tile sealing

Original Victorian Tiles Restored to Top Condition in Brighton

The 19th century was a pivotal period for the Brighton and Hove area of East Sussex. Many of the major attractions were built during the Victorian era, including two of the major piers. Over time, Brighton became not just a very popular destination for day trippers, but also for home makers. Lots of Victorian-style houses were built, complete with Victorian-style tiled floors.

Modern homeowners are increasingly uncovering these original Victorian tiles after decades of being hidden under carpet overlay. Contrary to popular belief, it is very much possible to restore these tiles back to peak condition despite suffering from damage, dirt and staining.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Restoration Hove
I recently a house in Brighton to prove just that. The customer’s Victorian tiled hallway floor had been covered by many carpets over the past few decades and so there were many thick glue deposits, along with a heavy build-up of dirt and staining.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Restoration Hove

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

After protecting the woodwork with tape, I set about cleaning the Victorian tiles using a combination of products. One of these was Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU (HBU = Heavy Build-Up Remove), a powerful cleaner which uses nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate deep into the tile to lift out and dissolve ingrained dirt and stains. I mixed the NanoTech HBU together 50:50 with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a reliable alkaline-based cleaner. This cleaning mixture was applied to the hallway floor and then covered with a plastic sheet for a few hours before being scrubbed into the tiles thoroughly with a lot of elbow grease and a specialised scrubbing pad.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Restoration Hove
A lot of the glue deposits were stubborn and would not respond to the chemical cleaning, so I needed to carefully scrape these off by hand. Once the majority of the glue had been removed I applied a set of diamond-encrusted burnishing pads to remove the top layer to resurface the floor and bring back a lot of the definition in the tile.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Restoration Hove

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

After completing the cleaning process, I left the floor to dry completely. Giving the tiles enough time to dry is important, especially in older properties which won’t have a damp-proof membrane installed. Even a small amount of excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Once I was satisfied with the moisture level, I proceeded to seal the tiles using numerous coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer that doesn’t leave a smell as it dries and as well as adding a layer of protection to the tiles give an appealing low-sheen finish.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Restoration Hove
The client, being of French nationality, said she was “sur la lune” (over the moon) with the result! Look at the photos below to see the transformation – I must say I was quite pleased myself!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Restoration Hove

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for an Original Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Brighton

Restoration of an Extremely Dirty Yorkstone Tiled Floor in Brighton

This Yorkstone tiled kitchen floor at a house in Brightonhad been hidden under 18 months worth of accumulated builders work, intended to get the property ready for new occupancy. As you might expect, the tiles were extremely dirty, caked in layers of dust and muck left over from months of brickwork. The site manager asked me to come down to the house on the South Coast to clean and seal the Yorkstone tiles before the new homeowner moved in.

Yorkstone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Brighton
It should be noted that Yorkstone is a tightly grained variation of Sandstone, named as such due to being worked in Yorkshire quarries since medieval times. Thanks to its hard wearing nature and being reasonably inexpensive, it is still popularly used for interior and exterior furnishing, construction and landscaping across the globe.

Cleaning a Filthy Yorkstone Tiled Floor

To clear the floor ready to be cleaned, I firstly vacuumed up the excess layers of dust and muck using my strong wet/dry vacuum. Then, I applied a solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go stripper, mixed with a dash of Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up. This would break down any old sealer and remove the stubbornest muck, while also cleansing the grout at the same time.

Next, I attached a coarse 200 grit pad to my buffing machine and set to work eradicating the subsequent layers of muck. Almost immediately a brown sludge developed, which I promptly removed with the wet/dry vacuum. Stopping first to rinse the floor with clean water, I proceeded with the buffering process, this time with my bristly patio cleaner attachment, which was coarser still to ensure the difficult dirt was completely broken down. Finally, I rinsed the floor again with more clean water to remove any excess cleaning slurry, and then left it to dry.

Yorkstone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Brighton

Sealing a Yorkstone Tiled Floor

Three days later, once all moisture had evaporated, I returned to the property to seal the floor. I did so by applying an initial coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer, which is designed enhanced the depth of colours. Colour Grow soaks into the pores of the stone to prevent dirt from becoming trapped within, making it particularly suitable for use on other types of porous stone, such as Limestone.

As the stones were particularly riven, I carefully filled in the gaps with a paint brush, thus ensuring that the sealer covered the entire surface area. After the first coat had dried, I applied another. An hour later this too was dry and the site manager appeared, quite evidently pleased with the results.

