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Thomas Wilson
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Dirty and Discoloured Victorian Tiled Entrance Cleaned in Edinburgh

If you visit Victorian era houses throughout the UK, you will find that many them have colourful tiled entranceways (also sometimes known as vestibules). The tiles are commonly made from encaustic cement, stylised with distinct geometric patterns that really help to add character to the property.

The reign of Queen Victoria was a prosperous and confident time for Scotland – and many new houses and buildings were built in the well-known ‘Victorian’ style during the period. One of the best-known buildings to be built was Balmoral Castle, which is still in use by the Royal Family as a holiday home.

Homeowners who are fortunate enough to be in possession of original Victorian tiles will find that they are not easy to keep clean without the right products and methods. The entrance to any house of course is subject to high amounts of foot traffic, which means the tiles can become dirt and discoloured very quickly indeed.

Here is an example that we cleaned and sealed recently in Edinburgh, although in good physical condition for its age the sealer on the floor had worn off and dirt had become ingrained in the tile reducing its overall appearance.

Cleaning Dirty and Discoloured Victorian Tiles
Having restored hundreds of Victorian tiled floors in the past, Tile Doctor has developed tried and tested methods for cleaning all types of tiled floors so tackling this small floor would not be a problem.

To begin, we gave the floor a deep clean to break down any old sealants and to cut through thick layers of dirt and grime. The cleaning solution we employed consisted of two products: Tile Doctor Pro Clean (which is a strong alkaline cleaner) and Tile Doctor Remove and Go (which is a stripping agent formulated for the removal of old sealants, synthetic coatings, glues, and paints). The solution is applied and left to soak into the tile for ten to twenty minutes before being scrubbed in, which for a small area such as this needs to be done by hand. The soiled solution is then rinsed off with water and this is then extracted using a wet vacuum. This deep cleaning process was repeated several times to make sure the tiles were as clean as possible.

Once we were happy that all the dirt and grime had been removed, we gave the floor a quick acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to remove any old grout smears and to neutralise any potential salt efflorescence issues. The floor was then given a final rinse before leaving it to dry off fully overnight and a turbo air mover was left running to help speed up the process and ensure the floor was completely dry to be sealed the following day.

We are very conscious of the fact that many of these old Victorian tiled floors to have damp-proof membranes installed beneath them, so we wanted to guarantee there would be no damp issues that would prevent us from applying a fresh sealant. This is because even a small amount of excess moisture can potentially damage the performance of the sealant.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Entrance
Returning to the property on the second day, we proceed to seal the tiles with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This sealant soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and providing long term protection, it also enhances the colours in the tile in the process.

The difference made by this two-day restoration is shown below. It is quite amazing how quickly these results can be achieved considering the age and previous condition of the tiles. Our customer was absolutely thrilled.
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Victorian Tiled Office Entrance Cleaned and Sealed in Edinburgh CIty

These are photos of a Victorian tiled floor we renovated at the new Scottish head office of the Peoples Postcode Lottery in the centre of Edinburgh City where the building was going through a multi million pound refurbishment. Edinburgh has a lot of Georgian and Victorian architecture, much of which is listed and as a result many still have original Victorian tiled flooring.

I’ve not really looked at the Postcode Lottery until now but put simply you give the lottery £10 a month and your postcode is your winning ticket number, there are prize draws every day and if your postcode comes up every one in the system with that postcode wins; they also give 31% to charity which is impressive.

Cleaning Original Victorian Tiles
You can see from the photograph that the floor was in good physical condition but was looking tired and dull. This is not unusual for Victorian tiles as once the sealer wears down dirt can penetrate into the pores of the tile causing it to lose its appearance.

On the first day we set about stripping the floor of what remained of the old sealant using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an industrial strength alkaline tile and grout cleaning product that is safe to use on Tile and Stone. The product is applied to the floor, left to soak in for ten minutes and the scrubbed into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary bonnet machine. The floor was then rinsed and the now soiled cleaning solution extracted using a wet vacuum.

