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

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

Dull Travertine Tiled Floor Deep Cleaned in Cobham

This client from Cobham had her kitchen and diner tiled with Travertine six years ago. With two children and three dogs living there, the sealer has gradually worn away leaving the stone exposed to dirt. The leafy village of Cobham lies in the borough of Elmbridge which is noted as being a one of the most desirable places to live in the UK. As a result, it attracts a lot of investment in property including expensive tiled floors.

I went over to survey the floor and discussed with the client how we could improve the floors appearance. The solution I proposed was to deep clean the tiles to extract all the dirt and remove what was left of the old sealer and then to re-seal the floor in order to protect it going forward. This process typically takes two days to complete; day one is spent cleaning the stone and grout, including the removal of the existing sealer and day two is spent sealing and polishing. The client was satisfied with the quotation and we arranged a time to come back and carry out the work.

Travertine Tiled Kitchen Diner Floor Before Cleaning Cobham

Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Firstly, I asked the client to clear the floor and to help me put the dining table in the garden out of the way. Then using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a wire brush I cleaned the grout in the kitchen, diner and utility room. It was a large installation of Travertine, so this task took some time to complete. The floor was rinsed, and all the dirt produced was removed with a wet vacuum cleaner.

The next job was to remove what remained of the previous sealer and top layer of dirt. This was done with a rotating buffing machine with a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The first one applied is a coarse 400-grit pad followed by 800 and 1500-grit, working through the pads in sequence. You might be familiar with the grit system from sandpaper, rough down to smooth. The process is lubricated with water and the slurry generated is rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.
I left the floor to dry off overnight, they can walk on it during this time, but they needed to be careful of any spillages. The dogs were also welcomed back in from the front room.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

The second day started with and inspection of the Travertine tile and grout looking for any areas that need further attention. I was satisfied that the floor was looking its’ best and once the preparation was complete, I applied the first coat of sealer.

On this occasion I went with Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is doesn’t change the look of the stone giving a completely natural look. This product soaks into the pores of the stone protecting if from within and should last between three and five years depending on the amount of wear it received and how the floor is cleaned and maintained.

Two coats of sealer were applied and after each coat dried, I polished the floor using a very fine 3000-grit diamond pad. The pad is run across the Travertine dry with only a little water sprayed onto the tile using a process we call a ‘Spray Burnish’. I asked the client to keep off the travertine until it’s cured, usually for a couple of hours which is always a good excuse to go out for the evening!

Travertine Tiled Kitchen Diner Floor After Cleaning Cobham

The client was very happy the floor and they remarked it looked as good as when it was first laid. For aftercare I recommended using Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is ideal for the regular cleaning of sealed natural stone floors, many supermarket products are simply too harsh and will reduce the life of the sealer.

Travertine Tiled Kitchen Diner Floor After Cleaning Cobham

 

Professional Restoration of a Travertine Tiled Kitchen in West Surrey

New Black Limestone Floor Issues Resolved in Godalming

A property developer contacted me looking for a solution to two problems with a Black Limestone floor he had installed in the kitchen of a house in Godalming. The first problem was the sealer used didn’t do anything to enhance the look of the Limestone tiles and the new owner was very unhappy with their appearance which was now light in colour as opposed to the black Limestone he was expecting. Secondly the kitchen fitter had dragged a wooden box with a rogue screw hanging from the bottom across the floor in several places leading to scratches.

Scratched Black Limestone Floor Before Godalming

With direct trains to London Waterloo taking 45 minutes Godalming is a very desirable place to live and a property hotspot. Fortunately for the developer I was able to advise that both problems were fixable. Firstly, I had to remover the existing sealer, tackle the scratches and then re-seal and polish. Keen to have the problem resolved I was instructed to go ahead with the work.

Scratched Black Limestone Floor Before Godalming

Removing Sealer and Scratches from Black Limestone tiles

The old sealer was not doing anything to enhance the look of the Black Limestone and simply applying a new sealer on-top of the old would not have improved the appearance, so it had to be stripped off first. To remove the old sealer, I attached a coarse 400-grit Diamond burnishing pad to a floor buffer and ran it over tiles with water for lubrication. The process generates a fine slurry so once the whole floor had been burnished in this way the slurry was rinsed off with more water and then extracted using a wet vacuum.

Next, using a small handheld burnishing block I very carefully removed the scratches that the kitchen fitter had caused. Like the burnishing pads these blocks come in different grades and are encrusted with industrial diamonds.

Once happy I was happy that the scratches were gone, I continued to burnish the floor using a medium 800-grit and then a fine 1500-grit pad. These pads are used to hone the stone and build-up its polished appearance. As with the 400-grit pad water is used to lubricate the process and the floor is rinsed and extracted after each pad.

