Limestone tiled floor Damaged by Citric Acid Restored in a Wokingham

The photographs on this page show the spot restoration of an acid damaged newly installed Limestone tiled floor at a medieval cottage in the historic town on Wokingham, Berkshire. It seems the customer accidentally spilled lime cordial on honed surface leaving dull stain spots on about six to eight tiles.

Acid Damaged Polished Limestone Floor Wokingham Before Restoration

After attempting to remove the damage themselves using a variation of different sealers the customer accepted defeat and contacted Tile Doctor to see if the issue could be resolved. If not, they were considering replacing the floor.

Acid Damaged Polished Limestone Floor Before Restoration Wokingham

Being the local Tile Doctor for the area I was asked to take a look and advise the customer. I explained that the dull spots had appeared because the surface tension of the limestone had been damaged from the citric acidic in the cordial. The affected tiles would essentially need to be re-polished; the customer was eager to see if I could resolve the issue and get all the tiles to be as uniform as possible.

Spot Polishing a Limestone tiled floor

My first task was to identify which tiles needed re-polishing with burnishing pads as once I got going it would be tricky to spot them; I did this by simply leaving post it notes on the affected areas.

Acid Damaged Polished Limestone Floor Wokingham Before Restoration

To restore the appearance of the Limestone tiles I started with a 400 grit 3-inch pad fitted to a handheld flex machine. You can’t actually buy these 3 inch pads, they are found in the centre of the large 17 inch floor pads. The 400-grit pad is quite abrasive and needs to be applied with water to lubricate. I then followed the 4-stage burnishing process increasing the surface tension with each pad used this to leave the tile with a good sheen and most importantly a uniform appearance with the surrounding tiles.

Acid Damaged Polished Limestone Floor Wokingham During Restoration

The Burnishing pads are actually loaded with industrial diamonds and you apply them in sequence starting with the coarse 400 grit pad before moving onto the medium 800 grit pad, fine 1,500 grit pad and then finally the super fine 3,000 grit pad which really brings up the shine. You have to rinse with water between each pad to remove the slurry that is generated. The final 3,000 grit pad is applied with very little water and so the floor is dry when completed.

Spot Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

The last step was to carefully re-seal the tiles that had been burnished so they would blend in with the rest of the floor. I decided on Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal for this, it’s an impregnating sealer that doesn’t alter the colour of the stone leaving them with a natural look.

The process went well and was completed in around four hours, my customer was very happy with the result and left the following testimonial on the Tile Doctor feedback system

“We felt very comfortable with the recommended course of action and Mr Buckland inspired confidence so we were happy to let him get on with the remedy.”

Acid Damaged Polished Limestone Floor During Restoration Wokingham

 
 

Spot Treating Acid Damaged Limestone Floor Tiles in Berkshire

Soiled Yellow and Black Victorian Quarry Tile Restoration

These Yellow and Black Quarry tiles are though to be original feature of this Victorian house in Reading and the owner was keen to get them renovated. The tiles were in basement of the house and over the years the tiles had suffered from water damage due to various small floods, they were now heavily soiled and the most challenging task would be to remove a large build up of mortar and cement.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading

I ran a test clean in a corner of the smallest room to demonstrate the cleaning process and although confident I could significantly improve the appearance of the Quarry tiles. I had to explain to my customer that due to the years of neglect the outcome would not be perfect, however the test clean went well and the customer was happy with the outcome so booked me in to do the work.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading

Soiled Quarry Tile Cleaning

The first issue to tackle was to remove the dirt and ingrain soil which I did by scrubbing in a strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong tile and grout cleaner. The solution was left to soak in before ten minutes before being agitated with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. I then rinsed off the now soiled cleaning solution off using a hot water truck mounted extraction system.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles During Cleaning Reading

Now the ingrained dirt was taken care of, the most difficult task was to remove the cement/mortar built up that was covering a high percentage of the tiles. I did this using a combination of Tile Doctor products including Grout Clean-Up, Acid Gel and 50,100 grit diamond pads. I started with Grout Clean-up but found that Acid Gel worked better on this occasion. To deal with stubborn areas I left the Acid Gel to dwell overnight covered with plastic sheeting so it wouldn’t dry out.

The Acid Gel worked wonders and I was able to complete the cleaning process when I came back the next day giving the floor another rinse with the hot water extraction system. With the quarry tiles now clear I able to do a final spot check and used hand held burnishing blocks and very coarse 50 grit milling pad followed by a 100 grit diamond pad and another rinse to finish it off.

Quarry Tile Sealing

After leaving the floor to dry out over the weekend it was ready to be sealed. We had agreed on giving the Quarry Tiles a matt finish so I used three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a fully breathable colour enhancing sealer that works well on old clay tiles.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading

I’m happy to say the floor turned out very well considering its condition, certainly my customer was very happy with the outcome and left the following feed back on the Tile Doctor Feedback system.

