Restoring a Salt Satined Quarry Tiled Floor in Gamlingay

This quarry tiled floor in the village of Gamlingay had been subject to efflorescence salt staining over many years. This problem typically occurs in older houses where the floor has been laid without a damp-proof membrane allowing moisture to rise through the tile bringing with it salts from the sub floor. Gamlingay is located in South Cambridgeshire, near the border with Bedfordshire, is an ancient village which features in the Domesday Book. Not surprisingly a lot of the property here is quite old and includes sixty listed buildings.

Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning

Before the current owner moved in the property had been left dormant and empty with no heating which hadn’t helped the condition of the floor amongst other things. The white efflorescent salt staining was now very evident on the Quarry tiles and had caused a lot of damage to the surface of the floor. I discussed with the client how we could help and carried out a test clean. They were happy with the result and we agreed our quote to renovate the floor. We arranged to return later in the month.

Renovating a Salt Damaged Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor

The cleaning began with the application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was sprayed onto the tile and left to soak in for about ten minutes. The tiles were then scrubbed with a very coarse 200-grit diamond pad fitted to a rotary machine. The soil was then extracted using our van mounted hot water extraction system which makes light work of rinsing the floor and keeps the mess to a minimum. The combination of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and the coarse pad cleaned and resurfaced the tile improving the appearance of the floor and once the soil was removed you could really see the transformation.

We finished the cleaning process by giving the whole floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. The acid dissolves the alkaline salt still present in the floor and removes any grout haze still present on the tile. Once this had been scrubbed in it was rinse off and extracted using the hot water extraction system as before. The floor was then left to dry out which due to the lack of damp-proof membrane was expected to lake longer than usual, so we decided to leave the floor a few days.

Sealing an Old Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor

We returned on a nice sunny day and first tested the floor with our damp-proof meter. This just tests the moisture levels in the floor to check they are to an acceptable level. If the floor is not dry the seal will not cure properly, and the process would be a waste. In this case the readings were fine, and I was happy the floor was dry enough to be sealed.

The client had requested the floor have a low sheen appearance and they didn’t want it to look too shiny. Given the floors history with Efflorescence however I needed to choose a sealer that would give the desired appearance but was also breathable to allow for moisture to rise through the tile. Trapping moisture under the tile with a non-breathable sealer can result in moisture spreading to the walls leading to rising damp.

On this occasion I opted to go with the application of Seal and Go extra which is breathable and leaves a subtle sheen appearance. The acid wash we gave the tiles should neutralise the alkaline salts and now the house was occupied the damp issues which had led to them occurring in the first place are less likely. I applied six coats of sealer, allowing each one to dry before applying the next.

Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning

As you can see from the pictures, the work made a dramatic difference to the floor and my client was delighted with the transformation.

Salt Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning
 

Professional Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Hallway in Cambridgeshire

Polishing Marble Tiles in an Opulent Cambourne Bathroom

We were asked to visit a property in Cambourne to look at restoring the appearance of the stone in an opulent marble tiled bathroom. Cambourne is a new area of Cambridge which has been developed over recent years with the creation of many new homes. The gorgeous bathroom design and layout of this home was was a key feature of the property.

The owner had employed a general cleaner to give their house a spring clean. Unfortunately, they had used inappropriate products whilst under taking the clean of the marble tiles in the bathroom which ruined its appearance. This is an easy mistake to make, people are often unaware that polished stone such as this should only be treated with specialist products. Many household cleaning products are too strong to be used on natural stone and can cause damage, so always read the label.

Marble Bathroom Tile Surround Cambourne Before Restoration

As you can see from the pictures, the products the cleaner used etched the surface of the marble ruining the polished appearance and they were at a loss to restore it.

Marble Bathroom Tiled Floor Cambourne Before Restoration

Restoring Polish to a Marble Tiled Bathroom

I wasn’t surprised to find that they couldn’t restore the polished appearance of the Marble, as a hard stone needs to be burnished to build up a polish. I suspected that the product the cleaner used on the stone much of been acid based as only an acidic product would have had this effect on the stone.

To restore the polished appearance of the Marble I used a set of six-inch diamond encrusted burnishing pads which come in 400, 800, 1500 and 3000 grit and are applied to the stone with a hand-held buffer. Starting with the coarse 400-grit pad I worked up through the series of pads gradually building up the polish; water was used to lubricate the polishing process and I rinsed the tiles in between with more water to remove the soil generated and used a wet vacuum to remove the resultant soil.

Normally I use this process to burnish stone floor tiles using much larger pads fitted to a floor buffer but within the restricted space of a bathroom this isn’t practical and so it did take some time to polish all the Marble tiles.

Sealing a Marble Tiled Bathroom

Once the stone had dried, we applied a couple coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying impregnating sealer that will provide durable protection going forward making it very easy to clean. One litre covers approximately 15m² to 20 m² (150 to 210 sq. ft.) so a small amount goes a long way.

Marble Bathroom Tiled Floor Cambourne After Restoration

Once complete the natural features of the marble really stood out and the bathroom looked stunning, certainly our client was over the moon with the results and much relieved the damage caused by the cleaner was resolved.

Marble Bathroom Tile Surround Cambourne After Restoration

To avoid further issues during cleaning we recommended the client use Tile Doctor Stone Soap going forward. This product has been specially formulated for the regular cleaning of polished stone, it helps build patina and will keep it fresh.

The client was so satisfied with our work they asked us back to complete a deep clean of the patio.

 

Professional Restoration of a Marble Tiled Bathroom 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