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Mick Gayton
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Making stone floors beautiful again
Making stone floors beautiful again

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Black Limestone Floor Ruined by Descaling Solution in Stratford upon Avon

I really felt for this customer who was mortified after accidentally spilling limescale descaling solution on their beautiful Black Limestone floor in Stratford upon Avon. The problem started when attempting to descale a coffee making machine in the kitchen, unfortunately the bottle fell out of his hands and onto the Black Limestone floor, the subsequent attempt to mop it up spread the problem across the floor.

Descaling solutions contain strong acids that dissolve the minerals in limescale so they can be easily removed. Limestone being of a similar structure is equally effected however in this case the product was removed quickly and didn’t have time to etch the stone. Unfortunately, the descaler did have time to upset the factory polish leaving a right mess and ruining the appearance of the stone.

I went over to survey the floor and reassured my customer the floor could be restored. There are several products and methods that can be applied to resurface and polish stone floors, so I knew the problem was repairable, it was just a question of finding the best solution for the customer.

Stripping Sealer from Black Limestone Flooring
I reasoned that the underlying stone was not etched by the acid, it was the wax-based factory finish that had been upset so the best course of action would be to strip back the entire floor to the bare stone and then reapply a new sealer that would provide a similar appearance.

To do this I started with the application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go across the whole floor. This product is a coatings remover that is specially designed for use on Tile and Stone, it was sprayed onto the floor and after ten minutes scrubbed in using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The resultant slurry was then rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum. This process was repeated until I was confident that the factory polish had been removed.

Next step was to strip the stone of the black dry added by the factory by giving it an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. This was necessary to rebalance the appearance of the stone across the entire floor and would result in a consistent appearance one resealed. The Acid Gel was scrubbed into the Limestone, then rinsed off and extracted using the same procedure as before.

After a final rinse the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing Black Limestone Floor Tiles
The next day I first checked the floor was dry using a damp meter, there were no excess moisture issues so I able to go ahead and seal the stone using a product that would bring back the colour and add protection against dirt and staining.

The best product for this was Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and enhancing natural colour at the same time. The only disadvantage of this product is it leaves a matt finish whereas my customer wanted the shiny, easy to clean appearance of the original tile. To resolve I recommended we leave the floor to settle for a while and if no issues develop, I would add a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is compatible with Colour Grow and would give the desired finish.

Due to various commitments on both our parts it was six weeks until I was able to return and top up the sealer with Seal and Go. It was worth waiting for and much to the relief of the owner his Black Limestone floor has been transformed to new again.
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Repairing and Restoring Victorian Tiles ad St Chad’s Church in Rugby

I was called out to repair and clean a lovely Victorian tiled floor at St’ Chads which is a small church in Rugby, a market town in Warwickshire and well known for being the birthplace of Rugby Football. There were two areas requiring attention, both with different patterned tiles.

The floor had been patch repaired in the past and the tiles were now lifting and becoming loose due to efflorescent salts getting between the tiles. Damp can be a big problem with these old floors where no damp proof membrane has been fitted and I suspect a non-breathable sealer had been used previously, resulting in moisture being trapped under the tile.

It’s lovely when I get to work in a property such as this, it makes a change from doing residential properties. I was confident I would be able to resolve the problems, and I was given the keys and time just to get on with it.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Church Floor
I’m always on the lookout for reclaimed tiles on eBay so I was luckily able to repair the floor using some tiles from my collection which matched the existing and also some of the new ones that were fitted after the floor was repaired. Once the tile adhesive had set the tiles were grouted in using a matching grout. I managed to make the repairs in the morning and moved onto cleaning the floor in the afternoon once I was sure the adhesive and grout had set.

Concerned about adding moisture to the floor I opted to scrub the tiles with Tile Doctor Acid Gel which being an acid would counter any alkaline salts inherent in the floor and also deal with grout smears as well. After scrubbing the tiles with the Tile Doctor Acid Gel the soiled product was extracted using an industrial wet vacuum and then the floor was given a quick rinse with water which again was extracted using the wet vacuum.

To ensure there was no increase in the level of dampness in the floor I took moisture readings before and after the cleaning process. I then left the floor to dry out for a few days.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Church Floor
When I returned I first checked the tiles were dry using the damp meter and verified that they had returned to the baseline level I took at the start. With all being well I applied several coats of sealer to the floor. Given the issue with the tiles lifting previously I was keen not to repeat the previous issue and used Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a fully breathable sealer ideal for floors where damp can be a problem. This gave the tiles a nice natural sheen and allowed the colours to shine through.