The process was repeated several times until we were happy the floor was clean and free of sealer and then given a final rinse with water. Before leaving for the day the floor was dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum to extract as much moisture as possible.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles
On the second day our first task was to check the floor with a damp meter in several places to ensure the tiles had dried off overnight. All was well and we began the process of sealing the floor with a Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a topical sealer which provides a high-quality low-sheen finish and protection against ingrained dirt and stains.

Victorian tiles are quite porous and five coats were needed to fully seal the floor. This took some time to complete as you have to wait until the first coat is dry before applying the next however it was well worth the effort as the floor looked fantastic afterwards.
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Porcelain Shower Cubicle Tiles Expertly Refreshed in Edinburgh

Porcelain is a popular choice for tiles in modern homes due to its superior durability. It also makes a particularly suitable material for shower tiles because of its natural water resistance. Nonetheless, Porcelain tiles – just like any other type of tile – still require routine cleaning and maintenance to stay looking fresh and attractive.

This is especially the case for shower tiles, as they are subject to mould and scum caused by exposure to the dyes in shampoos and soaps etc which as well as staining the tiles can have a dramatic effect on the grout. Below is a photo of a Porcelain shower cubicle I was asked to restore in Edinburgh. The process for restoring these types of tiles is relatively quick and easy, providing you use the right products and methods. Here’s how I did it.

Cleaning and Sealing Porcelain Shower Cubicle Tiles

To begin refreshing this cubicle, I gave the whole area – paying particular attention to the grout lines – a scrub down using Tile Doctor Duo Clean. Duo Clean is our product of choice for the removal of the common mould and soap scum that builds up on cubicles like this one.

Next, I rinsed down the area with fresh water to remove any trace of cleaning product and then left it to dry for a short period of time. It’s difficult to get the grout lines perfectly clean, especially after years of neglect, but we can resolve the situation by simply recolouring the grout.

I this case I felt the grout although cleaner from when I started did need more work so I decided to go ahead and apply a Grout Colourant. Tile Doctor has a range of Grout Colourants available in ten colours so I painted on three coats of the white colourant which really improved the look of the grout leaving it clean and fresh. Another advantage is the colourant acts as a barrier on top of the grout sealing the grout joint and protecting them from further staining. Other popular colours available in the range include Black, Cappuccino, and three shades of Grey.

Finally, I ripped and out and replaced the mouldy silicone around the base of the shower cubicle and replaced it with fresh.

The client was very impressed with the speedy restoration. Before leaving the property, I explained that rinsing down the shower cubicle with fresh water after every use can help to reduce the effect of staining and leaving the door and window open after a shower improved ventilation and inhibit the growth of mould. Naturally you can always give me call if the situation gets out of hand.
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Edinburgh became an increasingly important city in the UK during the Victorian period. Although overtaken by Glasgow as Scotland’s largest city in the early 19th century, Edinburgh experienced expansion and industrialisation, and many areas which had been populated by Georgian architecture were rebuilt with Victorian buildings.

Of course, this included many Victorian residential properties, many of which are still inhabited, and still have original Victorian tiled flooring. A lot of property owners choose to keep the original tiles rather than strip them out, and we specialise in restoring and maintaining them.

I recently visited a property in Edinburgh to provide a deep clean and fresh seal for some Victorian porch tiles that were looking a bit worse for wear. The job was carried out over the space of two days.

Cleaning Original Victorian Tiles

On the first day of work, I arrived at the property and immediately began by stripping the floor of any old sealant. Sealers don’t last forever and are worn away over time requiring them to be routinely topped up with a fresh application, however in this case the sealer had worn off completely in most places allowing dirt to become ingrained in the pores of the tile, so the only course of action would be to strip off what was left, clean the floor and reseal.

