Polishing Dull Limestone Floor Tiles to a High Shine in Boxworth

Boxworth is a very small village situated to the north-west of Cambridge. In the Middle Ages, it had a significant population, but in the modern day there are only around 100 houses in the area including one belonging to my customer.

I was there to take a look at a large installation of Polished Limestone floor tiles which had been laid throughout the ground floor including the Kitchen, Dining, Utility room and hallway.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen Before Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Dining Room Before Polishing Boxworth

Many people will already know that Limestone is a premium, yet somewhat sensitive natural stone. It’s also porous, meaning that dirt can easily become ingrained if the tiles are not sealed properly, or if the sealant has worn away. This leads eventually to a very unappealing, dirty, and dull appearance which often happens so slowly it hardly get’s noticed until one day you think, “I’m sure my floor looked better than that before!”.

Limestone Tiled Hallway Before Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Utility Before Polishing Boxworth

In this case the sealer had degraded over time and my customer had called me in because she was now no longer happy with the appearance of the tiles. The lustre the tiles once had eventually disappeared and there was also damage in some areas caused by the placement of table and chair legs. I was asked to restore a high-quality polished finish to the tiles.

Cleaning and Burnishing Limestone Tiles

Before beginning the restoration, I took the necessary precaution of covering the walls and kitchen units to protect them from exposure to any cleaning products or mess.

To begin, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a high-performance stripping agent, to break down any old sealant remaining of the tiles. This product can also be used to clean the stone itself, as well as the grout lines.

After completing the initial cleaning process, I moved on to restoring the polish to the tiles. At Tile Doctor, we do this using a system we have developed called Burnishing. This system involves the application of Diamond encrusted pads – each possessing a different level of grit – to grind away the dirt from the stone, which is often stained or damaged. The process effectively resurfaces the stone leaving it looking new and fresh.

Firstly, I applied the Coarse 400 grit pad, fitted to a rotary machine, to grind away any excess muck and sealant lubricated with a little water. The resultant slurry was rinsed away and I followed up with the application of the Medium 800 grit pad to start the restoration of the polish again with a small amount of water, followed by the Fine 1500 grit pad for the second polish.

Finally, I applied the Very Fine 3000 grit pad to achieve the most refined and highest quality polish possible. The process of burnishing is a gradual but highly effective means of achieving this kind of finish.

Any slurry that was created through this process was removed using my truck-mounted hot water cleaning and extraction machine, resulting in minimum mess.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

After burnishing the tiles and to achieve a really hard wearing and high polish I covered the floor in Tile Doctor Shine Powder crystals and buffed them into the Limestone tiles using a White buffing pad. Then to give the floor extra protection I applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which impregnates the pores of the stone to prevent ingrained dirt.

Colour Grow also intensifies the natural colours in the Limestone, thus improving the appearance of the stone to an even greater extent. Following the application of Colour Grow, I gave the tiles a final light buffing with a soft red pad.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen After Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Utility After Polishing Boxworth

The customer was extremely happy with the outcome, remarking that the work was carried “quickly and efficiently with no fuss.” I took lots of photographs of the process, so you can really appreciate the difference that was made.

Limestone Tiled Hallway After Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Dining Room After Polishing Boxworth

 
 

Professional Polishing of a Dull Limestone Tiled Floor in Cambridgeshire

Renovating an Original Edwardian Tiled Hallway to Peak Condition in Chippenham

Edwardian-style tiled floors are very much of a likeness with Victorian-style tiled floors, both typically being made of encaustic cement and styled in painted in geometric patterns. The main difference, of course, is that Edwardian tiles are a main feature of Edwardian-era houses (1901-1910), while Victorian tiles are found in slightly older properties.

As with many Victorian tiled floors, we’ve found that Edwardian tiled floors have commonly been hidden away for many years under carpet or some other form of covering. These hallway Edwardian tiles, at a property in Chippenham, had been covered by carpet for 30 years. Upon removing the carpet, we could see why – the hallway was covered in paint splashes, decades’ worth of dirt and, of course, adhesive stains from the underlay.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Covered in Carpet and Before Restoration in Chippenham Edwardian Tiled Hallway Covered in Carpet and Before Restoration in Chippenham

My task was to restore the hallway floor back to its peak condition, when it was first installed over a century ago.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway UnCovered Before Restoration in Chippenham Edwardian Tiled Hallway UnCovered Before Restoration in Chippenham

Cleaning an Original Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first step of the restoration was to ensure the walls surrounding the hallway were protected. I did this by applying a protective film around the edges of the room. Next, I removed all the old carpet grippers and adhesive deposits manually using a handheld scraper.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Prepared for Restoration in Chippenham

Tile Doctor Remove and Go was then applied to the floor to strip away any old sealant, which certainly by now was no longer effectual. This product also helped to break down the paint stains on the surface of the floor, though I also used a handheld scraper, as well as a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, to speed up the process of removing both the sealant and the paint.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway During Restoration in Chippenham

To complete the cleaning process, I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in a gel form, formulated to remove grout haze (grout smears) and treat efflorescence which is the formation of white salts on the surface of the tile.

