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Rupert Mcleod
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Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Brought Back to Life at an Esher Flat

Esher is a small suburb in Surrey, situated just outside London. It was a fashionable area to live in amongst royalty and the aristocracy in the Victorian period, and during this time many buildings were built.

One such building has since been turned into a block of separate flats, and some of the flats still contain the original Victorian tiles in the hallway. I was contacted by one of these flat owners about restoring their tiles back to the best possible condition. Interestingly this customer’s tiles were part of a larger floor that had been divided between two flats.

Cleaning Original Victorian Tiles

I began the restoration by spreading Tile Doctor Remove and Go across the entire set of tiles. Remove and Go is a heavy-duty stripper that helped to loosen and remove old glue deposits where carpet had been laid over the tile, it will also strip off old sealers and release ingrained muck.

The Remove and Go was worked into the tile and grout with a stiff brush and then the soiled solution rinsed off and extracted using a wet vacuum. I followed by this applying a coarse 200-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad, fitted to a handheld buffer, to grind away the particularly stubborn dirt and stains to restore the appearance of the stone. Afterwards, I rinsed the tiles again with water and soaked up the resultant slurry with a wet vacuum.

I noticed that there remained several ingrained stains dotted across the floor, so to remove these I aggressively burnished the affected areas with a very coarse 50-grit handheld diamond block. This essentially removed the very top layer of the stone, taking with it the ingrained marks.

Next, I dried the area with a large blower and heat gun. Under normal circumstances, 48 hours needs to pass before the tiles can be sealed, but as this was a small area I was able to dry it very quickly. After carrying out a damp test, I determined the tiles were ready to be sealed.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles

To seal the Victorian Tiles, I applied six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealer, which provides a high-quality sheen finish, as well as plenty of protection for the future. Tile Doctor have a range of suitable sealers available including Colour Grow which provides a matte finish – it’s just a matter of personal choice for the customer.

The outcome of the restoration was fantastic and the customer was very pleased, leaving the following testimonial.

“Promptly organised, delivered when promised. Good looking job when complete. Well done.”
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Polishing and Sealing a Dirty Limestone Kitchen Floor in Cobham

This customer, who lives in the small village of Cobham had the unique situation of having been abroad for six months, leaving her adult children in charge of the house. During this time, the fantastic Limestone tiled floor in the kitchen had not received adequate maintenance and its appearance had rapidly degraded. To make the situation worse, it seemed to me that the wrong products had been used on the rare occasions that it had been cleaned.

With the customer now back in the UK and living in the house again, he was keen to have the Limestone tiles restored to their original condition. He contacted me to get the job done.

Cleaning and Polishing Dirty Limestone Kitchen Tiles

My first task was to tackle the dirty grout lines between the Limestone tiles, which were brown and stained. Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is our reliable alkaline-based tile cleaner, was applied with a grout brush and the stains immediately vanished.

The next stage of the restoration involved polishing the Limestone using our four-pad Tile Doctor diamond-encrusted burnishing pad system. Firstly, I applied a Coarse 400 grit pad to strip away what remained of the old sealer which had been worn down in the high traffic areas of the floor. I then applied the Medium 800 grit and Fine 1500 grit pad to gradually close the pores of the stone which, in turn, restores the polished effect.

Each pad is used in combination with a small amount of water and any excess moisture is removed with a wet vacuum. To end the first day of work, I left the floor to dry and arranged to return in 48 hours to finish the job with sealing.

Sealing Limestone Kitchen Tiles

Upon my return, I ran some quick damp tests to check the floor could be sealed and quickly polished the surface again using a soft white nylon pad to remove the paw prints caused by the customer’s dog in the interim period!

Next, using a small quantity of water, I used the Very Fine 3000 grit burnishing pad to hone the stone to its highest possible quality. Once dry, I applied to the floor two coats of Ultra- Seal, which is a penetrating sealer designed to provide maximum stain protection while providing a natural look finish. One final polish later and the restoration was complete.

Here’s what the customer said:

“Very professional service, very thorough, and careful with moving furniture. Very informative about the ongoing care and treatment of the flooring. Would most certainly recommend Rupert.”
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Cement and Lino Covered Quarry Tiles Restored in Woking

This customer from Woking had a Quarry tiled kitchen floor that she simply didn’t think could be restored. The floor had been unearthed after many years of being covered by a layer of levelling compound cement and then linoleum. Indeed, the situation certainly looked dire, but I carried out a successful test clean on a patch of the floor where the cement was at its thickest to show that it would be possible to conduct a full restoration. Having seen the results, the customer was more than happy for me to get the work underway.

