Renovating a Large Travertine Patio in Stonely

Earlier in the year I paid a visit to a property in the small and sleepy hamlet of Stonely on the outskirts of St Neots to survey a large Travertine patio which needed renovating. As you can see from the photos the patio was looking tired and needed some work.

Travertine Patio Before Cleaning Stonely

After an inspection I could see that the stone patio had three main problems:

  • First it needed a deep clean to remove a build-up of dirt and algae making them slippery.
  • Second there was areas of loose grout which had become dislodge over time and now needed raking out replacing.
  • Third some of the Travertine tiles had become loose over the years and needed lifting, cleaning up and relaying.

We always try and do a site visit where possible as photos don’t always give us the true picture and we always want to give the client an accurate quote as possible. The client was happy to go ahead with the remedial work and keen to have the Patio in full working order so they could make use of the space whilst the weather was good.

Travertine Patio Before Cleaning Stonely

Deep Cleaning and Repairing a Travertine Patio

My first task was to give the patio a deep clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the patio. After ten minutes it was scrubbed in with a medium 1500-grit burnishing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This action lifted the ingrained dirt out of the stone and cleaned up the surface.

Tile Doctor Remove and Go is a multi-purpose coatings remover formulated to remove old sealers and other coverings. This product also draws out ingrained stains and can remove heavy grease build-up, so it was perfect for this job. I then used a truck mounted hot water extraction machine to remove the dirt and slurry which is extracted to grey water tank on the van. It was a large patio, so the cleaning process took up most of day one.

I came back the following day to carry out the necessary repairs which consisted of filling in holes, cracks and raking out and replacing loose grout. In addition, one whole length of tiles on the step had to be removed, cleaned then relayed as all of them had become loose over the years. Once all repairs where complete I arranged to return the following day to complete the renovation with the application of a sealer.

Sealing a Travertine Patio

I returned on day three to seal the entire Travertine Patio, fortunately we had picked a good week to do the work and the weather remained dry. For the sealer I chose Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that is externally rated and should cope well with the UK weather. This gave the patio a lovely finish and will give the stone protection from staining and make it much easier to keep clean, in fact a rinse with a hose should do the job.

Travertine Patio After Cleaning Stonely

The client was very happy with the outcome and is now able to finally get the garden furniture out and start using the outside space without fear of slipping or tripping on the loose stone. I was even asked to come back again to clean and seal another stone patio at the rear of the garden, which I will now doubt follow up later with a separate article.

The client left the following Five Star feedback, for which we are always very grateful as so much of our work comes from recommendations.

“A very professional attitude, and a job well done and on time”

Travertine Patio After Cleaning Stonely

Professional Travertine Patio Maintenance in Cambridgeshire

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

Renovating an Acid Etched Limestone Tiled Shower in Huntingdon

I was recently asked to take a look at a Limestone tiled shower cubicle at a house in the market town of Huntingdon. It turns out a cleaning company had tried to clean the tiles with an acidic product which was unsuitable for a calcium stone. I suspect they used a limescale remover which is very acidic. The owner was horrified by the damage that had been caused which as you can see from the pictures had ruined the appearance of the stone.

Etched Limestone Tiled Shower Before Renovation Huntingdon Etched Limestone Tiled Shower Before Renovation Huntingdon

Always check the label before applying an unfamiliar product to natural stone as most household and commercial cleaning products are simply not suitable. It is essential that the correct product is used and if in doubt talk to Tile Doctor who have a product for everything related to maintaining stone.

I discussed with the client what needed to be done to rectify the job. They were happy with my quote and were relieved that their Limestone tiles could be salvaged.

Renovating Damaged Limestone Shower Tiles

With the extent of the damage, most of the work to rectify was to be done by hand. I started by applying a set of handheld diamond blocks to cut back the stone to remove the etching. This was then followed up with a set of small diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The pads are applied to the Limestone tiles in sequence using a handheld buffer with water for lubrication. The sequence runs from coarse to very fine and we rinsed with water between each pad to remove the soil.

With a lot of man hours and elbow grease later, we had corrected the damage caused.