Sealing an Original Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

I left the floor to dry completely overnight after installing air movers to assist with the process. These older properties do not typically have damp-proof membrane installed, which makes damp issues a real possibility. Upon returning to the property the following day, I ran some damp tests, and thankfully the tiles proved dry and ready to be resealed.

To do this, I used one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a penetrating sealer designed for maximum stain protection. I then also added four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to provide the customer with the low-sheen, highly quality finish he desired.

He was so impressed with the outcome that he left the following glowing review on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Tile Doctor did an excellent job, starting from a very dirty and paint covered surface. The hallway floor now looks fantastic, just like it was a century ago. I’m pleased to recommend Cambridge Tile Doctor.”

Edwardian Tiled Hallway After Sealing in Chippenham

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Carpet Covered Original Edwardian Tiled Hallway in Cambridgeshire

Dirty and Stained Marble Kitchen Tiles Rejuvenated in St Neots

St Neots is the largest town in Cambridgeshire, with a population of approximately 40,000 (Cambridge is after all a city). This is unsurprising, since the town has a long and rich history. In fact, archaeological evidence indicates that the area was home to settlements as early as the prehistoric Mesolithic period.

I was recently called out to a property in the area – which itself was relatively old – to see what could be done to restore the condition and appearance of a Marble tiled kitchen floor, stylised in a small and uniform square pattern. It appeared to me that the tiles had been installed for a long time – perhaps even laid down in the original construction of the property – and, in any case, had suffered many years’ worth of neglect.

The result? A very dirty and unappealing appearance and a very unhappy owner.

Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning St Neots Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning St Neots

Cleaning a Dirty Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor

Before beginning the restoration of the floor, I covered up the walls and kitchen units to protect from exposure to any of the cleaning products I would be using. I then started by cleaning the floor with Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a multi-purpose product. Remove and Go both cleans the stone and strips away any old sealer.

However, there were several areas of the floor which were affected by more deeply ingrained dirt and stains. To remove these, I needed to use a process which we call burnishing. This involves the application of diamond encrusted burnishing pads to grind away the damage layer of stone. I then used a truck-mounted pressure washing system to rinse the floor and remove all the excess slurry and chemicals.

Sealing a Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor

While burnishing can be used to achieve a high quality polished finish on stone such as Marble, Limestone and Travertine, the customer decided instead to have a more natural look for the floor.

Therefore, to seal the freshly cleaned Marble tiles, I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating sealer that offers maximum protection and a matte finish that matches nicely with the rustic characteristics of the floor. As an impregnating sealer, Colour Grow penetrate deep into the pores of the stone to fill them and prevent dirt from becoming ingrained in the future.

Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning St Neots Marble Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning St Neots

The customer was amazed by the difference made to the condition and appearance of the floor, so much so that he has queried about getting more areas of the property cleaned in the future. Another satisfied customer.
 
 

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for a Dirty and Stained Marble Kitchen Tiled Floor Restoration in St Neots

Full restoration of a Lino Covered Quarry Tiled Kitchen floor in Cambridge

This job was for a lovely old lady in Cambridge, her kitchen floor had been covered with a wood effect Lino thirty years earlier and she felt it was time to have it removed and have the original Kitchen Quarry tiles underneath restored.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Covered with Lino Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Covered with Lino Cambridge

The lino was good quality having stood the test of time however to ensure the lino didn’t sink into the grout lines the whole floor had been levelled with some sort of screed which would need to be carefully removed.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor with Lino Removed Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor with Lino Removed Cambridge

Removing the Linoleum covering and cleaning the floor

My first task was to carefully scrape off as much of the linoleum covering as possible without damaging the floor beneath. I managed toe remove most of the screed by lightly chipping away with a chisel and hammer followed by a blade to scrape as much screed as possible off the tile and grout.

To deal with the remaining screed I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is an acidic product and needs to be applied with care. It was scrubbed in using a rotary machine running on slow speed and fitted with a black scrubbing pad. To remove the soil I used our truck mounted hot water extraction machine which applies hot water under pressure with a special lance that simultaneously extracts the waste back to a tank on the van.