“Fantastic job – completely revived our Victorian cellar tiles, the before and after photos accurately show the difference the work has made! Also impressed by Dennis’s communication and responsiveness to our needs with the work”.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading

 
 

Professional Restoration of old Victorian Quarry Tiles in Berkshire

Cleaning Shower Cubicle Grout in Maidenhead

The photographs below are of a Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle installed in a retirement home in Maidenhead. The estimated installation for this bathroom is somewhere between twenty and thirty years and it was well overdue for an overhaul. First of all there was noticeable grout haze left on the tiles where it wasn’t polished off properly during installation and the second issue was the amount dirt and scum that had built up over the years. I suspect this was exacerbated by grout haze issue as it allowed the dirt to become trapped on the surface of the tile.

Retirement Home Shower Tile Grout Before Cleaning Maidenhead Retirement Home Shower Tile Grout Before Cleaning Maidenhead

Shower Tile and Grout Cleaning

A strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was decanted into a spray bottle and applied to the tile and grout allowing it to dwell for a while before being scrubbed in with a stiff hand brush. This action worked to break down the years of dirt and grime that had built-up in the grout lines and on the surface of the ceramic tiles. The tiles were then rinsed down with water and repeated where required until I was satisfied.

The next step was to tackle the grout haze which refers to the smears of grout left on a tile by the tiller after installation; this should have been polished off as it can be difficult to remove once the grout has set. To remove I knew I would need to use an acid so a strong mix of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up was applied using a sprayer bottle and then scrubbed off with an abrasive black pad. In some areas where the grout was proving extremely stubborn I found leaving Tile Doctor Acid Gel for a longer period of time before scrubbing in was more affective.

The shower tile and grout was then given another rinse with water and I could see that although the tiles were now clean and the grout was much improved the grout still looked stained in places so I decided the best course of action would be to apply a white grout colourant to restore a uniform appearance. Before applying that however I applied fresh grout to a few area where old had crumbled away.

Normally I would recommend using a Grout Colourant Pre-Treater before colouring however in this case I felt that the combination of products that had already been scrubbed into the grout would of more than prepared the surface to accept the colourant.

I left the shower to dry over lunch and then on my return used a heat gun to ensure the grout was bone dry before applying the grout colourant. The colourant is actually very easy to apply and is simply painted onto the grout using a small brush making sure to wipe off any excess from the ceramic tile as you go along. The process makes a big difference to the look of a shower and the colourant provides a barrier over the grout making it much easier to clean in future.

Last step was to strip out the old silicone sealant between the shower wall and tray and replace with a new mould resistant sealant in white and to give the tile a buff with a white pad fitted to a handheld buffer to remove any remaining residue.

Retirement Home Shower Tile Grout After Cleaning Maidenhead Retirement Home Shower Tile Grout After Cleaning Maidenhead

The shower cubicle was transformed and now looks as though it was recently installed. Certainly the customer was very pleased with the final result and left the following feedback.

“Dennis was the ultimate professional, prompt, polite and a pleasure to deal with, the transformation to the tiles in the shower is amazing, would have no hesitation in recommending him. A first class job”
 
 

Professional Shower Cubicle Renovation at Berkshire Retirement Home

Deep Cleaning and Sealing a Beautiful Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Spencer’s Wood

Slate tiles do look incredible but like any natural stone you really need to maintain the sealer if you want them to stay that way. Unfortunately it’s usually the case that the sealer wears off overtime especially in the high foot traffic areas such as Kitchens and within a few years the tiles become dull with ingrained dirt.

This process happens so gradually it goes un-noticed until the floor becomes difficult to keep clean and a decision is made to have it sorted out. This was certainly the case with this Semi Riven Multicoloured Slate tiled kitchen floor at a house in the Berkshire village of Spencer’s Wood. The floor had been installed about fifteen years prior and over the years the Slate had become soiled to the point where domestic cleaners weren’t having any effect.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood

Cleaning Dirty Slate Kitchen Tiles

To begin the restoration I soaked the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and left it to dwell for about twenty minutes re-applying extra solution when it had dried. Remove and Go is our go to product for removing old coatings such as in this case sealers, although much of the old sealer had worn off it was still present in the less busy areas of the floor and to get an even final result I needed to ensure all of it was removed. Once the old sealer had started to weaken I agitated the product using a black pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. The rotary pad struggles to reach into the recesses of the grout lines so I also made sure to scrub the solution into the grout with a grout brush.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

I suspect there were multiple layers of sealer on this floor that had been applied over the years as some areas were proving particularly stubborn. Something stronger was going to be needed particularly in the grout lines. So I applied Tile Doctor HBU remover; HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up and allowed this to dwell for thirty minutes while I cleaned other areas.