Yorkstone Kitchen Floor After Sealing Brighton
He commented that it looked amazing and he couldn’t believe the colour range on show, especially since they had the tiles had been hidden for so longer under thick layers of muck. Thankfully, this is no longer the case, and this floor is ready to be enjoyed by the new homeowner.

Restoring Filthy Yorkstone Tiles in East Sussex

Large Area of Limestone Tiled Flooring Burnished in Uckfield

This customer owned a large house in Uckfield, East Grinstead with honed Limestone tiled flooring throughout the whole downstairs, which comprised the living room, dining room and kitchen.

The Limestone floor was in good condition and had been treated to regular professional care, however, the customer wanted the floor to be pristine and I was asked to further refine the appearance of the floor. Limestone is a very tough stone so this is done primarily through the process of burnishing using diamond encrusted pads.

Burnishing Honed Limestone Tiles

I began with the dining room area, first shifting the furniture out of the way to allow space for the burnishing to take place, before bringing in my three main tools: the buffing machine, a set of four diamond burnishing pads, and the wet-vacuum.

To start the process, I attached the red coarse grit pad to the buffer, and then, using a litre of water per square metre as lubrication, I cleaned and stripped away any existing sealer. Since, Limestone is particularly porous, I limited myself to working on nine tiles at a time.

Once I’d removed any excess residue with the wet-vacuum, I changed to the blue medium grit pad, repeated the cleaning process, and again soaked up the soiled residue. Finally, I completed the process once more with the yellow fine grit pad. Once this was completed I buffed the floor with a soft white pad to clean up any dried residue, leaving it ready to be sealed.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Two days later, once the floor was completely dry, I returned to the property to seal and polish the floor. To begin, I restored the shine to the tiles by applying the last of the four burnishing pads – the green very fine grit.

I then used the three cloth method to apply Tile Doctor Ultra Seal, a solvent-based, impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the Limestone to provide durable protection against ingrained dirt. Colour enhancing sealers such as Tile Doctor Colour Grow were available to the customer, but he stated that he was very happy with the current appearance and wanted the more natural look.

After an hour, the floor was ready to be buffered once again with the very fine pad, which I attached to a hand held buffing machine to work around the corners and electrical sockets.

Polished Limestone Floor After Being Maintained in Uckfield
Given the size of the property, this job took me three days – a day spent in each room. The customer was very exact with his requirements, and was very happy with the results, being left with fantastic looking Limestone tiles throughout the entire downstairs of the house.

Polished Limestone Floor After Being Maintained in Uckfield

Professional Maintenance of a Honed Limestone Floor in East Sussex

Small Quarry Tiled Area Restored in Eastbourne

Here’s a quick job I completed in the coastal town of Eastbourne in East Sussex. While more commonly I am asked to work on entire floors, this customer was specifically interested in restoring a small doorway-like area with Quarry tiled flooring, the reason being that it had been covered for a long time by an old wardrobe and dog basket. As a result, the area had not been properly cared for, becoming very dusty and dirty. Also revealed were some unsightly splashes of white paint from previous decoration work.

The customer was keen to finally give this area of the floor the attention it needed, and so asked me to come in to provide a thorough clean and lay down some fresh sealer.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Eastbourne

Cleaning Dirty Quarry Tiles

My first task was actually to relocate the old wardrobe and dog basket to the garage to get the area ready for cleaning. Then, to begin the cleaning process, I stripped away any old existing sealer and the white paint splashes by using Tile Doctor Remove & Go stripper in combination with a wire brush. Remove & Go is a versatile product that can also be used to break down glues and other adhesives.

I then washed the area down with water and promptly vacuumed up any moisture, before sitting down with a heat gun for an hour to dry the tiles. Usually a floor should be left for up to 48 hours to dry completely before sealing, but in this case the area was so small that I was able to dry it in the space of an hour.

Nonetheless, I opted to install a fan and leave the floor for an extra hour over lunch to ensure any excess moisture was removed. This is really important to do before sealing, as any remaining moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

To complete the restoration, I sealed the tiles using nine coats of the topical, water-based sealer Seal & Go, which is suitable for building up surface protection against dirt and stains on internal unsealed porous surfaces such as Victorian, Quarry and Sandstone tiles. The Quarry tiles were quite porous, which is not uncommon for Quarry Tiles and really soaked up the sealer.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Cleaning Eastbourne
As the photographs show, the results of the restoration were very good, with smiles all round – including from the slightly bemused family dog!