The old sealant was removed using a strong solution of our natural stone cleaner and stripper, known as Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, and our heavy-duty sealer and coating remover, known as Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This combination of products was applied and scrubbed into the stone using a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The floor was then rinsed to remove any excess chemical residue and the moisture was soaked up.

Next, the floor was then burnished using a coarse diamond-encrusted burnishing pad to grind off tough stains and rinsed again with fresh water. Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, which is an excellent pH-neutral cleaner for routine maintenance, was then used to complete the cleaning process and the tiles were left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles

On the second day of work, the tiles had dried off nicely overnight and I was able to return to the property to seal the tiles using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a topical sealer which provides a high-quality low-sheen finish and protection against ingrained dirt and stains. In this case, the customer had opted for a sheen finish as opposed to a natural-look, matte finish.

Comparing the before and after photos, it’s clear how significant a difference routine maintenance can make to the appearance and condition of these original Victorian tiles. The customer was very pleased with the outcome and I recommended the use of our Neutral Tile Cleaner for frequent cleaning in the future. Being PH neutral it won’t prematurely erode the sealer like many acidic supermarket products.
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Marble tiled vestibule cleaned and polished in Edinburgh

I was asked to take a look at this small but beautiful Marble tiled vestibule at the entrance to a lovely house in Edinburgh. As you can see from the photograph below the colours in the Marble were looking washed out and the overall appearance was dull and lifeless. As the main entrance it must have seen a lot of foot traffic and a fair amount of wear and abuse over the years.

Cleaning and Polishing Marble Tiles

The first task was to brush and vacuum the floor to remove debris and grit. After this the floor was sprayed with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean a tile cleaner that is safe to use on stone floors and scrubbed in with a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This released a lot of dirt from the tile and the soiled cleaning solution was then rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

Once the floor had all the surface dirt removed we then proceeded to polish the marble with a set of diamond burnishing pads which restore the shine the stone. The burnishing pads come in a set of four and you start with a coarse pad with a little water and work your way through the set moving from a the coarse pads through to the finer pads; this process polishes the stone more and more until you get a smooth finish. After each pad was used the area was thoroughly rinsed with clean water to remove any slurry kicked up by the process before moving onto the next. Once we had gone through all four pads the floor was left clean, smooth and shiny.

Sealing Marble Tiles

Being a high traffic area I wanted to leave a very durable polish that would last for years to come, so once the burnishing process was completed we proceeded to seal and further polish the Marble by buffing the floor with Tile Doctor Shine Powder. The crystallising powder provides a very high shine and a tough durable finish, ideal for this situation.

I think you will agree we have managed to put the life back into the floor which is especially important in hallway’s and entrances like this as they are the first thing you see when you come into the property.
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Polished Limestone Bathroom Tiles Transformed in Merchiston, Edinburgh

We often come across tiled floors that have simply never been maintained after their original installation. This inevitably leads to problems: over time, the sealer starts to wear away, particularly in high traffic areas, allowing dirt and staining to become easily ingrained in the stone and grout. The longer this is left unaddressed, the harder it becomes to clean the tiles.

An excellent case in point are this cream coloured Polished Limestone tiled floor installed in the downstairs WC and upstairs bathroom of a property in the prosperous Merchiston area of Edinburgh. The floor were already laid when the customer bought the house 10 years ago, and as far as they know, it has never experienced professional maintenance.

The result of this is quite clear: just looking at the photos below you can see how dull and unimpressive the tiles looked before I was called in to restore them to their best possible condition. The customer was particularly unhappy with how easily the floor became stained and patchy where the sealer had failed in certain areas of the floor.

Cleaning and Burnishing Limestone Floor Tiles

To clean the Limestone tiles, I used Tile Doctor’s system of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads, which range from Coarse to Very Fine. The abrasive Coarse grit pad are applied to cut back through the stone to remove stains, while the Fine and Very and Fine pads are applied to achieve a high quality polished shine.