Sealing Black Limestone Tiles

I left the floor to dry off and returned after the weekend to apply the sealer. This is essential for any stone floor as otherwise dirt will become trapped in its pores making it difficult to clean effectively. Sealers can also enhance the appearance of the stone and in this case, we wanted to really bring out its natural dark colour. With this in mind I chose Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that protects from within and includes a colour enhancing agent that improves colour and, in this case, considerably intensified the black colour of the stone to achieve the effect the customer wanted.

Scratched Black Limestone Floor After Burnishing Godalming

Before leaving I ran over the floor with a white buffing pad to add an extra lustre to the stone, by the time I had finished the floor looked amazing. Unfortunately, I never got to hear how the customer felt about the new appearance of their Black Limestone floor however the property developer was much relieved as he thought the whole floor might need to be replaced.

 

Professional Limestone Floor Renovation in West Surrey

Red and Brown Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor Polishing Weybridge

If you have a Mable tiled floor which is not looking its best, then the transformation I achieved on this floor at a property in Weybridge will definitely be on interest. Having first spoken with the owner on the phone I went over to the house to take a better look at the floor and found that the deep red and brown Marble tiled kitchen floor was really dirty and totally lacking in colour or polish.

The floor hadn’t been professionally cleaned for some time and was now dirty and suffering from the actions of a puppy which likes to charge up and down. The Marble was also full of holes which the client explained had been getting larger. This is not usual for natural stone as it can be very sensitive to acidic cleaning products which if used constantly over time will start to dissolve the stone.

We discussed the remedies available, agreed a cost and arranged a mutually convenient time to carry the work out. I always like to do a site visit to survey the tiles and ideally run a test clean to determine the best methods for resolving the problems. This enabled me to give a more accurate quote and it also gives the customer confidence in my abilities.

Marble Tiled Floor Before Polishing Weybrige

Deep Cleaning Red and Brown Marble Kitchen Tiles

Firstly, I removed the existing sealer with a 400-grit diamond burnishing pad which is applied with water. Although this initially appears to make the floor look worse, this is only temporary, sometimes you have to make it look a little worse before it can get better! Once this was done the floor was rinsed with water to remove the slurry generated and this was then extracted off the floor with a wet vacuum.

Then for the next couple of hours I worked my way from the back door to the front filling all holes with a special expanding resin, then smoothing off as I went to ensure the smoothest of finish could be achieved. Some of the holes were indeed quite large, so there was quite a lot of work to do.

Once the filler had dried I started the polishing process using the 800 and then 1500 grit burnishing pads, once again with more water to lubricate and rinsing the floor in between polishing and removing the slurry as before. This process took much of the day, so I left the floor to dry off and came back the next day to complete the polishing and seal the Marble.

Sealing Red and Brown Marble Kitchen Tiles

The next day I returned and completed the polishing process by applying the fourth burnishing pad which is an extra fine 3000 grit pad, you apply the pad dry with only a little amount of water sprayed onto the floor in process we call a spay burnish and this final pad really brings up the polish in the Marble.

Once the polishing had finished I left the floor for a little while to make sure it was nice and dry and then I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. This is a colour intensifying sealer that provides durable protection by impregnating the pores in the stone with sealer, so dirt cannot become ingrained there. As you can see from the pictures the sealer dramatically enhanced the natural colours in the stone.

Once dry I backed my way out of the house with a final finishing polish using a white buffing pad to remove any excess sealant and bring up the sheen of the tiles even further. I left instructions with the client to keep off for a couple of hours while the sealer cured.

The client was over the moon with the end result, the floor was left shiny, protected and looking in a fabulous condition.

Marble Tiled Floor After Polishing Weybrige

 

Professional Restoration of a Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor in West Surrey

Heavily Soiled Victorian Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed at a Cafe in Chertsey

At Tile Doctor, we don’t just offer our tile cleaning and sealing services to residential properties, such as flats and houses we also cover tile installations in commercial properties, such as hotels and restaurants as well as

In fact, commercial properties tend to experience much higher daily foot traffic than residential floors resulting in much more strain on the sealer. This of course wears down the sealer more quickly and once the sealer had worn away the tiles are vulnerable to dirt becoming ingrained which makes the floor difficult to clean.

This Cafe in Chertsey is very popular with staff from the nearby hospital, as well as residents in the local area. Naturally, the cafe gets very busy and the Victorian tiled floor had experienced heavy traffic and was marked by footprints from hundreds of hungry customers.

Cafe Floor Chertsey Before Cleaning

I was called in to help the cafe owner restore this original feature back to its best possible condition and then seal again to protect it.

Cleaning a Heavily Soiled Victorian Tiled Floor

Once the cafe staff had left for the evening, I moved the tables aside to avoid damaging them and laid down a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean across the floor. This is our reliable alkaline cleaner which is designed to loosen the dirt on tiles and grout.

