at least 5% of “non-ionic surfactants” which can also impact grout with constant use.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston

Our recommendation was to re-colour the grout using a durable Tile Doctor Grout Colourant which seals and rejuvenates existing grout and is available in ten popular colours. The client was happy that we could improve the appearance of the floor, we agreed a price and scheduled the work in which would take two days to complete.

Cleaning and Colouring Grout on a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor

It was a large 45m2 kitchen and so it took most of the first day just to clean the grout using Tile Doctor Grout Colourant Pre-Treater. This is an effective ready-to-use acidic cleaner which is designed to lightly etch and clean the grout joints so that you achieve a superior bond with the colourant. The product comes in a spray bottle so its just a question of spraying it onto the tile, leaving it for five minutes and then scrubbing it in with a brush. Afterwards you rinse it off with water and extract with a wet vacuum.

We worked our way across the large floor area in sections leaving an air blower in place over the completed section to accelerate the drying process. Once we managed to get a cleaned area dry, we started to apply the first coat of Grout Colourant. The colourant is relatively easy to apply with a small brush, you just need to ensure that any excess that gets on the tile is wiped off before it dries.

Once the second of coat of grout colourant had been applied and had dried the floor was inspected and touched up further where required. Before leaving we gave the floor a dry polish with our buffing machine just so it all looked spick and span before we handed the floor back to the customer. There was no need to seal the floor, Ceramic tiles won’t accept a sealer and the grout will now be protected by the colourant which acts like a barrier.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston

The transformation to the floor was huge as you can see in the pictures. My customer was over the moon with the results and left the following feedback:

‘I can recommend the professional services of Russell and team, nothing was too much trouble and the job was completed on time with excellent results’
Karen. Ulverston

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston

 

Professional Grout Restoration of a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Sandstone Effect Concrete Hallway Floor Deep Cleaned in Garstang

We were called by our client to visit a property in Garstang, a small market town in Lancashire which is halfway between Preston and Lancaster. Where possible we like to survey the floor before doing any work, so we can ascertain what may have happened to the floor, what the best course of treatment is and of course provide the customer with a quote.

The large hallway floor was certainly in need of some love and care as it was not looking its’ best. On initial inspection it appeared to be tiled in Sandstone slabs, but it is in fact a Sandstone effect concrete floor. The owner had been using washing-up liquid to clean the floor which over time had upset the colours that were dyed into the cement. The pores in the concrete were also ingrained with dirt.

Sandstone Effect Concrete Before Cleaning Garstang Sandstone Effect Concrete Before Cleaning Garstang

We discussed with the client the cleaning process and showed them a test patch. They were happy with the test area and the price for the work, so we booked a mutually convenient time in to carry out the cleaning.

Sandstone Effect Concrete Before Cleaning Garstang

Deep Cleaning Sandstone Effect Concrete Tiles

To deep clean the floor, we applied a strong alkaline cleaning product called Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. Not only does this product break down the dirt it can also strip off coatings such as old sealers when used in a more concentrated form. We left the product to dwell for a short while and then using a rotary buffing machine fitted with a Black Buffing pad we gave the floor a good scrub. Using the wet vacuum to remove the soil residue generated by the clean. We repeated the process to ensure the floor was deeply cleaned and any sealer residue removed. The floor was then left overnight to dry out, with a little help from the radiators as the weather had turned a little cooler.

Sealing a Concrete Effect Sandstone Tiled Hallway Floor

We returned the following day and checked the floor was fully dried out using our moisture meter. We then applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, this provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen appearance.

The concrete tiles now looked great but unfortunately the colour of the grout lines had been affected by the washing-up liquid and needed more work. We decided the best course of action was to apply a Sandstone Grout Colourant, so we arranged to call back the next day once the sealer had fully dried and applied the colourant. We use the Tile Doctor range of Grout Colourants which are available in ten popular colours, the colorant also provides a barrier over the surface adding further protection.

Sandstone Effect Concrete After Cleaning Garstang

The customer had left us the keys to the property so needless to say, they were very happy with the transformation when they returned. I think you’ll agree the floor looks great and they can keep it looking in great shape by using Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is designed for cleaning sealed floors.