The pads are fitted to a rotary machine in sequence from coarse to fine and lubricated with a small quantity of water which is sprayed onto the surface. The resultant slurry is rinsed off with more water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

The downstairs WC was approached using much the same method except the space was tighter so we had to use smaller six-inch burnishing pads fitted to a handheld buffer.

After completing the burnishing process, I scrubbed the grout with a narrow brush and a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a high performance alkaline cleaner, to remove any dirt and stains.

Last step before leaving was to rinse both floors with water to remove any trace of cleaning solution. The wet vacuum was then used to remove as much water and moisture from the tiles as possible.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Bathroom Floor

I left the floor to fully dry out overnight before returning the next morning to re-seal the stone which would protect it from future staining.

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is the ideal sealer for sealing Limestone. As an impregnating sealer, it penetrates deep into the pores of the stone to fill them and prevent dirt from becoming ingrained there. It also subtly enhances the natural shades in the stone.

The customer was delighted with the job as both floors were completely transformed. It’s sometimes hard to believe how long some tiles go without proper maintenance, but it’s equally amazing just how quickly they can be rejuvenated with the right products and methods!
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Flagstone Tiles Rejuvenated at Home of International Footballer in Edinburgh

Our tiled floor restoration services have attracted a number of high profile customers over the years. In fact, not too long ago I was contacted about restoring a Flagstone tiled floor at a property in Edinburgh belonging to a Scotland international footballer.

The tiles and grout were in real need of professional cleaning and sealing because it clearly had not experience adequate maintenance in a while. Here’s a quick overview of how I was able to get the floor back to looking its best.

Cleaning a Dirty Flagstone Tiled Floor

First of all, we cleaned the tiles and grout using a mix of two products: Tile Doctor Pro Clean and Tile Doctor Remove and Go. Pro Clean is our high alkaline cleaner and is a very reliable product for removing soil from natural stone. Remove and Go serves the more specific purpose of stripping away any old sealer and breaking down any paint and adhesive stains.

After completing the initial clean, I used gave the tiles another wash using a solution of Pro Clean and water,
before extracting any dirty slurry with a wet-vac machine. I did this several times until I was happy the floor was clean to the best possible extent. I also filled in any missing cement in joints and then installed drying equipment to help dry out the Flagstone tiles overnight.

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Floor

Upon returning to the property the following day I did a quick check for any damp issues. Thankfully none were present, so I was able to proceed with sealing the tiles using seven coats of Tile Doctor High Shine.

This sealer is a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers, providing both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable high-sheen finish. By doing so it eliminates the need for sealing using two products to achieve that effect.

The restoration process was really transformative, as you can see from the photos above. The tiles compliment the design of the property very nicely and it’s great to know that they can now be kept looking fantastic for longer. Another satisfied customer!
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Cleaning a Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle in Edinburgh

This is a great example of the difference we can make to a Shower Cubicle which suffer from a build up of soap scum, mould and staining from the dyes in shampoos and soaps etc.

This particular cubicle was installed at a property in the city of Edinburgh. The walls were Ceramic tiles which are ideal for shower areas as the glaze makes them completely water proof. However with grout being cementitious it does attract dirt and this shower was no different.

Cleaning Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle

The first step was to remove the wire accessory holder and then soak all the tile and grout in a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. I find decanting into a spray bottle works best as it mixes it with air which makes it easier to stick to the wall.

With the Pro-Clean in place it was then hand scrubbed to get the tile and especially the grout clean of all the mould and other stains. The shower walls were rinsed down and the process repeated where necessary.

Grout Colouring Shower Wall Tiles

With the tiles and grout now clean we could see that the grout was still discoloured in some areas where it had been badly stained. One option at this point would be rake out the grout and replace with new however overtime it would only discolour again, so in agreement with the customer we applied a grout colourant in a Limestone colour to better match the tile.

The Grout Colourant would ensure all the grout had a consistent appearance while also adding an impenetrable barrier that will keep its appearance for a long time. It takes a little time to do but is easily applied with a small brush and then you wipe off any excess that gets onto the tile.

