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Jason Gates
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Soiled Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor Deep Cleaned in Sydenham

The customer had Encaustic Concrete tiles laid in two bathrooms and a hallway around a year ago at their house in Sydenham, South East London. Encaustic tiles have been around for a very long time however they are currently undergoing a resurgence and are once again proving very popular due the varied patterns being created.

It’s probably difficult to appreciate from the photographs but this particular brand of encaustic tiles were very porous and had become very grubby since being installed and were now staining easily. I suspect they had only been lightly sealed after installation (if at all) and this had allowed dirt to penetrate the pores of the tile making it difficult to clean.

Cleaning a Dirty Encaustic Tiled Hallway
The process I used for cleaning the tiles was the same one I would use on polished stone such as Limestone or Travertine. It involves applying a set of Diamond encrusted burnishing pads starting with a coarse 400 grit pad fitted to a rotary floor buffing machine and lubricated with water. The water becomes soiled with the slurry from the burnishing process and once all the tiles have been treated its rinsed off with more water.

You then apply the medium 800 grit pad, again with water to help lubricate and rinse off afterwards like before. The process is repeated with the fine 1500 grit pad and the tiles given another rinse.

Before applying the final super fine 3000 grit pad I scrubbed the grout lines with a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner that’s designed for use on Tile and Stone. I used a handheld narrow brush to scrub the grout and followed that up with another rinse with water using a wet vacuum to extract the water and dry the floor afterwards.

Sealing Encaustic Tiles
The beauty of honing the tiles with the burnishing pads in this manner is that the system closes up a lot of the pores in the tiles, making them less porous and easier to seal. Burnishing also uses less water so it wasn’t long before the floor was dry, and I was able to start the sealing process.

I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile and protects it from within. Three even coats with a drying time in between is sufficient for these tiles, and once the final coat had dried I went over the floor with the 3000-grit pad on my floor machine, to leave the floor with a slight sheen.

After care is so important when it comes to maintaining a sealed floor, so I always leave the customer with a small bottle of a recommend cleaning product. In this case I left them with Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is made with vegetable oil extract and will help maintain the patina on the floor.
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Polished Limestone Tile Renovation in Beckenham

This modern town house in Beckenham had a Limestone tiled floor laid in the family room, kitchen, utility room and hallway. It had been some time since it was last polished and was now starting to look flat and even grubby in places.

Polished stone floors do regular attention if you want to keep them looking good and this is why we offer a maintenance program where we pop back to the property once a year to top up the sealer and repolish. In this case a thorough clean, polish and re-seal was required and due to the large area to be cleaned and the need to move furniture around it would have to be done in three stages.

Stripping and Polishing Limestone Tiles
The best way to restore high quality stone like this is to hone the floor using varying grits of abrasive floor pads. Tile Doctor have developed a technique for this known as burnishing which is a version of stone polishing that involves the application of Diamond encrusted pads. Each pad in the system has its own level of grit and is applied in sequence from Coarse to Very Fine in order to clean and re-hone the finish on the stone.

I swept the floor to remove any loose dirt and grit and then began the burnishing process using a
Coarse 400 grit pad lubricated with water, then after rinsing and wet vacuuming the floor with water I moved on to the Medium 800 grit pad, Fine 1500 grit pads. The next step was to get the grout as clean as possible by scrubbing in a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with a narrow stiff brush. Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline product that is safe to use on Tile and Stone and is a good grout cleaner. With the Limestone tiles and grout now clean I gave the floor another quick rinse and finished honing the section with a very fine 3000 grit pad that gives the stone a final polish. You don’t need too much lubrication with this last pad, just a spray of water.

Sealing Limestone Tiles
Once the floor section was dry it was sealed with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnated sealer that protects from within and really brings out the brown colours in the Limestone. Once the sealer was dry I polished the floor using Tile Doctor Shine Powder which is a stone polishing compound that is worked into the floor wet, left to dry and then buffed off with a white buffing pad to leave a durable high shine on the stone.

As I mentioned at the start this was a large area that had to be completed in three sections, so it took a few days in order to complete the whole floor. It was worth waiting for however and the customer was very pleased with the finish. For general day to day cleaning of polished stone we recommend using Tile Doctor Stone Soap which not only cleans but also adds patina to the finish, I left with a complimentary bottle, so she could try it.
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Deep Cleaning Bathroom Tile & Grout in Beckenham

Recently I was asked to renovate the tile and grout of this windowless bathroom in a Beckenham flat which was not looking its best. The Ceramic tiles had become dull due to a build up of Limescale and the grout had become stained from shampoo dyes and mould.

Without strong ventilation and regular cleaning most bathrooms can end up with these problems however with the right products and techniques they can be renovated as you will see below.

Deep Cleaning Bathroom Tile and Grout
My first action was to apply a liberal amount of Tile Dr Oxy-Gel which is a strong alkaline tile and grout cleaning product that comes in a gel form. Being a gel it’s able to sticks to vertical surfaces for longer allowing it to break down the Limescale and soap residue that had taken up residence. Once it had been left to dwell for around thirty minutes, it was scrubbed off with water and a pan scrapper and then dried with a micro cloth. You can use this process with glazed ceramic tiles like these but for natural stone I would have used a different approach.

I then sprayed Tile Doctor Duo Clean, which is a grout cleaner and mould remover, onto the grout lines. I left the grout with the Duo Clean on it for about ten minutes before scrubbing and rinsing off with water.

The process was repeated where needed until I was happy that the tile and grout were as clean as possible however to really give the bathroom a fresh look I decided to completely renovate the grout with the application of a Grout Colourant.

Grout Colouring Bathroom Wall Tiles
There are ten colours to choose from in the Tile Doctor range of Grout Colourant’s and in this case I felt the best outcome would be to use a White colourant to match the tiles and restore the original look of the bathroom; the customer however wanted a grout colour that would provide a contrast against the white tiles, so in the end we opted for a light grey colour.

The colourant is easily applied directly to the grout and in this case I waited for the tiles to dry before applying two coats with the aid of a small brush making sure to remove any excess that comes into contact with the tile.

I finished the renovation by cutting out the original mastic sealant from around the bath and replacing with a new mould resistant silicone in white to match the bathtub.

The bathroom now looks transformed and the epoxy grout colourant adds a layer of protection to the grout that will keep it looking good for some time to come.
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Successful restoration on Victorian floor in the hallway area.
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