Sandstone Effect Concrete After Cleaning Garstang Sandstone Effect Concrete After Cleaning Garstang

 

Professional Clean of Concrete Effect Sandstone Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

Dull Riven Black Slate Floor Transfored in High Bentham

We were asked to come and advise a customer regarding their stone floor which the customer was struggling to keep clean. The property was in High Bentham which lies on the River Wenning, just West of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning High Bentham

We often get customers who give up looking after their tiles after a while as some stone like this Black Riven Slate need quite a bit of upkeep to keep them looking good and a standard mop and bucket at times isn’t enough to keep them looking pristine. In this case the sealant had worn away in the high traffic areas and the floor had a slightly rough texture to the surface which meant it was holding onto dirt making it difficult to keep clean. We proposed the floor should be cleaned and resealed, discussed the cost and agreed a time for the work to be carried out.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning High Bentham

Cleaning a Black Riven Slate Tiled Floor

To get the tiles clean we burnished the stone floor with a coarse 200-Grit Diamond pad fitted to a weighted buffing machine using water for lubrication. The floor was then rinsed and then the process repeated using a series of different graded pads, namely the 400 and 800 grit burnishing pads which further cleaned and resurface the appearance of the stone.

The grout was cleaned using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the grout lines by hand; Pro-Clean is a heavy-duty cleaner which gets to the really stubborn stains and it did a great job at getting the grout looking like it should. The cleaning process was then finished off by rinsing the floor with water and extracted the slurry with a wet vacuum. The floor was inspected and retreated to the same process where more work was required. We usually find leaving Pro-Clean on a stain for longer and assisting with a bit of steam helps to lift the dirt out of the pores of the stone.

Once cleaned thoroughly we rinsed the floor again and then extracted as much moisture from the floor as possible with a wet vacuum before leaving it to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Riven Black Slate Tiled Floor

We called back the following day to apply a sealer first checking the floor was dry using a moisture meter. All was well, so we started to apply the first of two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a third coat was attempted but the slate would not accept any more sealer, and this was removed with a cloth. It is important to know if you have reached FCS (Full Cure Sealability) if not then the pores of the tiles will still be open to accepting dirt and the job won’t last long. Over a very short period of time the tiles will diminish in stature and finish.

Slate Floor During Sealing High Bentham

The sealer really restored the black colour to the Slate and transformed the look of the floor. As always, we left the customer a free bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, using the correct cleaning product in future will ensure they get maximum life out of the sealer.

Slate Floor After Sealing High Bentham Slate Floor After Sealing High Bentham

The floor looked lovely when finished and the customer was very happy with the overall result.

 

Professional Renovation of a Black Riven Slate Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Victorian Floor Tile Restoration Lancaster

We often get asked to restore old Victorian tiled floors which are generally over 100 to 150 years old and as I’m sure you can imagine they experience a lot of wear over that length of time.

Victorian floor tiles before restoration Lancaster

We recently visited a property with such a floor in Lancaster after the client got in touch looking to have their hallway floor tiles restored. We arrived to inspect the floor and could see straight away that it was looking a little tired and in need of care and attention. Some tiles had become loose and had broken apart, especially around the doorways. Also, this floor had suffered from subsidence in the past and this had created a crack line near the top end of the hallway which pushed up several of the tiles. We went through what could be done to restore it, the client agreed a price and we arranged a time to come back.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

My first task was to take the loose tiles up, grind the concrete screed back so it was as level as we could make it and then we needed to refit the tiles. Once all loose tiles were fixed, we left them to dry and cure.

Victorian floor tiles during restoration Lancaster

We then came back to start the main clean of the floor, we used Tile Doctor Diamond Burnishing pads for this, which bite in deep to the clay face and remove ingrained dirt far better than conventional alkaline cleaners can. We used a series of different grades of these diamond pads to get the finish we required and then rinsed with clean water once were finished, removing the slurry created with a wet vacuum.

Any areas we couldn’t reach with our weighted buffing machines we had to get on our hands and knees and use small handheld Diamond Blocks, using a bit of clean water and elbow grease, this is especially good on intricate edges and around doors and corners.

