Acid-Damaged Slate Shower Tiles Restored with Burnishing in Churt

One problem we encounter a lot at Tile Doctor is damaged caused to natural stone tiles by unsuitable household cleaning products. This customer, who lives in the small West Surrey village of Churt, had done this by attempting to use Cilit Bang, which is an acidic product, to remove limescale from his fantastic Slate tiled shower cubicle. While the product may indeed remove Limescale, it does say on the label that it should not be used on natural stone.

Slate shower before cleaning Churt Slate shower before cleaning Churt

Putting these types of products in contact with acid-sensitive stone typically results in some sort of etching, however, I had never before seen the type of damage that had occurred on these Slate tiles. At first, I thought the damage – which appeared as a sort of white staining – might simply be damage to the sealer. But when I did a test clean to remove the sealer, it became clear that the stone had suffered from very deep staining and the only way to remove it would be to use a process we call burnishing.

Slate shower before cleaning Churt

Burnishing an Acid-Damaged Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

The burnishing process is a type of polishing which involves the application of diamond burnishing pads in sequence. Each pad has a different level of grit, allowing for dirt and stains to be broken down before the stone is gradually polished. We typically use burnishing on Limestone, Marble, and Travertine, but it can be used on all manner of stone in the right circumstances. This being a vertical surface, I had to complete the process using smaller six-inch pads fitted to a handheld buffer.

I started by applying the 400 grit (Coarse) pad, and followed on through to the 800 grit (Medium) and 1500 grit (Fine) pads, using a small amount of water as lubrication. I then left the tiles to dry until the next day.

When I arrived back at the property, the customer remarked that the tiles looked massively improved. Nonetheless, I found I hadn’t removed all the staining possible, so decided to repeat the burnishing process once – but this time used the pads without any lubrication. Once I was satisfied with the results, it was time to seal the tiles.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which impregnates the stone to block ingrained dirt and staining. As the name of the product suggests, it also enhances the dark natural shades in the Slate, giving the shower cubicle a bold, healthy and rich appearance.

Slate shower after burnishing Churt Slate shower after burnishing Churt

The customer was really pleased with the end result, which can be seen in the photographs above and below. So pleased was the customer, in fact, that he asked me to quote for the restoration of his Limestone tiled patio.

Slate shower after burnishing Churt

 
 

Restoring the Appearance of Black Slate Tiles in a Surrey Shower Cubicle

Cement and Lino Covered Quarry Tiles Restored in Woking

This customer from Woking had a Quarry tiled kitchen floor that she simply didn’t think could be restored. The floor had been unearthed after many years of being covered by a layer of levelling compound cement and then linoleum. Indeed, the situation certainly looked dire, but I carried out a successful test clean on a patch of the floor where the cement was at its thickest to show that it would be possible to conduct a full restoration. Having seen the results, the customer was more than happy for me to get the work underway.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Woking Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Woking

\

Cleaning Dirty, Cement Covered Quarry Tiles

To begin the restoration, I soaked small sections with water and Tile Doctor Remove and Go our heavy duty coatings remover. The solution was left to dwell for a short period to soften the cement, before I used the heat from a steamer in combination with a hand scraper to begin lifting away the muck. As you can probably imagine, this was an arduous and intensive process which took a full four days to fully complete.

Quarry Tiled WC Floor Before Cleaning Woking Quarry Tiled Floor After Cleaning Woking

Next, I cleaned the cement-free tiles using our high alkaline tile cleaning product Tile Doctor Pro Clean diluted 1 part cleaner with 3 parts water. This helped to eradicate the leftover muck once I had removed the bulk of the cement. I then sprayed Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up onto the grout lines and tiles to fully neutralise them and also remove any cement residue. Finally, I steamed the floor and left it for a week to dry out completely.

Sealing Quarry Kitchen Tiles

Upon my return to the property I sealed the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which really enhances the natural colours stone, and four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a topical sealer which provides a high quality sheen finish and durable protection against stains.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Woking Quarry Tiled WC Floor After Restoration Woking

The customer was over the moon with the results and left some great feedback:

“Wayne did a really superb job. It was a very tough task, hot and exhausting, but he was fantastically good-humoured throughout, and kept me really well-informed. He was 100% reliable and very good at communicating between visits. I’m absolutely thrilled with the results! Thank you Wayne and thank you Tile Doctor! Would definitely recommend, and use your services again.”

