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Mathew Lovett
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Sandstone Tiled Kitchen Floor Renovated in Mapplewell, Barnsley

We were contacted by a family in the Barnsley area of South Yorkshire who were tearing their hair out trying to keep their Sandstone Tiled floor clean. The kitchen area was especially grubby and once the island had been removed during recent renovations, the dirty floor really stood out.

The house was located on the Northern tip of Barnsley in Mapplewell, close to the border of South and West Yorkshire, an area which is steeped in coal mining history. Even though all the coal mines have gone there’s still lots of evidence of its’ proud mining history in the area.

After inspecting the tiles, I could see their problem revolved around the fact that the Sandstone had a texture to it and the previous sealer used was an impregnating sealer, as a result the dirt had no problem sticking to the stone as you can see from the picture. At Tile Doctor we see Sandstone/flagstones used a lot as Kitchen flooring, it is a popular choice due to it being so hardwearing, however as with any natural stone it needs to be sealed to protect it and bring out its beauty and colour.

I demonstrated the cleaning process on a small part of the floor, which they were very satisfied with. The testing also enables me to understand what it would take to renovate the whole floor and provide them with an accurate price. They were happy with my proposal and keen for me to begin the work which would take two days to complete, one day to clean the floor and returning a further day to complete the sealing of the floor.

Cleaning a Sandstone Tiled Kitchen Floor
On arrival at the agreed date I set about preparing the working area by removing the kickboards and protecting other surfaces that might come into contact with the cleaning products and equipment.

My process for cleaning the floor was to spray the floor first with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the stone for ten minutes so it could breakdown old sealers and dirt. The solution was then scrubbed into the stone using a rotary floor buffer fitted with a 400-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad. It didn’t take long for solution to turn grey with the soil that was released from the floor and the true beauty of the Sandstone started to appear. The dirty slurry was extracted with a wet vacuum and the floor given a thorough inspection. Stubborn stains were spot-treated using the same process and once I was satisfied the floor was given a thorough rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product and dirt. The floor was dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum and then assisted with fans left to dry off fully overnight. It was clear to me at this stage that the floor was already showing significant improvement.

Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Kitchen Floor
The next day I tested the stone for moisture using a damp meter to ensure it was dry before sealing. It confirmed that the floor had dried overnight and would be able to start applying the sealer.

It was already clear that an impregnating sealer was not the best choice for a textured stone so a topical sealer would be the best option, not only does it bring out the colours of the stone it also adds a barrier between the fine pores of the stone and dirt. Six coats of Tile Doctors Seal & Go were applied to ensure the stone was fully sealed, which took some time as you have to wait for the first coat to dry before applying the next. Seal and Go is a water based acrylic satin sealer which is perfect for this type of floor. It gives a nice natural finish but allows the natural colour and beauty of the floor to shine through.

The sandstone now looks much lighter and cleaner, certainly my client was very happy with the transformation of the floor, especially where the island had been. In fact, we have agreed with the customer we will return every year to maintain the floor to keep it looking in perfect condition. In the meantime, they should be able to easily keep it clean using Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is designed for the regular cleaning for sealed floors like this.
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1850’s Victorian Hallway Restored at Ex NHS Property in Nether Edge

Detailed below is the restoration of a beautiful Victorian tiled hallway that we completed for a ‘co-housing’ community who had purchased a large house in Nether Edge. Situated three miles south if Sheffield, Brincliffe House was built in 1850 and had been used as NHS offices since the end of the Second World War but had been empty since 2012. Built originally for Herbert Unwin who was the owner of Pond Street Brewery it was now subject to a three-million-pound conversion into fifteen apartments.

When we first visited the property to survey the floor, we were shown around the ground floor where they had discovered magnificent Victorian tiled floor. The new owners had no idea the floor was there as the NHS had covered it up decades earlier and glued carpet on top. Being a co-housing community, they were keen to do the restoration themselves however after several unsuccessful attempts to remove the strong carpet adhesive they thought better of it and called us in. We ran several tests and worked out the best way to remove the glue. The floor covered about 70 sqm in total so we knew we had our hands full.

Removing Carpet Glue from an Old Victorian Tiled Floor
I’d worked out that the best way to remove the carpet adhesive was a combination of coating remover products and abrasive burnishing pads, these are industrial diamond encrusted pads that are usually used to resurface stone however we find they work equally well on Victorian tiles as well.

Working in small sections the floor was treated with a Tile Doctor 200-grit 17 inch Diamond pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer using water as a lubricant. This stripped off a lot of surface dirt and glue which was then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. Next the floor was coated with a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove & Go and Wax Away, two powerful coating removers that are safe to use on Tile and Stone. The mixture was left to soak into the tiles for about twenty minutes before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad which slowly released the glue and dirt from the pores of the tile. In some areas the glue was so thick we found it necessary to use hand scrapers as well. As before the soil was rinsed off with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum.

Each section of flooring was inspected and retreated where necessary, then once happy with the result it was given a final rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning product. After two days of hard work the results were truly amazing, and it was very satisfying to see the floor come back to life section by section.

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles
The community were very happy with the results and thankful I had managed to achieve such an amazing transformation. They were however keen to do as much of the project as they could by themselves, so I advised them on the importance of protecting the tiles with a sealer and left that bit tot the community.

