This was a substantial engagement at a luxury rental apartment in Brighton rejuvenating the Limestone tiles in two bathrooms and a hallway taking six days of hard work. In addition, I would be working around two decorators, making for even more testing work conditions.
Cleaning Limestone bathroom tiles
I first set to work on the smallest bathroom, which featured limestone tiles from floor to ceiling, as well as a large bath, copper sink and a tiled surround. Limestone is a very popular choice for interior and exterior decoration, but the tiles in this bathroom were in need of some care to get them looking their best again. My initial task was to strip away any previous sealer by hand; this was done using a mixture of warm water and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which, along with Limestone, is also suitable for use on other types of natural stone, such as Granite, Slate and Travertine. Pro-Clean serves both as an effective stripper and cleaner, meaning that once the sealer had been stripped away, the tiles also received a thorough clean. Once I had cleaned the tiles, I sucked up any excess water and residue using a Wet-Dry Vac machine.
Since the tiles would have to be left to dry for a couple of days, I offered to restore the copper sink for the customer, even though this was not actually part of my job description. After conducting some research into copper cleaning, I opted to use a combination of lemon juice, vinegar and salt. The research paid off as, once I began to apply the solution to the sink, the bright orange and brown colours of the copper quickly rose to the surface. Within the space of an hour, I had transformed what initially appeared to be a ruined sink into a lovely, shimmering copper feature for the bathroom. Both the decorators and I were truly amazed at the results – but all credit goes to Google!
The larger of the two bathrooms was a much stiffer test for the Tile Doctor products. It had not been left in great condition, as the shower area had clearly not been sealed correctly, and the tiles had been left in such a manner that soap scum from shampoos, soaps and shower gels had built up on the window sill. In fact, the damage was significant enough that I had to explain to the customer before starting the work that whilst I could greatly improve the appearance of the tiles, I would not be able to restore them to new. This is because many shampoo and body wash products are acidic and can cause permanent damage to stone work especially when left to dwell for a long time.
My choice of product was Tile Doctor Mould Away, a formula which, over time, seeps deeply into the pores of the stone, effectively lifting away the muck. In cases of particularly stubborn areas, it is necessary to apply another covering of Mould Away and leave it for an extended period of time. This is exactly what I did over the next few days, leaving the product overnight to work its magic. The change was certainly drastic, if not perfect.
Cleaning and sealing the hallway and bathrooms
As both bathrooms required extended periods of drying, I spent two days working on the hallway, which had been partially covered with a plastic sealing for the previous six months due to building work. Needless to say, the hallway was in need of a good clean. I set about cleaning the hallway with a solution of warm water and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, before once again using a Wet-Dry Vac machine to remove any excess water to prepare the floor for sealing at a later point. It is very important to remove any residue of cleaning solution before sealing, as this may impact the performance of the sealer. Following this, I left the hallway to dry for two days, providing the builders with strict instructions to cover it with blankets for protection while they were working.
While the floor was drying, I sealed the bathrooms – both now fully dried – with Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer, a solvent-based sealer that was highly effective at enhancing the colour of the brown tiles around the sinks. The product will also provide durable surface protection. I spent the final of the six days sealing the hallway floor with Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides both a stain-resistant surface seal and a durable, low-sheen finish. This was an ideal choice of product, as the customer requested a hard-wearing, yet shiny finish.
The hard work really paid off, as both the customer and the decorators were very impressed with the final results in the two bathrooms and the hallway. I was extremely pleased that I was able to complete this big job to the highest possible standards.