Restoration of a shower and bathroom in Guildford

A family living in Guildford were in touch recently about restoring the appearance of their Ceramic tiled shower and bathroom. They were about to put the property up for sale and were concerned the grubby grout might put off potential buyers. First impressions do count so renovating a bathroom or kitchen before selling is a really good idea and will help you achieve a better price.

Bath Shower Tile Grout Before Cleaning Guildford Bath Shower Tile Grout Before Cleaning Guildford

In this case the Ceramic tiles were dirty and black with mould in places which looked unhygienic and uninviting. Additionally, the mastic sealant between the tile and bath was tired and worn to the extent that water could end up leaking behind the seal. After visiting the property, they were pleased to hear I could help and happily accepted our quote which was based around a days work and some materials.

Cleaning/Repairing a Ceramic Tiled Shower and Bathroom

Firstly, I cleaned the grout using a Tile Doctor product called Duo Clean which is designed to tackle dirty grout and mould. I sprayed the product along all the grout lines and left it to soak in for about fifteen minutes. Once ready I brushed them with a firm wire brush then rinsed off with water. Next, I cleaned the tiles using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was decanted into a spray bottle and sprayed onto the wall tiles. After ten minutes I then used a handheld buffing machine fitted with a small white buffing pad to shift the dirt and buff up the white tiles. After rinsing the slurry off with water you could see a marked improvement.

I hand dried the tile and grout with a cloth and then set about stripping out the old white mastic sealer with a sharp knife. This took some time, as you have to be careful not to scratch the bath or the tile.

By this time the grout had dried off fully and I was able to see if more work was required. To achieve a uniform colour throughout. Mould and some cleaning products can discolour grout permanently and, in this case, there was some grout staining I was unable to remove. We had discussed this possibility earlier and how it would be best resolved using a white grout colourant. So, I carefully applied Tile Doctor Grout Colour which is painted on with a small brush with any excess wiped off the tile before it can set. This resulted in a uniform white grout throughout and really gave the whole bathroom a lift.

Sealing a Ceramic Tiled Shower and Bathroom

With the cleaning process completed I applied a new white mastic between the bath and tile and along the verticals. This is done with the bath filled with water and then left for 24 hours to allow the silicone to fully cure.

After the grout colour had dried, I applied an aerosol Tile and Grout sealer over the whole surface and then lightly polished off any excess with a clean cloth. This does two things; one it adds a further layer of protection to the new grout colour and to the surface of the tiles. Secondly Ceramic tiles are non-porous, but bacterial dirt can still get a grip on the surface, with the sealer in place you will find water quickly runs off without getting a chance to get a hold.

Bath Shower Tile Grout After Renovation Guildford Bath Shower Tile Grout After Renovation Guildford

Sealers do wear off, so I recommended re-applying it every year. I had plenty left over and gave it to the customer when I finished using it. For regular cleaning of tiled shower areas, I recommend they use Tile Doctor Aqua-Pro this will neutralise any acid build-up caused by acidic shampoos etc.

 

Professional Renovation of a Ceramic Tiled Bathroom in West Surrey

Renovation of Painted Quarry Tiles in a Cranleigh Vicarage

A Vicar from Cranleigh contacted me earlier this year about a Quarry tiled floor. It turns out he had lifted the carpets in the hallway of the Vicarage and found that the previous tenant had painted red tile paint around the tiles up to the edges of the carpet. With the carpet removed the floor looked very unattractive and he was looking to have the original appearance of the Quarry tiles restored.

Painted Quarry Tiled Floor Before Renovation at Cranleigh Vicarage

I went to Cranleigh to survey the problem and you can see from the pictures the floor wasn’t looking great, the paint looked as if it had been applied without any preparation and had peeled off in places. I discussed my plan to renovate the floor with the Vicar which would involve stripping all the paint off the tiles followed by deep cleaning and then applying a sealer. He was very pleased to hear this and was happy with the quote that I produced which would take two days. We arranged a time to return the following month to complete the work.

