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Patric Hanson
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Old Yorkshire Flagstone Floor Covered in Bitumen Renovated in Sedgefield

This property in Sedgefield, County Durham, recently came under new ownership and the new owner planned several renovations including replacing the carpet in the front room. Removing the carpet was straightforward but unfortunately it had been glued down using a good layer of bitumen which left quite a mess and upon further inspection she realised there was a perfectly sound Yorkshire flagstone floor underneath.

Realising the flagstones would make an impressive floor she was keen to have them restored and spoke to a number of people including a builder who all said it would be an impossible job. Bitumen is an awful material and it was clear removing it from the stone would not be easy.

Having exhausted local connections, she turned to the internet and came across details of a Victorian floor stained with Bitumen that a colleague of mine had worked on and so gave Tile Doctor a call.

Cleaning Bitumen off Yorkshire Flagstones

With a floor like this you can’t really make too many promises as to the outcome or how long it will take however we do access to a lot of experience and some very powerful cleaning products so I was confident we could improve the look of the floor significantly.

To start we carefully scrapped off as much of the black bitumen as possible which took a lot longer than I had initially thought. Next I created a strong mixture of two Tile Doctor Products Acid Gel and Nanotech HBU Remover applying it in sections to the floor like a poultice and leaving it to soak in for a while before agitating it with a rotary scrubber. Acid Gel is used to remove minerals such as salt deposits, cement and grout smears and in this case, I felt it would also help to weaken the Bitumen. Nantotech HBU is another strong product which is named after the tiny Nano sized particles it contains and HBU is an acronym for Heavy Build-Up.

After being worked into floor it was rinsed off with water to neutralise the acid and the resultant slurry extracted using a wet vacuum. Once a section was clear we moved onto the next and repeated the process, we also spot treated any ugly spots that needed further treatment. It took about a week to complete the cleaning but using this process I’m happy to report we were able to remove about 99% of the Bitumen and the Flagstone floor was now fully visible.

Sealing Yorkshire Stone

The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal the floor first checking it for dampness using a Damp Meter. The flagstones were dry so I then proceeded to seal the floor using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a matt sealer that impregnates the pores of the stone protecting it from within whilst enhancing the natural colours of the stone.

The owner was very pleased with the difference we had made and whilst the Yorkshire stone had been darkened by the Bitumen in places it has defiantly added a lot of character to the floor and blends in well with the rustic wood burner in the hearth.

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Dull Travertine Tiles Polished and Sealed in Durham

It can be very frustrating to put effort into regularly cleaning natural stone floor tiles without achieving effective, long-lasting results. This recent customer of mine, who lives in the beautiful city of Durham in north east England, had attempted to maintain the appearance of her Travertine tiled living room floor but it had, nonetheless, become dull and lifeless in many areas.

The customer’s choice to use a steam mop regularly had caused more harm than good, as the steam damaged the sealer and exposed the stone to ingrained dirt and stains. I was asked to restore the floor back to its original condition and provide advice on the correct cleaning techniques and products for aftercare.

Cleaning a Dirty Travertine Tiled Living Room Floor

To begin the restoration, I used our Tile Doctor burnishing system, which consists of applying four different diamond encrusted pads to restore the sheen to the stone and rid it of any dirt. Starting with a Coarse grit pad to grind away the dirty layer, I subsequently moved on to the Medium and Fine grit pads to gradually polish the floor. Each pad is applied with water to help lubricate the process and the resultant soil is rinsed off after each pad application.

Next, I cleaned the grout carefully using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with a stiff grout brush, Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner that works really well on grout. The floor was left to dry overnight.

Returning the following day, I applied the fourth and final burnishing pad which is a Very Fine 3,000 grit to achieve the best possible sheen. Water is liberally spayed onto the tile during the application of the last pad in what we call a Spray Burnish action.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Living Room Floor

The final step of the restoration was to seal the tiles. I did this using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, our impregnating sealer which not only protects the stone, but also rejuvenates its appearance and colour. I then gave the floor another quick buff with a white buffing pad for good measure.

After completing the work, I gave the customer some advice on aftercare. I recommended that she use Tile Doctor Stone Soap in combination with warm water for future cleaning as it is not only reliable, but also helps to maintain the natural patina of the stone. The solution should be gently mopped onto the floor.

As you can see from the after photos, the work made a huge difference to the appearance of the Travertine tiles and the customer was very happy with the finished result.

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Floor restoration results.
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8/18/17
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