As the dirt was deeply ingrained in the stone, I scrubbed the floor using an abrasive 200 grit pad fitted to on rotary buffer. Within seconds the pad had worked its magic and I had a trail of filthy water to suck up using a wet vacuum machine.

Once the majority of the floor had been cleaned, I took to my knees to closely inspect the stone for dirt. Any particularly stubborn areas were tackled using a wire brush in combination with Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a heavy-duty cleaner/coatings remover which works well on removing any old sealers, paints and adhesives.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

Once the floor was clean, I washed and neutralised the surface with plain water. While I was packing up for the day I also installed my air-blower to aid the drying process overnight.

Two nights later I returned to the cafe to seal the tiles with Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a colour enhancing sealer that impregnates into the pores of the tile to bring out the natural colours whilst adding a durable matte finish that acts as a barrier to dirt.

Cafe Floor Chertsey After Cleaning

As you can see from the photo above, the result was fantastic. In fact, the customer loved her newly restored floor so much that she even told me to help myself to any cake of choice, I do like a bonus!
 
 

Professional Commercial Tiled Floor Restoration in Surrey

Severely Stained Slate Shower Cubicle Restored with Burnishing in Clapham

When used to clean natural stone, supermarket products can often cause more harm than good as this recent customer of mine discovered this the hard way!

Originally from South Africa, she had lived in a flat in Clapham for a couple of years, but had to suddenly return home earlier than expected. However, part of her flat rental agreement required her to leave the property clean and as she found it, including the fantastic Slate shower cubicle.

In a rush, the customer had attempted to clean the Slate using a popular supermarket bathroom cleaner. She left the product to sit on the base of the shower before scrubbing it in with an abrasive pan scourer.

Badly Marked Slate Shower Tray in Clapham Before Restoration

This was a big mistake – and the customer called me in a panic after discovering that her attempts had left the Slate severely stained. I travelled to the property to see what could be done to set the situation straight.

Burnishing a Severely Stained Slate Shower Cubicle

Upon observing the damage in person, I decided that the best course of action would be to use a process known as burnishing to grind away the stains. I tested a small area of the cubicle with one of our handheld diamond encrusted burnishing blocks.

Happy with the results of the test Clean, I started to burnish the whole cubicle using our system of four burnishing blocks, starting with the coarsest first and working my way down to the finest. A small amount of water was used as lubrication for each pad.

Through the burnishing process, the white stains started to disappear, exposing the lighter grey coloured Slate shower base.

Sealing a Slate Shower Cubicle

After drying the area completely with a heat gun, I was able to seal the stone with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

This impregnating sealer not only protects the stone but also importantly it restores the natural dark shades in the Slate, enhancing its overall appearance. As an impregnating sealer, Colour Grow penetrates the pores in the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt.

Badly Marked Slate Shower Tray in Clapham After Restoration

To say the customer was very relieved would be a complete understatement! By hiring in professional assistance, the customer was able to resolve the situation quickly and painlessly – and more importantly hold onto her £3,000 deposit!
 
 

Professional Tile Burnishing and Sealing to Restore a Badly Stained Slate Shower Cubicle in Clapham

Cleaning Ceramic Bath Tiles at a Chessington Student Let

This bath with shower over was located at a rental property in the town of Chessington that had been recently vacated by students. I was called in by the landlord who was looking to re-rent the property. The request was to tidy up the ceramic tiles in the shower and bath area and to make it look decent again for the next batch of soap-dodgers . We often get asked to do end of tenancy tile cleans and have seen a lot worse than this one so I was confident it could be made to look like new again.

Dirty Ceramic Bath Tiles in Chessington before cleaning

The main problem was the grout had become darkened and stained from dirt and the dyes in soaps etc., the mastic sealant between the tile and the bath also needed replacing.

Cleaning Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle

To get the tile and grout clean I sprayed on Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which works better than liquid products as being gel based it sticks to the wall tile and grout and really gets to work breaking down the dirt. I left this for a few minutes before scrubbing it in and then rinsing it off with water.

Whist this was drying I started to strip out the old mastic seal and tidied up the mess that had fallen into the bathtub using a vacuum.

Grout Colouring Shower Wall Tiles

With the tiles now clean and fresh grout dried the next step was to apply a White Grout Colourant to ensure all the grout had a consistent appearance. Although time consuming the grout colourant is easily applied with a small brush and then you wipe off any excess that gets onto the tile before it dries.

I left the grout colourant to dry for 30 minutes before applying another coat and once this had dried I set about adding a new mastic seal between the wall tile and bath. I always use a high quality silicone sealant for this; I never use cheap sealant as they soon discolour and can shrink resulting in water ingress problems.