Painted Quarry Tiled Floor Before Renovation at Cranleigh Vicarage

Stripping Paint from a Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor

On day one I started by protecting the skirting and other woodwork with decorative tape. Once this was done, I spent time removing the paint with paint stripper and a sharp blade. It was messy and tedious work but necessary to achieve the requested result. The waste was then rinsed off the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

Once all the paint was removed, I cleaned the tiles with a coarse 400-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad fitted to a rotary machine and lubricated with water. This was followed with an 800-grit pad. The former opens the tiles pores allowing dirt to be extracted and the 800-grit pad closes them ready for sealing. Quarry tiles are particularly porous, so I left the floor to dry off for 48 hours days before returning to seal the tiles.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning a few days later I started with tidying up any areas that needed further attention. The floor had dried out nicely however I wanted it to be clear of any dirt or dust since I cleaned it so I gave it a light mop and left the floor to dry off again. Once the floor was completely dry, I sealed the area with several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra.

Painted Quarry Tiled Floor After Renovation at Cranleigh Vicarage

I selected this product as it is a super tough sealer that once applied has a sheen effect while offering a very strong protective surface to the floor. This was important as hallways receive a high level of foot traffic and even more so in a Vicarage with parishioners coming and going. Seal and Go Extra is also breathable and this is an important consideration when choosing a sealer for use on old tiled floors that don’t have damp proof membrane installed.

The vicar was very pleased with the finished floor, I discussed with him the best way to keep it clean and maintained would be to use Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, which is pH neutral and so won’t prematurely degrade the integrity of the sealer like stronger products.

Painted Quarry Tiled Floor After Renovation at Cranleigh Vicarage

 

Professional Renovation of a Quarry Tiled Hallway in Surrey

Replacing Cracked Travertine Floor Tiles in Cobham

This client from Cobham contacted me in despair, she was quite concerned about her Travertine tiled floor which was cracking. She had the Kitchen and Dining room tiled with Travertine six years ago and recently several cracks had begun to appear in a long line crossing five tiles.

Travertine Floor Issues Before Restoration Cobham Travertine Floor Issues Before Restoration Cobham

Several holes had also begun to appear and across the threshold to the kitchen from the dining area a serious lip had formed where a tile had risen above its neighbour causing a trip hazard.

Travertine Floor Issues Before Restoration Cobham

After removing a tile from an unobtrusive area, I began to see where the issues lay. The tiler had dabbed the adhesive. This mean that instead of spreading the adhesive equally across the tile and floor they had splurged four lumps in each corner then set the tile down. This is poor working practice that will sooner or later become apparent. It means the areas were no adhesive was applied are eventually compromised resulting in cracking. This could take years or weeks to surface.

Travertine Floor Issues Before Restoration Cobham

After some discussion we decided that I would remove and replace six tiles in total. The client was happy for me to go ahead and agreed a cost for the works to be done.

Repairing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Returning the following week, firstly I had to remove the grout. This was done with a handheld Fein tool fitted with an oscillating blade. I thought this would be good experience from my son during the holidays, so I took him along and whilst I was working on the grout, he was able to gather the dust in a vacuum cleaner.

Travertine Floor Issues During Restoration Cobham

Next, I started to remove the cracked tiles with a chisel, starting from the cracks where the tiles would be weakest. This was noisy and messy work which required ear defenders and safety goggles. The process took several hours with the help of my son on general assistance duties. Once the tiles were removed this just left the remaining adhesive attached to the floor to get removed. This was the hardest part of the job, a lot of hammer and chisel work with as much dust gathered as possible to try and contain the mess. I had warned the customer that a considerable amount of mess would be produced and request that she should remove as much items as possible and to tape up her cupboards. Finally, I filled several holes in the sub floor so I would have a flat surface to lay the new tiles on. I left it there for the night to solidify.

Travertine Floor Issues During Restoration Cobham

Returning the next day, I began laying the replacement tiles down. Colour matching replacement tiles is a difficult task as Travertine is a natural product and colours vary greatly so these were a pretty good match.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Once the adhesive had set, I grouted in the newly laid tiles and once that was dry set about applying a sealer. For this I used two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that doesn’t alter the colour of the stone. This would ensure they were nicely protected and hopefully the client will not experience any further issues.

Travertine Floor Issues After Restoration Cobham

She was very happy with the result and was pleased the floor no long looked unsightly or posed a tripping hazard.

 

Cracked Travertine Floor Tiles Replaced in West Surrey

400 Year Old Dirty Flagstone Floor Renovated in Ripley

This property in the lovely Surrey village of Ripley near Woking was over 400 years old and featured an amazingly dirty flagstone floor. The village itself has a long history that dates to Norman times so I wouldn’t surprise me if the stone in this floor was original or potentially older.