The parishioners were very happy with the repairs to the floor and to see their lovely church restored.
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Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Restoration Rugby

I was very pleased to be contacted by this client, they lived on a lovely residential road near the centre of Rugby in Warwickshire and the house featured a beautiful Victorian tiled hallway floor. As you will see from the pictures the patterns are stunning.

Over the years it had been badly damaged along the edges and a few tiles were cracked. It’s difficult to know the cause of the damage but we normally find problems like these can be caused by settlement in the floor and if heavy objects are dropped on the tiles. High traffic areas such as the hallway do get a lot of general wear and tear which takes its toll on the floor. The owner of the house felt embarrassed with the condition of the floor and had decided it was time to have it restored.

Cleaning and Restoring a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
I identified the colours used in the floor, so I could source replacements and went through the floor with the client to mark the tiles that needed changing. We left a few tiles with minor damage so that the new tiles did not stand out and kept the floor authentic.

I managed to source some replacement tiles and started the job by removing and replacing all the damaged and loose tiles. Many of the replacements had to be hand cut to size, especially in the corners. It took some time but eventually, all the damaged tiles were removed and replaced, and the loose tiles refitted. The floor was then left for a few days to set.

On my return, I started by giving the floor a deep clean by spraying the tiles with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was left on the tiles to soak in and break up the bonding agent in the old coatings. After ten minutes I worked the solution into the tiles with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer and then rinsed the resulting soil off the floor with water and extracted it using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to give the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, we don’t normally use acidic products on tile or stone however they are particularly good at dealing with alkaline mineral salts and removing grout smears. Old floors like these are particularly vulnerable to a natural process called efflorescence which results in white mineral salt deposits being left on the surface of the tile as the floor fully dries out and can interfere with the sealer. To counter this, the floor was given an Acid Wash with Tile Doctor Acid Gel which being in Gel form makes it particularly easy to control. The acid in the gel works by neutralising the alkalinity in the floor. The solution was scrubbed into the floor using a coarse diamond encrusted burnishing pad to improve the finish of the tiles and then thoroughly rinsed with water and extracted with a wet vacuum to remove any trace of cleaning product.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
After leaving the floor to thoroughly dry out over a few days I returned to complete the sealing process. On my return, the floor was sealed with few coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which leaves a nice satin finish and being a fully breathable sealer is ideal for old floors that have no damp proof membrane and needs moisture to rise through the tile, so it can evaporate.

The vibrant colours of the tiles were brought back to life and the floor was transformed. The client was delighted and wondered why they had not called upon us sooner!
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Screed Covered 100-Year-Old Quarry Tiled Floor Restored in Nuneaton

I took the photographs below at an old 1920’s house in Nuneaton where the owner was interested in restoring the original Quarry tiled floor in their Kitchen. Interestingly Nuneaton has a rich manufacturing history that included brick and tile making so it’s entirely possible these tiles were made locally at the Haunchwood Brick and Tile company.

Tastes change over the years and at some point in the past the Quarry tiles had been covered with a levelling compound so that linoleum could be installed on top. This meant that the first part of the job would be to remove the screed before I could clean up the tiles. On top of that It was clear as well that many of the tiles were damaged and would need replacing.

I worked out a quote which was agreed by the customer and started looking around for matching replacement tiles, fortunately I was able to track some down at Warwick Reclamation who stock thousands of quarry tiles in many of the common period sizes.

Restoring an Original Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor
On day one I set about carefully removing the screed with a hammer and chisel and also the damaged tiles, so they could be replaced. With the tiles removed we it was clear some parts of the subfloor were cracked and needed to be rebuild with fresh cement.

Once the floor was ready the replacement Quarry tiles were fixed in place and once the adhesive was dry they were grouted in.

To remove the remaining screed and salt damage from the surface of the tiles I used a set of coarse milling pads which are applied with water for lubrication. The process generates a lot of soil, so the floor needs to be rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum after each pad.

The next step was to pre-treat the tiles with Tile Doctor Remove and Go in order to remove old contaminants such as old oils and then treat the floor to a deep clean with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed in with black scrubbing pad.

Old floors like these don’t have a damp proof membrane so the last step in the restoration process was to counter any inherent salt issues in the floor that might reappear later as white efflorescence salt deposits. This is done by giving the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is scrubbed into the tiles, neutralising the salts, this product also removes old mineral deposits and grout smears.

The floor was given a final rinse with water to remove any traces of products used and then as much water and moisture as possible was extracted using a wet vacuum. The floor was then left to dry out for a few days.