Quarry Tiled Floor Before and After Restoration Woking

 
 

Removing Cement Screed from Quarry Tiled Floor in Surrey

Cleaning Stains From a Natural Stone Fireplace Hearth in East Byfleet

This is a follow-on post from the Travertine Kitchen floor that I wrote about recently, you may recall the customer from East Byfleetalso asked me to clean the stains from the hearth of their Natural Stone Fireplace as well.

Stone Fireplace Before Cleaning East Byfleet

Stone Fireplace Hearth Stain Removal

The fireplace was suffering from general dirt build-up as well as bad rust and oil stains. I treated the rust stains using Tile Doctor Rust Remover which is a specialist product developed by Tile Doctor especially for the removal of rust marks from stone. Then to deal with the oil stains I applied a solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean alkaline cleaner combined 50/50 with Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU to give the solution extra strength.

While this improved the condition of the stone and removed the un-sightly stains more work was required so I continued the cleaning process with the application of a Coarse 30 grit pad fitted to my hand machine. This proved effective, so I then refined the surface further using a series of fine grit pads before sealing the fireplace with Tile Doctor Ultra Seal, another of our impregnating sealers.

Stone Fireplace After Cleaning East Byfleet

The appearances of both Travertine tiled kitchen floor and the natural stone fireplace have benefitted greatly from deep cleaning, high quality polishing, and a fresh seal. Much to the delight of my customer, they will prove much easier to keep clean I’m the future.

Stone Fireplace Before and After Cleaning East Byfleet

 
 

Professional Fireplace Hearth Restoration in East Byfleet

Restoring Travertine Kitchen Tiles in East Byfleet

This customer, who lives in East Byfleet had been experiencing difficulties in keeping her fantastic Travertine tiled kitchen floor in good condition. Over the years it had suffered from a heavy build up of dirt and oily stains, not to mentioned a number of cracks and small holes. Needless to say, the customer was keen to restore the Travertine tiles to their former glory.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning East Byfleet Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning East Byfleet

Restoring Travertine Tiles

To begin the restoration, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go across the entirety of the large tiled area. This heavy duty remover breaks down any old sealers and other coatings, leaving the area ready to cleaned or, in this case, burnished.

Burnishing is a method for cleaning and polishing certain types of high-end stone, including Travertine, Marble, and Limestone. Our burnishing system involves the application of four diamond encrusted pads of varying grits. Firstly, I applied the Coarse grit pad, which helps to break down any dirt and stains on the surface of the tiles. Then, I worked my way through the Medium, Fine, and Very Fine pads, using a little water as lubricant, to gradually refine the polish on the Travertine. It was then rinsed and left to dry.

To round off the first day of work, I filled any cracks and holes using our two-part resin system which greatly improved the look of the tile.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Cracked Tile Before and After East Byfleet

Sealing Travertine Tiles

The following day I returned to the property to seal the tiles checking first that the floor had dried. All was well so I proceeded to seal the floor using our colour intensifying impregnating sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Once that was dry, I added the finishing touches by buffing the floor with a soft white buffing pad. As you can see from the photographs, the combination of a fresh seal and polish worked wonders.

Travertine Kitchen Floor After Sealing East Byfleet

We did such a good job with the floor that the customer asked if we could also improve the appearance of their natural stone fireplace which was suffering from bad rust and oil stains however I do a separate write up on that.
 
 

Cracked Travertine Kitchen Floor Fully Restored in Surrey

Repairing and Cleaning a Checkered Victorian Tiled Hallway in West Byfleet

Victorian floors are known for their intricate and interesting patterns – so when tiles are in need of replacement, sourcing ones which are consistent with original pattern can be a difficult task.

This was the case when recently I quoted for a clean and seal of a large black and white Checkered Victorian tiled hallway at a property in the town of West Byfleet, Surrey. The customer informed me they had engaged a tiler to lay black tiles in the door thresholds to match the others. I queried why the tiler was not planning to lay tiles of the same pattern to match the rest and apparently this was due to the fact that the tiler couldn’t source the appropriate tiles.

Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet Door Threshold Before

Having dealt with these problems before I offered to quote separately to source and install reclaimed tiles that would provide consistency with the original pattern. The customers agreed to both jobs and I arrived at the property once I had sourced the tiles required.

Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet Tile Installation Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet Tile Installation

I set about laying the new tiles straight away, with my first action being to dig out the old cement that had been used to fill the gaps in the doorways, before making sure the sub base was flat. I then proceeded to carefully lay the tiles in a matching pattern.

Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet Tile Installation

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway

I then moved on to cleaning the Victorian tiles, immediately noticing numerous paint and glue stains that would have be to be tacked first. To address this problem, I applied Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU (formerly known as Ultra Clean), which uses Nano-sized particles to get beneath particularly tough stains and break them down. It’s suitable for use on a wide range of unsealed and sealed tiled surfaces, particularly where heavy dirt build-up occurs.

Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet Before Cleaning Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet Before Acid Wash

The product was scrubbed into the floor and then rinsed off using a wet vacuum to extract the soiled solution. Next I gave the tiles an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, this acidic cleaner is good for tackling old cement and grout haze left on the surface of the tiles and following this I gave the floor a thorough rinse and steam to remove any trace of product.

Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet After Cleaning

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

I left the floor to dry completely for four days. Upon my return to the property, I gave the hallway a final light clean with Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, just to ensure that the tiles were in the possible condition possible before being sealed.

Once satisfied with the results, I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the tiles. This is an impregnating sealer that will provide a long-lasting protection from the inside to mitigate the effect of the heavy wear caused by the high traffic of people walking in this area. In addition, the natural colours and shades in the black and white Victorian tiles are now enhanced, thanks to the colour intensifying properties in the product.

Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet After Sealing

I left the floor for a couple of hours before further sealing it with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to add surface protection and to add a nice low sheen to the appearance of the Victorian tiles.

Victorian Hallway Floor West Byfleet After Sealing

The customers were very pleased with the finished results, even going so far to call later that night to thank me. They also left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Bill Bailey installed total confidence in us as customers. Completely sympathetic to our needs, with a total understanding to our requirements. Now whilst this wasn’t the cheapest quote we had, it was the most honest, which is why we decided it was the one for us. I can honestly say that Bill’s work surpassed our expectations and I would thoroughly recommend Bill Bailey to anyone who is thinking about having any tile restoration done or expert cleaning also. A very, very happy customer who will be using Bill Bailey for any tiling jobs we have in the future.”
 
 

Professional Victorian Tile Restoration in Surrey

Terracotta Tiled Conservatory in Cranleigh Deep Cleaned and Sealed

Cranleigh is the self-proclaimed largest village in England, sitting about 8 miles southeast of Guildford in Surrey. One of its villagers contacted me recently to see if there was anything I could do to improve the state of their Terracotta tiled conservatory. They were in the process of completely redecorating the conservatory, having just replaced the wood and glass and I was called in to restore the tiled floor back to looking its best.

Terracotta is made from clay and is quite porous ceramic, and tends to be quite porous when made into commercial or residential tiling. Just like stone it needs to be sealed to ensure the pores don’t become ingrained with dirt, following that sealers do need to be maintained as they do wear off over time.

In this case, my client had moved into the property twenty years ago, and had only ever carried out a routine mop of the floor; as a result the floor was now ingrained with dirt and had lost its colour and would require a deep clean and seal to bring it back to life.

Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh Before Cleaning Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Terracotta tiled conservatory

To begin with, I mixed a cleaning solution consisting of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to one part water. This was spread evenly across the floor and let to dwell for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. The solution was then agitated with a scrubbing pad fitted to my heavy-weight rotary machine, lifting away the initial layers of muck and any remaining old sealer.

However, I noticed after giving the tiles a rinse that some of the old sealer was still prevalent in some areas. To deal with this, I applied a solvent-based sealer stripper and left it to work its magic on the affected areas. After about an hour, I added a steamer to the mix, and this allowed me to thoroughly scrub away the old seal. This was followed up by another rinse of the floor, and left it to dry.

Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh During Cleaning

Sealing a Terracotta tiled conservatory

I returned to the house five days later to complete the restoration. My immediate task was to carry out a moisture test to make sure the floor was completely dry and therefore ready to take the new seal, this is an important step as adding a sealer to a damp floor can result in problems.

Once satisfied, I proceeded to seal the floor with five coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. This sealer is particularly effective at providing durable surface protection from within, and contains properties which enhanced the natural auburn shades in the Terracotta tiles.

Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh After Sealing Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh After Sealing

I’m pleased to say that my client was overjoyed with the quick transformation of their conservatory floor. They never knew quite how vibrant the colours in the stone could be, and better still, the floor now blends in with their newly painted lemon walls.


Terracotta Conservatory Cranliegh Before and After Cleaning

 
 

Terracotta Tiled Conservatory Floor Refreshed in Surrey