The house was a family property with a large garden that the kids and dog used and liked to walk through the house bringing the garden inside! It was fair to say the area was subject to heavy traffic and attracted a fair amount of dirt. I recommended a deep and thorough clean and then the application of a durable sealer to protect the stone going forward.

400 Year Old Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Ripley 400 Year Old Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Ripley

To demonstrate the potential of the flagstones I applied different Tile Doctor cleaning products on a small test area to see which would work best. It wasn’t long before the dirt was lifted out of the pores of the stone and you could really get an ideal of how the stone could be could transformed. They agreed my quote for the work, and we arranged a time to carry out the work which would take two days. I would start the cleaning on a Friday then we would return on the following Tuesday to seal leaving it to dry for more than two days in between.

Cleaning and Restoring a Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor

The first job was to clean the grout using a strong dilution Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which turned it from a dark brown to a sandy yellow colour. This work was done by hand with a hard-scrubbing brush and due to the wide joints took three hours to complete before finally rinsing and extracting the dirt off the floor with a wet vacuum.

400 Year Old Flagstone Floor During Restoration Ripley

Next task was to clean the flagstones. They were so dirty I decided to use Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a stronger product to breakdown the ingrained dirt. Fortunately, I was able to use a standard black scrubbing pad attached to my rotary buffer to work the product into the stone. The dirt was removed with the wet vacuum cleaner as I progressed however the stone was so dirty that the soil ran back down into the grout. So, after cleaning the tiles I had to go over the grout again.

Once completed, the client was astonished at the difference. I used a lot of water in the cleaning process so the floor was left for three days so it would thoroughly dry out before I returned to apply the sealer.

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor

Returning on the Tuesday, first I checked the floor was dry with a moisture meter. My plan to leave the floor for three days had worked well and I confirmed the floor was dry and ready to be sealed.

To seal the floor, I applied three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra with a paint pad and a soft brush. There was a lot to cover and each coat is left to dry before applying the next, so it took some time before I was done. Seal and Go Extra is a breathable sealer so it will allow moisture to rise through the floor this is an important consideration when sealing old floors which don’t have a damp-proof membrane. The sealer worked well on the stone really bringing out the colours, so the stones now looked like stones rather than black rocks.

400 Year Old Flagstone Floor After Restoration Ripley 400 Year Old Flagstone Floor After Restoration Ripley

The client was over the moon with the difference, they had literally never seen the floor looking like this. The children and dog were firmly told they would be wiping their feet before traipsing the garden through the house in future!

400 Year Old Flagstone Floor After Restoration Ripley

For aftercare I recommended they used Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which will keep the floor clean and is not overly strong like many supermarket cleaning products which can prematurely erode the protection provided by the sealer.

 

Professional Restoration of a Flagstone Tiled Floor in West Surrey

Reviving a Multi-Coloured Slate Floor in Camberley

This was a relatively straightforward job renovating a multi-coloured Slate floor in the kitchen and adjacent dining area of a house in Camberley. I can quote from a photograph, but I prefer to visit the property, survey the floor and carry out a test clean so I can be 100% confident in my quote. I cover all the towns and villages in West Surrey so it usually isn’t long before I’m passing in the direction of a client and can usually call in on the way to or from a nearby job.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Camberley

The client had recently had a new kitchen fitted where a lot of plastering had been taking place. It seems very little dust sheeting was used, and the result was the stone absorbed a lot of plaster dust which completely flattened its appearance. The Slate floor now looked very uninviting and it was really bringing down the appearance of the new kitchen.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Camberley

I discussed with the client the process we would follow to get the flooring back in shape. We agreed a cost for the work and booked in a suitable date to carry out the work, it would take a day to renovate the stone floor.

Deep Cleaning a Multi-Coloured Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I first sprayed the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean. The product was left on the surface to dwell then after around ten minutes I scrubbed the product into the floor using a black pad attached to a rotary floor buffer. The Slate tiles were slightly riven so overtime as the machine passed over the ridges the pad became torn, so I went through a few pads cleaning this floor.

The abrasive action of the pads combined with the Pro-Clean proved to be very effective causing the cleaning solution to turn black as the dirt was lifted out of the stone. The now soiled cleaning solution was extracted using a wet vacuum and the floor inspected to make sure it was clean.

