Restoration

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

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

Old Flagstone Tiled Flooring Resurfaced in Great Harwood

This customer in Great Harwood was so fedup with their Flagstone tiled flooring on the ground floor of their property. In fact they were ready to take up the floor, put a new concrete base in place and lay a wood floor down on top. However this is the original floor from when the house was built in 1894 so was not replaceable as such, and the customer really wanted to restore the floor back to its original condition, as well as other material’s in the house, to recreate the Original Victorian feeling that had been missing for many years.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood

We have completed quite a lot of this type of work for customers in the past and we publish all out work on our website and it was one job similar to this that convinced the customer that we had the answer to her problem.

Milling an Old Flagstone Floor

A few years ago Tile Doctor invented a system called Milling to deal with problematic stone floors like this one. The system uses very coarse Diamond pads fitted to heavy machinery to mill the stone until it is a smooth as possible. This action gets rid of years of traffic marks, ingrained dirt as well as old wax and sealers. There’s nothing harder than Diamond so we find this system woks really well on an old damaged floor like this one.

The process will leave the stone looking rough so once finished with the coarse pads we then apply a lighter Diamond grit pad to remove the scratch marks that the heavy diamond grits leave behind. The floor is rinsed between pads and a little water is also used to provide lubrication.

After resolving the stone issues we re-grouted the whole floor and conduct one more final clean using Tile Doctor Neutral Clean before leaving it to dry out ready for sealing a few days later.

Sealing an Old Flagstone Floor

On our return the sealer we chose for these old flagstone was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, it penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and in the processes lift the natural colours in the Stone.

Colour Grow is a breathable sealer which you need when sealing these old stone floors which won’t have a damp proof membrane installed. A wet look or polishing sealer will eventually spoil in damper wetter weather.

Another advantage of Colour Grow is it leaves a Matt finish which is a more natural look for Sandstone Flagstones like these. They will also be easier to clean as the milling process made the stone much smoother to the touch, so it becomes a lot easier to maintain in the future.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood

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 123 years ago!

Restoring an Old Flagstone Floor in Lancashire

Cleaning a Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle in Silverdale

This ceramic tiled shower cubicle was installed at house in Silverdale, you can see from the photographs below that there was staining from the chemicals in domestic products and there was also a build-up of mould on some parts of the grout and silicone sealant. Mould can get a grip here due to a porous top layer and this is especially a problem in the UK where bathrooms tend to be small with inadequate ventilation.

Shower Cubicle Silverdale Before Shower Cubicle Silverdale Before

Cleaning Tile and Grout

The ceramic tiles and grout was treated using Tile Doctor Oxy Pro which is a ready to use tile and grout shower cleaner that comes with a trigger spray attachment which allows the cleaner to mix with air making it lighter and allowing it to stick to vertical surfaces. It was then worked in using a stiff scrubbing brush by hand before being rinsed off with water; this process was repeated a number of times until we had managed to clean all the areas and then left to dry.

Unfortunately it’s not possible to remove mould from silicone sealant, the only solution is to have it stripped off and replaced. Once this was done the edges were cleaned up and fresh mould resistant silicone was applied.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that silicone will last longer if the residue from soaps, shampoos and body washes etc. are rinsed away with clean water after having a shower as it’s the chemical and not the water that damages the silicone in the first place.

Shower Cubicle Silverdale After Shower Cubicle Silverdale After

The results are plain to see and my customer was very satisfied with the work.

Prevention is always better than the cure and another tip you might find useful is to improve ventilation which is a major problem with draught free modern housing fitted with insulation and double glazing, if this is not possible try leaving your shower room door wide open after having a shower. Another option is to look at installing a ventilation and heat recovery system which extracts the hot air from kitchens and bathrooms through a heat exchanger to warm up fresh air from outside and recycles it back into the house.

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled Shower room in Lancashire

Hardened Chlorine Removal from Tiles at Leisure Centre Pool and Spa

Not sure if these pictures do the job justice but we had a tough job on our hands cleaning the anti-slip ceramic tiles around this swimming pool at a leisure centre near Kendal in Cumbria. Including the changing rooms the area measured approximately 1110m2 and fortunately most of the tiles were just in need of a good scrub and clean but there were also some areas where there was a build-up of hardened chlorine around the drains and dips in the floor allowing it to settle and calcify on the tile.

Hardened Chlorine Around Spa Area Hardened Chlorine Around Changing Area

To clean the tile we used Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is a heavy duty cleaning product specifically designed for tile cleaning. The area was large but fortunately only about 10m2 needed to be cleaned by hand for the rest we were able to use a rotary machine fitted with and a Black Buffing pad; lots of rinsing was required and we used a wet vacuum to remove the water as naturally it was important not to let any chemical contaminate the pool.

Swimming Pool Tile Cleaning in Action
For the difficult areas that had to be done by hand we used a Fein Multimaster which is a versatile electric tool that has a special attachment that allowed us to remove the Chlorine build-up

Spa Area After Cleaning
The area took two of us four days to complete and the client was pleased with the different we made and left the following feedback on our website.

They arrived on the day they said and they finished on the day they said and we were well satisfied with both their work and professionalism and would have no hesitation in recommending them to future clients

To source tiles similar to these visit www.KendalTileandStone.co.uk

Swimming pool tiles cleaned at a Leisure Centre in Cumbria

Sandstone floor maintained in Stodday, Lancashire

This sandstone floor was installed in a house in the village of Stodday, Lancashire, the floor was looking dull and if you look closely you should be able to see surface staining, there were also a number of marks the customer was eager for us to deal with.

