Stripping Varnish off Terracotta Kitchen Tiles and Resealing in Bristol

Terracotta tiles are always a popular choice for Kitchens but being made from clay they are porous and need to be sealed to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained in the tile. Once sealed though you need to remember Kitchens are high traffic areas, so you can expect the sealer to wear off quicker than it would elsewhere.

I mention this as a customer from Bristol asked me to do a survey on her Varnish Sealed Terracotta Kitchen Tiles where the seal had worn down and were now dull, and the grout had darkened. I surveyed the floor and completed a test clean on a section of the floor which came out well impressing the customer who was happy for me to proceed with cleaning and sealing the floor.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol Before Cleaning Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol Before Cleaning

Traditionally Terracotta tiled floors have been sealed with a number of products over the years including Wax, Linseed Oil and on this occasion Varnish however all these products have their disadvantages and don’t compare to modern sealers which are designed for the job.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles Bristol Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

The first day was spent trying to get the Varnish off the floor which somebody had used on the floor as a sealer; Varnish is easily scratched by furniture, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. I worked out however that it could be scrubbed off once coated in a combination or Tile Doctor products Pro-Clean, Remove and Go and Nano-Tech HBU which would be left to soak in for a while and then softened with steam.

Mechanical assistance from a buffing machine fitted with a large black scrubbing pad helped reduce the amount of elbow grease that was required and once I was happy the tiles were clean the now soiled solution was rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next day and with the floor now clear I was able to see those areas that needed further re-treatment and also turn my attention to the grout which was cleaned using more cleaning solution worked in with a stiff narrow grout brush that gets into the grout lines. Once I was completely happy with the floor its was given a final rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then dried with a wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning

Sealing a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor

It’s important that the tiles are dry before sealing so I left the floor to dry out for three days before returning to seal them. No Varnish this time of course, Tile Doctor has a range of sealers for every type of situation and what I find works best on Terracotta tiles is a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow topped off with multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol During Cleaning

Tile Doctor Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates into the pores of the clay protecting it from within whilst enhancing colour whilst Seal and Go completes the sealing process and adds a nice sheen to the look of the tile.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing

As you can see from the final photographs the floor looked really good and the customer gave me top marks for feedback.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles in Bristol After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 

Professional Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Restoration in Gloucestershire

Dirty Grout Lines Refreshed on a Ceramic Tiled Hallway in Cirencester

Cirencester is a large market town in the East of Gloucestershire known for its rich history dating back to the Roman times, when it was known as Corinium. This area is also home to the Royal Agricultural University, the oldest agricultural college in the English-speaking world.

I visited the town recently to see a customer who was having significant problems with the cleaning of her Ceramic tiled hallway. Ceramic tiles are always a popular choice in high traffic areas like Hallways and Kitchens due to their durability, as well as water and scratch resistance. However, this floor had been installed a decade ago and during that time had not received adequate maintenance. Although the Ceramic tiles themselves had not faired too badly the grout lines were heavily ingrained with dirt, making them near impossible to clean with everyday cleaning products.

Ceramic Grout Lines Cirencester Before Cleaning

The property owner had tried numerous products without success and determined to get the grout clean again sought assistance from her local Tile Doctor. I deal with these types of issues all the time so I was happy to pop round and see what could be done to restore the floor back to its peak condition.

Cleaning a Dirty Ceramic Tiled Hallway

To begin, I set about cleaning the grout lines using a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a multi-purpose stripper and degreaser that breaks down any old sealer, and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline-based cleaner suitable for all types of stone and tile. I applied the cleaning solution and left it to dwell for about 30 minutes, before using a grout brush to lift away a decade’s worth of grime and muck.

Next, I used Pro Clean again to scrub the tiles in combination with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine, before rinsing the entire floor with fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals. Then, I dried the grout lines with a heat gun and left them to cool for about 10 minutes. The grout lines were subsequently ready to be sealed.

Sealing a Ceramic Tiled Hallway

With the floor ready to be sealed, I applied Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal to the grout lines using a pipette, which is a tool used to deliver a measured quantity of sealer.