Victorian floor tiles during restoration Lancaster

The floor was given a quick rinse with water to remove any remaining clay resin and soil generated by the burnishing process. A wet vacuum is then used to extract the soil and remove as much moisture from the floor before being left to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Before we seal the Victorian Tiles, they looked very dull and washed out however this all changes once we apply the sealer. We checked the moisture levels in the floor which were fine. Our favourite sealer for this type of tile is called Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is a fully breathable sealer which restores the colour lost in the cleaning process and allows for the floor to breathe, which is an absolutely necesity on an old floor without a Damp Proof Membrane where Efflorescence can be an problem.

Tile Doctor Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the tile, so dirt cannot become ingrained there. It leaves a matt finish and enhances the colours in the tile bringing them to life, as you will see on the photos.

Victorian floor tiles after restoration Lancaster

For aftercare we always advise our customers to use Tile Doctor pH Neutral tile cleaner as it’s specially designed for cleaning sealed surfaces without damaging the sealer like cheap supermarket cleaners that contain anionic surfactants.

The client was very pleased with the restoration of her floor which is now in good physical condition and looks much brighter.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

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

Limestone Fireplace Hearths Stained by Flooding Rejuvenated in Morecambe

Morecambe is a large town on Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, and is a tourist hotspot within the region – particularly amongst beach goers during the summer. However, due to its location of being right next to the coast and near to the River Lune, Morecambe is an area which is commonly affected by flash flooding. Just last year there were several episodes of severe flooding.

This flooding has a big impact on houses and businesses – the damage water can cause can come as quite a surprise if you have not experienced it before. I recently visited to a business in Morecambe which had been affected by flooding. The business was, in fact, a fireplace showroom and a pair of the Limestone fireplace hearths on display had been stained by the water.

Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth Before Cleaning Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth Before Cleaning

We were asked to remove the water marks left by the flooding. One of the hearths has been in use as a test model, with a coal burner installed, and it hadn’t been cleaned properly in some time. As you can imagine, there were more problems than just the water stains to overcome! Both hearths would require a deep clean and fresh seal.

Cleaning Stained and Dirty Limestone Fireplaces

To begin, we applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to the hearths. This product is a specially formulated, alkaline-based degreaser and cleaner. As it comes in a gel form, not a liquid, Oxy Gel can be brushed into vertical surfaces and left to soak, without risk of it either disappearing into the Limestone or, even worse, trickling down the side of the surface. We would not want it coming into contact with the carpet, for instance.

We left the Oxy-Gel to dwell for a short period on one hearth while we worked on the other, applying the same treatment. After around twenty-five minutes we rinsed off the gel with clean water and then extracted any excess moisture with the use of a wet vacuum.

This process did a good job of cleaning the Limestone, but more work was required to restore its appearance, so the hearths were polished using a set of diamond encrusted hand held burnishing blocks. We started with the coarsest block (50 grit) and rubbed the stone with a bit of added water as lubrication, before wet vacuuming away the excess residue. This process was then repeated with progressively finer blocks (100, 200 and 400 grit), and the hearths were given a final rinse with fresh water.

There were some odd ring marks on one of the Limestone hearths that we couldn’t remove. Thankfully, the owner put our minds to rest on this problem, as he said they were there when he initially purchased the stone over 20 years ago. They had been covered with dirt ever since and the customer was surprised, but not shocked, to see them again. I suspect that these marks were caused by the natural mineral deposits within the stone. These should not be seen as a stain, but just a characteristic of the stone – and no amount of cleaning will get these marks out.

We would normally seal a light-coloured stone like this with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, as this no-sheen product helps to retain the natural patina of the stone. Alternatively, if we wanted to darken the tone of the Limestone, we would apply Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a colour-intensifying, impregnating sealer. Two coats of either sealer would suffice, in this case despite being very pleased with the results of the cleaning, the customer decided that he wanted to take care of sealing of the stone himself.

Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth After Cleaning Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth After Cleaning

 

Water Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth Restoration in Morecambe

Brazilian Grey/Green Semi-Riven Slate Floor Hornby Kitchen

Rough Slate is notorious for homeowners to maintain as dirt can quickly become trapped in the rough surfaces. The example on this page is that of Brazilian Semi Riven Slate installed in the Kitchen of a house in the village of Hornby, which while naturally cleft from the rock loses none of its texture and style and yet has a much smother appearance than the typical rough Slates from China. Less processing means it’s not quite completely smooth but it is a lot less expensive to buy than say a honed or polished Slate which is more difficult to maintain due to various polishing techniques required to keep up the appearance. Brazilian Slate is in fact one of my favourite slates to clean and also one of the most rewarding of Slates to seal as the sealer really does bring out the colour and character of the stone.