Sealing Limestone Shower Tiles

Once the stone had dried, I moved onto sealing the Limestone to prevent dirt and other stains from shampoo dyes affecting the stone going forward. To do this I applied several coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal, this is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the stone leaving a natural look yet leaving a delicate sheen. As you can see from the pictures the results were dramatic and very successful.

Etched Limestone Tiled Shower After Renovation Huntingdon Etched Limestone Tiled Shower After Renovation Huntingdon

The client was impressed with the transformation I had managed to achieve and left the following feedback for me.

“Tom was punctual on both the day he quoted and on the day he arrived to undertake the work. He was also very mindful of our semi house cats and made sure he did not let them out. That sounds simple but of the many tradesmen we have had around in the last six months for restorative work on the house he was one of a couple that did not need constant reminding. The work he undertook was to rectify, as he put it, “some of the worst damage to tiles I have seen to date”! The tiles were limestone and had been badly marked by an acid based cleaner. By the end of five solid hours work he had got the tiles back to looking brand new with not a mark to be seen. He did so with no mess, a very cheerful disposition and several cups of coffee! I would not hesitate to recommend Tom to all my own clients and friends” Bob H, Huntingdon

 

Professional Renovation of Damaged Limestone Shower Tiles in Cambridgeshire

Terracotta Effect Porcelain Tile & Grout Deep Cleaned in Ely

We were called out to this property in Ely to carry out a deep clean on kitchen tiles that had the look of terracotta but were actually porcelain. The client had been cleaning the floor with household floor cleaner which really wasn’t working, and the grout had now turned black with ingrained dirt. If you have never been then Ely is well worth a visit, it’s a small but beautiful city on the West side of Cambridgeshire with a stunning ancient Cathedral which attracts visitors from outside the area.

Porcelain Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Ely Porcelain Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Ely

My client had dogs and with the kitchen tile and grout not having had a deep clean for several years it was now overdue a clean. We popped round to do a site visit to survey the floor and tested a small area with different products to see what would work best. The results looked good, and we agreed a price to carry the work and arranged a suitable time to complete the work.

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Effect Porcelain Tiles in Ely

We began by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the floor and then worked it in with a stiff brush fitted to a rotary floor machine. The brush was run over the tiles and especially the grout lines where the recessed grout can be tricky to reach. Pro-Clean is a heavy duty alkaline cleaner that safe to use on Tile and Grout and works best when left to dwell for a short time so it can digest and breakdown the dirt.

This cleaning solution soon turned black with the dirt that was released from the tile and grout, so the next task was to extract it from the floor. For this we have a special extraction machine that applies hot water under high pressure to the floor and then extracts the soil back to a recovery tank on the van. This machine keeps the mess made to the absolute minimum whilst ensuring a thorough result.

The combination of the two processes had a remarkable effect on the tile and the grout which by now was looking much cleaner and lighter.

Grout Sealing a Porcelain Tiled Kitchen Floor in Ely

If these tiles were Terracotta then I the next step would be seal them once dry, however being made from nonporous Porcelain they won’t accept a sealer. The grout however has a porous cementitious top layer which attracts dirt so to keep the grout looking its best I set about speed drying it with air movers so it could be sealed.

Once dry I sealed the grout using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that will soak into the pores of the grout and protect it from within. Any excess was removed afterwards from the surface with a red buffing pad fitted to a buffing machine.

Porcelain Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Ely Porcelain Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Ely

As you can see from the pictures the floor looked much cleaner and fresher and with the grout now properly sealed it should no longer attract the dirt.

My Client gave us a 5 Star review with this feedback which we are always very grateful for.

“The tiles look great at present. It remains to be seen if the sealer that was applied really does make them repel stains. Tony P, Ely”

 

Professional Restoration of a Porcelain Tiled Kitchen Floor in Cambridgeshire

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Repaired and Restored in Girton

The owner of this Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in the village of Girton was unhappy with its condition and asked if we could call round and quote for having it deep cleaned and resealed. Girton is just north of Cambridge and only about six miles from our base so it wasn’t long before I was able to call in and survey the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Girton

The floor was comprised of a combination of Red, Black and Cream tiles laid in a diamond pattern. The tiles were in good physical condition and I understand from the owner that it had been last cleaned and sealed about two years prior. Unfortunately, the sealer had now faded and had allowed dirt to become trapped in the pores of the tile giving it a grubby appearance that was difficult to clean effectively. The owner had two large dogs which I suspect contributed to the premature degradation of the sealer.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Girton Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Girton

I surveyed the floor, created a quote which was accepted and then agreed a date to return and renovate the floor.