With regards to sealing my recommendation was to apply a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow as it would enhance the red and blue colours in the tiles even further. Also, being fully breathable it would be able to cope with any moisture issues which is important on these old floors which were laid without a damp proof membrane.
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A victorian floor in a beautiful house was restored and sealed.
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Restoring a Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor in Sheffield

I received a request to take a look at renovating this old Victorian tiled hallway at a ground floor flat in Sheffield. The home owners had recently bought the property and had uncovered the floor under an old carpet. They wondered if the floor was fixable and worth getting repaired, cleaned and sealed.

The floor was in quite a serious state with patches of sunken areas which had been covered in a levelling compound. There were many cracked and loose tiles and there were a lot of stains, carpet glue and paint on the tiles. The home owner had done some research into the property and had found out that it was once used as Doctors surgery and the hallway had been the waiting room which would make sense as it had certainly seen a fair amount of wear over the years, especially around the door thresholds.

Our client wanted the existing floor repairing, cleaning and sealing, ideally without replacing the cracked and sunken tiles. They were very keen to try and restore the floor as an original feature which I’m sure you will appreciate are very sought after. I discussed the work that would be needed and how we would proceed. They accepted the price for the work and worked out a date for the work to start.

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
We were able to commence work the following week and started by removing all the self-levelling compound that had been applied to the areas of sunken tiles. The tiles were also removed in these areas and a new sub floor created to lift the floor in-line with the rest of the hallway.

The original tiles were then cleaned up and installed back in place. Nearly all the many loose tiles were removed and re fixed in place, unfortunately a few loose tiles were left as removing these would have caused more damage to the floor.

There were many areas of discoloured and stained tiles so after the fixed areas of damage had been left to set overnight, we returned the next day to start on cleaning the tiles. To get the tiles clean we used a combination of Tile Doctor Remove & Go and Acid Gel agitated with a 17-inch 200 grit diamond burnishing pad fitted to a slow speed rotary floor polisher.

Combined this created a powerful cleaner/stripping action that can remove sealers, epoxy grout haze, urethane coatings, synthetic finishes, glue adhesives and paints. The resulting slurry was removed with a wet vacuum and rinsed off thoroughly with water. The immediate result showed a marked improvement and you could now get a real impression of how beautiful the floor actually was.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
The floor was left to dry overnight, and we returned the next day to complete the restoration with the application of a sealer. Beforehand he floor was tested with the moisture meter to ensure the it was fully dried. We then sealed the floor with three coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra which is a full breathable sealer and gives the floor a nice satin finish. It’s important to use a breathable sealer on these old floors where no damp proof membrane has been installed otherwise moisture can become trapped under the floor and will find its way up the walls instead.

The floor looked fantastic, the client was very pleased, the natural pattern and beauty had been restored to its’ former glory.
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5 Star: Moira H. "Matt did a fantastic job. Very professional experienced guy with great outcome"
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Textured Ceramic Tile Cleaning, Barnsley

This ceramic tiled floor at a house in the old coal mining town of Barnsley was trapping dirt and bothering our client who was finding it impossible to keep clean. In fact, she got in touch with Tile Doctor to explain that however they cleaned the floor they just couldn’t get the tiles cleaned and looking bright.

Barnsley is my local town, so it wasn’t long before I was able to pop over to the property and survey the floor. When I got there I could see that the tiles, which had been laid throughout the Hallway and Kitchen, were Textured Ceramic which have the advantage of being anti-slip but the disadvantage of being a pain to keep clean. The rougher textured surface traps dirt easily and in this case no amount of mopping was going to clean them.

My customer explained they had tried numerous household cleaners but had been unable to get them really looking clean. I was confident the floor could be deep cleaned and brought back to life using Tile Doctor products and that the job should only take a day to complete. Happy with the quote, we worked out a mutually convenient date for me to return and clean the floor.

Deep Cleaning a Textured Ceramic Tiled Floor
I started by giving the floor a really long soak with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, the long dwell time allows the product to soak right into every bit of dirt that was clinging to the tiles and break it down. Pro-Clean is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser which can be diluted in different ratios dependent on the situation. In this instance we diluted with 3 to 5 parts water to use as a very effective cleaner which is the recommended strength for removing inground dirt from areas that have been neglected or subjected to heavy use.

A black scrubbing pad was then fitted to a rotary floor buffer and run over the floor at slow speed to attack the dirt. It wasn’t long before the Pro-Clean turned dark with the loose dirt and the tiles started looking lighter in colour. The now thick brown slurry was removed using a wet vacuum and then the floor was given a rinse with water which was also extracted with the wet vacuum. The process was repeated over the entire floor and doubly so where the muck was proving stubborn to remove. After we had finished the floor looked lighter and much cleaner, the grout lines also looked cleaner too.

Our client was so relieved to have the floor looking like new again, it had been bothering her for quite some time. As you can see from the pictures the difference was quite apparent.

Before leaving we discussed the best way to keep the floor clean. Normally I would recommend a pH neutral tile cleaning product for cleaning tiles however in this case with no sealer present (ceramic tiles don’t usually accept a sealer) and given the textured surface I felt the continued use of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean would be their best option.
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5 Star: Adam S. "Matt did a fantastic job. The hallway now looks amazing. We are over the moon. 10/10"
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5 Star: Clive D. "Matt came within 2 hours of my enquiry. He did a patch test of what my floor could look like, he..."
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5 Star: Richard C. "Matt (the Tile Doctor) did a superb job on our travertine floor, its looks like a..."
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5 Star: Richard C. "Great experience throughout. Matt visited straight away to demonstrate and price. The job was..."
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