Once I was satisfied that the Slate and the Grout was clean and clear of old sealers I gave the whole floor a rinse with water using a wet extraction machine. One the soiled cleaning solutions were removed you could really see the difference that the combination of cleaning products had made.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

The final step in the cleaning process was to give the floor an Acid Wash using a mild solution of Grout Clean-up which removes any surface grout (aka grout smears) and other mineral deposits from the slate to ensure they true beauty of the stone will be visible. Once this was removed the whole floor was rinsed with water to remove any trace of product and then dried as much as possible. After a final inspection the floor was left overnight to dry off fully.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

Sealing Slate Kitchen Tiles

Returning to the property the next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check for any excess moisture that might have prevented me from sealing the floor. We will always do this as excess moisture can affect the sealer curing.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Sealing Spencers Wood

The customer was very happy with the clean and the floor was dry so we discussed sealer options to find out their preference for Matt or Satin finish. With the decision made to go with a Satin finish I began the application of the Tile Doctor Seal and Go which enhances the look of the stone with an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish, as well as providing on-going protection against ingrained dirt and staining.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Sealing Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Sealing Spencers Wood

A total of five coats of Seal and Go were needed to seal the Slate tiles and as you can see from the photos the sealer really put the life back into the floor.
 
 

Rejuvenating a Semi Riven Multicoloured Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Berkshire

Exterior Slate Patio Paving Tile Renovation in Thatcham

Details below of a job I completed earlier in the summer in the Berkshire town of Thatcham which is just east of Newbury. The customer had a lovely Slate Patio installed the year before which had not been sealed by the builder and it had since become dull, light grey and unpleasing to the eye. Additionally there was a haze on tiles from sand and cement that had been used to point between the paving which the customer couldn’t remove.

Exterior Slate Before Renovation Thatcham

I first went round there to take a look at the job and work out a price; we often get asked to quote over the phone but it’s really difficult to do that without look at the job as you never know how things are going to work out unless you do a test clean. In this case I was able to demonstrate the process to the customer on one of the paving tiles which you can easily pick out in the photographs below.

Exterior Slate Before Renovation Thatcham

Happy with the demonstration I was given the job to do the whole patio so I arranged to a date to come back and do the work.

Cleaning Slate Patio Paving

On my return the first job was to tackle the sand and cement haze that was covering much of the slate patio. Fortunately for me the builder had not sealed the tiles so this was just a straightforward case of applying a solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, leaving it to dwell for ten minutes and then scrubbing it into the paving with a mechanical scrubbing machine to release the sandy haze as well as breaking down the soils on the tiles.

You should be aware that Grout Clean-Up is an acid based product and Slate like most natural stone is acid sensitive so it’s important to remove it as soon as its done its job and rinse down the stone with water soon after.

To rinse the slate patio I used our specialist truck mounted systems which gently blasts the soils from the stone with hot pressurised water whilst simultaneously recapturing the waste back into a tank on the van. This action also neutralises the stones which is important before applying sealer. The Slate pavers were then allowed to dry and being a very hot day this only took a couple of hours.

Sealing a Slate Patio

After a long lunch I returned to find the Slate was dry but still looking rather grey so to restore the natural dark colours to the stone I applied a coating of Tile Doctor Stone Oil then after approximately 1 hour any excess stone oil was buffed off the tiles leaving it to fully dry off overnight.

The following day I returned to apply two liberal coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a solvent based no-sheen, natural-look penetrating sealer that will provide the needed protection from the elements and make it easier to clean in future.

Exterior Slate After Renovation Thatcham

My customer was very pleased with the final results and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“I had my patio and path cleaned and sealed. The service from the whole team has been exemplary from start to finish and I am delighted with the work that has been carried out. My particular thanks to Dennis who was friendly, helpful and exceptionally professional. He explained everything he was going to do and why, kept me informed throughout and worked really hard to produce a fantastic finish on my patio and path. I’m really grateful and will most definitely be recommending to friends. Thank you”

Exterior Slate After Renovation Thatcham

 
 

Restoring the Look of a Slate Paved Patio in Berkshire

Restoring Damaged and Stained Original Victorian Tiles in Pangbourne

Pangbourne is a large village situated on the River Thames, about 4 miles west of Reading. The village has a long, rich history – dating back to at least the 9th century. There are still quite a number of Victorian-style houses located in the village, including one that I visited recently to carry out a Victorian tiled floor restoration.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune Before Cleaning

This floor had been hidden, unbeknownst to the property owner, under a linoleum covering for many years. Once the owner realised there was an original Victorian floor under the linoleum they were very keen to restore it as an original feature and stripped it off to expose the tiles, however, they were heavily covered in dirty, adhesive stains and other contaminants and we were asked to complete the job. You can see this in the photos below.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune Before Cleaning

At Tile Doctor, we are very experienced in restoring original Victorian tiles, so I was more than happy to help this customer transform her floor.