Sealing a Multi-Coloured Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Now I don’t usually recommend sealing a floor on the same day as cleaning, however it was a warm day and only a small floor so after a couple of hours of encouraged drying the floor was ready for sealing.

I suggested three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra for this floor. It’s a super tough sealer, perfect for a kitchen with lots of through traffic and an owner with a large dog. The formula improves the look adding a subtle sheen that transforms their appearance and brings out the variety of natural colours in the stone.

Slate Floor After Cleaning Camberley

The client was very happy with the result, the floor was looking so much more inviting and in keeping with the new kitchen. Before leaving I discussed with them the best way to keep the floor looking in great condition. In this case I recommended a Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is a pH balanced cleaner. It’s perfect for the regular cleaning of sealed stone as it won’t compromise the sealer like many household products, it leaves a fresh and minty smell and being concentrated a small amount goes a long way.

Slate Floor After Cleaning Camberley

 

Professional Restoration of a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in West Surrey

Removing Polymer Grout Haze from Wood Effect Ceramic tiles in Guildford

Grout haze or grout smears as it is often called can be a huge problem when laying tiles. Grout haze is basically grout that has been left to dry on the surface of the tile after installation. It’s a common problem which is exacerbated by the use of quick drying products. Take for example this interesting Wood Effect Ceramic Tile installation at a house in Guildford following installation by a builder.

I was a bit slow in following up on the initial enquiry as we had been very busy so by the time, I got in touch I was told they had employed someone else to carry out the work. I apologised for my late response and said to call me if he needed help in the future. Three days later I got a call so we arranged a visit so that I could carry out a test and quote a price.

Grout Haze on Wood Effect Ceramic Tiles Before Removal Guildford

As it turns out the builder had returned and failed to remove the grout haze and so had a rival firm that seemed more interested in selling unnecessary sealer than fixing the problem. I was astonished to see what a state the builder had left his floor. Grout was all over the floor with footprints walked across thresholds and more. I could understand it if there was some grout was missed after installation but not to this level!

I carried out a successful test and confirmed to the customer that there was absolutely no need to rip and replace his £2k floor. We agreed a date to resolve the problem and to say he was relieved was an understatement!

Grout Haze on Wood Effect Ceramic Tiles Before Removal Guildford

Removing Polymer Grout Haze

The builders had used Mapei grout which contains polymers. Polymers offer better flexibility and adhesion, however in order to remove the grout haze we would first need to break down the polymers in the grout first and this is why the rival firm failed.

With that in mind, my first action was to apply Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor and leave it to dwell for five to ten minutes. I then worked it into the tile using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

After washing the soil away with warm water and extracting with a wet vacuum I applied Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up to treat the grout. Grout Clean-up is an acid-based product that breaks down the grout so it can be rinsed away and extracted as before. Afterwards I rinsed the floor with warm water and extracted again to remove any trace of product and neutralise the floor. After removing as much moisture as possible with the wet vacuum I speed dried the tiles with a blower.

Wood Effect Ceramic Tile Installation Problem Resolved

Ceramic tiles won’t accept a sealer so once the floor had dried the job was finished and it took less than a day.

Grout Haze on Wood Effect Ceramic Tiles After Removal Guildford

The customer was over the moon with the difference. While his floor was in such a state, he has been unable to bring in new furniture as the serious possibility of removing the tiles was hanging over him.

Relieved that the problem was now resolved he kindly left the following review:

“I had a floor that had just been laid with very heavy grout haze. I had already had advice from two other professional floor cleaners who had advised me that the floor was irreparable and would need to be pulled up. As soon as I spoke with Rupert, it was clear he was extremely knowledgeable. He asked questions none of the other companies had. By understanding the specific nature of the problem, he was able to solve it by first removing the grout polymers and then applying an acid wash. The floor came up brilliantly. Rupert was the only person I spoke to that could fix this, everyone else told me I needed to replace my floor! Superbly knowledgeable, professional and did an excellent job. Don’t bother speaking to anyone else, just call Rupert! “

Grout Haze on Wood Effect Ceramic Tiles After Removal Guildford

 

Professional Clean of a Wood Effect Ceramic Tiled Hallway in West Surrey

Cleaning and Sealing a Limestone Patio in Farnham

This customer from Farnham called me with three requests. First, can you clean and seal our Black Limestone patio? Secondly can you remove some scratches? and finally, can you make it less slippery as my children have slipped a couple of times in the wet.

