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Flagstone Floor Restoration Lytham St Annes

Original Flagstone Tiled Floor Restoration in Lytham St Annes

The client said when he moved into this house in Lytham St Annes late last year that this room had a really bad smell of damp. The Flagstone floor was covered in carpet and he had the impression that the previous owner’s cat had been known to use it as place to pee!

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Lytham St Annes

The smell was rank and probably bad for your health so he decided to remove the carpet and the thick underlay underneath. Under that there was some old Vinyl flooring which all came out to reveal the original flagstone floor. As you can see from the pictures it was in a poor state covered in red and white paint, bits of bitumen here and there and the pointing had been lost in several areas of the floor. Additionally, all those layers over the stone would have prevented any moisture from naturally evaporating at the surface thereby resulting in damp.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Lytham St Annes Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Lytham St Annes

The client had seen what we could do on our website and sent us some pictures of his floor which covered approximately 16m2. I priced for milling the flagstone as a deep clean would not resolve the shaling issues on its own and only a good mill of the stone would do that. Also, it needed all the pointing that was still in place knocking out and new flexible breathable pointing put back in place.

Cleaning and Repairing a Flagstone Tiled Hallway Floor

Milling stone is not a low-cost option, but it is a lot more cost effective than pulling up the whole floor and putting in a modern subfloor. Milling involves using a weighted buffing machine fitted with different grits and grades of coarse Diamond encrusted pads which cut into the surface of the stone to reveal new stone underneath, you then apply finer pads to hone and refine the surface.

In this case I used a set of Tile Doctor Milling Pads applied in sequence starting with 50-grit, 100-grit and then 200-grit. Water is used to lubricate the process and keep the dust down, it’s also important to rinse the stone off after each pad and extract the slurry that is generated with a wet vacuum.

The floor was then cleaned with Tile Doctor Remove and Go allowing the product to soak in for ten minutes to loosen deep seated paint staining. The Tile Doctor Remove and Go was then worked in with another 200-grit pad before another rinse and extract again with the wet vacuum.

Older floors like this were installed before the invention of the damp proof membrane so moisture is always a concern. To counter any issues that might develop later such as Efflorescence the last step in the cleaning process was to give the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, this neutralises any latent salts trapped in the subfloor.

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Hallway Floor

The milling, re-pointing and cleaning work took two days and we returned for a third day to apply a breathable sealer called Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal. This product is fully breathable and a great choice for any floors where damp can be a problem as it will allow for moisture to rise through the stone and evaporate at the surface. Being oil-based it also adds character to natural stone and adds an appealing low satin finish.

Flagstone Floor After Restoration Lytham St Annes Flagstone Floor After Restoration Lytham St Annes

The whole process completely transformed the appearance of the flagstone floor and really suits the property which was a late Victorian four-story house with a basement. Original features like this are very sought after so it makes sense to restore them as it will add value.

Flagstone Floor After Restoration Lytham St Annes

An additional advantage of the milling process is it also reduces the roughness of the stone surface makes it smoother and easier to clean. On the topic of cleaning its worth mentioning that you should never use a strong bleach-based tile cleaning product on a sealed floor as it will erode the sealer prematurely. For a floor like this you need to use a product like Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which is a mild but effective cleaning product designed for use on sealed tile and stone.


Professional Restoration of a Flagstone Floor in Lancashire

Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor Renovation Garstang

Rough Indian Sandstone Floor Milled and Restored in Garstang

Due to the textured nature of the Indian Sandstone tiles installed their kitchen, this client from Garstang was having trouble keeping their stone floor clean. Having decided enough was enough they contacted Tile Doctor to see what could be done to rectify the problem.

I went over to survey the floor and could see dirt was being trapped in the riven surface of the Sandstone and any sealer put there to protect the stone had long since worn off. I find the best solution for rough stone floors like these is to mill the stone with coarse diamond pads thereby removing the grubby surface layer and revealing a new surface underneath. This action also flattens the stone to remove the roughness and makes it easier to maintain.

Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Garstang

I provided a price for milling the stone, cleaning up the grout lines and then applying a new sealer to protect it going forward. Happy with the price, the client arranged to purchase the required products, and we booked in a date for the work to commence. It was only a small 5 m2 area so I was happy that it could be done by one Tile Doctor over a couple of days.

Cleaning and Restoring an Indian Sandstone Tiled Kitchen Floor

To mill the Sandstone, we use a couple of very coarse milling pads of different grades which are applied to the stone with water for lubrication. The pads are fitted to a rotary floor machine to which extra weight is added to ensure a good contact with the stone. The floor was rinsed with water as I progressed, and the soiling generated was extracted with a wet vacuum.

Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Garstang

Circular pads do struggle to maintain contact with the edges and especially corners so this is done manually using a set of hand-held diamond blocks. I also scrubbed the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to get the lines as clean as possible.

It’s worth noting that Indian Sandstone is full of iron and a lot harder to mill compared to English Sandstone, Flagstone, and Slate etc. As a result, it took most of the first day to complete this stage.