The next step was to strip out the mastic silicone sealant strip from around the base of the shower cubicle and replace with new. I used high quality silicone sealant that left nice lines and fresh look, don’t use cheap sealant as it will soon discolour and some have been known to shrink.

Deep cleaning and re-colouring the grout made a huge difference; the shower cubicle has been transformed and now looks like a new installation.
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Quick and Effective Bath Tile Refresh in Edinburgh

Here’s a quick example of an interesting tiled shower cubicle at a property in Edinburgh that was well overdue for a refresh, including deep cleaning and recolouring do the grout lines that had become stained and mouldy. This is a problem that the majority of property owners experience due to the simple fact that shower cubicles come into contact with damaging acid-based shampoos and soaps on a daily basis.

The short-term solution for this is to wash the shower cubicle down with water after each use, however busy people do not always remember to do so! The prognosis is bad discolouration, mould growth and staining if the problem if proper care isn’t taken. In this case, the problem had worsened to the point that the property owner decided to contact Tile a Doctor to provide a thorough refresh of the tiles.

Cleaning Stained and Discoloured Shower Cubicle Tiles

Our process for refreshing shower cubicles in a similar state to this one is simple, but highly effective. I started by mixing a strong solution of our high alkaline cleaner, known as Tile Doctor Pro Clean (diluted to an appropriate level with water), before applying it directly to the tile and grout.

Next, I worked it in using specialised handheld grout brushes , with the alkaline in the Pro Clean neutralising the acidic staining and mould growth had leaving the area clean and fresh. Pro Clean is suitable for use on all kinds of natural stone, and on both verticals and horizontal surfaces. Once satisfied the grout had been cleaned to the best of my abilities, I quickly dried the entire area using a heat gun.

Recolouring Shower Cubicle Grout

To restore the appearance of the installation back to it’s optimal appearance I chose to recolour the grout lines with our Light Grey grout colourant, which matched in very nicely. This is just one of ten different colours of grout colourant we offer. The colourant was left to dry for a short period before I cleaned off any excess. The final stage of the refresh involved stripping off the old discoloured silicone from around the bath and replacing it with fresh silicone.

The customer was very impressed by the speed and efficiency of the refresh. With the work completed to a high standard in just a few hours, she now has one less problem to worry about – and a very smart looking shower cubicle! Another satisfied customer.
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Restoring an Old Quarry Tiled Porch Floor in Edinburgh West End

The restoration of this old Quarry tiled porch floor was carried out at a house in the west end of Edinburgh famous for its historic buildings and cobbled streets. The tiles were very old (possibly Victorian) and a number had patterns painted on with a stencil at some time in the past and these had now worn away leaving mainly white paint, I’m sure the patterns looked great initially but years of wear and tear had certainly taken their toll on them.

Cleaning Quarry Tile and Grout

First the floor was covered with a Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a new product based on the popular Pro-Clean product but in a more manageable gel form. We left the Oxy-Gel to soak into the pores of the tile for ten to fifteen minutes, we were working in a tight space so the gel ensured the product remained in position. The tiles were then scrubbed by hand and then rinsed which removed most of the hard ground in dirt.

To remove what was left of the paint stencils the tiles were individually treated with Tile Doctor Remove and go which is a powerful coatings remover, its was worked into the tile as before and the paint came away.

Last step before sealing was to give the floor a final clean with another solution of Oxy-Gel and then rinsed with neutral tile cleaner and water to remove any trace of cleaning product and then left to dry off overnight.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

We came back the next day and checked a few areas to make sure the floor was dry before sealing. The tiles were dry so the sealing process was started using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is an ideal sealer for Quarry tiles as it affords good stain protection whilst adding a nice subtle sheen to the floor, five coats were required before the tiles had become fully sealed.

The porch tiles now look much fresher and with the new sealer should keep looking that way for some time in the future.
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