Professional Cleaning and Sealing of a Dirty Quarry Tiled Floor East Sussex

Dirty and Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in Heathfield

This beautiful Victorian hallway had been left to suffer under the wear of rugby boots and dogs for many years. There were also some broken tiles in the doorways leading to other rooms, and there were clear paint splashes where decorators had neglected to clean up after themselves. To cut a long story short, the floor was in a bad state, and the property owner decided it was about time to call upon some professional assistance.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Heathfield
After providing a demonstration of the techniques I could use to improve the condition of the floor, the customer called me down to their property in the quaint market town of Heathfield.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Heathfield

Cleaning and Repairing a Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway

To begin the cleaning process, I mixed a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, before applying it liberally across the floor and working it into the tiles with a black pad fitted to a buffing machine. The cleaner helped to remove ingrained dirt and also contains properties to help break down any old sealer. I then soaked up the soiled solution with a wet vacuum.

Following this I turned my attention to the unsightly paint splashes, opting to remove them manually with a hand scraper, rather than use a liquid cleaning product. Oftentimes when there are small isolated paint marks it is more convenient to deal with them in this way.

The last problem to address was the array of broken and loose tiles in the doorways. Since original Victorian tiles are well over 100 years old (and often fit to a very particular pattern, like in this case), it can be extremely difficult to source replacements that colour match exactly. Thankfully I had previously been able to source some original tiles from a salvage yard in Kent which matched very closely with the colour of the customer’s floor. I had no issues in fitting the replacement tiles before moving on to the sealing process.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

I left the house for two days, and upon my return the tiles were bone dry and ready to be sealed. A damp floor cannot be sealed as any moisture rising to the surface will cloud the sealer and affect its performance.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Heathfield
Using a paint pad as an application tool, I sealed the floor with nine coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is a topical sealer which builds up a barrier on the surface of the stone to protect from dirt. Each coat of the sealer must be allowed to dry before the next is applied.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Heathfield
As the photographs show, the tiles were transformed in a short space of time. The customer was really pleased, knowing now that the floor will be protected from future wear and tear – a must with dogs running about the house!

Professional Damaged and Dirty Victorian Hallway Floor Restoration in East Sussex

Restoring Water Damaged Quarry Tiled Floor in East Grinstead

I was contacted recently by a client in East Grinstead, who asked me to restore a large area of damaged Quarry tiles in his house. East Grinstead actually dates back to the 14th century and is a town known for its many interesting houses and historic buildings. Hard-wearing Quarry tiles are most often used in high traffic areas, such as reception areas and hallways, although they are also commonly used for patio areas and porches. In these busy areas, the tiles can get dirty quickly, and this can lead to damage over time if they are not regularly tended to.

Water Damaged Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration East Grinstead Before
In this case, the damage to the tiles had actually been caused by regular flooding over a period of several years. The damage was so extreme that I advised my client that the only means of total restoration was re-tiling. However, my client informed me that the property was currently on the market for sale and this wasn’t an option. Instead, he settled on a deep clean and seal which, while not a complete restoration, would still significantly improve the condition of the tiled floor.

Water Damaged Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration East Grinstead Before Water Damaged Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration East Grinstead Before

Cleaning the Quarry tiled floor

My first day of work was spent moving a significant amount of large furniture out of the room and into the garden. Once the area was completely clear, I was able to apply a layer of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, using a stiff deck brush to really work it into the damaged stone. Pro-Clean helped to lift out a huge amount of the muck and ingrained dirt revealing, unfortunately, yet more damage beneath.

Once I had finished for the day, my client opened the windows to allow the warm sunshine to dry up any remaining moisture. This was important, as any excess moisture left on the floor may have affected the performance of the sealer when I returned to complete the sealing.

I allowed the floor a two-day drying period, during which time my client decided to colour some of the tiles with red doorstep paint. He counted up to two thousand tiles before giving up!

Water Damaged Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration East Grinstead After Cleaning

Sealing the Quarry tiled floor

When I returned after 48 hours, I set about sealing the floor using Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provided the eye-catching gloss finish and durable protection the client wanted whilst the house was still on the market. As it was another warm day, the homeowners went out cycling around the Ashdown forest, leaving me to complete the sealing carefully and without distraction.

Water Damaged Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration East Grinstead After Sealing
When they returned a few hours later, they were amazed by the results! Although a complete re-tiling was not possible under the circumstances, both myself and my clients were extremely pleased with how great the Quarry tiles were now looking, especially after such significant water damage.