Sealing a Quarry tiled floor
When I returned my first job was to take multiple readings around the floor using a damp meter to verify the floor was dry and ready for sealing. The extra drying time had done the trick and I was able to seal the floor using multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a fully breathable sealer that can cope with any potential moisture problems, it also leaves a nice sheen finish that brings the best out of Quarry tiles.

In total the restoration took 4 days to complete and had completely restored the Quarry tiled floor close to what they must have looked like back when they were installed nearly a hundred years ago.
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Repair and Restoration of an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway in Kidderminster

The young couple who owned this house was in Kidderminster were expecting their first baby and wanted the original hallway floor repaired and restored in keeping with the Victorian house. Before contacting us, they had spoken with a builder who had said it was beyond repair and recommended ripping it up and laying a new floor. They were aware of the value that original features like floors can add to a property so undeterred they kept looking for a solution and found Tile Doctor.

I am the local agent for Tile Doctor in Worcestershire and specialise in the restoration of old tiled floors so after popping round to take a look I was able to confirm that their builder was wrong and there was no reason why the floor couldn’t be restored. Relieved the floor could be restored they happily asked me to do the work and we arranged a date, it also turned out that he was also a fellow Mod and scooter rider, so we had plenty to talk about.

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
I returned to the property a few weeks later with my tiler and we began the work of carefully inspecting the floor to identify, remove and refit loose tiles. This was followed by repairs to the screed base and then cutting new matching tiles to replace those that were missing. Having worked on old Victorian and Edwardian tiles for some years now I have built up a collection of re-claimed tiles and often scan eBay for them as I know they will come in handy at some point in the future.

The repair process took three days to complete as naturally each tile needs to set in place and can only be grouted in once the adhesive has gone off. It’s also delicate work as anything out of place in the pattern of the floor would be conspicuous obvious.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
On the fourth day the tiling work was complete, and I set about giving the floor a thorough clean starting with the application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to remove any remnants of sealer, paint splashes from decorating and other marks. The solution was left to soak into the tile and grout for ten minutes before being worked in with a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer running on slow speed. The soiled cleaning solution was rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum, any stubborn areas were then spot treated until I was happy the floor was clear.

Using the same process, the floor was then treated to an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. This served two purposes, first and acid wash will remove any fine grout smears and second the acid will neutralise any efflorescent salts that had built up in the tiles and could cause issue later. This is a common problem with old floors as they don’t have the protection of a damp proof membrane. The floor was then carefully rinsed down with water applied using micro fibre cloths, so it wouldn’t get too damp and then left overnight to dry off fully assisted with a couple of air movers I had left in place.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
I returned the next day to seal the tiles checking first that the floor was dry by taking a few moisture readings with a damp tester. The air movers had done the job and I was able to crack on applying numerous coats of sealer which will protect the tile going forward and also enhance its appearance.

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a fully breathable sealer that can cope with moisture rising through the tiles, it also adds a nice sheen to the tile and works extremely well on clay-based tiles such as these.

Over the course of the five days the floor was transformed, and my customer was over the moon and I was happy to have saved yet another floor.
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Ex Pub Quarry Tiled Floor Restored to Fantastic Condition in Newbold-on-Avon, Rugby

Pubs have been though a decline in the last ten years with one in five closing due to increased business rates and some believe the ban on smoking has had a part to play. My client saw this particular pub come up for sale in Newbold-on-Avon near Rugby and snapped it up with the intention of turning the lovely thatched Cottage back into a home. It needed a lot of work though and I was called into to sort out the floor which was a mixture of 6×6 inch and 9×9 inch Quarry tiles. The tiles were in a bit of a state and there were also large sections of concrete in 3 areas that had been painted red to blend in with the tiles.

Rebuilding and Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor

The customer wanted the Quarry tiled floor restoring and extended throughout the floor which meant a substantial amount of work would be required to remove the concrete, rebuild the foundation and level with screed and then fit around 100 reclaimed tiles not to mention cleaning and sealing.

The work was hard going at times, especially knocking out the concrete and adding the screed surface to the right level. Once that was done worked moved quickly on to laying the new tiles and grouting them in. Overall it took three days just to rebuild the floor alone.

The customer did not what the Floor to look too different between the old and new so once the tiling was done the whole floor was treated with Tile Doctor Remove and Go to remove traces of red paint and glue. The solution was scrubbed in using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad and then rinsed off with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum.