After discussing the problems over the phone, we agreed a convenient date and I went along to the property to have a look. I could certainly do the first and second but not the third. There are products on the market but most Anti-slip products I’ve come across contain acids which etch and roughen the surface. Her patio was made of dark limestone which is acid sensitive and applying an acidic product would ruin the look of the stone leaving it looking washed out. I discussed with her the options and the process and we agreed a price, booking the work in for later in the month.

Limestone Patio Before Cleaning Farnham

Cleaning a Black Limestone Tiled Patio Floor

First, I cleaned the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro Clean which was left to soak in for about ten minutes before being scrubbed with a nylon brush and being careful not to further scratch the stone.

The next step was to clean the stone with a series of burnishing pads starting with a coarse 400-grit lubricated with water then moving onto increasingly finer pads of 800 and 1500 grit. It’s important to rinse and extract the slurry after applying each pad. This process removes the existing sealer and slightly mills the tiles firstly opening the pores then slowly closing them as the process continues. I avoided the dark area in the picture where the table was situated as it had been protected from the weather, sun and small children. My aim was to get the same consistent colour across the whole patio.

Once I had used the three pads, I completed a final rinse and extraction with a wet vacuum. I then checked surveyed the floor looking for any areas that needed more work and to verify that the scratched had been removed as part of the process. The work went well, and I was happy to see that the scratches had been lifted and the appearance of the stone looked much better and more even.

Sealing a Black Limestone Tiled Patio Floor

It was a warm day, so it wasn’t long before the stone had dried and were dry enough to be sealed. I talked through the customers options for sealing and recommended the application of Tile Doctor Colour Grow as it contains a colour enhancer which would return the dark colour to the stone and match the original colour under the table. Colour Grow is also rated for external use.

Limestone Patio After Cleaning Farnham

Two coats of Colour Grow were applied, and this made a big improvement to the appearance of the stone resulting in a stunning transformation. The customer was over the moon and with the patio now ready for the summer she could not wait to get the patio furniture in place and enjoy the space.

 

Professional Renovation of a Black Limestone Patio in West Surrey

Ceramic Tile and Grout Cleaning in a Leatherhead Kitchen

At this property in Leatherhead, in the Mole Valley district of Surrey there was ten years of dirt trapped in the grout and no end of cleaning by the owner could improve the situation.

Ceramic Tile Grout Before Cleaning Leatherhead Kitchen

Now desperate to get the floor looking clean again she gave Tile Doctor a call and as their local representative I was asked to go round and survey the floor. Glazed ceramic tiles are very easy to clean and maintain and are a very practical choice for a kitchen floor, however what tends to happen is the dirt gets washed into the grout lines where the rough nature of the grout traps the dirt eventually turning it black.

Ceramic Tile Grout Before Cleaning Leatherhead Kitchen

I could see what needed to be done so I discussed the solution with the client who was relieved that we could help. She agreed to my quote and we booked the work in to be completed.

Cleaning a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned on the scheduled date and set about preparing the floor with an application of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean combined with Tile Doctor Remove and Go and diluted with water. The cleaning cocktail was left to dwell for approximately fifteen minutes while I unloaded the equipment I would need from the van. Tile Doctor Pro-Clean is a heavy-duty tile and grout cleaner which works best when left soak into the problem area, whilst Tile Doctor Remove and Go is a coatings stripper so I reasoned a combination of the two products would have maximum effect to deep clean the area.

Using a hard wire brush, I rubbed the muck vigorously until the dirt became released into the cleaning solution. Sometimes it is necessary to roll up your sleeves and do some things manually! The resultant slurry was then extracted with a wet vacuum. You can see from the pictures the dirt being released.

Ceramic Tile Grout During Cleaning Leatherhead Kitchen

I had to repeat the process a few times before I was happy with the condition of the grout.
Once the grout was clean, I applied more Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the tiles, scrubbing it in with a deck brush. After ten minutes, using a handheld buffer fitted with a black scrubbing pad I cleaned the tiles. Again, I vacuumed up the slurry then neutralised with plain water. Following a final vacuum, I dried the whole kitchen with an air blower.

Ceramic Tile Grout After Cleaning Leatherhead Kitchen

The client was very happy with the newly cleaned floor, it had really made a big difference to the whole floor and given it a new lease of life.

Ceramic Tile Grout After Cleaning Leatherhead Kitchen

 

Professional Clean of a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen in West Surrey