Cleaning and Sealing old Quarry Tiles in East Sussex

Clean and Seal For a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor in Wadhurst

This client in the East Sussex town of Wadhurst, was selling her country cottage and wanting to achieve the best price decided to have the Terracotta tiled kitchen floor restored before she put property on the market. Personally I think this is a great idea as you want to show the house at its best; I guess Estate Agents and Sarah Beeny would call it staging the property, although she should do well as it was a lovely cottage and Wadhurst is an old, quiet market town lying on a high ridge in the area known as the Weald, between the North and South Downs and so should prove popular.

The Terracotta tiled floor was in real need of a good clean and seal which is not surprising considering that the kitchen is generally a very high traffic area in most houses and, in this case, the family Labrador loved to use it as a play area. Terracotta tiles have been used for over 2000 years, having been first popularised by the ancient Romans. However, one downside to them is that, due to the lack of surface glaze, they can pick up dirt very quickly, which can become ingrained in the tiles if not removed quickly.

Terracotta tiles before cleaning in Wadhurst Terracotta tiles before cleaning in Wadhurst

Cleaning a Terracotta tiled floor

After removing the client’s Labrador from the kitchen, I set to work cleaning the floor using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. I applied a layer of the solution to the floor, before leaving it for a short period to dwell and soak into the pores of the Terracotta. I then set to work scrubbing the cleaning solution into the tiles and, since Pro-Clean acts as both a cleaner and a stripper, the any remaining old sealer quickly came off.

The Pro-Clean successfully lifted the ingrained dirt out of the tiles leaving the colourful terracotta looking much cleaner. It also had a dramatic effect on the colour of the grout, transforming it from a mucky shade of tan to cleaner looking yellow.

Sealing a Terracotta tiled floor

After cleaning and a thorough rinse, I left the floor to dry over the weekend, but not before instructing the client to keep the dog out of the kitchen during this time. It was important to allow the floor sufficient time to dry completely, as any excess moisture left over from cleaning could affect the performance of the sealer.

Terracotta tiles after cleaning in Wadhurst Terracotta tiles after cleaning in Wadhurst

My sealer of choice was Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which I applied to the floor to provide it with not only a nice low-sheen finish, but also a stain resistant surface seal that will protect the tiles against dirt in the long-term. Seal & Go is a suitable sealer for unsealed porous surfaces like Terracotta, Victorian tile, textured Quarry and Slate.

My client was very pleased with the results of the clean and seal, and so was I. The Terracotta tiled floor in the kitchen of her house is a fantastic feature, and I’m sure whoever buys the country cottage will love it as well.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Restored in Wadhurst

Dirty Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Mayfield

The photographs below are from a property in the small village of Mayfield, located within the High Weald civil parish of Mayfield and Five Ashes in East Sussex. The village is perhaps best known for its annual carnival and torchlight procession however on this occasion I was there to revamp the Slate tiled kitchen floor. The tiles had been left worse for wear by the previous occupants where years of children and mucky dogs had taken its toll on the slate.

Slate floor before cleaning in Mayfield Slate floor before cleaning in Mayfield

Cleaning a Slate tiled floor

Whilst I would normally utilise my buffing machine with a black buffing pad as part of the cleaning process for natural stone tiles, I was unable to do so in this case as the Slate tiles in the kitchen were riven which would of cut into and potentially shredded the pad.

As a result, I had to clean the floor by hand. I did this using a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to five parts clean water, which I worked into the tiles with a deck brush, followed by a hard brush. The solution needed will vary in accordance to the level of soil build-up on the floor. In this case, the soil build-up was light enough to use quite a diluted solution, but in a case where a floor is very heavily soiled I would recommend using a more concentrated solution of one part Pro-Clean to two parts water.

After a period of scrubbing with the hard brush, I sucked up the muck that had been removed from the surface with a wet-vac machine. I then continued with the cleaning process for several hours, before once again using the wet-vac machine up any excess moisture left by the cleaning solution. I left for a period of two days to allow the floor to dry completely before I returned to seal the floor. I instructed my client to keep the floor completely dry because any excess moisture would potentially impact negatively on the performance of the sealer.

Sealing a Slate tiled floor

To seal the floor I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour intensifying sealer which gets into the pores of the stone protecting it from within. In this case I applied two coats of Colour Grow to really bring out the range of fantastic natural colours and shades in the Slate, whilst also providing durable surface protection for this high-traffic kitchen area.

Slate floor after cleaning in Mayfield Slate floor after cleaning in Mayfield

My client was very impressed with the results. I hope she enjoys this brilliant feature of her new home, now full of life and colour once again.