This improved the look of the tiles but it also revealed some grout haze issues on the original tiles and after digging up the floor earlier I was aware no damp proof course had been installed which is not unusual in these older properties. To counter the grout haze and deal with any potential efflorescence issues I gave the whole floor an acid wash with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which was scrubbed in and then rinsed off with water and extracted with a the wet vacuum. The tiles need to be dry in order to be sealed so I left the floor for 24 hours with a number of industrial Air Movers in place to aid the drying process.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

Upon my return to the house I checked for any dampness that could have damaged the performance of the sealer, thankfully, the floor was dry and ready to seal, and so I proceeded to apply several coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra.

Seal & Go Extra is a fully breathable sealer that allows for effective moisture transmission, important where no damp proof course is installed. The sealer provides durable surface protection against dirt and stains, and is suitable for most kinds of internal, natural stone tiled floors, including Quarry, Victorian and Flagstone.

The job took a week in total and as you can see from the photographs I successfully managed to restore the old tiles which with the addition of the cleaning and sealing have blended in well with the new tiles.
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Rejuvenating a Slate Tiled Bar Area at a Pub in Leamington Spa

The Drawing Board is a Gastropub and bar in Leamington Spa with a fantastic homely aesthetic. Leamington Spa itself is a spa town in Warwickshire, home to The Royal Pump Rooms, the most famous of the spa baths that were opened in England in the late-18th and mid-19th centuries.

I have eaten at the Drawing Board a few times in the past (great food!) and was really pleased to help the owner rejuvenate the Slate tiled floor in the bar area. He wanted the area cleaned and sealed to achieve a wet-look finish, however, because the pub is very popular amongst customers, I would only have a period of five hours to undertake the work. This meant an early morning start. I had carried out some maintenance work on the floor about 18 months ago, but during this time it had suffered a lot of foot traffic.

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor in a Bar Area

To begin, I used our product called Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel, which is an effective cleaner and coatings stripper, to remove the old acrylic coat on the tiles. Being in a gel form it’s easy to manage and holds in position allowing it to dwell on the stone and get to work on breaking the existing sealer down. Once applied it was left to soak into the Slate and then scrubbed in using a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The floor was then rinsed with water and the now soiled Oxy-Gel and water was removed with a wet vacuum.

With the tiles stripped of any remaining coatings, I turned my attention to the deep cleaning the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner. The product was diluted with water and then scrubbed in manually using a stiff brush.

Following this, I rinsed the whole floor with fresh, cold water to remove any traces of product. Air movers were then installed to speed dry the stone as I needed to move quickly with only five hours to get the job done.

Once the floor was completely dry, I was able to seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor High Shine, which is a a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers designed to protect and enhance the appearance of natural stone whilst leaving a high sheen finish. Another advantage of the sealer is that being water based it leaves no smell as it dries which was important as being a pub we didn’t want to put the customers off.

I think you will agree the Slate floor looks significantly better and the new sealer will provide them with the protection they need to withstand heavy foot traffic. The owner of the pub was very pleased indeed!
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Beautiful Edwardian Tiled Hallway Repaired and Restored in Chaplefields

The owner of this house in Chaplefields near Coventry had bought this property as an investment and was keen to improve its appearance. As part of this work he had lifted the vinyl tiles in the hallway and discovered a lovely Edwardian tiled floor. Unfortunately, whoever had laid the Vinyl tiles had decided to use Tar as an adhesive and this had left a black mess all over the floor.

Realising the potential value an original feature such as this could add to the property he was keen to restore the tiles but not so keen to deal with the Tar, so we were asked to deal with the problem and restore the floor as close to its original condition as possible.

Repairing and Cleaning a Dirty Edwardian Tiled Floor

To get the tiles clean and remove the horrible tar I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which as its name suggest is great for removing coverings from tiles. I applied the Remove and Go with a mop, left it to soak in for a few minutes and then worked it in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The soil was extracted off the floor using a wet and dry vacuum and then the process repeated until I was happy all the tar was gone.

I then gave the tiles an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel; this serves to break down alkaline mineral deposits such as cement and grout smears, it also counters any efflorescence problems which can be an issue with these old floors where no damp proof membrane has been installed.

Finally, the floor was given a rinse with clean water and a steam clean to remove any trace of cleaning products and to neutralise the tiles in preparation for sealing.

Sealing a Edwardian Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry off overnight and returned to the property to seal the tiles the next day. To seal the tiles, I used three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer that leaves a subtle sheen finish and being water based doesn’t leave a smell as it dries. The sealer will provide durable protection going forward preventing dirt from becoming ingrained into the pores of the tile and ensuring it remains easy to clean and keeping its appearance for some time to come.

The floor now looks fantastic and gives a great impression when you come into the property which is exactly what the owner wanted.
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