Epsom Tile Cleaning

Maintaining a Slated Tiled Floor and Grout Recolouring in Epsom

I thought you might be interested to know that I have numerous clients that I visit every year to maintain the finish on their floor. We call this service “a maintenance program” and is ideal for clients who wish to maintain a deep polish on their stone which will diminish with use and over time. The example below details a recent maintenance visit to a client in Epsom who has a Slate tiled Kitchen and Conservatory floor and likes the high gloss finish of the Slate topped up every year.

Slate Floor Before Annual Maintenance Epsom Surrey Slate Floor Before Annual Maintenance Epsom Surrey

The process usually involves a basic clean and the reapplication of a fresh coat of sealer and polish. The big advantage with a maintenance plan is I know the history of the floor so there are no surprises and no need for a pre-site visit. On this occasion however my client wanted me to do something about the colour of the grout. The problem is he has three spaniels and three cats who gradually discolour the white grout with dirt. Although I clean it on each visit it was clear that the white grout was a problem and so he asked me to colour the grout in a charcoal colour to match the slate to make the problem less obvious.

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Conservatory Floor

Over the years I had probably applied 15 plus coats of sealer to these tiles and grout. There is no way I could paint the grout colourant on top of the sealer as it just wouldn’t adhere. To resolve this, I started by using a Fein tool with an occulting abrasive blade along the grout line. It was painstaking work but did the job of removing the sealer and ironically any dirt.

Slate Floor During Grout Maintenance Epsom Surrey Slate Floor with Cats Maintenance Epsom Surrey

I used a vacuum to clean up and then set about cleaning the floor and bringing up the polish on the Slate tiles using a 3000-grit diamond pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. A small amount of water is squirted onto the tiles during buffing to help the process but essentially the floor is dry. Once done the Slate tiles were now ready for a new application of sealer but not the grout.

Colouring White Grout Charcoal in Epsom

For the next four hours I painstakingly painted charcoal grey grout colourant into the grout lines being careful not to touch the tiles. Grout colourant is an excellent product but dries very quickly. Any excess must be removed immediately.

Applying Charcoal Grout Colourant Epsom Surrey

Normally I recommend using a Grout Colourant Pre-Treater before applying the colourant as you get a better bond with the colourant. On this occasion however the Fein Tool had already cleaned and roughened the surface of the grout, so it wasn’t necessary.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Conservatory Floor

Once the grout colourant was dry, I was able to move onto the last phase of the visit and apply the sealer. The three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were used to seal the floor which I find works well on Slate and as you can see from the photos gave the desired gloss effect the customer wished for. Each coat is left to dry before applying the next one.

I don’t normally recommend using a gloss effect sealer on Slate where you have pets who can scratch the tile, especially in a high traffic area such as a kitchen however he understands this but I guess he likes the shine.

Slate Floor After Maintenance Epsom Surrey Slate Floor After Maintenance Epsom Surrey

 

Professional Restoration of a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Conservatory in West Surrey

Cleaning and Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Patio Area in Epsom

This property in Epsom featured a small enclosed Terracotta Patio which the owner wanted deep cleaning in time for the summer. She had a huge shared garden and was hoping to host a family BBQ later in in the year, so wanted it to look good for the event. Given the situation with the COVID-19 epidemic I was happy for the opportunity to work outdoors and agreed a time to pop over and take a closer look.

Small Terracotta Patio Before Cleaning Epsom

I went over to survey the Terracotta tiling and except for a few stains I could see it was in good order, however the old sealer was wearing thin and it was due a good clean and re-seal. It was roughly 18m2 and I was confident weather permitting it could be done in one day. I worked out a price which was accepted, and we agreed a date for my return.