Cleaning a Dirty and Stained Victorian Tiled Floor

As I’ve mentioned, the top layer of this original Victorian tiled floor was marked with all manner of staining, so I decided that it would be suitable to use a set of 100 and 200 grit coarse Diamond pads fitted to a weighted machine and lubricated with a little water to grind away the damaged surface and restore the surface of the tiles.

I then cleaned the tiles using Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is our reliable alkaline-based cleaner for natural stone. This product really helped to break down and release the soils. Next, I rinsed the floor with hot water under low pressure to remove any remaining debris, dirt and contamination.

With the cleaning process completed, the floor was allowed to dry for a full 48 hours. In older properties like these dampness can be an issue as damp-proof membranes are a relatively modern invention and I didn’t want to take any chances.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

Returning to the property two days later, I ran some moisture tests to ensure the stone was completely dry and could be sealed. It’s always important to run damp tests on any tiled floor before sealing, since a small amount of excess moisture can undermine the performance of the sealer, and thus expose the floor to ingrained dirt and stains.

Thankfully, the floor proved dry and I could seal it using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which, as a topical sealer, offers a robust surface seal and an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish. It’s also water based so it doesn’t give off a smell as it dries.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune After Cleaning

As you can see from the after photos, the restoration returned the life and colour to this fantastic original Victorian tiled floor. The customer was absolutely thrilled with the result.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune After Cleaning

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Stained Original Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Berkshire

Rejuvenating a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Windsor

If you’ve ever rented out a property for a long period of time, you’ll likely to have been concerned, at one point or another, about whether the tenant can be relied on to maintain the condition of carpets, walls and, of course, tiled floors.

This customer, who owns a property in Windsor (home to Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the Royal Family) had encountered this very problem. The property had been rented out to a tenant for the last five years, but the Slate tiled floor in the kitchen, which was itself only 10 years old, had not been maintained correctly.

Consequently, the sealer on the tiles was worn out and no longer capable of protecting the stone against ingrained dirt and stains. There were also lots of efflorescent salts on the floor, predominantly contained in the high trafficked areas of the kitchen. I was contacted to correct the situation and restore the entire floor by providing a deep clean and seal.

Slate Kitchen Floor Before Restoration in Windsor

Cleaning Dirty Slate Kitchen Tiles

To begin the restoration, I mixed a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and water. Pro Clean is a high alkaline cleaner capable of stripping away any old sealer and eradicating any soils and grease on the floor.

The solution was spread liberally across the entire floor and left to dwell for a short period of time before being agitated and worked into the stone using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

This process left the stone fresh and clean, but the grout lines were still suffering from efflorescent salts. Efflorescence is the deposit of salts on the surface of porous materials such as natural stone tiles as moisture rises through the floor, causing unsightly stains. These alkali salts were neutralised by acid washing the floor using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner.

Slate Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Windsor

After deep cleaning the tiles, I left the floor to dry thoroughly for 24 hours, which is usually the minimum drying period that we would suggest.

Sealing Slate Kitchen Tiles

Returning to the property the next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check for any excess moisture that might have prevented me from sealing the floor. We will always do this as a precaution – especially with older floors that lack a damp proof membrane – because damp issues can damage the performance of the sealer and render it ineffectual.

Thankfully, the floor proved try and I sealed the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is an acrylic polymer sealer that provides an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish, as well as, of course, strong stain and ingrained dirt protection.

Slate Kitchen Floor After Restoration in Windsor

As you can see from the photos above, the restoration really brought this Slate tiled floor back to life after five years of poor maintenance. The customer was very pleased to have it restored back to its optimum condition – ready for the property to be rented out again!
 
 

End of Tenancy Clean and Seal of a Dirty Slated Tiled Kitchen Floor in Berkshire

Dirty and Scratched Travertine Tiles Burnished in Hunt

Travertine, a form of Limestone, is a highly coveted stone that had been in use as a building and flooring material for hundreds of years. In fact, the Romans used Travertine to build the famous Colosseum, the largest building in the world that was built primarily from the material.

It is understandable, then, that anyone who owns a Travertine tiled floor would want to ensure its regular cleaning and maintenance, especially given that Travertine is a relatively soft stone in comparison with other stone, is easily damaged and is naturally pitted. This customer, who lives in the town of Hunt in Berkshire, was keen to have her Travertine tiles deep cleaned, several deep scratched removed and for the pitted holes to be filled.

Scratched travertine tiled floor before cleaning in Hunt

Burnishing and Cleaning a Scratched Travertine Tiled Floor

To clean the Travertine floor, I firstly used a hot clean and capture system, which essentially involves the application of hot water to the floor under high pressure. The system then captures the dirty water and transports it back to a tank on our van. It’s a highly efficient method for cleaning large areas in a short space of time, with great results.