Ultra-Seal is a premium sealer which is formulated to provide maximum stain protection. While leaving the grout with a natural look, the sealer will keep the grout looking fresh and free of ingrained dirt for some time to come.

Ceramic Grout Lines Cirencester After Cleaning

The customer was amazed at how quickly I could transform the condition of the grout. As you can see from the photo below, the condition of the grout really shapes the appearance of the floor – and now these Ceramic tiles are a real asset to the property once again.
 
 

Professional Cleaning of Dirty Ceramic Tile and Grout in a Gloucestershire Hallway

Dirty Victorian Hallway Tiles Rejuvenated in Tewkesbury

Victorian tiles are very hard-wearing and historically a popular choice for heavy traffic areas such as hallways. Still popular today they are nonetheless like most tiles and can become ingrained with dirt over time.

This particular floor, located in a property in the old market town of Tewkesbury is a good example of a floor that was in good physical condition, but heavily ingrained with dirt due to a lack of regular maintenance. At a loss for how to remedy the situation by themselves, the property owner asked me to pay a visit to restore the tiles back to their best possible condition.

Large Victorian Hallway Tewkesbury Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

In this particular scenario, I opted to mix and apply a solution of different cleaning products from our professional range, each serving a different purpose. These products were Tile Doctor Pro Clean, Tile Doctor Remove and Go, and Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU. Remove and Go serves the purpose of stripping away any old sealer on the tiles, while Pro Clean is an alkaline cleaner that reliably removes dirt and staining. NanoTech HBU is a particularly powerful cleaner which utilises nano-sized particles to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone, get underneath difficult stains and lift them out.

I spread this potent solution across the length and width of the tiled hallway and left it to soak for approximately 10 minutes, before using a black scrubbing pad fitted to my buffing machine to give the tiles a deep scrub. Next, I rinsed the soiled solution away and neutralised the chemicals with plain water, before extracting any residue using a wet vacuum. I repeated the cleaning process several times to achieve the best results possible, and I also employed the aid of a steam cleaner to spot clean any particularly stubborn marks.

Sealing a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Cleaning the floor took two days in total. At the end of the second day, I gave the floor a thorough and final rinse before leaving it to dry completely overnight. The next day, I returned to the property to seal the floor after checking the floor was dry. Ensuring before sealing that the floor is completely dry is crucial – even the smallest quantity of moisture remaining can potentially cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer that penetrates and fills the pores of the tile to prevent trapped dirt and makes regular cleaning much easier. Colour Grow is a great choice of sealer for Victorian tiles because it really enhances the colourful patterns which are characteristic of this type of tile.
My customer was very impressed with the service and remarked on the huge improvement to the appearance of the floor. You can see this for yourself – just take a look at the before and after photos!

Large Victorian Hallway Tewkesbury After Clean and Seal

 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in Gloucestershire

Heavily Stained Red Quarry Porch Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in Moreton-in-Marsh

A tiled entrance porch is a great asset to any property after all first impressions do count, but since this type of feature will experience heavy traffic, it can be particularly difficult to keep it clean.

This red Quarry tiled porch at the entrance to this house in the old town of Moreton-in-Marsh was in particularly bad condition and in desperate need of restoration. It appeared to me that some decoration work has taken place recently because the tiles were marked with all kinds of staining, including paint, cement and even glue.

Quarry Tiled Porch Before Cleaning in Moreton-in-Marsh

I was asked to deep clean the tiles, remove the staining and basically restore the appearance of the tiles back to their origianal condition.

Cleaning Stained Red Quarry Tiles

Due to the fact that the tiles were heavily soiled with paint and adhesives, I decided to clean them first using two of our most powerful cleaning products: Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU and Tile Doctor Remove and Go.

NanoTech HBU uses nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate deep into difficult-to-reach areas of the stone and tackle ingrained dirt and staining. Remove and Go is specially designed to strip away paints and glues, as well as any old sealer on the tiles, combined together they produce a powerful tile cleaner.