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On my return I started by taping up the skirting boards and other woodwork with protective tape. Once that was done, I gave the tiles a soak in a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was allowed to dwell for ten minutes before being scrubbed in using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. Remove and Go is a coatings remover which cleans the tiles and removes any remaining sealer.

The soil generated was extracted off the floor using a wet vacuum and the tiles inspected. The tiles had responded well to the cleaning process and after spot treating a few areas with a repeat of the previous process it was ready for the next stage which was to give the floor an acid wash.

I had noticed there was a slight build-up of efflorescence along one of the walls which isn’t unusual on these old floors where no damp proof membrane has been installed under the floor. It’s caused by moisture rising through the tile and depositing white salt staining on the surface as it evaporates. To resolve this, we neutralise the salts by giving the floor a quick rinse in a dilution of Grout Clean-up.

The Grout Clean-Up rinsed off the floor with water and extracted with the wet vacuum which was employed to get the floor as dry as possible before leaving for the evening.

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles

The floor was left to dry off fully overnight and I returned the next day, unfortunately after checking the moisture levels I found it needed more drying time, so I agreed to come back the next day.

The moisture levels were fine on day three, so I applied multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is a water-based product so you don’t get left with a smell as it dries. As well as protecting the tiles the sealer also adds a nice subtle sheen that works well on Victorian Tiles and has put new life into the tiled hallway.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Girton Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Girton

Seal and Go is a breathable sealer so it will allow moisture to rise up through the tiles however had the efflorescence problem had been worse I would have used a different sealer. On this occasion however the problem appeared to be historical rather than recent.

My client was very happy with the transformation and left the following feedback.

“We are delighted with our Victorian tiled hall floor after treatment by Tom from Tile Doctor. A very professional service. Good communication throughout, and dedication to ensuring our full satisfaction; not a ways obvious when dealing with old tiles with different levels of porosity! Thank You!”

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Girton

 

Repair Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cambridgeshire

Large Limestone Floor Polished to a Deep Lustre in Boxworth

I was asked to visit a house in Boxworth Cambridge to survey a large Limestone tiled kitchen, dining room, utility and hallway. The customer was not happy with the finish of the tiles and wanted it to have more lustre. Additionally, the floor had suffered some damage in the dining room where the floor had been scratched by table and chair legs.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Boxworth Cambridge Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Boxworth Cambridge

Boxworth is a small village of around 100 houses, this property being one of the larger ones. The village lies around eight miles to the north west of Cambridge. I examined the floor and discussed with the client the process we would use. Although not looking their best, I could see that the Limestone tiles contained a variety of natural colour shades which with the right treatment could be made to really come to life. I presented a quote which they were happy to accept.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Boxworth Cambridge Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Boxworth Cambridge

Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Kitchen and Hallway Floor

My first job was the protect all the surrounding areas from splashing during the cleaning process. To do this I removed the kickboards from underneath some of the kitchen units, elsewhere was covered with a blue protective film.

To start the cleaning, I first applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor and then worked it in using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. I also scrubbed the grout by hand as the pads can struggle to reach into the recessed grout line. After rinsing the floor with water, the soiled solution was then extracted off the floor using a wet vacuum.

Limestone Tiled Floor During Polishing Boxworth Cambridge Limestone Tiled Floor During Polishing Boxworth Cambridge

I followed up this process with the application of a set of Diamond burnishing pads starting with the coarse 400-grit pad, then medium 800-grit pad, fine 1500-grit pad and finishing with the extra fine 3000-grit pad. The pads are fitted to a rotary floor buffer and are run over each tile using water for lubrication. All the slurry produced by the cleaning pads is removed away using our truck mounted hot water extraction machine to cause minimum mess to the client.

