Stained Limestone Tiled Wet Room Renovated in Sonning Eye

This enquiry came from a theatre buff at a house in Sonning Eye near Reading who regularly hosted cast members playing at the local Mill Theatre. Five years prior he had a Limestone tiled wet room installed and unfortunately the floor tiles were laid unevenly and the fall on the tiles didn’t allow the water to drain off efficiently. The water would therefore tend to pool in the centre and overtime heavy limescale built-up and mould had also started to appear.

Limestone Shower Before Renovation Sonning Eye

Cast members staying at his house although grateful of the hospitality had often mention the state of the unsightly shower and so we were asked to pop round and see what could be done to renovate it and restore its appearance.

Shower Tile and Grout Cleaning

The first task was to remove the mould that had ingrained the Limestone, to do this I used Tile Doctor Duo Clean and scrubbed it into the tile with assistance from a steamer. I repeated this action three times, after each time I could see a visible improvement in the affected area and once it had lightened to a very faint grey, I knew that the next cleaning process to burnish the stone would see it disappear completely so left it at that.

Limestone Shower During Renovation Sonning Eye Limestone Shower During Steam Cleaning Sonning Eye

Next job was to remove the limescale build-up and re polish the Limestone tiles. I found the best way to do this was with a small hand-held machine, this allowed me to get into all the edges and groves that would have been impossible with a larger machine which would have struggled to cope with the uneven tiles.

Limestone Shower During Polishing Sonning Eye

I started with a 400-grit burnishing pad, but this struggled to cut into the years limescale build-up, so I switched this for 100-grit soft milling pad which did the trick. Once all the limescale had been removed it was time to rebuild the polish on the surface of the stone, so the process was repeated working through finer and finer burnishing pads 200, 400, 800,1500 and finally 3000-grit until the appearance of the Limestone was restored. This is quite a time-consuming process as the pad are quite small, additionally each pad is applied with water to provide lubrication which turns into a slurry that has to be rinsed off before applying the next pad. The result however is worth at as it really restores the polished appearance of the Limestone.
The last part of the cleaning process was to give the grout a quick clean I did this by scrubbing in Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines with a grout brush, again rinsing off the slurry afterwards. Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline tile and grout cleaner that’s safe to use on natural stone.

Sealing Limestone Tiles in a Wet Room

The final task was to seal the Limestone and replace the worn mastic/silicon sealant around the edges. Usually I would leave the stone to dry out overnight but as it was a small area, I was able to thoroughly dry it out using a heat gun. Once dry two good coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal were applied to provide on-going protection. Ultra-Seal is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the small pores in the stone thereby preventing dirt from becoming ingrained, also it doesn’t change the colour of the stone in any way leaving a very natural appearance.

Last step before finishing was to apply a fresh application of white mastic sealant along the edges of the tiling to ensure a good seal and no leaks.

Limestone Shower After Renovation Sonning Eye

My customer was over the moon with the result as initially he thought he might have to have it replaced. He was so pleased in fact that he left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“Excellent prompt and courteous service from Dennis who I cannot recommend too highly. After completion of the work a previously very tired looking wet-room looked better than it did when new.”

Limestone Shower After Renovation Sonning Eye

 

Professional Stone Tiled Wet Room Renovation in Berkshire

Screed and Bitumen Covered Victorian Tiled Floor Caversham

Details below of a floor I recently worked on where my client had removed the linoleum that covered the hallway floor and discovered an original Victorian Tiled floor buried underneath bitumen which had been used an adhesive, there was also some leveling screed that would need removing. The house was situated in Caversham Reading, Berkshire which lies on the north bank of the River Thames, opposite the rest of Reading.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor Before Restoration Caversham Reading

She had been renovating the whole house when she came across it and realising the value an original feature like this could add to the property was keen to restore it. Having tried several methods to remove the bitumen herself she realised it was too difficult and messy to do and decided to call in some help.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor Before Restoration Caversham Reading

Tile Doctor have successfully restored bitumen covered Victorian floors before and being their local agent, I was asked to look at the floor. I went round to take a look and ran a number of tests primarily to demonstrate it could be done and also, so I could work out the best method to clean the floor and therefore provide the customer with an accurate quote.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor Before Restoration Caversham Reading

Victorian tiles are very durable and having worked on similar floors before I was confident the tiles could be restored to a satisfactory state and be returned to its former glory. We discussed the process and a price and then scheduled the work to be done.

Removing Screed and Bitumen from Victorian Hallway Tiles

The first job was to apply protective tape around surrounding area to protect the wooden skirting etc. from splashing. Then I took a scraper and mallet to carefully chip away at the screed parts of the floor and remove it to expose the tiles underneath. Once this was done I could start with the more difficult task of dealing with the thick build-up of bitumen.