Next, I treated the pitted holes in the Travertine were filled with a coloured matched resin. Pitting is a form of corrosion that occurs naturally in this type of stone, and can be quite unsightly if not treated. Additionally, it’s not unusual for pitting to be made worse by the constant use of weak acid cleaning products which can actually erode the calcium in the stone.

As mentioned, the tiles also suffered from deep scratches in parts, and these were removed using a process we call burnishing, which involves the application of diamond encrusted pads to polish the stone. The scratches were polished out using Coarse 100 and 200 grit diamond pads.

Scratched travertine tiled floor repaired in Hunt

The whole floor was then burnished using the four pad Tile Doctor burnishing system, starting with a Coarse pad and working through Medium, Fine and Extra Fine pads, with rinsing in between each pad and a final rinse at the end of the process.

I left the floor to dry off fully and retuned later to enhance the polish further using Tile Doctor Shine Powder, a crystallising powder product which provides a very durable and deep shine on the Travertine.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

Having successfully dealt with all the problems affecting the Travertine, my last job was to seal the whole floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is an impregnating, colour enhancing sealer that we recommend highly on quality stone such as Travertine, Limestone, and Marble due to the fact that it provides excellent protection and emphasises the wonderful natural shades in the stone.

Scratched travertine tiled floor after restoration in Hunt

The customer was extremely happy with the results and sent over the following feedback for Dennis who worked on the floor:

“Dennis was brilliant – very professional and conscientious – he worked so hard and in 30+ degree temperatures! He has rejuvenated our Travertine flooring to a beautiful, almost mirror like effect – it is now more amazing than it was when it was first laid down.”

Scratched travertine tiled floor after restoration in Hunt

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Pitted, Scratched and Dirty Travertine Floor in Berkshire

Victorian Effect Marble Tiled Floor Restored in Streatley

Never judge a tiled floor by its appearance! On this particular occasion, I visited a client at a house in the village of Streatley which is a small village that sits alongside the River Thames as it runs through the county of Berkshire. The requirement was to take a look at a very old Marble floor which was initially believed to consist of Victorian, rather than Marble, tiles due to the pattern. My client simply could not get the white Marble tiles looking their best; many were a displeasing off-cream colour and naturally wanted them looking new again.

Victorian Effect Marble Floor tiles before cleaning Steatley

Before beginning the restoration, we confirmed that the stone was actually Marble. We did this by testing the tile with acid, which the tiles responded to since Marble is naturally acid-sensitive. Additionally, we could also see the veins running through the tiles, which you simply would not get with a Victorian tiles.

Burnishing a Marble tiled floor

Chemical cleaning had no effect on this floor, so it’s understandable that my client’s attempts at cleaning with everyday household products were unsuccessful. With this type of stone the only method would be to burnish the floor with a set of diamond encrusted pads.

I started off by using a Medium 800 Grit burnishing pad to no avail, followed by a Coarse 400 Grit burnishing pad, which was also unsuccessful. It was only when I used an even coarser 200 Grit pad that some improvement was shown, and it was a very abrasive 100 Grit pad that finally started to achieve the right results. After breaking down all of the dirt, I reverted back to a very fine 1500 grit pad to give the tiles an aesthetically pleasing, light sheen. You use the pads with a little water which lubricates and allows the resultant slurry to be rinsed away.

Restoring the Colour of Black Marble Tiles

The floor was then allowed to dry overnight and upon my return, I treated the black Marble Tiles with Tile Doctor Stone Oil, which gave the stone its deep black shine you can see in the photo.

Final step was to seal the Marble floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile enhancing colour and protecting the floor from staining from within.

Victorian Effect Marble Floor tiles after cleaning Steatley

The floor now looks fantastic and back to how it looked when it was first installed.
 
 

Professional Marble Tiled Floor Restoration in Berkshire

Filthy Limestone Tiled Floor Restored in a Maidenhead Kitchen

Recently I visited a client in the town of Maidenhead, Berkshire who needed assistance restoring a very dirty pitted Limestone tiled floor which had suffered over the years due to poor maintenance choices. The pressures of a busy family life had, understandably, prevented my client from undertaking regular cleaning and the products and methods used for cleaning were by and large unsuitable for this type of natural stone. In addition, the pits in the tiles had been filled with grout; however, they were not flush to the tile and therefore a large amount of soil had collected in the pockets. The result was a Limestone tiled floor in considerably poor condition that was increasingly difficult to keep clean.