Cleaning Dirty, Cement Covered Quarry Tiles

To begin the restoration, I soaked small sections with water and Tile Doctor Remove and Go our heavy duty coatings remover. The solution was left to dwell for a short period to soften the cement, before I used the heat from a steamer in combination with a hand scraper to begin lifting away the muck. As you can probably imagine, this was an arduous and intensive process which took a full four days to fully complete.

Next, I cleaned the cement-free tiles using our high alkaline tile cleaning product Tile Doctor Pro Clean diluted 1 part cleaner with 3 parts water. This helped to eradicate the leftover muck once I had removed the bulk of the cement. I then sprayed Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up onto the grout lines and tiles to fully neutralise them and also remove any cement residue. Finally, I steamed the floor and left it for a week to dry out completely.

Sealing Quarry Kitchen Tiles

Upon my return to the property I sealed the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which really enhances the natural colours stone, and four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a topical sealer which provides a high quality sheen finish and durable protection against stains.

The customer was over the moon with the results and left some great feedback:

“Wayne did a really superb job. It was a very tough task, hot and exhausting, but he was fantastically good-humoured throughout, and kept me really well-informed. He was 100% reliable and very good at communicating between visits. I’m absolutely thrilled with the results! Thank you Wayne and thank you Tile Doctor! Would definitely recommend, and use your services again.”
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Restoring Travertine Kitchen Tiles in East Byfleet

This customer, who lives in East Byfleet had been experiencing difficulties in keeping her fantastic Travertine tiled kitchen floor in good condition. Over the years it had suffered from a heavy build up of dirt and oily stains, not to mentioned a number of cracks and small holes. Needless to say, the customer was keen to restore the Travertine tiles to their former glory.

Restoring Travertine Tiles

To begin the restoration, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go across the entirety of the large tiled area. This heavy duty remover breaks down any old sealers and other coatings, leaving the area ready to cleaned or, in this case, burnished.

Burnishing is a method for cleaning and polishing certain types of high-end stone, including Travertine, Marble, and Limestone. Our burnishing system involves the application of four diamond encrusted pads of varying grits. Firstly, I applied the Coarse grit pad, which helps to break down any dirt and stains on the surface of the tiles. Then, I worked my way through the Medium, Fine, and Very Fine pads, using a little water as lubricant, to gradually refine the polish on the Travertine. It was then rinsed and left to dry.

To round off the first day of work, I filled any cracks and holes using our two-part resin system which greatly improved the look of the tile.

Sealing Travertine Tiles

The following day I returned to the property to seal the tiles checking first that the floor had dried. All was well so I proceeded to seal the floor using our colour intensifying impregnating sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Once that was dry, I added the finishing touches by buffing the floor with a soft white buffing pad. As you can see from the photographs, the combination of a fresh seal and polish worked wonders.

We did such a good job with the floor that the customer asked if we could also improve the appearance of their natural stone fireplace which was suffering from bad rust and oil stains however I do a separate write up on that.
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Repairing a Scratched Slate Tiled Kitchen floor in Weybridge

This property owner in Weybridge recently had a new fridge delivered by a well-known electrical retailer that has an unusual policy of not protecting its customers’ floors when installing heavy appliances. Predictably, the lack of care and consideration resulted in multiple unsightly scratches being left on the fantastic Slate tiled floor, mostly notably in front of the dishwasher, which was also newly installed.

Understandably, the property owner was not best pleased. He was keen to have the situation remedied as soon as possible. At Tile Doctor, we not only provide tile cleaning services but we also have the experience and equipment to hand all sorts of related issues including the restoration of scratched tiles. Happy to help. I travelled over to Weybridge to address the problem.

Repairing and Sealing a Damaged Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

The surface of the stone was damaged and the only way to repair it without the repair standing out was to strip and polish the whole floor. I therefore began the restoration by stripping the whole floor of its old sealer. The customer had marked all the deep scratches he wanted to have removed with sticky notes. I explained to him that burnishing, a type of polishing carried out using diamond encrusted handheld blocks in combination with a little water, would be perfect for this job.

The process of burnishing essentially grinds away the damaged layer and then re-polishes the stone, the process would remove the scratches and rebuild the shine. It involves the application of different grades of pads from coarse to extra fine and a little water to lubricate the process followed by a rinse with more water in-between each pad to remove the slurry generated by the process. After burnishing the floor is left polished but damp, however to save time I able to speed dry the whole floor using a powerful industrial air mover.

Once the floor was dry the final task was to re-seal the tiles. I did this using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour intensifying, impregnating sealer which soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within against ingrained dirt and stains for many years to come.