Sealers provide a protective barrier on natural stone floors and without it dirt can penetrate into the pores of the stone making it more and more difficult to clean effectively. Unfortunately on this floor the new homeowners were unaware on what sort of Stone it was and had no idea how to look after it which resulted in the sealer wearing down prematurely and the floor becoming dull and un-inviting.

Semi-Riven Slate floor Before Cleaning Hornby Semi-Riven Slate floor Before Cleaning Hornby

Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Slate floor we started by taping up the edges of the new kitchen units to protect the wood from splashing. This was followed with an application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean worked in with a black buffing pad fitted to a buffing machine running at slow speed (working at a slower speed results in less splashing). The pads can struggle to reach the edges and corners so these were cleaned by hand.

Once we had finished on the main floor area we then concentrated on the grout using a steam cleaner and more Pro-clean scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush.

Last step of the cleaning was to rinse the floor with water to remove any trace of cleaning products from the Slate and then dried off the floor the best we could with our high wattage wet vacuum machine and left the floor to dry off naturally over night.

Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

The next day we returned to seal the floor checking first that the floor had completely dried. The customer had requested a matt finish however we have worked on Brazilian Slate many times before and we knew how good they can look with this Satin finish sealer. Naturally its the customers decision so we offered to do a test piece and let them decide if they didn’t like it we would strip off the test piece and apply a Matt finish sealer like Tile Doctor Colour Grow instead.

The floor was dry so a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied to one Tile so that they could appreciate how it would look. Luckily the customer agreed with us and so we set about sealing the whole floor with Seal and Go.

To speed up the drying process Air Blowers were installed as we worked and it wasn’t long before the sealer was dry and the customers were able to walk on the floor and inspect every area before we left. I’m please to report that they were over the moon with the floor and my recommendation of sealer.

Semi-Riven Slate floor After Cleaning Hornby Semi-Riven Slate floor After Cleaning Hornby

To maintain the slate tiles going forward we always give our customers a free bottle of Tile Doctor pH neutral tile cleaner, which is a little incentive for them to provide some feedback via our website.

Professional Semi Riven Slate Floor Renovation in Lancashire

Bitumen Stained Victorian Geometric Hallway Rejuvenated in Barrow in Furness

This old Victorian tiled Hallway floor, laid in a geometric pattern, at a house in Barrow in Furness was a challenging project. The tiles were extremely dirty and also stained with Black Bitumen which has been used as an adhesive, however we have come across these sorts of problems before and so I was confident it could be resolved.

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness

Deep Cleaning an Old Victorian Tiled Floor

I roped in Heidi and my son Lewis who spent a whole day cleaning with chemicals, steam, buffing pads and unfortunately the results were far from satisfactory; the customer wasn’t happy and Heidi wasn’t happy with it either. It was clear that the black bitumen had penetrated deep into the pores of the clay and becoming so embedded that no chemical or technique we were using would shift it fully.

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness
To top it off I had gone out earlier to tile the old mat well with matching tiles before we started the cleaning but due to the depth of the floor matt. The matt well was at least 35mm so it was clear I couldn’t use standard floor adhesive. I opted instead for a sand cement mix, similar to what the Victorians would have used originally. This filled up the depth and allowed me to tile and grout the same day, however overnight there was a bit of shrinkage and some of the new tiles settled unevenly.

Geometric floor before Milling Barrow in Furness
I racked my head for a solution to both issues and decided the best course of action would be to Mill the clay tiles to remove the Bitumen and smooth down the uneven effect of my tiling. This is not something we would normally do on a clay tile as this system can leave scratches which potentially would look worse that the dirt. After I had milled the Tiles down with a course pad fitted to a heavy buffing machine and removed all the issues I then counteracted any scratches left over using a higher grit milling pad. This solution fully resolved both issues leaving it ready for the final step of sealing.

Geometric floor After Milling Barrow in Furness

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and we returned the next day to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a matt finish, fully breathable and colour enhancing sealer which really lifts the colour of the stone or in this case clay tile. Colour Grow is impregnating – meaning that it penetrates the pores of the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt and stains. We recommend Colour Grow for both internal and external applications and especially for areas where no damp proof membrane is evident, since the sealer allows for the floor to breathe moisture.

