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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

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

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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