The last stage of cleaning was to apply a coat of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to remove any previous sealer that may still be present on the tile. As well as using the scrubbing machine I also used a stiff brush along the grout lines as well. Final step was another rinse with the truck mounted extraction machine before leaving the floor to dry off fully overnight.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Cambridge

Sealing Kitchen Quarry Tiles

When I returned to the property I used a damp meter to test the floor, making sure that the surface was dry enough to commence sealing (as any excess solution can affect the performance of the sealer). My sealer of choice was Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra, a topical sealer which works well on Quarry tiles restoring appearance and providing a nice finish along with durable protection. This particular sealer is also suitable for floors where damp maybe an issue and with an old floor like this installed before the invention of Damp Proof Membranes choosing the right sealer is very important to avoid issues with efflorescence.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Cambridge

The floor was completely transformed and the client was extremely happy with the out come and even left the following lengthy testimonial on the Tile Doctor Feedback system which is always appreciated.

“Tom did excellent work on quite a tricky job. Our kitchen tiles are over sixty years old. Tom took up and disposed of our old kitchen Lino, removed the layers of concrete screed, then buffed, glossed and sealed the original tiles until they shone like new! The natural salts worked their way to the surface of the tiles just like Tom said would happen, and a fortnight later Tom returned to re-surface and re-gloss the tiles. The floor now looks great. Tom was very professional throughout and the work was no easy job to accomplish, so he has done a great job. We are very pleased with our kitchen floor, which now has a new lease of life. I would recommend the Tile Doctor if you need a floor restored at any time.
Miss Webber, Cambridge 02 August 2017”
 
 

Restoring a Quarry Tiled Floor Hidden under Vinyl in Cambridge

Lustre Restored to Large Area of Travertine Tiles in Cambridge

Travertine is a type of Limestone which exists in several variations, including white, tan, and cream-colored. It has distinct colourings and patterns that no other stone can offer and as such it is a very popular choice for tiled floors amongst home owners.

However, Travertine tiles are not the easiest to keep looking at their best. A high-quality polished finish can be difficult to maintain, especially as sealers wear away and all manner of dirt becomes ingrained in the pores of the stone.

The pictures below were taken at a house in Cambridge where the owner had this exact same problem and requested my help to get them looking their best again. The Travertine tiles had been installed across most of the entire ground floor of the house, including the kitchen, dining room, living room, office and utility room.

The owner was not happy with the current appearance of the floor because the shine and reflectivity that had once existed had gradually worn away. The floor was also littered with many pitted holes (caused by natural erosion) and a few cracks which would need to be filled.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cambridge Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cambridge

Cleaning and Burnishing Travertine Tiles

My first step in restoring the tiles was to remove the kick boards from around the kitchen and utility room, before masking up all walls and wooden units with protective décor film. This was done to prevent these areas from encountering any cleaning product.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cambridge

Next, I began the cleaning process by applying Tile Doctor Pro Clean across the entire area and worked it into the stone using a scrubbing brush fitted to my rotary machine. This high alkaline cleaner broke down any old sealer while also relieving the stone and grout lines of any ingrained dirt.

After the initial clean, I used the Tile Doctor system of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads on the tiles. Burnishing is a form of polishing that involves gradually honing the surface of the stone, first by applying a Coarse grit pad, followed by a Medium, Fine, and finally a Very Fine grit pad to achieve a high quality polished finish. The system uses a little water for lubrication and the floor is rinsed between each pad to remove the soil so it can take some time to complete especially on a floor this size.

Once I was done I filled in the pitted holes and cracks with an appropriate resin filler before applying the Very Fine pad.

Travertine Floor Tile After Crack Repair Cambridge

Sealing Travertine Tiles

To finish the restoration, the tiles needed to be sealed. I did this firstly by applying Tile Doctor Shine Powder, which is natural sealer in a crystallising powder form. I applied it using a white pad and polished the tiles to provide the very high shine and tough durable finish the client had requested.

Following this I applied one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal, which is an impregnating sealer, to add further protection. To add the finishing touches, I quick buffed the floor with Tile Doctor Stone Patina Spray, a cleaner that is designed to enhance the natural beauty and lustre of polished stone as it cleans. Regular use of this product helps to maintain the polished effect.

Travertine Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cambridge Travertine Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cambridge

The customer absolutely loved her new floor. She even remarked that it looked as good as new and better than ever before.
 