Geometric floor After Restoration Barrow in Furness Geometric floor After Restoration Barrow in Furness

There were plenty of problems to overcome and It took a lot of work but I’m pleased to say the floor was transformed by our efforts and now looks fantastic and I’m sure has added a lot of value to this period property.

Hallway Restoration of Bitumen-Stained Victorian Floor in Barrow in Furness

Cleaning a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor Tiles Preston

We often get asked to do a combination of jobs at Tile Doctor so we have to be prepared for the unexpected, like getting asked to clean an old Sandstone fireplace whilst your cleaning a Victorian tiled floor at a house in Preston. We normally charge extra for these types of jobs but it depends how much cleaning is required.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston Before Cleaning
This Fireplace had been in use for a number of years and due to its grainy texture was hard to keep clean, dirt and soot had built up on its surface and there was no sealer visible, either that or it had worn off with the heat.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Sandstone Fireplace

To clean the uprights and Hearth I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which being in Gel form and not a liquid, stays in place increasing dwell times and doesn’t drip where it shouldn’t. In this case I let it soak into the stone for about forty minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush and steam. Some marks were still visible after this process so we opted for using handheld Diamond blocks in 50.100.200 and then 400 grit to grind off the staining and restore the surface finish. Using these small handheld blocks takes off some of the heavier texture as well as cleaning the stone at the same time, but is really useful to use where chemicals alone struggle to get the results required. Once fully clean the fireplace was rinsed with water a couple of times and the slurry removed using a wet vacuum. After speed drying the stone with a heat gun it was ready for a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, even we were impressed with the results.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston After Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The Red and Black Victorian Tiles were cleaned with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is very similar to Oxy-Gel only in a liquid form. The product was left to soak into the tiles for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black buffing pad attached to a slow speed buffing machine. I used the wet vacuum again to soak up the residue and stubborn stains were retreated until I was satisfied.

Old Victorian floors rarely have a damp proof membrane installed and so it’s not uncommon for damp to rise-up through the ground and tile resulting in white salt deposits being left on the surface. To prevent this process, which is commonly referred to as Efflorescence, Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied. The solution is scrubbed into the tiles and then rinsed off with clean water and removed with a wet vacuum ready for sealing.

Victorian Tiles can take a while to dry and in this case I left it two days before returning to apply a breathable sealer to protect the tiles from ingrained dirt and staining. In this case a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied. If you recall this was the same sealer we used on the fireplace as the customer wished to bring out the colour and have a Matt finish.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston After Cleaning
 

Professional Restoration of a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor in Lancashire

Original Edwardian Tiles Refreshed and Revitalised in Lytham St Annes

We often get asked to restore original Edwardian tiles which, contrary to popular belief, are the same as Victorian tiles in their style and composition. The only discernible difference is the age of the property – whether it was built in the Victorian (1837-1901) or Edwardian period (1901-1910). As such, they can be cleaned and sealed in the same manner.

I recently visited an Edwardian period property in Lytham St Annes, a lovely coastal resort on the Lancashire coast where we have completed many restorative cleaning activities in the past. Along with its sandy beaches, the area is internationally renowned for its golf courses.

The property owner had some original Edwardian tiles which had been laid down in a vestibule and were beginning to show their age. There were several damaged tiles in the area that needed to be replaced and the entire set of tiles needed to be cleaned to achieve the best possible result.

Edwardian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Lytham

Cleaning Original Edwardian Tiles

To begin I needed to address the issue of the damaged tiles, fortunately we are always on the lookout for old tiles and have quite a collection we can choose from, were also in touch with a number of companies that still make these tiles and so are able to source replacements one way or another.

Edwardian Tiled Floor During Tile Repair in Lytham
I was therefore able to replace the broken and damaged tiles with suitable replacements that matched well with the original pattern of the floor. They were fixed in place and then once the adhesive had hardened grouted in using a matching grout.

Following this, I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to the remaining area taking care not to disturb the newly laid tiles. Based on the popular Pro-Clean product, Oxy-Gel is a strong alkaline cleaning product that breaks down dirt and grime and is safe to use on tiles however being in gel form and not liquid it stays where put, which was important the grout was still drying in the repaired area.