Cleaning a Terracotta Tiled Patio Floor

Focusing on the grout first I sprayed on a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, and then left it to soak in for ten minutes. The Pro-Clean was then scrubbed into the grout lines by hand using a stiff brush. This action cleaned up the grout and using minimal water the soil was rinsed off the tiles and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Having inspected the tiles on my initial visit I had decided the best course of action to remove the old sealer and clean them up would be to apply a coarse 200-grit diamond pad. This would deep clean the tiles, remove the old sealer, renovate the surface, and remove the stains. This can be a little messy but gives a great result. After the 200-grit pad I closed the pores in the tiles with a 400-grit and then 800-grit burnishing pad. Terracotta is very porous so by closing the pores it should ensure the sealer doesn’t rapidly soak into the Terracotta during sealing.

After the application of each pad the tiles were rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum. I used minimal water during the rinsing to improve my chances of them drying quickly so I could apply the sealer later that day.

On this occasion the tiles were in reasonable condition, however, that’s not always the case and for tougher patio cleaning work I would of used Tile Doctor Patio and Driveway cleaner which really cuts through dirt and can pretty much clean up any external patio regardless of condition.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Patio Floor

It was a warm June afternoon which greatly aided the drying; I know from experience that applying a sealer to a damp tile can result in an inconsistent finish so I used a damp meter to measure the moisture levels before proceeding.

My plan had worked, and the moisture reading soon reached an acceptable level allowing me to apply the sealer. The sealer I selected was Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra, this is a tough sealer that will provide plenty of protection for many years to come and its breathable so will cope with external environment. Seal and Go Extra also contains a colour enhancer which gave the natural red colour of the Terracotta tiles a real boost.

Small Terracotta Patio After Cleaning Epsom

The patio looked great and my client was over the moon with the results. Hopefully, she won’t have to wait too long before she can have that barbeque with her family.

 

Professional Renovation of a Terracotta Tiled Patio in West Surrey

Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway Fully Restored in Epsom

A customer from Epsom called me regarding the restoration of her Victorian tiled hallway which was previously covered in carpet and in a poor state of health. Intrigued and having spoken on the phone I agreed a time to call in and survey the floor and work out a way forward. I visited the property and could immediately see considerable repair work including resolving problems with the sub floor and tile replacement would be required and all this before cleaning and sealing.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Rebuild in Epsom

This house had undergone some serious renovations recently and the floor was left till last. I’m not a structural engineer so was unable to advise what had happened to the floor, but all the faults appeared to run in a line from the kitchen to the front door. It was an old house so who knows what might have caused it, it might even have been bomb damage from the 2nd world war.

There were three main problem areas. The worst was by the front door where an area of about a metre square was just loose tiles and laid on rubble. The family had got used to jumping across the threshold so as not to make the problem worse. Next was a strip through the middle that was totally exposed and a massive trip hazard. The floor boards were visible as was the floor base. There was another area by the front room entrance that had some loose pattern tiles that clunked every time someone entered the room. Finally, there was a small area to the entrance to the basement that had been patched in with cement.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Rebuild in Epsom Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Rebuild in Epsom

It was clearly going to be a challenging restoration for several reasons. Had the customer kept all the loose tiles? If not, could I source matching replacements? Would it be possible to level the floor that appeared to be sloping towards the front door? Could I remove loose and broken tiles without disturbing others? Could I manage the customers high expectations?

Having worked on numerous Victorian floor restorations in the past I knew where I could potentially source replacement tiles. I also had the full backing of the Tile Doctor network so knew I could always reach out to other Tile Doctors should I face any major problems. Undaunted we agreed a date for me to return and start the work and in the mean time I would talk to several specialist tile suppliers about replacements.

Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Before starting any tiling work, I photographed the whole floor extensively from different angles so I would have something to refer to later. Then I removed all the loose tiles placing them in buckets for further cleaning. I now had three areas that I could see beneath the floor boards and another area of cement that I broke up using a chisel drill. In total I filled six buckets with rubble and broken tiles, all of which were taken off site and disposed of at a local recycling centre.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom

The next step was to ensure I had a level and flat base in the newly exposed areas on which to lay the tiles. I managed this by laying down a self-levelling compound. The compound is mixed in a bucket and poured into the holes up to the required level allowing gravity to do the levelling work for you. It is then left to dry and harden overnight.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom

The next day I started by re-fixing the loose tiles in areas where the subfloor was still solid. Close packed Victorian tiles are very tough but can be brittle, often removing a single tile can cause chips or break surrounding tiles. I always buy more replicas than the job requires for this very reason. This can be very frustrating work, so I find its best approach is to remove as few tiles as possible. I explained to the customer that the floor is over 100 years old and some chips and scratches give the floor character. Perfection is an unrealistic expectation where some marks are permanent.