 

Professional Tile Burnishing, Cleaning and Sealing for a Dirty Travertine Tiled Floor Restoration in Cambridge

Stained Terracotta Conservatory Tiles Rejuvenated in Isleham

Isleham is a small village in the Fens area of Cambridgeshire which, as the name suggests, is a natural marshland. The town itself is home to just over 2,000 people and some very nice properties.

I recently visited a customer in the town who contacted me after finding our website because her Terracotta tiled conservatory and utility room had become worn and stained due to leakages from plant pots and other various spillages. Terracotta is a highly porous stone and so has a strong propensity to absorb stains, and dirt can easily become ingrained. This problem is easily exacerbated when the sealer has worn away and can no longer adequately protect the stone.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

These tiles were now due for deep clean and reseal, and I was more than happy to oblige.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

Cleaning a Stained Terracotta Tiled Floor

My first action, before beginning the restoration, was to tape up all the walls and wood features around the conservatory and utility areas with our décor protection film, to protect them from getting damaged.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

Then, to begin, I applied Tile Doctor Pro Clean – which is our high alkaline cleaner – across the floor to strip away the old sealer and to provide an initial clean. The product was left to dwell for 10-20 minutes before being worked into the pores of the stone using a firm scrubbing brush fitted to a rotary machine.

Next, I removed any deep staining using Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, a potent cleaner which contains nano-sized particles to penetrate the pores of the Terracotta to dissolve and lift out the embedded stains. I also used this product to remove the very stubborn salt deposits in the utility room – although it took three to four attempts.

To complete the cleaning process, I gave the grout a light clean using Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner designed to remove grout haze and any deep staining in the grout. The floor was then dried down with cloths and air-movers, and left over the weekend to make sure any excess moisture had evaporated.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Upon returning to the property at the beginning of the week, I sealed the floor firstly using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, followed by five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra.
Ultra-Seal is a penetrating sealer which fills the pores of the stone to protect against staining and ingrained dirt. It is also fully breathable and allows for moisture vapour transmission. Seal and Go Extra provides further protection and a durable and aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish to really improve the overall look of the floor.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

The customer absolutely loved her newly restored Terracotta tiles and was amazed by the transformation. I’m sure she is looking forward to spending time in her conservatory over the course of the summer months.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Stained Terracotta Tiled Conservatory and Utility Room in Cambridgeshire

Dirty and Stained Slate Tiles Refreshed Near Duxford

This wonderful Slate tiled floor at a property near the old village of Duxford had been installed throughout the ground floor kitchen, utility room, dining room, and downstairs toilet, making it a very large area. As such, the property owner had struggled to keep the tile and grout looking it’s best and had tried many off the shelf supermarket-quality products without much success and you can see from the photographs the slate was now looking tired and the grout was quite stained and so we were called in to work our magic

Slate Floor Duxford Before Cleaning

While Slate is typically known for its durability, any kind of porous stone will over time become dirty and stained if the sealer is not maintained, sealers do fail eventually and usually in the highest traffic areas first where they become worn down the most.

Slate Floor Duxford Before Cleaning

Cleaning Dirty Slate Tile

Before starting the cleaning process, we protected the walls and skirting boards from coming into contact with products by covering them with plastic. I also opted to remove the kickboards from around the edges of the kitchen units, kickboards are usually just clipped into place and are easily put back later.

Slate Floor Duxford Before Cleaning Adding Protection

I then applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor, which is a multi-purpose stripper/cleaner designed to strip away old sealers and remove grout haze, adhesives and paints. It also draws out ingrained stains. The entire floor was blanketed in a thin plastic sheet to give the chemical time to emulsify the old sealers without drying out.

Slate Floor Duxford With Plastic Blanket

Next, I used our high-pressure extraction system to remove all the emulsified sealers. The system works by applying hot water under high pressure to the floor deep cleaning the tile, whilst simultaneously extracting the dirty water back to a tank on our van. This process did a great job of getting the floor clean and free of old sealers etc., and after completing the initial clean a thorough walk through of the floor was done to identify any stubborn areas that needed further treatment.

Slate Floor Duxford During Pressure Cleaning

Finally, the floor was left to dry overnight.

Sealing Slate Tiles

Upon arriving back at the property, the next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry and ready to be sealed. Once satisfied, I applied several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which works really well on Slate giving it that much needed protection against dirt and stains, along with a full lustre finish that enhances the character of the floor, it was a large area and you have to wait for the first coat to dry before applying the next so it took some time to complete as I’m sure you can imagine.

Slate Floor Duxford After Cleaning and Sealing

You should be able to see the floor was quite transformed after our visit and needless to say the customer was very happy with the result.