Edwardian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Lytham
The Oxy-Gel was left to dwell for roughly 30 minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush. to the tiles. I carefully rinsed away the resulting slurry and then treated the area with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. By applying the product, I could reduce the grout haze and efflorescence problems that occur in old properties like this.

Edwardian Tiled Floor During Cleaning in Lytham
Next, I carefully rinsed the floor again with water and soaked up the moisture with a wet vacuum, before leaving it to fully dry out overnight.

Sealing Original Edwardian Tiles

I returned to the property the next day with the intention of sealing the tiles; fortunately, the weather was good and after taking a couple of damp readings I was happy the tiles were completely dry. We must be careful with older buildings which don’t have a damp proof membrane fitted; if there is even a moderate amount of damp present it can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

I started the sealing process with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour-enhancing sealer that improves the look of the tile as well as adding internal protection. Assisted with a fan to speed up the drying time, this was followed by several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is a topical sealer that add further protection and the high-quality sheen finish the customer requested.

Edwardian Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Lytham
The customer was thrilled with the result and very pleased that she could salvage these fantastic original tiles. Another satisfied customer.

Edwardian Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Lytham
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Edwardian Tiled Vestibule in the Fylde District

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

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

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

Original Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Lytham St Annes

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

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

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

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a fully breathable and colour enhancing product. The sealer is impregnating – meaning that it penetrates the pores of the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt and stains. We recommend Colour Grow for both internal and external applications and especially for areas where no damp proof membrane is evident, since the sealer allows for the floor to breathe moisture.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Lytham St Annes
Despite the floor being well over a century old it came up really well and the sealer will now add a layer of protection that will keep it that way for some time to come.

Original Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Lytham St Annes
 

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

Victorian Tiled Porch Hidden Under Vinyl Restored in Lytham

Some Floor Tiles can be too damaged to be able to do anything with, but Victorian Tiles are nearly indestructible and we often find we can restore them to like new condition. Additionally, period features are very much sought after by potential buyers and add a lot of value to a house so well worth taking the effort to restore.

This small Victorian Tiled porch at the entrance to a house in Lytham near Blackpool is a good example of just how resilient these floors can be. There was some damage to it and I suspect at some time in the past a previous owner had decided to cover it up with Linoleum rather than face the expense of repairing it, fortunately for the floor the current owner was keen to restore it.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Doorway

The first job was to strip off the old Vinyl covering which had been glued down with some strong adhesive. We carefully scraped off as much as possible by hand and then soaked the floor in Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a strong tile cleaning product which being in a gel doesn’t run off and for stays in position. We left it to dwell on the tiles in order to break down the glue and then scrubbed it in and followed up with a steamer and a rinse with water to remove the soil.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham
To finish off he cleaning the tiles were treated to an acid rinse by applying Acid Gel which will remove any grout smears and treat any mineral salt issues rising through the floor overnight as the floor dries.

Once the floor was clean and free of all the glue etc. it was time to repair the corner of the floor where several tiles were missing. Before started work I had managed to source replacements from Original Style Tiles who offer a wide range of colours and styles to suit the original floor. I set the replacement tiles in place and then grouted them in.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham
After the tile adhesive and grout had set I gave the floor a light clean with a damp sponge and then covered the floor with a clean dust sheet before leaving it to fully dry overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Porch

The next day the floor was checked for any issues and also dampness before moving onto seal the tiles. To seal the tiles, we then applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a fully breathable sealer that is suitable for internal and external use, it also lifts the colour of the tiles and will prevent them from ingrained dirt in the future making the tiles easy to clean.

Victorian Porch After Restoration Lytham
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Porch Restoration in Lancashire

Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in a Heysham Kitchen

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

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

Deep Cleaning Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles

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

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

Sealing Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles

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

Amtico Vinyl After Cleaning and Sealing in Heysham

Amtico Vinyl Floor After Care

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

Maintaining Amtico Vinyl Floor Tiles in Lancashire

Milling and Sealing Uneven Flagstone Flooring in Haslingden

Flagstones are a durable Sandstone based material that give a solid feel to any floor, however while large and impressive to look at they can be very rough and un-even. This isn’t so much of a problem when Flagstones are used externally for patios and pathways, but rough surfaces trap dirt and when these tiles are used internally, they are much easier to maintain if the stone is smooth and sealed.