The customer was very satisfied with the service provided and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Great advice, open, honest and helpful. Turned up on time, explained the job well and it looks great. Very happy with the process and the finished results.”
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Acid-Damaged Marble Shower Cubicle Restored in Leatherhead

Marble tiles are a fantastic choice of stone for a shower cubicle because of its distinctive characteristics and quality. It can really add a luxurious feel and when used in a bathroom take it to the next level.

However, it’s extremely important to note that Marble like all natural stone is a porous and acid-sensitive material. It must therefore be cleaned with care using suitable products. This particular Marble tiled shower cubicle at a property in Leatherhead is a good example of this done wrong. The owner had used an acid-based cleaning product to clean the stone, resulting in damage to the sealer and causing unappealing streaks to form.

This type of damage can appear irreparable but, with the right combination of cleaning methods and products, it can be fixed. Once the old sealer has been removed, and the tiles have been cleaned, polished and re-sealed, they can look as a good as new. Here’s how I helped this customer restore the Marble shower cubicle.

Cleaning and Polishing a Marble Shower Cubicle

To begin the restoration, I scrubbed the dirty grout lines using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a highly reliable and multi-purpose alkaline-based product. I then rinsed the tiles with water to remove the traces of cleaning product.

Next, I moved on to the polishing stage of the restoration – what we often refer to as burnishing. This involved the use of small six-inch diamond-encrusted burnishing pads applied with a hand buffer and with different levels of grit – ranging from Coarse to Very Fine. I started with the Coarse grit pad and worked my way sequentially through our four-pad system, polishing the stone with Medium, Fine and eventually the Very Fine pad to really bring up the polish.

Sealing a Marble Shower Cubicle

Once the shine had returned to the Marble and the damage had been removed, I re-sealed the tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a penetrating sealer designed to enhance the natural colours and patina of the stone. Once dry, I gave the tiles a final polish with a white buffing pad to put the finishing touches on the restoration.

The customer was thrilled with the results, saying:

“I’m really happy with the result and we will make sure we don’t use supermarket cleaners again on natural stone. Rupert was a very personable tradesman who took pride in what he was doing. He has identified Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner as being the product we should have used in the first place and has sent me the website details.”

Another satisfied customer!
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Cleaning Dirty White Porcelain Floor Tiles in Windlesham

Photographs below from a lovely house in Windlesham where I was asked to do something about the Porcelain floor tiles which had become extremely dirty and were proving impossible to clean. Infact my customer was pulling her hair out about how to fix this issue of deeply ingrained muck and was on the verge of pulling the whole lot up.

Porcelain Tile Cleaning

Normally Porcelain tiles are fairly easy to maintain and it’s just a question of keeping the grout clean however I have to confess these tiles were perplexing indeed. In fact to be honest…I tried every product in my van to get them clean, finally settling on Oxy Gel. I left it to soak on the floor for 30 minutes and then worked it in with an aggressive 200 grit pad.

I’m happy to report the transformation was amazing, all the muck was released from the tile and I was able to extract it from the floor using a wet vacuum. My last step was to give the grout a good scrub using more Oxy Gel, rinse off with water and extract as much moisture as possible with the wet vacuum.

Porcelain Tile Sealing

I speed dried the floor with an air mover and once the floor was dry I applied a coating of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal. Now Porcelain tiles don’t usually take a sealer however these tiles were unusual in that they were trapping dirt and it’s possible they were in fact micro-porcelain so a coat of sealer was added for good measure.

My customer was really pleased with the difference and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Here’s what she said-

“Rupert was a total professional from start to finish. I was worried as to how good he would be able to make the floor – the floor consists of almost white porcelain tiles, that my tiler had failed to seal. This meant they had absorbed dirt over the last two years – even after me scrubbing the floor, they always looked dirty. The room was big – a 24 feet long kitchen/dining room. But Rupert assured me he could get it clean again – and he was as good as his word. When I saw the room for the first time, I said “I have my new kitchen back – the floor looks as good as it did the day the tiler had put the tiles down”. He left everything clean and tidy after the job – I wish I had discovered your website 18 months ago ! Thank you, Rupert, brilliant work.””
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2016 Tile Doctor of the Year Runner Up

Thanks to all my customers who sent in feedback about my service in 2016, your feedback is used to determine the winner of the Tile Doctor of the Year Competition and I’m happy to report that at this years Tile Doctor conference in Leicester I won a Trophy for being the 2nd place runner up.

There are around 50 Tile Doctors dotted around the UK so the competition for first place is high and having a lot of feedback really helps. I have my eye on first place for 2017 so I need all the help I can get and promise to do a first rate job for you in order to achieve it.

Congratulations for first place went to the Cambridge Tile Doctor Mick Conlon and other awards were given out for 3rd place, best new Tile Doctor and Best On-Line reputation.
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