Slate Floor Duxford After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 

Refurbishing a tired Slate Tiled Floor in Cambridgeshire

Dull Terracotta Tiles Restored in Great Gransden

Due to its naturally high porosity, Terracotta is more susceptible to ingrained dirt than other types of stone tile. Typically, this downside is simple to offset with professional maintenance, including deep cleaning with suitable products and maintaining the sealer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

Unfortunately, this Terracotta tiled floor at a property in Great Gransden (famous for being home to England’s oldest remaining windmill), had not been treated to professional maintenance for at least a decade. As you can imagine, the extremely outdated sealer had gradually broken down in most areas of the floor, leaving the tiles exposed to dirt and grime. I was asked by the property owner to restore the floor back to its original condition, and was more than happy to oblige!

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

The first step in the restoration was to strip the floor of the very old sealer by applying Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which both breaks down old sealers and removes light to medium soil buildup. After allowing the product twenty minutes to dwell, I went over the floor with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine to ensure all of the old sealer was removed, mopping and rinsing the floor several times during the process.

Following this, I used a steamer in combination with Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU – a cleaner that uses nano-sized particles to penetrate and dissolve tough stains – to tidy up some of the more stubborn areas of muck. Finally, I gave the entire floor, including the grout lines, an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up to remove inherent grout haze etc.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Once the cleaning process was complete, I left the floor to dry completely for 24 hours. This is the typical drying time for most natural stone floors, although the process will be sped up if there is a damp proof membrane or underfloor heating installed.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

Upon my return to the property the next day I ran some damp tests to check for excess moisture, as this can cloud the sealer. Thankfully the floor was dry and I was able to start sealing the Terracotta starting with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile enhancing the natural colours and adding protection from within. One this was dry I continued the process by applying four further coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to achieve the desired sheen finish.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Great Gransden

I made sure to give my very happy customer some advice on cleaning before departing the property as sealers do wear down over time so it’s important to maximise their longevity by using a pH neutral cleaning product for everyday cleaning.
 
 

Tile Cleaning and Sealing of a Dirty Terracotta Tiled a Floor in Cambridgeshire

Travertine Tiled Floor Stripped and Polished in Great Wilbraham

If you want a polished stone floor to keep its appearance, then it will need a regular maintenance plan in place, without it the stone will lose its polish and start to look dull and un-inviting which was the story with this Travertine tiled floor installed throughout much of the grout floor of this house in the village of Great Wilbraham near Cambridge.

Travertine floor before polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

I was able to find out from the owner that the floor was last treated six years ago with Lithofin Stain Stop which is a solvent based impregnating sealer which like all sealers will wear off after a few years. Naturally this depends on the amount of wear the floor receives and what tends to happen is this process occurs more rapidly in the high traffic areas leading to an uneven appearance.

Travertine floor before polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

The best course of action now would be to remove what was left of the sealer and re-polish and seal the floor.

Filling Holes in Travertine

During my inspection of the floor I had noticed a number of irregular holes in one of the Travertine tiles which needed filling with a colour matching filler; this worked out quite well and as you can see from the photographs below the result looked entirely natural.

Travertine floor before filling in Great Wilbraham Cambridge Travertine floor after filling in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

Stripping the Sealer from Travertine Floor Tiles

After protecting the clients skirting boards with protective film we proceeded to burnish the floor through with a set of Tile Doctor Diamond encrusted honing pads.

Travertine floor before polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

During the application of the first coarse pad we also added a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean combined with NanoTech Ultra-Clean to aid the removal of sealer residues from the pores of the Travertine. The floor was then rinsed and the soiled solution extracted using a wet vacuum.

Travertine floor during polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

With the sealer remove we were now able to concentrate on building up the polish on the stone by applying the remaining pads from Medium, Fine through to Very Fine, each lubricated with a little water and ensuring to rinse in-between the application of each pad.

Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles

With the floor now clean and the polish restored the last step was to protect it so it would keep its appearance for as long as possible. There are a number of solutions for this but for a long durable shine I opted to work Tile Doctor Shine Powder into the Travertine.

The powder is applied liberally to the floor and then ground in using a slow speed floor rotary machine fitted with a white or tan buffing pad lubricated with water.

Travertine floor during polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

The shine on the floor has now been restored and the client has a
beautiful and durable finish to their Travertine tiles.