Limestone Floor Before Cleaning Maidenhead Limestone Floor Before Cleaning Maidenhead

My client had tried and tried to get the floor clean, using methods such as scrubbing with toothbrushes, steam cleaners, and mopping – but they weren’t getting anywhere! I explained to my client that steaming is, in fact, one of the worst cleaning systems to use on natural stone floors. Steam not only damages sealers, it also thins out greasy soils. Some of these soils are absorbed onto the domestic microfiber pads, however a lot of the soil becomes thinner allowing it to penetrate deeper into the pours of the stone and grout. This in itself starts the vicious circle to rapidly soiled and dirty tiles and grout. This happens because the grease soils magnetise dirt!

Solution: cleaning a Limestone tiled floor

My first task in the cleaning process was to mix a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline cleaner. This solution was applied liberally across the entire Limestone tiled floor and grout. It was allowed to dwell for 30-40 minutes, giving it time to seep into the stone to get underneath and lift the ingrained dirt to the surface. During this time, I scrubbed the grout lines using a specialist stiff grout brush. The Limestone tiles were then scrubbed with heavy mechanical rotary agitation machine.

Limestone Floor During Cleaning Maidenhead Limestone Floor During Cleaning Maidenhead

I then gave the floor a thorough rinse using the latest in cleaning and capture technology, which involves firing hot water at high pressure in a spinning motion across the floor, in effect blasting away the ingrained soils from the grout and pitting in the limestone. The high pressure is delivered from a system mounted inside my van which also contains waste tanks to capture the extracted soiled water.

Solution: sealing a Limestone tiled floor

After being allowed to dry thoroughly for 24 hours, I returned to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which would have brought out the deep colours in the stone, however after discussing the options with the client it became clear that they wanted to keep the floor looking as light as possible so Tile Doctor Ultra Seal was applied. Ultra Seal is a natural look impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone and protects it from within.

Limestone Floor After Cleaning Maidenhead Limestone Floor After Cleaning Maidenhead

The floor now looks fantastic and the sealer should ensure it remains looking that way for some time to come and before leaving I made sure to provide my client with some professional maintenance advice.
 
 

Restoring the appearance of a pitted Limestone tiled Kitchen in Berkshire

Dirty Terracotta Tiles and Grout Cleaned and Sealed in Fifield

For this job, I travelled to a house in the town of Fifield, near the city of Windsor, Berkshire. My client’s problem was a heavily soiled Terracotta tiled floor. Terracotta tiles have been used for over two millennia, but are known to pick up dirt quite easily due to their porosity and a lack of natural surface glaze. This dirt can become ingrained if not removed quickly.

In this particular case, the tiles and grout lines were very dirty, with a small amount of grout haze blemishing some of the newly installed tiles. The affected area of the floor required a thorough clean. Additionally, most of the old sealer had worn away, further exposing the tiles to dirt and damage – this would need to be replaced.

Terracotta Floor Before Cleaning in Fifield

Cleaning dirty Terracotta tiles and grout lines

To clean the floor, I first used Tile Doctor Remove & Go, a strong multi-purpose stripper/cleaner which as its name suggests is designed to remove any old sealer left on the surface. Working in sections, I sprayed down a layer of Remove & Go, before leaving it dwell for roughly 5-10 minutes.

While Remove & Go was soaking into the Terracotta, I scrubbed the grout lines using a stiff grout brush. This helped to lift out the ingrained dirt and grout haze. After I was done with the grout my attention went back on the tiles, so I added a small amount of water to form a solution, which was then scrubbed into the affected area using a heavy weighted rotary machine and a stiff agitation pad.

Terracotta Floor Part Cleaned in Fifield Terracotta Floor Part Cleaned in Fifield

The floor was then rinsed using a high pressure hot water tile and grout cleaning extraction system to remove any remaining soils, pollutants, debris and old sealer. After cleaning, the floor was inspected to ensure all of the issues had been dealt with. Following this, it was treated to a final rinse.

Terracotta Floor After Cleaning in Fifield

Sealing Terracotta tiles and grout

The floor was then let to dry overnight. Thanks to the Aga cooker and damp proof membrane under the floor, the tiles and grout were clean and completely dry, ready for sealing the next day.

I sealed the floor with 6 coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go to provide a healthy, durable seal, which also gave the tiles aesthetically pleasing sheen.

Terracotta Floor After Sealing in Fifield

As you can see from the photograph, the clean and seal made a marked improvement to the condition of the tiles and grout – and my client was very pleased!
 