Slate Tile Restoration in Mayfield

Thorough Clean And Seal Of Dirty Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor In Crowborough

I was recently contacted by a client who had just moved into a house in Crowborough, a town in East Sussex which by the way was once home to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories. The riven Slate tiled floor in the kitchen had trapped bits of dirt and also food which had become ingrained in the tile. Needless to say, the new homeowner wanted to give the kitchen floor a thorough clean. However, she had tried every cleaning product she could find in the supermarket, but to no avail. Struggling to find a solution she sought out professional assistance and naturally I was happy to help.

Slate floor before cleaning Crowborough

Cleaning a Slate tiled floor

My first task was to mix up a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The product was only slightly diluted with water, since the floor was quite heavily soiled and a higher concentration of Pro-Clean was needed to help remove several layers of dirt and food waste. Once applied to the floor, the solution was left to dwell for roughly five minutes before I began to work it into the stone with a deck brush. I did the best I could here to clean the floor without using my buffing machine as, since the floor was riven, my black buffing pad would have been ruined by the ridges.

Making up for the lack of a buffing machine, I made sure to scrub the floor with Pro-Clean for several hours to remove as much grime as possible. One the cleaning was finally completed I rinsed the floor several times with clean, hot water. I then used a wet-dry vac machine to remove any excess moisture to clear the floor for sealing when I returned 48 hours later. Upon leaving, I left my client with instructions to avoid spilling anything on the floor as, again, any liquid left on the surface might affect the performance of the sealer.

Slate floor during cleaning Crowborough

Sealing a Slate tiled floor

After a period of two days, I returned to commence the sealing. My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is suitable for use on internal, unsealed surfaces such as Slate, textured Quarry, Victorian tile, and others. Seal and Go is also a water based sealer so you there’s very little smell given off whilst it dries compares to solvent based sealers. In this case, the client did not want the surface of the floor to be too shiny, so I only used two coatings of Seal & Go, whereas for a shinier result I would have used a few more.

Slate floor after cleaning Crowborough
My client was exceptionally pleased with the results, which had not only cleaned the floor but brought out the beautiful colours in the stone that had once been hidden under several layers of muck.

Slate floor after cleaning Crowborough

Restoration of Slate Flooring in Crowborough

Deep clean and seal of a dirty Limestone tiled kitchen floor in Icklesham

Earlier this year I was contacted by a lady in Icklesham which is a small village near Hastings. My client requested a deep clean for her Limestone tiled kitchen floor which had, over time, become quite dirty, with the grout in particular being very much worse for wear. Limestone is a popular choice for tiled floors however it needs to be sealed to ensure dirt doesn’t get into the pores of the stone otherwise it becomes difficult to clean and if the sealer is not maintained it will wear down and the floor will lose its protection especially in high traffic areas such as kitchens.

Filthy Limestone Kitchen in Icklesham Before Cleaning Filthy Limestone Kitchen in Icklesham Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Limestone tiled kitchen floor

My product of choice for cleaning this floor was Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which I found to be particularly effective in lifting ingrained dirt out of the grout. I used a stiff grout brush to work the solution of Pro-Clean diluted with warm water to work the cleaner deep into the grout. I also used a buffing machine fitted with a scrubbing pad and more Pro-Clean to lift the dirt out of the Limestone tiles. It wasn’t long before the dirty grout lines began to disappear, and the floor was well on its way to looking great again.

Once I’d also cleaned the nearby utility room, bathroom and cloakroom in a similar manner, I gave the floor a thorough rinse with fresh water before using a wet-dry vac machine to remove the soiled water from the surface of the tiles. I removed as much moisture from the Limestone tile and grout as possible to speed up the drying process as it’s important to ensure a stone floor is bone dry before sealing it as any excess moisture will compromise the sealer.

Applying Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to Limestone tiles

I left the floor for three days to dry before returning and used a damp meter on my return to confirm the floor was in-deed dry, spring had arrived and the sunshine really helped. My choice of sealer for the Limestone tiles was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a product which soaks into the pores of the stone to enhance the colour of tiles whilst also providing durable protection. In this case two coats of Colour Grow were applied and as you can see from the photographs this really did bring out the fantastic natural colours in the Limestone and exaggerate the shading. At the same time, the added surface protection will help the floor stay looking great for longer, even with a lot of usage.

Filthy Limestone Kitchen in Icklesham After Cleaning Filthy Limestone Kitchen in Icklesham After Cleaning

When she returned from dog walking, my client was so pleased with the final result that she almost screamed the house down! She was so pleased, in fact, that she promised to have me return every year to ensure her floor was maintained to a high standard. I was also really happy with my work, particularly in terms of getting the grout into far better condition than it had been before.