Part of the other renovations included the removal of two antique radiators leaving some strips of carpet and adhesive attached to the floor. I removed this using a strong mixture of tile doctor remove and go and a little encouragement from a 50-grit diamond block.

The preparation continued with the cleaning up of the three buckets of tiles recovered at the beginning of the restoration. Old adhesive and cement must be removed before refitting to ensure they can be laid flush to the adjacent tiles. Luckily for me the weather was warm and sunny, so I sat on the garden wall for the afternoon using a combination of a wet tile cutter, Fein tool and diamond blocks to get them clean while I took in the sun.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom

The next day was spent re-laying the tiles. The tiles are in an intricate pattern and in various shapes and sizes. The main area by the front door took all day. The difference in thickness between the original and replacement tiles made the work particularly difficult. Interested neighbours came and went commenting on my progress throughout.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The next day I soaked all the tiles with tile doctor Acid Gel and left to dwell for 30 minutes. This was to work into the porous areas and to break down years of dirt. Then attaching a very coarse 100-grit diamond encrusted pad attached to a rotary floor machine I cleaned the tiles with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This process skims away a small layer of the tiles thus the dirt too. All the soil was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. I repeated this process twice for maximum effect. The customer was amazed at the result and I wasn’t finished yet. When wet the contrast between the white tiles and dark were astonishing, however this was temporary so I made sure the customer aware that without a sealer they would look washed out and colourless. I left the scene overnight with a couple of warm air movers in place to fully dry out the tiles.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The tiles need to be dry before sealing so the next day my first action was to test the floor for moisture using a damp meter. They passed and were ready to take a sealer, so I discussed the different options and finishes with the customer. It was a very interesting house, full of retro artefacts so we needed something that would blend in, more importantly she had four children and a husband who bought a cycle through the house twice a day. I recommended Tile doctor seal and Go Extra. It’s super tough, offering great protection and gives a subtle sheen that I felt would suit the house. Three coats later and I was done, closing the door behind me as everyone was at school and work

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Rebuild in Epsom Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Rebuild in Epsom

I popped back later that evening to discuss the job. The newly applied sealer had intensified the depth of colour in the Victorian tiles and returned the brightness to the floor. She was very pleased and even gave me a carrot cake to take home with me.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Rebuild in Epsom

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in West Surrey

Mouldy Ceramic Tiled Shower Refreshed in Epsom Downs

A customer contacted us regarding a Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle problem they had with their house in Epsom Downs, Surrey. All the grout and mastic had started to go black and grow mould which is quite a common problem in modern houses and our busy lifestyles and insulated homes with insufficient ventilation.

Epsom Downs Shower Cubicle MouldyGrout Epsom Downs Shower Cubicle MouldyGrout

Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout

We started by giving the tiles a good scrub with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and our non-scratch scrubbing brushes, then we thoroughly scrubbed the grout with more Pro-Clean and a special grout brush designed to get right into the grout and scrub the soil out. We then went over the grout where there was any marks and residue soil with our grout brush and Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is a stronger product that can remove mineral deposits and even excess grout from a tile surface.

Grout Sealing

Prevention is better than the cure so the tile and grout was dried with cloths and a heat gun and then left for half an hour. We then damp tested the area to make sure it was dry and was no damp present in the grout before applying Tile Doctor Grout Seal and Go which will seal the grout making it waterproof and stop the mould coming back

Last step was to cut out all the old mastic and seal around the shower and replace it with new silicone sealer finishing the job off nicely

Epsom Downs Shower Cubicle Finished Epsom Downs Shower Cubicle Finished

 

Refreshing a Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle in Epsom

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West Surrey Tile Doctor

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