 

Reconditioning the Terracotta Tiles

Smelly Slate Toilet Floor Problems Resolved At Slough Bowling Complex

Although we do get a lot of residential work we also cover commercial properties such as this local bowling complex in Slough where complaints of a bad odour in the male toilets had been received. The owner of the bowling complex realised the problem was coming from the slate tiled floor and decided to call in their local Tile Doctor to identify and eliminate the odour.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Inspection

Upon closer inspection, it was identified that the unsealed slate floor in the toilets had been contaminated by urine ingress. Urine ingress is a common problem for people who have small animals like cats or dogs as household pets, but it also quite often affects public toilets.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Inspection

Urine ingress occurs because urine, after leaving the body as an acid, becomes a white alkali crystal salt as it dries. Using normal detergents (including bleaches) for cleaning will actually add to both the odour and the problem overall since they are alkaline-based cleaners. At the same time, neglecting to clean can also be damaging, as urine in its initial acidic form will start to eat away at the sealer if not removed quickly.

Cleaning Slate Tiles

Our first action was to use Tile Doctor Remove & Go, a tile and stone friendly stripper, which we applied liberally to the toilet floor. This particular solution is highly effective at removing protective sealers, whilst also drawing out ingrained stains and removing any heavy grease build-up. The solution was allowed to sit for a short period of about ten minutes. It is important not to leave the product to dwell on the surface for too long in case it dries completely. Next, we added a small amount of water to the Remove & Go, before employing a heavy weighted rotary with a nylon brush to carefully scrub the slate and grout lines.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Stripping

After the soils and sealers had been successfully removed, the next task at hand was to neutralise the bad odour caused by urine ingress. This was achieved using a mild mix of the phosphoric acid-based detergent Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which was able to neutralise the alkali crystal salts back to a neutral state. The floor was then scrubbed again, before being thoroughly rinsed with plenty of fresh water.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Stripping

Sealing a Slate Floor

As the bowling complex experiences high volumes of customers on a daily basis, it was essential to use a sealer which would provide the floor with durable protection. We advised our client that an impregnating sealer rather than a topical sealer would be the most suitable for use in this type of environment and recommended a combination of Tile Doctor Stone Oil and Ultra-Seal (suitable for use on all natural stone, including slate) be used instead.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Sealing

We left the floor to dry overnight before applying the Stone Oil. Stone oil reconditions the Slate tile and enhances the colours within the stone. The product then needed a further period of time to dry before we applied two coats of Ultra-Seal impregnating sealer to the stone.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Sealing

Why did we use an impregnation sealer instead of a topical sealer?
Impregnation sealers, such as Ultra-Seal and Colour Grow, are absorbed by the pores in the stone, offering both stain and soil resistance, and providing protection from within. In addition, they are usually solvent-based, and provide durable protection even in areas which experience high traffic. By comparison, topical sealers will essentially build up layers on top of the stone in order to offer protection. The downside to using this is that, in high traffic areas, the sealer can be effectively ‘kicked’ or walked off the surface of the stone.

You’ll notice in some of the photos that the grout appears to be a different colour after cleaning. That’s because the grout had been repaired by the bowling complex prior to our work on the floor. This mistake has been realised, however, as they have matched the grout in with the dirty discolouration, rather than the clean so addressing this issue will be another job on their list!

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Sealing

In summary I’m happy to report we were able to effectively clean the slate floor and eliminate the bad odour caused by urine ingress in the process; then due to the busy nature of the bowling complex a combination of sealing products were applied to the stone to provide long-lasting protection.

Overall, our client was left with a cleaner and more durable slate floor.
 
 

Elimination of Odour in the Toilet’s Slate Floor at a Bowling Complex in Slough

Soiled Limestone kitchen floor deep cleaned and sealed in Crookham

Recently, Berkshire tile doctor was asked to restore a pitted and heavily soiled limestone floor in the village of Crookham by a previous customer. I always like it when that happens as there’s no better testimonial that than being asked by a previous customer to do more work. This floor ran throughout the kitchen, utility and downstairs toilet and had a range of soils on the floor, especially in the kitchen. The floor had also lost its sheen and although the customer did not want a deep shine they did want the floor to have some reflection to it.

Limestone Kitchen Floor in Crookham before cleaning Limestone Kitchen Floor in Crookham before cleaning

Deep Cleaning the Limestone Tiled Floor

We used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to get the floor clean again by applying a medium dilution which was spread liberally over the floor using a bucket and soft brush. The cleaning solution was allowed to dwell on the stone before being scrubbed into the tile and grout using a stiff brush and pad.

Limestone Kitchen Floor in Crookham during cleaning Limestone Kitchen Floor in Crookham during cleaning

A coarse diamond burnishing pad was then used to remove some surface soils and any remaining sealer from the surface of the limestone before giving the floor a rinse using our unique clean and capture system. This system combines, water, heat, pressure and powerful vacuum extraction and is highly effective at blasting away soils from the pits in the limestone. Once we were happy the floor was clean we set about restoring the finish to the stone with the medium, fine and very fine burnishing pads.

Limestone Kitchen Floor in Crookham during cleaning Limestone Kitchen Floor in Crookham during cleaning

The floor was given another rinse and the limestone left for 48 hours so it could thoroughly dry out before sealing.

