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Alastair Robb
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Restoring a Carpet Covered Terracotta Tiled Floor in Appleton

I was contacted by a home owner in Appleton near Warrington who had a Terracotta tiled floor in their dining Room. The floor had previously been covered in carpet and they were keen to have the whole floor restored.

To complicate things further the Carpet had been stuck down with a strong adhesive and a local builder had advised them to remove the glue using brick acid. Although this was successful it had the side effect of discolouring the grout lines and no amount of rinsing with the floor with water to dilute and wash off the acid would resolve the problem.

Happy for me to resolve the problem, my client informed me they were going on holiday and would like me to do the work whilst they were away. This was a great idea as it would guard against unwanted foot traffic during the cleaning and sealing process and it would also mean they would have a nice surprise waiting for them on their return.

Deep Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor
After protecting the Kitchen units and skirting boards with plastic sheeting my first job was to strip any remaining sealer off the Terracotta tiles using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The solution was spread across the floor and then left to dwell for twenty minutes before scrubbing it in with a black scrubbing pad attached to a rotary floor buffer. I then used a wet vacuum to remove the now dirty cleaning solution from the floor.

The grout was also given a good scrub using more Tile Doctor Pro-Clean but this time it was scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush until I was satisfied it was as clean as it could be. The floor given a good rinse and I then inspected the floor tile and grout to ensure it was clean and free of sealers, any areas that needed ore work were retreated and the floor given a final rinse and dry with the wet vacuum before being left to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor
I returned the next morning and tested the tiles with a damp meter to ensure they were dry before beginning applying the sealer. All was well, so I started by applying a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and enhancing the natural red colour of the Terracotta in the process.

Once the first coat had dried I followed up with two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a compatible water-based sealer that works really well on clay tiles and adds a lovely sheen finish to the floor.

The last step was to resolve the problem with the discoloured grout lines by applying a white grout colourant to the grout. This gave the grout a fresh and consistent appearance throughout and also has the benefit of sealing the grout which will protect it from staining and also make it much easier to clean.

Last step was to finish the sealing of the floor by topping up the sealer with another three coats of Seal and Go to ensure the floor was fully sealed.

The result was a huge improvement and now looked like a recently installed Terracotta floor. When my customer returned from holiday they were more than happy with the floor and the work I had done.
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Polishing Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiles in Helsby

Getting the best out of a natural stone floor isn’t straight forward and we often get calls from customers who have come to the realisation they need help. An example of this being a lady from the village of Helsby who got in touch after her husband had given up following spending two days cleaning their Limestone tiled kitchen floor but actually making it worse.

Burnishing and Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Floor
On arrival the first step was to give the floor a general clean with a focus on cleaning the grout lines and removing any grit from the floor. I used a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline tile cleaning product that is safe to use on grout and stone. The cleaning solution was applied by sponge mop and left to soak for ten to twenty minutes before being scrubbed in along the grout line using a stiff narrow brush to get them really clean. Once done the floor was then rinsed with clean water and the now soiled cleaning solution removed with a wet vacuum.

The next step was to use a set of Tile Doctor burnishing pads to polish the stone back to a deep shine. The pads which are encrusted with industrial diamonds are applied with a rotary floor buffer in sequence from coarse to extra fine. The first pad has a Coarse 400 grit which is applied with only water for lubrication, removes minor scratches, sealers, and the top surface dirt. Working in small areas, I applied the pad across the Limestone, rinsing in between and picking up the soiled solution with a wet-vac machine. I then repeated this same procedure with the Medium 800 grit pad which is the first stage polishing pad again rinsing with water after use. The next two pads are a Fine 1500 grit and Extra Fine 3,000 grit which really build up a high-quality polish on the stone.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor
The floor was left to dry off fully overnight and I returned the next day to seal the Limestone first checking with a damp meter that the stone was dry. The customer wanted a natural look finish to the Limestone, so to seal the tiles I applied two coasts of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer doesn’t change the look of the stone in anyway. Ultra Seal is an impregnating sealer that works under the surface by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained.

Once the sealer had dried the floor was treated to a gentle buff with a white pad to bring up the shine even further. Once complete the stone looked a lot healthier and the grout looked much cleaner.
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Polishing Marble Floor Tiles in Willington

Although expensive Marble is a highly coveted, popular and classic flooring choice, not only is it hard wearing you can attain a high polish that simply looks fantastic. At peak condition, it’s one of the most beautiful and eye-catching types of stone available, however it’s appearance will degrade over time and with use, so it does need maintaining.

This customer, who lives in the small village of Willington in Cheshire had contacted us because they were concerned that the lustre on their Marble tiled floor which had been installed throughout much of the ground floor had faded and lost its attractive appearance. We arranged a date to go over and re-polish the floor back to health.