Cleaning and Sealing Limestone Kitchen Floor in Icklesham

Cleaning and Grout Colouring of a Limestone tiled floor in Hove, East Sussex

Recently, I was called to a work on a Limestone tiled floor in a house near Hove Park. Hove Park is a popular park in Hove, East Sussex, which was once opposite to the Goldstone Ground, the traditional home of Brighton and Hove Albion football club until the ground was demolished. My client informed me that the house was used a meeting place every Friday, and the high traffic of people was taking its toll on the floor.

Grout Colouring Limestone Tiled Floor in Hove Park Before Grout Colouring Limestone Tiled Floor in Hove Park Before

Cleaning a Limestone tiled floor

The floor was clearly in need of a good clean, especially the grout. You do need to take care when cleaning Limestone as it can be affected by the acidic substances you get in some cleaning products which can break down the surface of the Limestone and cause further damage. The results of my test clean showed the Limestone tiles responded well to the cleaning, but I was concerned about the grout, which was not cleaning very easily. I suspected that the grout had, in fact, been discoloured by a bleach-based cleaner, turning it grey. Bleach contains strong chemicals, so there is a good chance that any bleach-based cleaners used on tiled floors will discolour the grout over time. After discussing this issue with my client, I quoted separately for a possible grout recolour.

On the first day of working on the floor, I started the cleaning process using a black buffing pad attached to a floor buffer machine, in combination with a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which I applied to the floor. This combination really helped to remove the heavily built up grime and dirt. Although the tiles looked great after the clean, I still wasn’t convinced by the state of the grout. After drying a test area with a heat gun, I confirmed that the grout was not continuous in colour and would need a recolour to get it back to looking its best again.

Recolouring the grout

I left the rest of the floor to dry for a period of two days, allowing any residual moisture to evaporate, before returning to recolour the grout with a white Grout Colourant which was applied using a good old fashioned toothbrush and baby wipes to remove any excess. I was careful to apply thin, even coats in order to prevent the possibility of the Colourant staining the tile.

After several hours of knee-breaking work, the recolouring was complete, and I was extremely pleased to be able to show my client the finished product. She was very happy to be able to show off the floor to her friends, which was now white all the way through, without the dark lines caused by the discoloured grout.

Grout Colouring Limestone Tiled Floor in Hove Park After
Another satisfied client.

Restoration Process on Limestone Tiled Floor in Hove Park

Cleaning And Sealing A Victorian Tiled Floor In An Office In Palmeira Square, Brighton

Recently, I was asked to do some Tile Doctoring at Palmeira Square, in the seaside city of Brighton and Hove, to restore the Victorian tiled floor of one of the downstairs offices. Palmeira Square is a residential area which was first developed in the mid-19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria, so many of the buildings feature some fantastic original Victorian tile floors. Although there are many large terraced houses and even mansions in the area, some of the buildings have been converted into offices for commercial use. My client, who leased the downstairs office, managed to persuade the other tenants to employ professional help to restore the tiles, and so I was asked to come in to clean and seal the floor to get it back to looking its best.

Victorian Tiled Office Floor Brighton Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian tile floor

With Palmeira Square being quite a lively area, I made sure to fence off the front door area from the wandering public. My first job was to apply Tile Doctor Remove & Go to the floor, a heavy duty stripper, multi-purpose stripper that was able to remove the stubborn marks, stains and ingrained dirt on and between the tiles. In particular, Remove & Go helped to remove some rust stains I found near the door hinges.

Victorian Tiled Office Floor Brighton Before Cleaning
I left the product to sit and work its magic for twenty minutes, and during this time I began cleaning the floor using a buffing pad, which is suitable for use on all types of floor (except polished stone), and a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with water. The combination of a buffing pad and Pro-Clean helped to remove the general dirt and grime that had built up over time in this high traffic area of the office. After the cleaning was complete, the black tiles appeared grey because any remaining sealer had been removed. However, the colour would return after resealing the tiles, which was my next job.

Victorian Tiled Office Floor Brighton After Cleaning

Sealing a Victorian tile floor

I returned to the office after two days to seal the Victorian tile floor. To do this, I needed to use Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which meant I had to ask the office workers to keep off the floor for most of the day. This is because I needed to apply six coats of Seal & Go to the floor, and each coat takes roughly fourty minutes to dry. Seal & Go provides a stain-resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish, which will help keep this floor looking great for a long time, even with a high traffic of workers coming in and out of the office.