Travertine floor after polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge Travertine floor after polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

 
 

Large Travertine Floor Cleaned, Polished and Sealed in Cambridgeshire

Large Slate tiled floor Cleaned and Sealed in Hemingford Grey

This is a 25m2 Slate tiled floor installed in a grade 2 listed coach house in the village of Hemingford Grey on the banks of the river Ouse. It was originally called the six bells and the original coach house sign is still hanging from its original ironwork in the entrance lobby. The slate floor was laid through the kitchen and hallway in 2000 and since then it had just been mopped and extra coats of polishes/waxes had been applied leading to a build-up.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey Before Cleaning

Cleaning the Slate Tiled Floor

Before starting work I protected the kitchen units and Aga cooker in plastic film to protect against splashing and mopped onto the tiles a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a coatings remover. Remove and Go I should mention is not only an effective cleaning product but as its name suggests is ideal for removing sealers from floors.

To get the floor completely clean you need to strip it back to bare tile and because of the layers of sealer we let the Remove and Go soak into the Slate tile for some time before being worked in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Then rather than wash the product away we blanketed the floor in a polythene sheet and left for two hours.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey During Cleaning

The polythene sheet prevents the floor from drying out and allows the chemical process of breaking down the layers of sealant to take place. After removing the sheet we scrubbed the floor again before removing the residue with our high powered internal pressure washing tool.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey After Cleaning

The floor was now bare and all the natural colours in the slate became far more evident. The tiles do need to be bone dry before sealing however so we left it to dry out for a day and left a number of special air blowers setup around the floor to assist with the drying.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey After Cleaning

Sealing the Slate Tiled Floor

When we returned the third day the floor was dry so we sealed it using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer (so no smell) that add good stain protection as well as adding a nice subtle sheen to the tile which really enhanced the colours in the slate.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey After Sealing Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey After Sealing

The customer was ecstatic with the result, so much so that before we left she gave us a thank you card in an envelope. On returning to our unit we opened the card and out dropped £50, well I was amazed, even though we explain all the processes to our clients and take the upmost care at their homes we really didn`t expect that level of generosity. This is how the card read:

“To Mick,
Thank you to you and Tom for your high quality in Service, Integrity and Value x Excellent craftsmanship. Much appreciated. So pleased with your work.
Kind regards. M. Evans

It was a pleasure to work for such a nice lady and we look forward to returning in the New Year to restore some more stone and terracotta flooring for her.
 
 

Cleaning and Sealing a large Slate tiled floor in Cambridgeshire

Limestone Tiled Floor Cleaned and Polished in Cambridge

These photographs are from a Limestone tiled floor installed at a residence in Cambridge. The tiles were in good condition but the shine on the Limestone had worn off leaving them looking dull and the owner wanted them re-polishing.

Polishing Limestone Tiles in Cambridge During Cleaning Polishing Limestone Tiles in Cambridge During Cleaning

Stripping and Polishing Limestone Floor Tiles

To restore the shine on polished stone we use a set of four diamond encrusted pads however before starting we gave the floor tiles a general clean with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mainly to clean-up the grout but also to remove any loose surface grit. The cleaning solution was rinsed away and removed with a wet vacuum before starting the burnishing process using a rotary scrubbing machine fitted with a coarse diamond encrusted burnishing pad and a little water. The coarse pad strips off dirt and old sealers from the tile and the resulting slurry is then removed using a wet vacuum.

The next pad after coarse is a medium grit which you apply in the same way followed by the fine pad again with a little water until the floor is polished. The final step to bring up the polish on the Limestone is to apply the last “Very Fine” pad which is fitted to the rotary machine and run over the floor tiles until they are buffed to a nice shine.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

Once the floor was dry we set about sealing it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer which is a penetrating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone filling them so dirt can’t penetrate below the surface. As well as offering excellent protection Colour Grow lifts the colours in the stone enhancing it’s natural beauty. Once sealing was complete and dry the Limestone tiles were given a final buff with a soft white pad.

Polishing Limestone Tiles in Cambridge After Cleaning Polishing Limestone Tiles in Cambridge After Cleaning

 
 

Large Format Limestone Tiles Cleaned, Polished and Sealed in Cambridge

Cleaning Quarry Tiles around an Indoor Residential Swimming Pool

Photographs below of a job we did cleaning and sealing the Quarry Tiles surrounding a residential indoor swimming pool floor tiles at a grand residence in Cambridge. As you can see from the photograph below the Quarry tiles and Grout was looking rather washed out and given their proximity to the pool extra care was needed to be ensure we didn’t contaminate the pool with dirty water from the cleaning process or chemicals, fortunately all our equipment is electrically isolated so that was not a problem.