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Kitchen Floor

Once milled and cleaned I left the sandstone to dry off overnight and then called back the next day to apply the sealer. For this floor we went with Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal which is a breathable oil-based sealer that contains a colour enhancing formula to improve the general appearance of the stone.

Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Garstang

What might not be noticeable from the pictures is the smoothness of the stone after it’s been milled, this makes it a lot easier to clean and makes it a lot less absorbent to dirt and muck etc.

The fresh sealer will maintain its appearance for many many years to come and maybe in another 100 years it will need to be milled again.

Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Garstang

It always helps to use the right product when cleaning stone after it’s been sealed, so we dropped off a bottle of pH Neutral Cleaner for the client which we call Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. This will ensure easy maintenance without damaging the sealer.


Professional Restoration of an Indian Sandstone Tiled Kitchen in Lancashire

Quarry Tiled Floor Renovation Caton Lancaster

Black and Red Dorchester Pattern Quarry Tiled Floor Renovation Caton

A first glance you might not notice much improvement in this Quarry tiled floor that we recently worked on at a Victorian house in Caton near Lancaster. However, look closer and you will see that a pattern has been worn into the tiles from a previous covering most likely carpet underlay.

The sealer on the floor was also due to be replaced so having surveyed the floor on my initial visit I worked out a plan to renovate the Quarry tiles which would include deep cleaning the tile and grout, removing the underlay patterning, and then re-sealing the tiles to keep them protected.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Caton Lancaster

Deep Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor

To start neat Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel was applied to the floor and left to soak in for twenty minutes giving it time to break down soils etc. Then a 200-grit Diamond burnishing pad was attached to floor buffing machine which was a heavily weighted for extra grip and run a few times over the tiles. These pads are very aggressive and ideal for cleaning off the pattern left by the carpet underlay.

Oxy-Gel was chosen for this as being in Gel form its more manageable and holds itself against the clay Quarry tile for longer allowing the product work to a much harder, whereas a liquid cleaner generally soaks away into the clay and underneath meaning you need to use more water to remove it later resulting in longer drying times.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Caton Lancaster

After the gel has been scrubbed into the tiles (no water needed at this stage) a wet vacuum Is used to remove the soiling generated during the process. After this initial clean a small amount of water is added to the floor and we go over with the same 200-grit diamond pad extracting the water off the tiles within five minutes of it being applied.

With the Oxy-Gel removed the floor was given and acid rinse using Tile Doctor Acid Gel using the same process as before but this time using a Black scrubbing pad and only allowing it to dwell for 10 minutes. Acidic products are quicker acting on clay and so need less dwell time for it to work. Water was then added and after brushing it in to the floor it was removed using the wet vacuum within five minutes. I sometimes do this job twice as this is the last of the deep cleaning process and will ensure the tiles are free from any debris and dirt before we allow the clay tiles to dry out before sealing.

Before finishing for the day, I took time to apply matching grout where it was missing which was mainly around the edges and sponged off the excess. With this done the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

The next day we conducted a damp test, but despite the use of Gel cleaning products it was still too damp to seal. My client however wanted to seal how the tiles would look with the sealer we were planning to use which was Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal, so to do this three tiles were force dried using an Air blower and a Heat Gun.

With the sealer approved the floor was left for two days so it could fully dry out, the damp test showed a much better reading and we were able to crack on applying the sealer to the whole floor. Only one coat of X-Tra Seal was needed, it’s a thick Oil based product that soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from within, it also fully breathable so ideal for old floors like this one that don’t have a damp proof membrane. Lastly it contains a colour enhancing formula that in this case improved the deep Red and dark Black colours in the tile.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Cleaning Sealing Caton Lancaster

Lastly for aftercare I recommended Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is a gentle but effective tile and grout cleaning product. You have to be careful when choosing an cleaning product for use on sealed tiles as many are bleach based and simply too strong.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Cleaning Sealing Caton Lancaster


Professional Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Lobby in Lancashire

Red and Black Victorian Tiled Floor Renovated in Lytham St Annes Lancashire

Traditional Black and Red Victorian Floor Renovated in Lytham St Annes

This property in Lytham St Annes had a large area of Black and Red Victorian floor tiles in the front room, dining room and scullery. The building dates to 1870, so the floor is likely to be over 150 years old which is a true testament to how well Victorian’s made and constructed materials even with the most basic of methods compared to modern times.

Red and Black Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Lytham St Annes

After inspecting the floor, I could see some of the tiles had characterful chips and marks in them, in fact none of them were perfect but I was confident they would still respond well to a deep clean and fresh seal. Having agreed a price and having discussed sealer options a date was scheduled for the work to commence.

Red and Black Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Lytham St Annes

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Scullery, Front and Dining Room Floor

I was wary that such an old floor as this would not have a damp proof membrane and because of the sandy nature of Lytham’s geology I suspect was laid directly onto a sand base. Using a lot of water on a floor like this can result in long drying times and could exacerbate efflorescence issues. I therefore opted for a low moisture cleaning method that uses gel-based products.