Victorian Tiled Office Floor Brighton After Cleaning
Luckily, it was a warm day outside, and the floor dried quickly, leaving a shiny, deep black surface. Both my client and I were very happy with the result. The client was also pleasantly surprised to see that I had been able to remove the rust stains near the door.

Victorian Tiled Floor Refreshed in East Sussex

Six Day Cleaning And Sealing Of Limestone Bathrooms And Hallway In Brighton

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.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor Before Cleaning

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.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom Before Cleaning
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!

Brighton Luxury Flat Copper Sink Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Copper Sink After Cleaning

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.

Brighton Luxury Flat Window Sill Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Window Sill After Cleaning

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.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom After Cleaning

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.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor After Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor After Cleaning


Huge Limestone Tile Restoration Process Done In Brighton

Deep Cleaning a Textured Limestone Kitchen floor in Horsham

This property near the town of Horsham was a converted from a pig barn many years ago and had a lovely textured Limestone tiled floor installed on the ground floor kitchen and dinning room. The Limestone tile and adjacent grout were now looking rather grubby and we were asked if we would give them a deep clean and re-seal.

Textured Limestone Before Tile Cleaning in Horsham Textured Limestone Before Tile Cleaning in Horsham

Deep Cleaning Textured Limestone Tiles

Once I’d helped the customer move the furniture I set about soaking the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean applied with a deck brush and then left to dwell for around five minutes. Leaving the product to dwell on the tiles gives it time to break down and soften up and old sealer left of the tile making it easier to remove. To get the Pro-Clean worked into the tile and grout I used a rotary buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and ran a stiff brush along the grout lines. The result was immediate, especially the grout. I then rinsed the floor with warm water and extracted the now soiled cleaning solution with a wet vacuum.

After this I inspected the floor and re-treated any areas which need further attention using the same process giving the floor a good rinse with clean water at the end and using the wet vacuum to remove as much water as possible before leaving the floor to dry off.

Sealing Textured Limestone Tiles

I returned two days later to give the tiles plenty of time to allow the moisture to evaporate; it’s important that the tiles are bone dry before sealing or you will get unexpected results. All was well so I sealed the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours within the stone at the same time.

While I was waiting for the sealer to dry between coats I gave her front step a good scrubbing with some left over cleaning product.

Textured Limestone After Tile Cleaning in Horsham Textured Limestone After Tile Cleaning in Horsham


Restoration of a Textured Limestone in Horsham

Maintaining a Limestone Kitchen floor in Hastings

The photographs below are of a Limestone tiled floor installed in the kitchen and dining area of a house in the historic town off Hastings. The house was being put on the market for sale and with two dogs, a cat and four adults having left their marks on this floor it was looking rather grubby and the owner had decided to get the tiles deep cleaned before any viewings took place. I ran a test clean on a small patch of tile to demonstrate I could achieve a good result which came out well and so we agreed a date.

Limestone Tiles before cleaning in Hastings Limestone Tiles before cleaning in Hastings

Deep Cleaning Limestone Tiles

To get the Limestone clean and strip off any remaining sealer a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was poured onto the stone then left to soak in for around ten minutes. The solution was then worked into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. After a couple hours work and more Pro-Clean the floor looked much cleaner but very washed out which is to be expected as the remaining sealer was is no longer protecting the tile and left it to look exposed. Before leaving for the day I gave the floor a good rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product and then left the floor to dry out for three days. Usually 48hrs will suffice but Limestone is particularly porous so it does take time for the moisture to evaporate and the floor to fully dry out.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

On my return I check the floor was dry and then proceeded to sealed the Limestone with Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Six coats were applied to give it a deep shine and a long lasting seal. The new sealer gave the floor the glossy appearance that the customer desired. She was over the moon with the transformation and hopefully this helped her sell the property.

Limestone Tiles after cleaning in Hastings Limestone Tiles after cleaning in Hastings


Kitchen Limestone Cleaning in Hastings

Concrete Screed removed from Quarry Tiled Floor in Danehill

Let me start by saying this was by far the hardest job I’ve ever done and as you read on you will soon realise why. The customer called me out to quote on a Quarry tiled floor at a house in Danehill that was covered in concrete screed. She said it had always been there and she’s lived there for years always meaning to get it bought back to a state that she could live with. Undaunted by the state of the floor (see photo below) we agreed a price and fixed a date to do the work.

