These photographs were taken at a large shared block of flats in the seaside town of Eastbourne. Recently a decision was made to replace the carpet in the entrance hallway and they discovered a lovely but damaged Victorian tiled floor underneath. A decision was made to restore the floor back to its former glory and we were asked to do the work.
Cleaning Victorian Tiles
The carpet had been stuck down with gaffer tape which is fortunate as sometimes a gripper rod is used with nails piercing the grout. To deep clean the heavy build-up of dirt from the tiles and remove the tape adhesive I applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined 50/50 with Pro-Clean and left it to soak into the floor allowing it time to break down the glue. Over the course of the next two days the solution was scrubbed into the tiles, rinsed and then the soiled solution extracted and then re-applying until I was satisfied the floor was clean. It was a residential property and I couldn’t have anyone walking through the floor as I worked so I directed them up the fire exit. The kids really enjoyed the detour.
Sealing Victorian Tiles
Following 48hrs drying time I returned on what must have been the warmest day of the year to seal the floor with a shiny and hard wearing Tile Doctor sealer called Pro-Seal. Victorian tiles are quite porous so eight coats were required in the end.
The final result was a huge improvement and the residents continually commented on the change of colours. The whites really shone and who knew there were blue tiles there?
Pictures below of a Travertine tiled floor in East Grinstead which had been laid some years earlier and over time had become dull as it lost its polished appearance with wear. The customer had tried cleaning but could not get the floor looking the way they it used to.
Cleaning Travertine Tile
To restore appearance on polished hard stone floors such a Travertine and Limestone they have to be cut back and polished with floor burnishing pads, it’s a similar process that you use on wood where you start with coarse sandpaper first and moving on to a finer grade towards the end.
At Tile Doctor we have access to a diamond encrusted burnishing pad system which starts with a coarse red pad applied together with a little water, the coarse pad cleans the tiles and removes any topical sealers or ingrained dirt that may have been present. Next comes the white then yellow pads which are a finer grade again applied using nothing but a little water.
Before applying the final green polishing pad the grout lines need to be cleaned for which we use a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in along the grout line by hand with a stiff brush. Last step of the cleaning process was to rinse the floor of any dirt picked up by the pads and then when the floor is dry the last green polishing pad is applied to add a shine to the floor.
Sealing Travertine Tile
To protect the travertine it was sealed using a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that helps to bring out the natural colours in the grain of the stone. Once it was all dry again I buffed it up again but used a soft white buffing pad. The photograph below was taken after we had finished and you can see the shine in the Travertine and how much cleaner the grout lines are.
Travertine Tiled floor maintained in East Grinstead
A sealer for internal use had been applied to this external black limestone patio in Crowborough and as you can see from the photograph below it had become badly affected by weather and was basically looking a real mess.
Cleaning a Limestone Patio
Working outside does have advantages in that there is a lot less preparation to do to protect other surfaces so it wasn’t long before we got to work with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner and stripper. The Pro-Clean was left to soak into the Limestone for a while so it could get to work on the remaining sealer and make it easy to remove; the next step was to use a high pressure washer fitted with a spinner attachment so not to upset the grout between the tiles. This action removed the dirt and old sealer and just needed a final rinse to wash off any remaining cleaning product before sealing.
Sealing a Limestone Patio
The patio was left to dry off overnight and fortunately due this year’s warm summer we were able to return the next day to seal the Limestone with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which unlike the previous sealer can be used on external applications, it will also protect the patio going forward making it easier to clean as well as bringing out the natural colours in the stone.
I think you will agree the patio has been transformed.
Recently we were asked to resolve an unusual problem with Limescale deposits on Black Slate floor tiles installed in a WC at a house in Hove on the East Sussex coast. You can see from the photograph below how Limescale has left an unsightly white haze and water marks on the surface of the slate tile.
Cleaning Limescale from a Slate Tiled Floor
The first step was to remove the Limescale and any other sealer products from the floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbed into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad, we also used a stiff brush along the grout lines and in those hard to reach areas around the toilet. The floor was then rinsed thoroughly with clean water and any stubborn areas revisited with a repeat of the same process until we were happy the tiles were clean. Had the Limescale proved harder to shift we would applied a stronger product such as Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which can remove mineral deposits.
Sealing Black Slate Floor Tiles
We left the floor to dry overnight and came back the next day to seal it using Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a highly recommended sealer for Slate which provides good stain protection with a low sheen finish, slate is quite porous and it took five coats before it was fully sealed.
I think you will agree the slate tiled floor looks transformed as well as being much easier to clean.
Cleaning and Sealing a Black Slate Tiled Floor in Hove, East Sussex
Mexican Terracotta is a lot more porous than typical Spanish or Italian clays, because of this it’s more prone to trapping dirt and needs to be sealed to protect it. These Mexican Terracotta floor tiles installed in a house in Lewes, East Sussex were no different and were proving difficult to keep clean; apologies in advance for the photographs, on refection they are not my best.
Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles
The dirt was quite engrained and so a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed one part Pro-Clean to ten parts water was applied to the terracotta tile and grout and left to soak in. The solution was then agitated using a floor buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. It’s important to make sure you use the right concentration of floor cleaning product, too little and if won’t be effective and too much will mean your having to wash the floor down more as if you leave any on the floor tile it can upset the sealer. It’s recommended therefore to do a small test before cleaning the entire floor. Once we were happy with the condition of the tiles we used stiff hand held brushes on the grout to give that also a scrub before removing the all the solution with a wet vacuum, rinsing the floor down and then left it dry overnight.
Sealing Mexican Terracotta floor tiles
Once cleaned and fully dried we came back and applied nine coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a durable low sheen sealer that will protect the grout and tile from staining. We advised the customer that due to its softer clay further top up coats may be necessary. We left what was remaining of the Seal and Go for this purpose and advised them that if the seal faded slightly then this was then the best time to apply a further coat.
Cleaning and Sealing Mexican Terracotta floor tiles in Lewes
This black slate tiled floor installed in a hallway of a client’s house in East Sussex had seen its share of foot traffic and as you can see from the photograph below the tiles had dulled and grout become stained.
Cleaning black slate floor tiles
We set about scrubbing the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad together with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective Tile and Grout cleaner especially recommend for stone floors due to its alkaline formula. It’s also quite good at stripping sealers from floors however this wasn’t too much of any issue in this case as most of the old sealer had been worn off.
The next step was to get into the grout lines with stiff brushes to give the grout a good scrub, this step has to be done by hand as the scrubbing pads can struggle to reach the grout. The next step was to remove the soiled cleaning solution with a wet vacuum and wash the floor down with clean water to remove any remaining cleaning product and neutralise the floor before the next step of sealing.
Sealing black slate floor tiles
Once the floor was dry we came back to seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which put the shine back into the tile and will protect the tile and grout from stains going forward.
Photographs below of a job we did restoring the shine on a Limestone tiled floor at a house in the town of Hastings which is down on the south coast of England and well known as the location for that famous battle in 1066. The homeowner wanted an easy to maintain low sheen Limestone floor; we advised that Limestone is a soft sedimentary Stone and is not usually classed as a low maintenance surface however with the right treatment and equipment they should be able to maintain it which is a bit like buying a carpet without having a vacuum to keep it clean.
Cleaning and Polishing Limestone Tiles
To get the Limestone Tiled floor back to its original condition we used a set of diamond encrusted 17” Burnishing Pads fitted to a heavy rotary buffing machine. It’s important to give the floor a clean first to ensure there’s no dirt that could get picked up by the machine and cause deep scratches on the surface. You start off with the coarse red pad together with a little water which can remove sealers and then move onto the White pad which grinds off ingrained dirt again used with a little water. Next step is the Yellow Polishing pad which smooth’s the surface prior to the final Green pad which gives that high shine finish.
Sealing Limestone Tiles
The floor was washed down to remove any particles left over from the polishing and left to dry before we set about sealing using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is recommended for a number of stone surfaces and does well to lift the natural colours in the stone as well as providing on-going surface protection.
I think you will agree the process has really transformed this tired looking Limestone tiled floor; for maintenance we left the customer with a Green polishing pads and recommended that he purchase a rotary machine to use with it, A3 machines do a low cost reconditioned polishing machine for about £100.
As you can see from the photographs below the ceramic tiles and grout in this Shower Cubicle in East Sussex were in need of a deep clean. Ceramic tiles are very easy to clean however the grout was very discoloured and so we decided to apply a grout colourant.
Cleaning Shower Tile and Grout
To clean up the ceramic tiles and grout we sprayed on Tile Doctor Oxy-Pro which is a specialist Shower Tile and Grout Cleaner, the spray allows the cleaning agent to mix with air making it lighter and easier to stick to vertical surfaces. This is important as you need to let the cleaning agent dwell on the surface of the tile and grout for a few minutes before scrubbing it by hand with a stiff brush and then washing it off with clean water.
The cleaning process managed to clean up the tiles and did make a difference on the grout but there was quite a few stains left on the grout so we proceeded with grout colouring starting with the application of the Pre-Treater which prepares the grout ensuring a good bond with the grout colouring product.
Once the Pre-Treater had dried I started the application of the white grout colourant which you work into the grout using a toothbrush, for best results you need to work it forwards and backwards to achieve an even coat. I used two coats of grout colourant in the end to ensure shadowing from some of the darker stains were not visible.
These grout colouring products are self sealing so after 24 hours it is fully cured and protected. Last step was to strip out the old silicone at the bottom of the shower, this had gone a bit mouldy and once mould gets a hold on silicone it’s impossible to get rid off, we replaced the sealant with a fresh White Mapeisil waterproof silicone.
The renovation was now complete, tiles cleaned, grout restored and sealant replaced; naturally the customer was very pleased with the results as the shower looked like new again.