Sealing the Limestone Floor

To seal the stone we applied a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a durable sealer that impregnates the stone and enhances the deep natural colours in the stone.

Limestone Kitchen Floor in Crookham after cleaning

We believe it’s important to seal stone after deep cleaning and restoration as it helps prevent future soils and staining. There are many sealers available on the market for stealing stone, however, it’s important to recognise the importance of using a quality sealer and having used Tile Doctor products for some time now can confidently say they offer long term protection for your floor. We do however recommend an annual deep clean and touch up to ensure your floors stay looking as great as the day we leave and we offer a regular maintenance service to enable you achieve that.
 
 

Restoration of Solid Limestone Floor in Crookham

Limestone Kitchen Floor refinished near Staines

This wonderful Limestone tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a house near the town Staines where it had become dirty and tired, helped I might add by the customers dog who loved to swim in rivers and get muddy at every opportunity. The customer was struggling to clean the floor, the grout lines wouldn’t come clean and after spending hours scrubbing with a tooth brush and getting nowhere she called Tile Doctor.

Deep Cleaning the Limestone Tiled Floor

The floor was clearly in need of a deep clean and re-seal a very mild dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean applied liberally across the floor and allowed to dwell and penetrate through the soils engrained into the grout. The grout lines were scrubbed with a specialist grout brush to release the soil and a rotary machine with a nylon deck scrubbing brush was used to release the soils from the Limestone tiles.

Limestone Kitchen Floor Stains Before Cleaning Limestone Kitchen Floor Stains Before Cleaning

After approximately half an hour of scrubbing, the Limestone floor was extraction cleaned using our truck mounted clean and capture system. This system combines heat, pressure, and vacuum extraction to gently blast engrained soils away from the limestone and the grout lines.

Limestone Kitchen Floor Stains During Cleaning Limestone Kitchen Floor Stains High Pressure Machine

To get the Limestone really clean a two pad diamond burnishing process was used; normally we use four pads however the customer did not want the stone to be too shiny and reflection was already starting to happen after the second pad had been applied. Using diamonds to refinish calcium stone such as marble, travertine and limestone is the modern chemical free solution to restoring the surface of sedimentary stones.

Limestone Kitchen Floor Stains During Cleaning Limestone Kitchen Floor Stains During Cleaning

Sealing the Limestone Floor

After deep clean and refinishing the surface of the limestone, it was allowed to dry for a period of 36 hours, after this a liberal coat of Colour Grow which is a solvent based impregnator was applied to the stone. The sealer was allowed to sit on the surface of the stone for approximately 5 minutes before the excess was buffed away. Buffing the excess away is important to ensure a great, smear free finish.

Limestone Kitchen Floor Stains During Sealing Limestone Kitchen Floor Stains After Sealing

Before leaving we recommended a system to care for the floor to ensure is continues to look as good as the day we left. Also we recently contact the client to check everything was ok and I’m proud to confirm they are still really pleased with the floor and after professional cleaning and sealing is now finding the floor is much easier to clean and maintain herself.
 
 

Deep Cleaning Limestone Floor Near Stains

Limestone Sign Wall Cleaning at Reading Business Park

This was an unusual request to clean a large Limestone wall used to mount a sign at a Reading Business Park that had been installed approximately 8 to 10 years prior and never cleaned. The old sign had been removed from the stone which had exposed the unprotected areas of stone leaving a shadow. Pollutants, carbon soils, road dirt and weathering had discoloured the Limestone and the client was unable to get it satisfactorily clean. You can see from the photo below how obviously dirty the stone had become.

Limestone sign before cleaning reading

Deep Cleaning a Limestone Wall

To get the Limestone cleaned I applied a liberal 50:50 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with a roller brush and allowed it to dwell for on the stone for around twenty minutes.

Limestone sign during cleaning reading

The chemicals got to work on the dirt whilst I set up our truck mounted medium pressure hot water clean and capture system which uses a twin rotary jet system to fire hot water at 90 degrees at 1200psi onto the stone in a circular spinning motion. It’s a great tool that immediately vacuums the waste water away to a separate tank in the van. This mess free clean and capture system is self-contained and doesn’t require the disposal of hot water or dirty water on site either. Using the tool I was able to blast away the soils and pollutants from the stone and then left it to dry.

Limestone sign after cleaning reading

Sealing the Limestone Wall

When I returned I checked the stone was dry, fortunately it hadn’t rained and the sun and wind had dried it out well. To seal the Limestone I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone to prevent contaminates discolouring it, additionally it’s suitable for internal and external applications and has the added effect of enhancing the natural colour in the stone. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to take a final photograph once it was sealed due to a rather irritating traffic warden.
 
 

Cleaning and Sealing Limestone Sign Wall in Reading