Bitumen is a horrible sticky black substance that required a fair bit of time and different methods to remove. My first method was to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, leaving it to dwell and work on breaking down the bitumen before scrubbing it in. This product is particularly good at breaking down old sealers and paint and although it made an impact I could see that I would need something with a bit more punch to finish the job, so I decided to try Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU remover.

The Nanotech HBU (Heavy Build Up) Remover was generously applied in small sections adding more as the product began to dry. After about twenty minutes I could see the HBU had weakened the bitumen making it soft enough that it could be worked off the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine running at slow speed. With the bitumen now turned to a messy slurry I removed the substance with a wet vacuum. I then gave the floor a thorough rinse using a hot water extraction machine operating at low pressure that runs from a compressor in my van. This machine was an expensive investment however it makes light work of rinsing floors.

The tiles looked great after the initial rinse, but I could see the black dye from the bitumen had bled into the surface of the tile. However, us Tile Doctors are well trained and have a solution for every problem and I was able to remove these spots using a 100-grit followed by a 200-grit milling pad fitted to the rotary machine. After yet another rinse the tiles were looking fantastic and I left the floor to dry out.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor After Cleaning Caversham Reading

Sealing a Restored Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Originally the plan was to return five days later to seal but with other works going on in the house and the hallway being in constant use I decided to wait until that had completed requesting that the floor was covered up in order to protect it.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor After Restoration Caversham Reading

Two weeks later I returned to the house and gave the floor a quick inspection to make sure all was well before sealing. All was well, the floor just need a quick vacuum to remove dust and was able to proceed with the sealing. The customer wanted a matt finish, so I opted to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour intensive impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the tile preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there. Three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow left the tiles looking rich and vibrant. Both the porch and the hallway now look inviting.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor After Restoration Caversham Reading

Overall the customer was over the moon with the final result and was glad she decided to have it restored rather than replaced.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor After Restoration Caversham Reading

 

Professional Restoration of Bitumen Stained Victorian Tiled Hallway 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

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

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

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

Cleaning Antalya Limestone Tiles in Reading

I don’t mind a few stairs but these Antalya Limestone tiles were installed in a flat at the top of a three storey residential block in Reading with no lift. The sealer had worn down over time which was making the floor hard to clean and always looking dirty.

Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Floor

To clean the floor we applied a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a heavy duty alkaline cleaning product specially designed for cleaning stone floors. This was left to dwell for a while and then agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a Black Scrubbing pad. The soiled solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor was then rinsed down with fresh clean water.

Antalya Limestone During Cleaning

Limestone Tiled Floor Polishing

We used a set of diamond encrusted Twister Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary buffing machine to polish the Limestone floor. These pads are ideal for restoring the shine on hard stone surfaces such as Limestone and Marble, the come in a set of four and you start with the Red pad together with plain water and this cuts through and removes surface grime and any surface seal. You then progress through one by one until you get to the final Green pad which provides a high polish.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Once the floor was dry I sealed it using two coats of Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is a penetrating sealer that provides a natural look and will help protect the floor going forward.

Antalya Limestone After Cleaning
 

Restoring Antalya Limestone Tile in Berkshire

Neglected Victorian Quarry Tiled Floor Restored in Pangbourne

We were asked to restore this Original Victorian Quarry tiled floor following a major refurbishment of a Grade 1 listed mansion in Pangbourne, Berkshire. The tiles has seen many years of neglect and as you can see from the photo below it was not given much thought or care by the builders and decorators who had been working on the property.

Neglected Victorian Quarry Tiles

Cleaning Victorian Quarry Tiles

We set about stripping and cleaning the floor of all the paint and dirt that had been left to accumulate on its surface over the years starting with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked into the Quarry tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This was removed using a wet and dry vacuum and followed by hours of detailed cleaning using Tile Doctor Remove and Go mixed 50/50 with NanoTech Ultra Clean which adds Nano sized abrasive particles to the solution to make a more effective coatings remover. We allowed this to dwell for a short while before agitating it with a rotary machine again fitted with a black scrubbing pad working the solution into the floor, this treatment tackled the stubborn paint and all sorts of other residues. Once we were happy with floor it was given a good rinse down with clean water and then left to dry.

Refurbished Victorian Quarry Tiles

Sealing Quarry Tiles

Once the Quarry Tiles were dry we set about sealing them, a low sheen finish was required so four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied, it’s a water based sealer that will protect the surface going forward. The Main contractor could not believe we managed to get the floor looking pristine and back to its original condition.

Transforming a neglected Victorian Quarry Tiled floor in Berkshire