Both products were applied across the tiled porch and left to dwell for 45 minutes. Next, I used a 17″ black scrubbing pad fitted to a buffing machine (on the main surface) and a 6″ pad fitted to a hand held buffing machine around the edges. This way I able to effectively get the products into the tiles and give them a deep clean. I repeated the process several times, rinsing with water in between and extracting the soil with a wet vacuum to ensure a deep and thorough clean.

Some stubborn paint and cement markings remained in places, and I resolved to spot clean these using more NanoTech HBU in combination with a handheld steamer.

Sealing Red Quarry Tiles

When I was happy with the cleaning results I rinsed and neutralised the floor with water. Given that it was only a small area of tiles I was able to dry them with a heat gun, leaving it ready to be sealed.

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which was the perfect fit for these deep red Quarry tiles. Colour Grow not only seals the tiles, it also intensifies the natural shades in the stone to enhance the overall appearance of the feature. I applied four coats of the sealer to ensure the tiles will be protected and easy to keep clean for the long term.

Quarry Tiled Porch After Restoration in Moreton-in-Marsh

Both myself and the customer was very pleased with the transformation of the porch floor.
 
 

Professional Quarry Tiled Porch Floor Restoration in Gloucestershire

Dark African Slate Tiles Rejuvenated in Mickleton

African Slate has a striking realism to it and its natural mix of light and dark shades is difficult to compare to anything else. This example of an African Slate tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a property in Mickleton, Gloucestershire, a town which is best known for its tradition of vegetable gardening.

African Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Mickleton

The floor was laid 15 years ago, but the owner had not maintained the sealer which would have protected the porous stone from dirt becoming ingrained. As a result, the floor was now in poor condition with the rich dark tones in the stone now dull, dirty and unremarkable. The owner had decided it was time to put it right so I was called in to make sure the tiles were restored to their original magnificence.

African Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Mickleton

Cleaning an African Slate Tiled Floor

My first job was to unclip the kickboards from the base of the kitchen units, and then also cover the units themselves with plastic to guard them against potential splashing from the cleaning process.

Next, to begin the process, I applied a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and three parts plain water. Pro Clean is a high alkaline cleaner which is so reliable when it comes to removing dirt that we use it on almost every job we do, from Slate and Quarry to Marble and Sandstone.

Once the product had been applied, I left it to soak into the stone for approximately fifteen minutes. Then, using my buffing machine fitted with a 17 inch black scrubbing pad, I scrubbed the solution into the stone to clean the floor, releasing the ingrained dirt and removing the stains in the process. All the subsequent cleaning slurry was vacuumed up with a wet vacuum and I rinsed the floor with plain water.

I repeated this process a couple of times to ensure the most thorough clean possible. Then once satisfied with the condition of the tiles, I turned my attention to the cleaning all the dirty grout lines, again using Pro-Clean. The main difference here was that I scrubbed the product in by hand using a special grout brush as opposed to using a buffing machine. The rinsing and vacuuming process was then carried out once again.

Sealing an African Slate Tiled Floor

Once the cleaning process had been completed, I covered the floor with dust sheets and left it to dry off overnight.

I returned to the property the next day to find the the floor dry and ready to be sealed. I proceeded to seal the tiles with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, leaving roughly 30 minutes between coats.

African Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Mickleton

Seal and Go is a robust sealer that works really well on floors like these and results in a durable low sheen finish that really emphasises the natural characteristics of the African Slate.

African Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Mickleton

The customer was absolutely delighted with the restored appearance of the floor. In fact, it reminded her of how it looked when it was first installed 15 years ago! A complete transformation in just two days.
 