Burnishing and Cleaning a Marble Tiled Floor
On arrival the first step was to give the floor a general clean using a mild dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline tile cleaning product that is safe to use on Marble. I mention this because there are many cleaning products on the market today which are acidic and really only meant for use on Vinyl and Ceramic tiles. The cleaning solution was applied by sponge mop and left to soak for ten to twenty minutes with a particular focus on the grout lines. I used a stiff brush along the grout lines to get them really clean and then once done the floor was then rinsed with clean water and the now soiled cleaning solution removed with a wet vacuum. This process also has the added advantage of removing any grit from the floor which might cause scratching during the next stage which was to polish the floor.

The next step was to use a set of Tile Doctor burnishing pads to polish the stone back to a deep shine. The pads which are encrusted with industrial diamonds are applied with a rotary floor buffer in sequence from coarse to extra fine. The first pad has a Coarse 400 grit which is applied with only water for lubrication, removes minor scratches, sealers, and the top surface dirt. Working in small areas, I applied the pad across the Marble, rinsing in between and picking up the soiled solution with a wet-vac machine. I then repeated this same procedure with the Medium 800 grit pad which is the first stage polishing pad again rinsing with water after use. The next two pads are a Fine 1500 grit and Extra Fine 3,00 grit which really build up a high-quality polish on the stone.

Sealing a Marble Tiled Floor
The floor was left to dry off fully overnight and I returned the next day to seal the Marble first checking with a damp meter that the stone was dry. To seal the Marble tiles I applied two coasts of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained. Colour Grow also has the added advantage of enchasing the natural colours in the stone and in this case brought out the deep brown colours in the Marble.

Once the sealer had dried the floor was treated to a gentle buff with a white pad to bring up the shine even further.
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Renovating an Encaustic Tiled Hallway in Padgate near Warrington

This floor may look like it’s made from Victorian tiles but if you look closely you will see the floor is actually made of 72 Encaustic tiles each one containing a regular pattern. Encaustic tiles have more in common with Ceramic tiles than Victorian and are actually made using layers of cement where are often hand painted with patterns which and hydraulically pressed into the surface.

The tiled floor was actually floor found hiding under the hallway carpet by the new owners of the house which is in Padgate near Warrington. Were not sure of the age of the tiles but suspect they may be 100 years old. Certainly, Padgate has many older houses so they could be although it’s mainly known for its large RAF base during the 2nd world war.

Encaustic tiles are porous and so need to be sealed to protect them from dirt becoming ingrained in the floor. However, hallway floors get a lot of foot traffic which over time wears down the sealer until it becomes so thin and patchy it’s no longer effective. As a result, you need to regularly top up the sealer or every three to four years it will need to be stripped off and reapplied.

Deep Cleaning the Encaustic Tiled Floor

You can see from the pictures that the tiles were in good physical shape but had accumulated a lot of dirt which was especially visible near the front door. As I mentioned earlier Encaustic tiles being made from cement and need to be sealed in order to protect them from dirt becoming in trapped in the pores of the tile.

These tiles would need a deep penetrative clean to extract the dirt, so my first course of action was to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean across the floor and left it to soak into the tiles for ten minutes. Pro-Clean is a very effective alkaline product that’s safe to use on tile, stone and grout and is designed for tile cleaning. It was then worked into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a floor buffing machine and the soiled cleaning solution extracted off the floor with a wet vacuum.

I then used a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads to restore the surface or the encaustic tiles starting with the 400 and 800 grit pads and lubricated with a little water. This also dealt with other deposits on the floor left behind from the carpet. I rinsed the floor with water to remove the slurry and then finished the burnishing process by applying the 1500 and 3000 grit pads to really restore the shine to the tiles.

Sealing the Encaustic Tiled Hallway Floor

To seal the floor and grout I applied Tile Doctor colour grow which is an impregnating sealer that enhances colour and soaks into the pores of the encaustic tile to protect it from dirt becoming ingrained into the tile in future. Any sealer not taken up by the pores of the tile is rubbed off afterwards.

The transformation was quite remarkable and as you can imagine my customer was over the moon when he returned from work.
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Renovating a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Grappenhall near Warrington

The village of Grappenhall has a long history that goes all the way back to the bronze age and as a result has all periods of architecture including quite a lot of houses with Victorian tiled hallways . This particular floor at a house in the village had been well looked after well by the owner but had now lost its vibrancy, was looking dull and now needed a deep clean and reseal.

Victorian tiles are porous and so need to be sealed to protect them from dirt becoming ingrained in the floor. However, hallway floors get a lot of foot traffic which over time wears down the sealer until it becomes so thin and patchy it’s no longer effective. As a result, you need to regularly top up the sealer or every three to four years it will need to be stripped off and reapplied.