Quarry Tiled Pool Surround Cambridge Before Cleaning Quarry Tiled Pool Surround Cambridge Before Cleaning

Swimming Pool Tile Cleaning

Fortunately the pool was fitted with a cover so we made a start cleaning the tiles using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed 50/50 with NanoTech Ultra Clean which add tiny abrasive particles into the cleaning solution making it more effective. Working in sections the solution was left to soak into the tile and grout before being worked into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad running at slow speed to reduce splashing. This process removed any remaining sealer and cleaned the tile and grout up nicely, we used clean water to rinse the floor and a wet vacuum to remove the soiled solution making sure not to drain any solutions into the pool and re-treating any stubborn areas. This process was fairly tedious and took up much of the day but the results were well worth the effort.

Quarry Tiled Pool Surround Cambridge After Cleaning Quarry Tiled Pool Surround Cambridge After Cleaning

Sealing Quarry Tiles around a Pool

The tiles were left to dry off overnight and we came back the next day to seal the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that fills up the pores in a tile to protect it from stains whilst enhancing its natural colours.

Quarry Tiled Pool Surround Cambridge During Sealing

The process worked well and you can see the difference in the photographs above however the tricky nature of the environment meant it took longer than usual to complete but the main thing was the customer was happy with the result.

Quarry Tiled Pool Surround Cambridge After Sealing Quarry Tiled Pool Surround Cambridge After Sealing

 
 

Quarry Tiled Pool Surround Cleaned and Sealed in Cambridge

Cleaning micro porous Porcelain tiles in Gamlingay

Most Porcelain tiles are non-porous making them an ideal floor covering especially in high traffic areas, the porcelain tiles fitted at this house in Gamlingay however featured small pits in the surface and over the years the pits had become engrained with dirt which proved difficult to clean. The porcelain tiles had been fitted throughout the ground floor and this was a reasonable sized house so it was going to take some time to clean.

Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay Before Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay Before

Cleaning Micro Porous Porcelain Tiles

To speed the job up we use a lot of machinery which can cause splashing so the first job was to protect all the walls with plastic sheeting and in the kitchen we removed the kick boards.

Working in sections the floor was wetted with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the tile for twenty minutes to help break down the dirt before it was agitated and worked into the tile using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad.

Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay During Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay During

The combination of Pro-Clean and scrubbing action loosened the ingrained dirt leaving a dirty cleaning solution; scrubbing pads can struggle to reach the grout so this was scrubbed by hand using a stiff brush. Stubborn areas were re-treated and once we were happy with that section of floor it was pressure cleaned using a special spinner tool which applies clean under pressure as well as simultaneously extracting liquids from the surface. This tool has the added advantage of neutralising the floor ensuring no trace of chemical is left behind that could upset a sealer. Cleaning took much of the day so by the time we finished it was getting quite late so we left allowing the floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing Micro Porous Porcelain Tiles

We came back the next day to seal the floor and after checking the tiles had indeed dried we proceeded to apply Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer designed to fill up the pores in the tile so contaminates cannot get it in, the other advantage of this particular sealer is it does not change the look of the tile.

Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay After Porcelain Tile Cleaning Gamlingay After

 
 

Porcelain Tile Cleaning in South Cambridge

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Harston

These photographs are from that lovely old period property in the village of Harston near Cambridge, you may recall an earlier post where I worked on the Victorian Tiled hallway. These photographs are from the Slate Tiled Kitchen floor which they asked me to clean and re-seal as well.

Harston Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning 1 Harston Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Closeup Kitchen 2

Cleaning the Slate Tiled Floor

The process for cleaning and sealing slate is very similar to Victorian and Quarry tiles so this was as they say a bread and butter job for a Tile Doctor. The beauty of working in a kitchen is I was able to remove the kick boards instead of having to protect the skirting boards with tape. Once the preparation was done a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied and left to soak into the Slate tile for a while before being worked in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean by the way is an alkaline cleaner so it’s safe to use on tile and stone unlike some acidic products which will cause damage over time.

Harston Slate Tiled Floor Cleaning 1 Harston Slate Tiled Floor Cleaning 2

As before I re-applied Pro-Clean on any stubborn stains and also gave the grout lines a good scrub with a stiff hand brush to make sure they were clean. Once happy with the general condition of the tile it was time to use the spinner tool which applies hot water under pressure effectively rinsing the floor whilst removing the water at the same time with suction. This does a great job of rinsing the floor and removing any trace of cleaning product before sealing, this is important to ensure a good finish when sealing.

Harston Slate Tiled Floor Rinse 1 Harston Slate Tiled Floor Rinse 2

Sealing the Slate Tiled Floor

The spinner tool does a good job of removing liquids from floors however the tile was still damp so it was left to dry assisted with air blowers until dry. Now normally I would use Tile Doctor Seal and Go to seal slate tile however the customer wanted a matt finish for this surface so it was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which provides a more natural look it’s also recommended for use in food preparation areas.