This customer, who lives in the Lancashire town of Haslingden, had this problem with their Flagstone tiled floor and like most things related to tile, stone and grout we have a solution in the form of a process known as milling. This basically involves grinding down the surface of the tile using coarse diamond encrusted pads to make it smooth.

Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon

The customer booked me in to get the job done, having seen some previous milling work of ours on our website and liking what we had achieved for other people with similar floors.

Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon

Milling an Uneven Flagstone Tiled Floor

Milling the stone involves the use of a set of thee millings pads of different grades (50, 100 and 200 grit) which are applied in sequence. You start with the coarse and abrasive 50 grit milling pad and follow this by smoothing this surface with the finer 100 and 200 diamond grit milling pads. Water is used to lubricate and capture the dust which is created during the process resulting in a slurry which needs to be rinsed away and extracted between each pad. The process requires the use of a solid weighted rotary machine and a fair bit of muscle power to guide it.

We successfully managed to mill the Flagstone tiles virtually flat in places and the process removed the unappealing stained and dirty layer of stone that was ruining the appearance of the floor. Interestingly we usually find that by grinding away the old and dirty layer of stone the true colour of the tiles that had been hidden under many years’ worth of muck is revealed. Unfortunately, in this case, due to the darkness of this stone it was difficult to see a great deal of colour change.

Sealing Flagstone Floor Tiles

Finally, the floor needed to be sealed to protect against future instances of staining and ingrained dirt. To do this I sealed the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour enhancing sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone and occupies that space preventing dirt from become ingrained. The sealer also leaves a matte, natural looking finish, which is a perfect match for the rustic character of the Flagstone tiles.

Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon

Now that the floor has been levelled and sealed, the surface is smooth and protected. This means the customer will not be ruining any more mops when the cleaning bucket comes out!

Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon
 

Professional Milling and Sealing of Stained and Uneven Floor in Lancashire

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

Grout Colouring and Cleaning of a Mosaic Tiled Kitchen Worktop in Silverdale

Tiled kitchen worktops work really well, but just like any other kind of tiled surface they will need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking great. Kitchen worktops in particular can fall into poor condition quickly when exposed to all manner of dirt and stains resulting from food preparation, with the grout lines often suffering the most which if you have tiles in your shower is a problem I’m sure you will be familiar with.

Mosaic tiled worktop before grout colouring
The grout lines on this Mosaic tiled kitchen worktop had become discoloured following years of exposure to soaps and washing up liquid from the nearby sink, as well as, most likely, food and drink spillages. The property was in the picturesque village of Silverdale, Morecambe Bay, and the owner had decided it was time to have the worktop professionally refreshed. This was a job that would only take a few hours to complete, and would involve both grout cleaning and recolouring.

Mosaic tiled worktop before grout colouring

Cleaning and Recolouring Dirty Grout for a Mosaic Worktop

Before beginning the restoration, I had to decide upon the best method. I realised that if I took out the grout to replace it completely I may have dislodged or even damaged the tiles – especially considering that they are at least 30 years old and give the age of the tiles it would be difficult if not impossible to find replacements if they were damaged.

As a result, I opted to clean the tiles and grout using Tile Doctor Oxy Gel. This product is a strong alkaline-based cleaner in gel form designed to break down dirt and grime, including soap scum and mildew stains. While it can be used on both horizontal and vertical surfaces, it is particularly suitable for the latter as the gel is able to dwell for a long time without running down the wall. Oxy Gel proved to be very effective in restoring the grout lines to top form, but I chose to follow by steam cleaning the area to get rid of any bacteria.

Mosaic tiled worktop during grout colouring
To finish the restoration, I recoloured the grout lines using our fresh White grout colourant – one of 10 available colours. Tile Doctor’s grout colourant seals and rejuvenates existing grout joints, and is equally effective for interior or exterior applications, including bathrooms and kitchens. The colourant was left for a little while to cure, before I polished off the excess with white sponge pads.

Mosaic tiled worktop after grout colouring
The result was a quick and effective transformation for the Mosaic tiled kitchen worktop that left the customer very happy!

Professional Mosaic Tiled Kitchen Worktop Restoration in 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

Grout Cleaning and Colouring for a Ceramic Terracotta Tiled Floor in Preston

Well maintained grout is fundamental to achieving a great looking tiled floor, whatever your choice of tile or stone. Even if the tiles themselves are in reasonably good condition, dirty and damaged grout lines can really upset the overall appearance of the floor.