Deep Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor

I used clear plastic to protect the wood skirting boards from splashing and then gave the tiles a good scrub with a mixture of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Remove and Go to deep clean and strip off any remaining sealers. The cleaning solution was left to soak in for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a black pad fitted to a heavy buffing machine.

Once the whole area had been scrubbed I rinsed off with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. With the floor now clear I was able to inspect it to ensure all the previous sealer and ingrained dirt had been removed. Any areas with stubborn stains were spot treated by reapplying the cleaning concoction I used earlier before leaving the floor to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

When I returned the next morning my first job was to test the tiles for damp using a damp meter. This is important as damp tiles won’t take the sealer as well as dry tiles, however this time everything was fine.

I then proceeded to seal the Victorian tiles with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to enhance the natural colours in the tile before applying a further seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which leaves a sheen finish and is ideal for Victorian tiles.

The hallway now looks fantastic and vibrant and then new sealer will protect them from ingrained dirt making them easier to clean and keep them looking good for some time to come.
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Unusual Victorian Tiled Hallway Cleaned and Sealed in Grappenhall

Impressed with the details of a similar floor published on our website the owner of this Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in the village of Grappenhall asked if we could pay her a visit.

The floor was in relatively good physical condition, although there were a few tiles that needed replacing and really just needed cleaning and resealing however I thought it would be worth a mention on my blog due to it being so unusual. There seamed no set pattern to the tiles and it was as if they had some tiles left over and just laid them as they came.

Deep Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor

After protecting the skirting boards I gave the floor a deep clean using Tile Doctor Remove and Go to strip off any remaining sealers. This was left to soak in for twenty minutes then scrubbed in using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad then rinsed off with clean water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. I was careful not to use too much water as the owner had just converted the cellar below into a games room and was worried it may cause damp in the ceiling. There were a few tiles that needed replacing so we fixed and grouted them in before leaving the floor to fully dry off overnight

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

We returned next morning and tested for damp with a damp meter to make sure the floor was ready to seal. Everything was fine so we proceeded to seal the Victorian tiles with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to enhance the colour of the floor before applying a further six coats of Seal and Go which is ideal for these type of tile.

The customer was made up with the result we had made to her hallway, I only wish I had managed to take better pictures of the floor so you could appreciate it as much as she did.
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Rejuvenating a Mouldy Ceramic Shower Cubicle Tiles in Mere

Mere is an affluent part of Cheshire adjacent to the historic Tatton Park estate and famous for the luxury Mere Resort and Spa. Many of the houses in the area have ample gardens that lead down to a lake, after which the village is named (‘Mere’ meaning a lake that is broad in relation to its depth).

I was fortunate to visit this lovely area of Cheshire recently after receiving an enquiry from a home owner who was keen to have own of his bathrooms refurbished. Unfortunately, the ceramic tiles surrounding the bathtub with shower over had gone mouldy over the years, with the grout lines particularly blackened and dirty.

The root cause of mould build-up is generally due to a lack of ventilation and the simple action of leaving a window and door ajar after having a shower helps to cross ventilate and can reduce the problem, of course this is not always desirable during cold weather so improved mechanical extraction is always better.

Cleaning and Recolouring a Ceramic Tiled Bathroom

Upon my arrival, I soon got to work, starting by giving the cubicle wall a clean with Tile Doctor Duo Clean. This is a new Tile Doctor product which has a fast and effective double-action formula that cleans grout and removes mould. I left the product to dwell for five to ten minutes, before vigorously scrubbing the grout lines to remove the copious amount of mould and black spots.

Following this, I rinsed the entire area down with clean water and left it to dry, before removing all the old silicone, as this was to be replaced. The next step involved drying down the clean grout lines quickly by using my heat gun.

Recolouring Bathroom Grout

Cleaning the tile and grout with Duo Clean prepared the grout lines for recolouring using a Tile Doctor Grout Colourant which is available in a wide range of colours. The product is made from an epoxy resin and is formulated to recolour and rejuvenate existing grout joints, it also has the added benefit of forming a barrier over the grout sealing it and therefore protecting it further.

In this case a White colourant was selected to match in nicely with the rest of the bathroom and it was painted on over the grout using a small brush, any excess is wiped off the tile before it gets chance to dry.

To complete the restoration, I buffed the tiles and installed a fresh silicone sealant around the base.

I’m pleased to say my customer was so happy with the outcome that he asked me to do the other two bathrooms, you can’t get a better testimonial than that.
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Cleaning an Old Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor in Runcorn

This post comes from a job I did for a customer in who lives in the town of Runcorn on the south bank of the River Mersey. The request was to restore the Terracotta floor tiles in the kitchen of a property which dated back to 1773 and still had all its original features inside and out. You can see from the photograph below that the tile and grout were looking very dull and well overdue a deep clean and seal.