Harston Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning 1 Harston Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Closeup Kitchen 2

 
 

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate tiled kitchen floor in Harston, Cambridgeshire

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Harston

These photographs are from a lovely old period property in the village of Harston near Cambridge which had an original Victorian Tiled floor installed throughout the hallway and stairwell. Considering its age the tiles were in a very good condition but they were looking dull and overdue for a deep clean and re-seal.

Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Hallway View Before Cleaning 1 Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Before Cleaning 2

Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor

Working in sections the first step was to protect the beautiful skirting boards with clear plastic fixed with decorator’s masking tape. This was followed by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and letting it soak into the tile for about 20 minutes before being agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad.

Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Skirting Protection 3 Victorian Tiled Floor Scrubbing Harston 4

This did a good job of cleaning the floor however there were some stubborn stains that needed further attention so more Pro-Clean was applied and worked in with a stiff hand brush as a steamer was used to help lift the dirt out of the pores in the tile. Once we were happy with the floor the soiled cleaning fluid was removed from the floor using a spinner tool which applies hot water under pressure effectively rinsing the floor whilst removing the water at the same time with suction.

Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Steam Cleaning 5 Victorian Tiled Floor Spinning and Steaming Harston 6

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry assisted with air blowers before moving on to sealing with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a recommended sealer for Victorian floor tiles that provides on-going stain protection as well as adding a nice subtle shine to the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Harston After Cleaning and Sealing 7 Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Completed 8

The customer was really pleased with the results and even asked us back to do the slate tiles in the kitchen something I will no doubt write about in a later post.
 
 

Victorian Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Harston, Cambridgeshire

Sandstone Tiled Patio Cleaned in Cambridge

Just so you know we don’t just clean stone and tile floors we also do external patios as well and this particular job was at a property in Cambridge with a Sandstone patio. We have all the tools and products to clean most surfaces so cleaning patios and brick paved driveways isn’t a problem.

Sandstone Patio Before Cambridge 1 Sandstone Patio Before Cambridge 2

The process was quite straight forward and involved pre-soaking the driveway with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, it’s a versatile cleaner that equally effective on Patios as well as Tile, Grout and Stone; being an alkaline cleaner it has the added advantage that it doesn’t cause damage to the surface that typical acid cleaners can.

Sandstone Patio During Cleaning Cambridge 1 Sandstone Patio During Cleaning Cambridge 2

The Pro-Clean was left to dwell on the patio for a good hour before scrubbing it in with a stiff brush and following up with a high pressure professional jet washing machine which did a great job dislodging the grime that had built up on the surface over time. You can see from the photographs what a difference it made.

Sandstone Patio Kiln Sanding Cambridge

Pressure washing can dislodge the grout joints so once we were done cleaning the floor the gaps between the tiles was filled in kiln dried sand.

Sandstone Patio Completed Cambridge 1 Sandstone Patio Completed Cambridge 2

I think you will agree the patio looks good as new.
 
 

Sandstone Tile Restoration in Cambridge

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Cambridge

These photographs are from a Quarry Tile Cleaning job we did for a house owner in Cambridge, I’m afraid my photographs are not the best but I think you can see how the Quarry tiles were looking discoloured and worn.

Quarry Tiled Floor Cambridge Before

Cleaning Kitchen Quarry Tiles

Working in sections the floor was wetted with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean combined 50/50 with Nanotech UltraClean, these two products combine to make a powerful and effective cleaning solution that’s safe to use on tile and stone. The solution was left to soak into the tile for twenty minutes whilst we got our machinery ready.

It helps if you have the right tools for the job and in this case we fitted a scrubbing pad to a rotary buffing machine and working the cleaning solution into the floor to scrub away the ingrained dirt. The machine can struggle to get into the grout lines so these need to be scrubbed by hand using a stiff brush and more cleaning solution. Once the floor was clean the soiled solution was picked up using a wet and dry vacuum and then washed down with clean water to remove any trace of chemical. This revealed a few stubborn areas that needed further work so these were re-treated and the floor washed down again and then left to dry overnight.

Sealing Kitchen Quarry Tiles

We came back the next day to seal the floor and after checking the tiles had indeed dried we proceeded to apply Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer (no smell) that really brings out the shine and colour in Quarry tiles. Around five coats were sufficient and once it had dried the floor was transformed.

Quarry Tiled Floor Cambridge After

 
 

Quarry Tile Renovation in Cambridge