Old Quarry Tile Floor Covered in Concrete Danehill Before Restoration

Removing Concrete Screed from Quarry Tiles

For the next two days I spent all my time pouring neat Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up onto small areas and working it in with a metal scraper and wire brush. Once removed the resultant muck was rinsed and extracted using a wet vacuum, laborious work as you can imagine although I was kept entertained by playing the occasional game of fetch with a very keen Collie dog who seemed fascinated by the bloke sitting on his floor all day. After two days of this my hands were throbbing but I could see red quarry tile emerging. The final two hours on the second day were spent making good any areas under the washing machine and fridge and giving the floor a thorough rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product.

Removing Concrete from Old Quarry Tiled floor in Danehill During Restoration

Sealing Quarry Tiles

The floor dried off overnight and I came back the third day to seal the tiles making sure that my canine companion had been sent next door first. To seal the floor I used six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which really brought back the colour in the floor and gave it an amazingly shiny surface.

Concrete Removed from old Quarry tiles in- Danehill after restoration
Once sealed the floors transformation was complete and when the customer returned from work she was utterly speechless. I’d turned what looked like a building site into a stunning tiled floor.

Quarry Tile Restoration in Sussex

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Deep Cleaned and Sealed in Henfield

This customer in Henfield was contemplating digging up her Terracotta kitchen floor and replacing it, the tiles were ingrained with dirt which had proved impossible to remove and as a consequence were left looking flat, dull and very un-appealing. Additionally she had an elderly dog that had been ill several times in the corner area and she really struggled to make it look decent again. Following a quick test I was able to persuade her to try a clean and re-seal first.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Before Cleaning in Henfield

Terracotta Tile Cleaning

The first step was to deep clean the floor to remove the ingrained dirt and any previous sealers. As well as the dog I had two rugby playing sons to deal with so to make it easier for the family I split the floor up into areas and worked on one area at a time.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Before Cleaning in Henfield Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Before Cleaning in Henfield

The tiles were first soaked in a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean before scrubbing it into the tile and grout with a black pad fitted to a buffing machine. The tiles were rinsed, the now dirty cleaning solution extracted and the process repeated until I was happy that the Pro-Clean had done its trick and the floor was as clean as it could be.

The Terracotta tiles now looked clean but completely washed out so I assured the customer that once the tiles had been sealed the colour would return and more. Unsealed Terracotta marks easily so given I left the customer dust sheets to walk on.

Terracotta Tile Sealing

I returned after two days to ensure any moisture had left the tile and proceeded to seal with six coats of Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is highly recommended for use in food preparation areas and gives a high gloss finish whilst providing maximum stain protection. As each coat takes 40 minutes to dry I took the opportunity to clean her slate front door step as well.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles After Cleaning and sealing in Henfield
The customer was very happy with the finished floor and I’m glad to report she has decided to keep the floor.

Terracotta Kitchen Tiles After Cleaning and sealing in Henfield

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Henfield

Limestone Kitchen floor Maintenance Clean in Hartfield

If you have ever had to look after a polished stone floor you will appreciate that it needs a bit of attention if you want to keep it looking good. This was this case with the small Limestone tiled kitchen floor that had been installed in a house in the old village of Hartfield which is famous for being the location where A.A. Milne wrote and based many of his famous tales about Winnie the Pooh.

Limestone kitchen floor before cleaning in Hartfield

Maintenance Clean of Limestone Floor Tiles

My main focus was to give the floor a good clean and the then top up the sealer so I began by applying a weak dilution of Tile Doctor Pro clean which was then scrubbed into the tile and grout using a deck brush and a hand brush in the corners. Pro-Clean is a multipurpose product and if you use a strong dilution it will strip the sealer from the floor which was not the intention. The floor was then washed down with warm water and you could see at this point how much cleaner the floor had become which is testament to the fact that Pro-Clean does works very well on Limestone and especially grout. Limestone is extremely porous and water is easily absorbed so once I had sucked up any excess water with a wet vacuum I left it to dry for 48 hours before returning.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

On my return I quickly carried out a damp test in a number of spots to check if the Limestone was ready for sealing. Everything was fine so I applied a top-up coat of Tile Doctor Colour grow which penetrates into the pores of the stone enhancing the colours and protect the floor from staining.

Limestone kitchen floor after cleaning in Hartfield
For regular cleaning of sealed floors we recommend the use of a non-acidic/weak alkaline cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, most supermarket cleaners are acidic and designed for un-sealed ceramic tiles and will reduce the life of the sealer over time.

Restoration of Limestone floor in a house in Hartfield

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