Slate Tiled Floor Rejuvenated at New Barn Conversion in Farnham

Converting a barn into a property can be an exciting project, but it certainly doesn’t come without a range of challenges. If done correctly, they can look amazing and are well worth the effort.

A recent customer of mine had spent the last six months converting a barn into a residential property in the West Surrey town of Farnham. While the project had been a big success, the house had been subjected to high traffic from dozens of carpenters, electricians and builders. This had taken its toll on the newly installed Slate tiled floor – so the property owner asked me to restore it to its peak condition to complete the conversion once and for all.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Farnham

Before accepting the job, I strongly advised the customer that I should be the last workman out of the door. In my experience few tradesmen are known to take care of other peoples work and any further work being done in the property could potentially spoil the appearance of the Slate tiles.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Farnham

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor

The customer was happy for me to proceed, so on the agreed date I returned and started the work by laying down a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean across the floor. Pro-Clean is an alkaline-based cleaner which breaks down all manner of dirt and grime.

This was a large area of tiles, so I worked on individual sections of 3m2, first soaking the Slate in Pro-Clean and then waiting ten minutes for it to soak in and then following with a nylon black scrubbing pad fitted to a 17-inch rotary buffing machine to work the cleaning product into the stone. The tiles immediately came up looking much cleaner. Any excess water and chemical slurry was vacuumed up promptly with a wet vacuum.

The tiler had done a good job of laying the floor and removing any excess grout as normally my next step at this point would be to give the floor an acid wash, but it wasn’t necessary.

Once the tiles had been cleaned to the best of my abilities and given a thorough rinse, I left the property for 48 hours to allow any water that had seeped into the tiles to evaporate. This is important as excess moisture problems can prevent the tiles from being sealed correctly.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

On returning to the property a couple of days later, I swept away any bits of dust and debris and then proceeded to seal the tiles with Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Farnham

This impregnating, colour-intensifying sealer enhanced the stunning natural brown, gold and orange shades in the stone. Two coats of the sealer were applied to achieve a brilliant natural-look finish and robust protection against future wear and tear.
Restoring the appearance of these Slate tiles put the finishing touches on this fantastic barn conversion. Needless to say, the customer was very pleased with the results.

Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Farnham

 
 

Recently Laid Slate Tiled Floor Given Builders Clean to Restore Appearance in Surrey

Original Quarry Tiled Hallway Given New Life in Haslemere

As the West Surrey Tile Doctor I cover quite a large area including Haslemere which is a town on the South-Western edge of the county in the borough of Waverley. I was down there to visit a customer who had recently bought an old property there and during the renovations uncovered six foot of quarry tiles by the front door. There was a patch of concrete that also needed investigating.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Haslemere Quarry Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Haslemere

Cleaning Hallway Quarry Tiles

I began by carefully removing the layer of concrete with a scraper and a covering of Tile Doctor Acid-Gel hoping it would expose more quarry tiles underneath. Sadly, this wasn’t the case and all I exposed was an area of ruined quarry tiles and four buried bricks. These would have to be removed then filled to bring them to the same level as the remaining tile so I could lay new tiles their place. A couple of noisy hours later following drilling and violent chisel work I’d removed enough to lay flat tiles.

I spent the next hour cleaning and preparing the remaining good tiles. After years of being covered by carpet there was a fair amount of adhesive to remove. This was loosened with Tile Doctor Remove and Go and small abrasive hand-held Diamond blocks to get into the corners.

The Remove and Go was applied to the tiles, left to soak in for ten minutes and then worked into the tile and grout with a stiff brush. The then the soiled solution was rinsed off and extracted using a wet vacuum. Following this work the tiles looked clean but worn out and colourless which is not unusual for this stage of the process and would be resolved once a sealer had been applied.

Tiles were then cut to measure then fixed in place with a rapid adhesive in line with the originals. Once they had set they were grouted in with a grout that closely matched the original. The rest of the floor was inspected at this point and any holes filled with more grout until flat. The grout and tiles were left to dry which was a good opportunity for me to eat lunch.

Sealing Original Quarry Tiles

It was only a small area so later that afternoon the tile and grout and I was able to finish the restoration with the application of two coats of sealer. On this occasion I chose to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the clay Quarry tiles protecting them from within and also enhancing the red colours in the tile.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Haslemere

The result was a significant improvement and the customer was very happy, leaving the following testimonial on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“Rupert was absolutely brilliant. Very friendly and professional, worked cleanly and totally rejuvenated our quarry tile entryway. Would definitely call him again and recommend to friends.”
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor in Surrey

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

16th Century Quarry Tile Restoration at the Hogs Back, Farnham

We were contacted by a customer interested in our no obligation home survey who wanted a quotation for restoring their Quarry Tiled floor. It was an interesting property which would probably be best described as a quirky old cottage dating back to the 16th century; it was probably built to house workers from the neighbouring farm and the owner had decided to renovate the original quarry floor tiles which were in a bad way and effected by damp due to a lack of damp proof course and the tiles being laid straight onto a bed of peat. It’s quite amazing when you think that these tiles had been laid over 400 years ago and were still serviceable.

Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning

Cleaning Antique Quarry Tiles

We started by steaming off all the old Sealers, Soil and Waxes that had been applied over the years, we then applied neat Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed 50/50 with Nano-Tech Ultra-Clean and left it dwell on the floor for twenty minutes, the two products combined create a powerful cleaning agent which is still safe to use on tile and stone. The tiles were then scrubbed using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad to work the solution into the floor and then it was left to dwell for a further twenty minutes. The dirty solution was then removed using a wet vacuum which I can highly recommend for removing liquids from floors.

The next step was to use our Tile Spinneret tool which is fed from a heavy machine fitted into our Van. Often referred to as a truck mount system the tile spinner power rinses the floor with a high pressure warm water jet wash and at the same time sucks the soiled water back to a recovery tank in our van ready for disposal.

The customer had to make a visit abroad at this point so we left the newly cleaned floor for six weeks to allow it to fully dry out fully before we came back to seal it.

Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Quarry Tiles After Cleaning

Sealing Antique Quarry Tiles

When we returned six weeks later we found a couple of areas were still showing a slight damp problem and so we dried the tiles concerned with heat guns to make sure it was bone dry. Now that the dirt had been removed from the tiles we could also see that they had lost most of their colour and so it was necessary to apply a specially formulated red tile colouring product over the whole floor which we left for an hour to soak in before using a polishing machine to make sure it was well ground in and evenly distributed across the surface of the quarry tiles. The last step was to seal the tiles to and for this we choose a product called Tile Doctor Seal and Go which I can highly recommended for sealing quarry tiles and it gives a nice low sheen effect. Six coats of sealer where needed in total which took some time to apply as you have to let the sealer dry before applying the next coat. Last step was to buff the tiles to a nice shine using our polishing machine fitted with a Buffing Pad.

Quarry Tiles Restored Quarry Tiles Restored

This restoration was a tough assignment and certainly took some time, but I think you will agree our efforts have made a significant improvement to the floor.
 
 

Quarry Tile Restoration in Farnham