To start we applied neat Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is an alkaline cleaning product safe for use on tile and grout. After being scrubbed into each tile with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine the soiling was then removed using a wet vacuum. It’s necessary to add a little water at this point as it makes extraction with the vacuum easier.

Once done the process was quickly repeated using Tile Doctor Acid Gel to give the floor an acid rinse. This process serves to clean up the floor further, removing old grout smears and countering alkaline salts latent in the tile that may lead to efflorescence later. Using an acid-based product at this point also neutralises the ph level of the floor following the use of an alkaline cleaner earlier.

The floor was then left to dry off overnight and went through the sealing options with the client, these particular tiles were laid directly on a sand base which was quite common back in the 1800s in Lytham as it’s just a bed of sand in that area of the country.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Scullery, Front and Dining Room Floor

The next day we called back to seal the tiles and started by taking several moisture readings across the floors using a damp meter. The low moisture cleaning system method had worked and all the readings were with tolerance.

Three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were then applied to the tiles allowing approximately thirty minutes between coats. Colour Grow was ideal for these tiles as its fully breathable and with a built-on colour enhancer it helped the red and black tiles stand out. A fully breathable sealer is necessary for a floor without a damp proof membrane as it will allow moisture from the sub floor to rise through the tile and evaporate at the surface, using a non-breathable product will result in moisture building up under the floor until it reaches out the walls potentially leading to rising damp.

Red and Black Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Sealing Lytham St Annes

The floor was transformed by our efforts and before leaving I recommended that for regular cleaning, they use a ph neutral cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, many of the tile cleaning products you find in supermarkets today are bleach based and simply too strong for the sealer.

Red and Black Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Sealing Lytham St Annes


Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Flooring in Lancashire

Riven Green Slate Kitchen Floor Renovation Leyland

Old Riven Green Slate Kitchen Floor Renovated in Leyland

This is an old Riven Green Slate floor in the kitchen of a property in Leyland that dates to when the house was built around 150 years ago. It was looking very worn indeed and the cement pointing was falling out in several areas. The client requested a site visit so we could provide a quote for the renovation.

Riven Green Slate Before Cleaning in Leyland

On inspection I could see the floor was in desperate need of a deep clean, repairs to the pointing and then sealing to add protection going forward. Having worked on the renovation of similar stone floors I was confident we could improve it significantly and with a new sealer applied it would look totally different. They were happy to go ahead with my quote and we booked in a suitable time to carry out the work.

Riven Green Slate Before Cleaning in Leyland

Cleaning and renovation of a Riven Green Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Were happy to take on work of any shape and size and as jobs go this was one of the smaller floors I’ve been asked to work on.

Work began with the application of a coarse 200-grit diamond pad fitted to a weighted rotary floor buffer. The pad was worked into the floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go for extra cleaning power and lubrication. The scrubbing action releases a lot of dirt and old sealers etc from the Slate turning the solution black. This was then rinsed off with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum.

Old floors like this one don’t have a damp proof membrane installed under the stone and so it’s quite common to see moisture from underneath the floor rising through the stone and depositing minerals including salts on the surface as the moisture evaporates. This problem is commonly known as effloresce and to counter it I like to neutralise the alkaline salts by giving the floor an acid rinse. This involves further cleaning the stone using a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up which is scrubbed into the stone and then rinsed off with water and extracted afterwards. Not only does this dissolve any salts is also neutralises the use of alkaline cleaners and etches the stone slightly so you get a better bond with the sealer.

Once the floor cleaning part of the renovation plan was complete attention turned to knocking out the old failing cement that was used to grout the Slate slabs. With the rubble cleared away the stone was repointed using a modern breathable and flexible product that will cope with any moisture rising through the floor. Once dry the floor was then cleaned again removing all the soil with a wet vacuum and left to dry overnight.

Sealing a Riven Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Calling back the next day one thin coat of Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal was applied which added a bit of lustre and this will add strong protection to the stone. X-Tra seal is a premium product, but it was the perfect product for this stone and situation as its formulated using an oil-based resin that will bring out the colour of the green slate; it’s also fully breathable and waterproof so it’s a great sealer for use in high traffic internal or external areas.

Riven Green Slate During Sealing in Leyland

Again, it’s not a cheap sealer but for old rough stone floors in an old house without a damp proof membrane it ticks all the right boxes. Once done the floor was complete and it looked so much cleaner and healthier.

Riven Green Slate After Sealing in Leyland

As usual I discussed after care with my client and recommend they use Tile Doctor pH Neutral Cleaner which is a lot milder than the bleach based cleaners you often find on supermarket shelves. These stronger products can damage the seal (not the stone) and within weeks or months of using that type of cleaner the sealer will be compromised. It’s the sealer that stops dirt from becoming ingrained into the pores of the stone so it makes sense to use a cleaning product that will maximise its life.

Riven Green Slate After Sealing in Leyland


Professional Restoration of a Riven Green Slate Tiled Kitchen in Lancashire

Copper Slate Tiled Floor Before and After Cleaning and Sealing Heysham

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

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