Dirty Ceramic Bath Tiles in Chessington after cleaning

It takes a little time but the bathroom now looks much fresher and ready for the next tenants.
 
 

Stained Ceramic Tiled Bathroom Tiles Refreshed in West Surrey

Large Area of Limestone Tiled Flooring Burnished in Esher

This beautiful Limestone tiled floor was installed in the lounge of a house in the popular London commuter town of Esher. The floor was looking dull after years without a polish and the grout was dirty, there was also a crack running along a number of tiles however without matching replacements it was decided not to address that problem at this time.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning and Polishing in Esher

Limestone is a very tough stone so to clean the tile and rebuild the polish it would need to be burnished using different grades of Diamond encrusted pads and then sealed to protect it from ingrained dirt and stains. It’s worth noting that polished stone tile does need to be regularly maintained if you want to keep up its appearance and Tile Doctor does offer this as a service.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning and Polishing in Esher

Cleaning Limestone Tile and Grout

Before working on the tiles I decided to treat the grout to a good old fashioned scrub with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and stiff grout brush. This soon got the grout clean and the soiled cleaning solution was then rinsed away with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.

Next step was to start the burnishing process using a coarse pad which was attached to a rotary buffer and then, using a litre of water per square metre as lubrication, I cleaned and stripped away any remaining sealer.

Once I’d removed any excess residue with the wet-vacuum, I changed to the a medium grit pad, repeated the cleaning process, and again extracted the soiled residue. Finally, I completed the process once more with the fine grit pad. Once this was completed I buffed the floor with a soft white pad to clean up any dried residue, leaving it ready to be sealed.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Two days later, once the floor was completely dry, I returned to the property to seal and polish the floor. To begin, I restored the shine to the tiles by applying the last of the four burnishing pads – the very fine grit pad.

To seal the Limestone I applied Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the Limestone to provide durable protection against ingrained dirt without changing the natural look of the tile.

After an hour, the floor was ready to be buffered once again to bring up the shine and then we were done

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning and Polishing in Esher

I was very pleased with the result and more importantly so did the customer who left the following feedback

“All work very professionally carried out, floors are sparkling.”

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning and Polishing in Esher

 
 

Professional Maintenance of a Honed Limestone Floor in East Sussex

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

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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

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

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

Cleaning & Grout Colouring a Marble Tiled Bathroom in Earls Court

These Marble Tiles were installed in the bathroom at a residence in Earls Court, west London; the Marble certainly gave a luxurious effect but had dulled over time, on top of that the grout had stained in places and both were in need of really good deep clean.

Marble Tile Cleaned

Cleaning Marble Tiles

We set about cleaning the Marble Tiled floor using a mild dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in with Deck Brushes. Once we were happy the floor was rinsed with clean water to remove and chemical residue and we then began polishing the floor using a buffing machine fitted with a green burnishing pad, the green pads are encrusted with very fine diamonds and used with a small amount of water to produce a high shine finish.

Marble Tiles Cleaned and Polished

Applying Grout Colourant

The last step was to colour the grout which is easily done using a bottle of Grout Colourant. This is applied into the grout lines using a tooth brush; as well as changing the colour the product provides an epoxy coating on top of the grout protecting it against future discoloration.

The customer was certainly pleased with difference and said the “the results are amazing” when she returned home from work that evening.

Marble Tiles Cleaned and Polished

 
 

Cleaning and Polishing Marble Bathroom Tiles

Beautiful Indian Sandstone floor deep cleaned in Guilford

This beautiful Indian Sandstone tiled floor was laid throughout an open plan Kitchen, Dining and Lounge in a house in Guilford. The floor was in need of a deep clean and seal so we called round initially to survey the tile and grout and provide a quote which was accepted.

Indian Sandstone During Cleaning Indian Sandstone Washing

Cleaning Indian Sandstone

To clean the floor we used a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a flexible strong alkaline cleaner specially designed for use on stone floors mixed 50/50 with Tile Doctor Nanotech Ultra-Clean which contains tiny abrasive particles. This solution was left to dwell on the floor for thirty minutes before being worked into the floor with scrubbing brushes. We then used a tile spinner tool and truck mount cleaning system to rinse the floor of all residue soils and chemicals, the floor was covered with dust sheets whilst it dried and also to keep it clean until we came back to seal it.

Indian Sandstone After Cleaning

Sealing Indian Sandstone

On our return we discussed the effects of different sealers, they all offer stain protection to different levels but change the appearance of the tile in different ways. The customer liked the natural look of the stone so we applied Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal using three coats of sealer to fully seal the tiled floor; Ultra-Seal is also a penetrating sealer that gets deep into the pores of the stone. The customer was delighted with the result and we have been asked to return every year to maintain the floor.

Indian Sandstone After Sealing

 
 

Indian Sandstone Floor Maintained in Guilford