Such was the case with this Ceramic Terracotta tiled floor in the bustling Lancashire town of Preston. The property owner recently had a new kitchen installed, but chose not to have new tiles fitted since the original tiles (dating back a good 15 years) were still in fantastic physical condition, with no chips or breaks. This is quite surprising considering that the kitchen is typically one of the main areas of traffic in any house however Ceramic and Porcelain tiles are very durable.

The grout, however, told a different story: it was very dirty and even missing in parts. Over the years it had come away and was replaced with new grout, however, this had left the whole floor with a displeasing patchy finish. Upon closer inspection it also became clear that the tiles themselves could do with a deep clean. I stepped in to discuss what could be done to improve the appearance of the floor and recommended a deep clean and grout colouring.

Grout Colouring Preston Before

Cleaning Ceramic Terracotta Tiles and Grout

Tile Doctor Pro Clean, a versatile high alkaline cleaner, was my choice of product for removing the dirt from the tiles. I applied it liberally across the floor before scrubbing it in with a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Pro Clean is a go-to product for the removal of dirt, stains and other muck on most kinds of natural stone floor, and is capable of dealing with small amounts of soil to heavy buildup.

Once the tiles had been cleaned I turned special attention to the grout. I cleaned it with a product called Grout Colourant Pre-Treatment Cleaner, which is slightly acidic to break down ingrained dirt and tackle inherent grout smears, while ensuring that grout colourant bonds to the grout once it is applied.

Colouring Grout for Ceramic Terracotta a Tiles

The job took two days to complete as it was quite a large floor stretching into several rooms. The floor also needed to dry off overnight once I had completed the cleaning process, so I decided to call back the next day once it had dried completely. Upon my return I proceeded to colour the freshly cleaned grout by applying one coat of natural grey colourant. Sometimes two coats might be required for blending purposes, but not on this occasion.

The customer was very happy with the results. She had, in fact, thought of ripping up the old tiles as part of the kitchen restoration, but she decided not to since she really likes the tiles. A restoration by the Lancashire Tile Doctor was the appropriate and much less expensive choice!

Grout Colouring Preston After
 

Professional Grout Cleaning and Colouring of a Ceramic Floor in Lancashire

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

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

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

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

Replacing the Silicone Sealant around a Sink in Garstang

We often get calls to refresh bathrooms, which by the way if your selling your house is highly recommended as its cheap to do and it can transform a dingy bathroom into one that looks like it has just been installed; so replacing the silicone sealant strip around sinks and baths is something we tend to do a lot of and if you have ever done this yourself you will probably realise how tricky it can be.

This customer in Garstang only needed the strip around the sink replacing which isn’t a large job so I agreed to pop-in on the way back from another job in the local area and sort it out. The process is relatively simple, you use a sharp knife to remove the old sealant, clean the area up and then apply new, the trick is to apply just the right amount of silicone and then shape it with an angled tool. My preference is to use a Mapei silicone which if you live in Garstang can be sourced from Rockform tiles.

Silicone Seal Replacement Garstang Before Silicone Seal Replacement Garstang After

On the subject of bathroom maintenance I can highly recommend a product we sell called Tile Doctor Mould Away which used regularly does a great job of keeping your Silicone mould free.

Bathroom Refresh in Garstang

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

Milling and Polishing Blue Lias Limestone tiles in Silverdale

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 Blue Lias Limestone Before Milling Blue Lias Limestone Before

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.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone Milling Pad
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.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone Tile Silicone
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.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone After Milling Blue Lias Limestone After

 

Uneven Limestone tile problems resolved in Lancaster

Cleaning Rough Black Slate at an Enterprise Centre in Millom

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.

Rough Black Slate Millom Before Cleaning

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.

Rough Black Slate Millom After Cleaning
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.

To source slate tiles similar to these visit www.PremierTilesBarrow.co.uk

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled floor in Southport

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 Colouring porcelain tiled kitchen floor in Leyland

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.

Grout Colouring in Leyland Before

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.

Grout Colouring in Leyland During
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.

Grout Colouring in Leyland After
 

Grout Colouring in Leyland, Lancashire

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