Deep Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

To clean the floor, I soaked the floor in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a strong stripping and cleaning solution which removes sealers and also draws out ingrained stains and also the heavy grease build up that was present around the cooker.

After twenty to thirty minutes the solution was worked into the tiles using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The soiled solution was then removed with a wet vacuum and this was followed by scrubbing the grout lines with more Remove and Go and a grout brush until they were clean. The whole floor was then rinsed with water to remove any soil and trace of cleaning product. The water was then extracted using the wet vacuum. The floor was then checked to make sure it was as clean as it could be and stubborn areas spot treated.

Once I was happy the floor was clean it became apparent that some of the grout was loose and would need replacing so I took care of that using a matching grout before calling it a day and leaving the floor to dry out overnight.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

We returned next morning and tested the tiles with a damp meter making sure it was dry before we could seal it. To seal the floor, I used Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice sheen to the tiles and works really well on Terracotta.

I took some time to complete though as due to the porosity of the clay it required eight coats to fully seal the tiles. You have to wait between coats to allow them to dry however I was able to speed up the drying process though using an air blower.
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Shower Cubicle Tile and Grout Refreshed in Sale

It’s not unusual for Shower tile and grout to become stained due to the dyes that are found in soap, mould can also be a common problem but usually this is down to inadequate ventilation. Whilst we do sell products that can keep your tile and grout clean we are also able to assist when a really deep clean is required. The photographs below are a great example of this and are of one of three shower cubicles we were asked to clean and restore at a modernised Victorian property in Sale, Cheshire.

Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout

We started by spraying the tile and grout down with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner, spraying it on mixes it air which helps it to stick to Vertical surfaces allowing it to get to work on the dirt. We left it to dwell for ten minutes before scrubbing it in by hand using a stiff grout brush; this process certainly improved the grout but unfortunately it had become too badly stained to be satisfactory so we decided to recolour the grout using a white grout colourant.

To get the wall tiles and shower glass clean we sprayed on Tile Doctor Oxy-Pro, again leaving it to dwell for a while before gently scrubbing it away with water. Once dry we set about stripping off the silicone strip around the base of the shower wall which was stained and impossible to get clean again.

Recolouring Grout

The grout colourant comes in a tube and is very straightforward to apply although I must admit the work is quite tedious. Two coats of white colourant were required to get the uniform appearance needed and I think you will agree the effect is quite transforming. The other advantage of these particular colourant products is that they are epoxy based and form a barrier of the grout preventing future staining and making it very easy to clean going forward.

The last step was to apply new silicone along the base of the cubicle and give the tiles a quick buff.

I think you will agree it was quite a transformation and the cubicle now looks like it was recently installed.
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Recently Uncovered Victorian Tiles Completely Transformed in Lymm

When you uncover a tiled floor after it has been covered by carpet for many years, it’s almost a given that it will be in a bad state. However, my customer, who lives in the town of Lymm, wasn’t expecting the Victorian tiled hallway they had recently uncovered to be in quite so terrible a state. As you can see from the photograph, it has been completely devastated by paint plaster and a big pool of cement floor leveller. Understandably, the formerly colourful appearance of the tiles had completely drained and it would require a through restoration to get them back into a usable condition.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor

To begin the restoration, I mixed a strong cleaning solution which consisted of Tile Doctor Remove & Go combined 50/50 with Tile Doctor Pro Clean. Remove & Go is a heavy duty remover that breaks down old sealers, along with adhesives, paint stains and other tough soil build up where as Pro-Clean is a versatile alkaline-based cleaner that reliably eradicates dirt on a wide variety of natural stone floors.

The solution was applied liberally across the floor, and left to dwell for a short period, allowing time for it to soften up the paint plaster. Next, I fitted a coarse scrubbing pad to my rotary cleaning machine and began to scrub the solution into the tiles, with a big difference to the appearance of the tiles being made quite quickly. The resulting cleaning slurry was promptly removed using a wet-vac machine.

I repeated the process two times to provide an extra thorough clean and then give the floor a thorough rinse. Some particularly stubborn marks remained on the floor which I was able to remove using Tile a Doctor Acid Gel, a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form that’s easy to control. The floor was then left to dry fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The next morning, I returned to the property and ran some damp tests. This is incredibly important to do before sealing any tiled floor because any excess moisture can cloud the sealer and prevent it from doing its job properly.

Once satisfied that the floor could be sealed, I applied several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which provides both a robust surface seal and a long-lasting low sheen finish in one and ideal for Victorian tiles.

It would be an understatement to say that this Victorian tiled floor was transformed. The customer was amazed at the results considering how bad a state the tiles had been in just a day earlier. When you have a situation like this, it’s hard to believe the tiles could ever be fully restored. Nonetheless, we could now see them in their full and original glory, and needless to say, the customer was very, very pleased with the result.
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