 

Professional African Slate Tiled Floor Restoration in Gloucestershire

Victorian Hallway Tiles Restored Following Renovation Works in Gloucester

If you’ve even undertaken a property renovation, you’ll know that building works can take a very heavy toll on your floors if not properly protected. Not too long ago I was called to a house in Gloucester to see what could be done to restore the appearance of the tiles after the Victorian tiled hallway had been left in a sorry state following renovation work.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning and Repair in Gloucester

Upon arriving at the property, I also discovered that there was a row of tiles missing under one doorway. These would need to be replaced before any cleaning could take place. The renovation work had left very dirty and riddled with minerals salts and old grout smears.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning in Gloucester

If you have never been Gloucester it’s well worth a visit, dating back to the roman times it is in fact the country’s most inland port boasting some fantastic architecture include the historic docks and many period buildings.

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Floor

Fortunately, I was quickly able to source matching replacements for the missing tiles to not disturb the original character of the floor. I took it upon myself to install these, fixing them in place and then grouting them.

While the grout on the new tiles was drying, I began the cleaning process using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This is a high alkaline cleaner which we use reliably on most types of natural stone, including Victorian, Quarry, Slate, and Sandstone. The product was mixed with a small amount of water, and the solution was worked into the tiles using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy weight rotary machine. This dealt with most of the thick dirt and staining that had been left over by the builders.

The soiled cleaning solution was then rinsed away with water and extracted using a wet vacuum. After the first stage of cleaning, I washed the floor down with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acid in gel form designed to remove any mineral salts and old grout smears.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

Once the cleaning process had been completed, I left the floor to dry overnight. Typically, it’s good to give a tiled floor at least 24 hours to dry in order to ensure no moisture was left over, because even the slightest quantity of moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning and Repair in Gloucester

Once satisfied that the floor was completely dry I applied one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating sealer designed to enhance the natural colours in the stone. I then waited an hour this sealer to cure before applying four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which added the satin finish the customer had asked for.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning and Repair in Gloucester

The combination of sealers will provide the protection the floor needs and the customer will find it much easier to keep it clean in the future. The result was great and the customer was very happy indeed.
 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Renovation in Gloucester

Burnishing and Sealing Works Wonders for Limestone Tiles in Yate

Limestone is known on the international market for its premium toughness, durability and aesthetic characteristics. This can make it difficult to maintain however, especially if the stone has been polished and lustre on the stone has started to wear down which is inevitable with use.

The traditional method of getting a the shine back on polished stone is called honing which is expensive however at Tile Doctor we have worked out a much more affordable process called burnishing which utilises different grades of diamond encrusted pads to clean and then bring up the polish.

I recently undertook the restoration of a large area of Limestone tiles in the kitchen and lounge of a property in Yate, Gloucestershire. The floor as a while had become dull and dirty – and was long overdue some professional attention.

Limestone Tiled Lounge Floor Before Cleaning in Vale Gloucestershire

Burnishing a Limestone Tiled Floor

Before starting I removed the kick boards from the underneath the kitchen units so they wouldn’t get affected by the cleaning process. Once prepped I started the burnishing process which is a chemical free process that uses a small amount of water for lubrication and a quick rinse between the use of each pad. I started with the first of the four burnishing pads which is a coarse 400 grit pad that designed to grind away the dirt and old sealer on the surface of the floor.

After applying the first pad, I moved my way through the medium 800 and fine 1500 grit pads to gradually build up the shine. As the floor became cleaner it became apparent the grout lines were not in particularly good condition as well so I opted to clean these using a stiff grout brush and Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is specially formulated to remove old sealers whilst tackling dirt and stains.

After completing the clean and giving the floor a final rinse I extracted as much moisture from the floor as possible using a wet vacuum and left the tiles to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

Returning to the property next day, I tested to check tiles were dry and then proceeded to buff the tiles once over using the last of the four pads which is a 3,000 grit burnishing pad that finished off the polishing process.

Finally, I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal, which is an impregnating dealer designed to provide maximum stain production with a natural look finish. I buffed further in between each coat to ensure the best possible polish was achieved.

Limestone Tiled Lounge Floor After Cleaning in Vale Gloucestershire
This was a tricky floor to photograph due to the sunlight streaming through the windows on both days but hopefully you can appreciate the difference as much as the customer can.

Professional Limestone Floor Polishing and Sealing in Gloucestershire