Sandstone floor in Stodday before Sandstone floor in Stodday before

Cleaning Sandstone

We cleaned the floor using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with 10 parts warm water and worked in using a Black Scrubbing pad. This action certainly gave the floor a good clean but the marks mentioned earlier were proving stubborn to shift so we tried a stronger product called Remove and Go combined 50/50 with NanoTech UltraClean which add nano sized abrasive particles. We left the resulting formula to soak into the stone for about an hour and then used a steam cleaner to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone and lift out the dirt, this did the trick and so we then removed the cleaning products with a wet vacuum and washed down the floor with clean water to neutralise the floor before sealing and left for the evening so the floor could dry overnight.

Sandstone floor in Stodday after

Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor

We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The sandstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which gives a nice low sheen finish, Sandstone is fairly porous so it took five coats of sealer in the end. Seal and Go is a topical sealer and really brings out the true colour of the Stone and also leaves them a lot easier to clean with a mop as it takes a lot of the rough texture out of the stone.

Sandstone floor in Stodday after
 

Sandstone Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Lancashire

Grout Colouring in Chorley

The surface of grout is porous and as a result it can get so dirty it becomes impossible to clean it successfully, even our most powerful cleaners struggle if it gets to this stage. If you get to this point you could use the flat end of a screwdriver to scrape out the grout and re-grout the whole floor to ensure a consistent colour, naturally this is arduous work and can be time consuming however there is a second option and that is to apply a Grout Colourant instead. The grout colouring products we use not only change the colour but it also provides a protective barrier that seals the grout as well ensuring it keeps it appearance well into the future.

Grout Colouring Before

Preparing the Grout

Before applying a Grout Colour it’s important to ensure the grout is clean of grease and any sealer that may have been applied to the adjacent tile; Tile Doctor Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner that’s good for this purpose, for best results you should allow the cleaner to dwell for a while and then get into the grout joints by hand with a stiff brush. Last step is to rinse the floor down with clean water to remove any chemical that might upset the colourant, I recommend the use of a wet vacuum at this point to remove liquids from the floor.

Grout Colouring During

Applying the Grout Colour

Once the grout has dried you can start applying the colourant which is a relatively straightforward process of squeezing the product onto a toothbrush and running it onto the grout. Don’t be tempted to use an old toothbrush for this purpose as it may contaminate the colourant leading to discolouration in the finish. The product sets in a couple of hours so I was able to do the whole floor in a day.

Grout Colouring After
 

Colouring Grout in Lancashire

Quarry floor restored in Borwick, Lancashire

This Quarry tiled floor is installed in a house that was built circa 1920, well before the invention of damp proof course. Although there was no evidence of damp there was quite a bit of old plaster, trapped dirt and pain splashes on the quarry tiles, the photograph below gives you a good idea of the state it was in.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration

Cleaning Quarry flagged flooring

We cleaned the Quarry tiles first with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean which improved the floor but struggled to shift the stubborn areas. Something stronger was required to we applied Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up on the Plaster and Grout followed by a small amount of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to get rid of the Paint Splashes. The floor was then rinsed down with clean water which was then vacuumed off the floor using a wet vacuum and left it to dry overnight.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration

Sealing Quarry floor tile

The next morning we used a damp meter to verify the floor had dried sufficiently for sealing, it’s always possible to hurry this along with an industrial fan or heat gun for small areas. In this case the floor was fine and we proceeded to seal it using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which results in a nice low sheen finish as well as providing lasting stain protection, four coats of Seal and Go were needed to seal the Quarry Tiles.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration

I think you will agree the floor looks transformed.

Restoring a Quarry Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Sandstone floor restored in Leyland

These pictures are of a Sandstone floor installed in a house in Leyland, the dog seems quite content with the floor but the owner wasn’t; the trouble with Sandstone is that is a relatively soft sedimentary stone which doesn’t provide the best foundation for a sealer causing it to breakdown faster. To counteract this I usually apply as much sealer as the floor will accept and then leave any spare with the customer so they can top it up when the shine starts to wear off. I find this works better than to let the Sealer break down as this will allow dirt to get trapped in the stone and then you have to start all over again with the clean and seal. Applying a regular top up of sealer will keep the floor in good condition for several years before it needs to be done again saving the customer time and money in the long run.

Cleaning Sandstone flagged flooring

We cleaned the Sandstone flags with a 1 to 10 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and warm water agitated with a Black buffing pad attached to our floor scrubbing machine. The soiled solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed off with water, judging by the colour of the dirty water it was clear we had managed to dislodge a large amount of dirt. The process was repeated a few times until we were confident the floor was as clean as it could be and then we left it to dry overnight.

Sandstone floor in leyland before

Sealing Sandstone floor tile

The next morning the floor had dried and we proceeded to seal the sandstone with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is highly recommended for this type of stone providing a good level of stain protection combined with a nice low sheen finish. Five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were needed to cover the floor which can take some time to apply as each coat needs to dry first before you can apply the next.

Sandstone floor in leyland After
 

Restoring a Sandstone Tiled Floor in Lancashire

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