The floor was left to dry off overnight and I would return the next day to finish the polishing process.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen and Hallway Floor

On the following day, we checked the floor was completely dry and then using a white buffing pad ground Tile Doctor Shine Powder into the Limestone floor. The powder builds up a deep and durable polish on the tiles leaving a deep and resilient lustre.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Polishing Boxworth Cambridge Limestone Tiled Floor After Polishing Boxworth Cambridge

To further protect the stone and enhance the natural colours in the Limestone a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow impregnating sealer were applied followed by a light buff with a red pad. The sealant is an impregnator that seeps into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and intensifying the natural colours in the stone.

When finished the floor looked great. We had managed to remove the scratches from the dining area and the floor now had the lustre that the client had been hoping for.

The client was extremely happy with the outcome and gave the following feedback:

“Quoted very quickly, carried out the work quickly and efficiently with no fuss.”

Limestone Tiled Floor After Polishing Boxworth Cambridge Limestone Tiled Floor After Polishing Boxworth Cambridge

 

Professional Restoration of a Limestone Flooring in Cambridgeshire

Pitted Limestone Tiled Floor Deep Cleaned and Sealed in Warboys

The photographs below are from a Limestone tiled floor which had been installed throughout the kitchen, hall and downstairs WC of a property in the Cambridgeshire village of Warboys. The owner was fed up with the floor which was not cleaning up after multiple attempts, he surmised it was overdue a deep clean and re-seal and so got in touch with us to do the work.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning

We visited the property to survey the floor and could straight away that the owner was right to call us, the floor was definitely overdue a professional clean and he would not have been able to improve it without the right equipment. It was a large space and being the hallway and kitchen area, it was subject to a lot of foot traffic so was not looking its’ best. One of the biggest problems was the pitting in the Limestone which had trapped a lot of dirt which was difficult to shift. We discussed the options and the cost for the work which was agreeable to the client and arranged an appointment to return to carry out the renovation.

Deep Cleaning and restoring a Limestone Tiled Kitchen and Hallway Floor

Before starting I wrapped protective tape around the woodwork and removed the kickboards from underneath the kitchen units to protect them during the cleaning process.

Limestone and Travertine are notorious for pitting and on this floor the pits had trapped dirt making it look very unattractive. To deal with this I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, allowed it to soak in and break-down the dirt and old coatings such as sealers for ten minutes and then scrubbed it in with a 400-grit diamond burnishing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

To remove the slurry that was generated I used our hot water pressurised extraction system which is a great tool that operates from a large compressor situated in my van which was parked outside. It fires hot pressurised water onto the floor via a floor spinner tool and then extracts the dirty water back onto a tank in the van. The pressure allows the water to penetrate deep into the pits of the stone to maximise the dirt extracted. This machine was an expensive investment however it saves a lot of time and allows me to achieve some outstanding results.

This process was repeated across the floor using the 800-grit and then the 1500-grit diamond burnishing pads using only water to lubricate and the extraction system to extract the slurry afterwards.

There were number of areas to cover so it took most of the day to clean all the floors, by the end of the day however the floor looked much cleaner and brighter. I left the floor to dry out overnight and came back the next day to apply a sealer.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen and Hallway Floor

The next day I inspected the floor and checked it was dry before applying the sealer. To seal the Limestone I applied multiple coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer which penetrates into the stone, protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours in the stone in the process. Any excess sealant was buffed off the surface with a cloth after ten to fifteen minutes.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Sealing Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Sealing

The sealer really brought out beauty and colours in the natural stone and the floor was transformed in just two days. The owner of the house was happy with the results and left the following feedback on the tile doctor feedback system.

‘Tom did a superb job of cleaning my tiles to look like new. Very professional, methodical and proud of his work’
Brian A, Warboys

 

Professional Renovation of Pitted Limestone Floor Tiles in Cambridgeshire

Restoring a Victorian Terrazzo Tiled Hallway, Newmarket

The owner of an older property in Newmarket got in contact with us about restoring his Victorian Terrazzo Tiled Hallway. We like to do a site survey to ascertain the condition of the floor and give the client a fixed price for the works, so we organised a time to pop over and look at the floor.

Adhesive Covered Victorian Terrazzo Hallway Before Cleaning Newmarket Adhesive Covered Victorian Terrazzo Hallway Before Cleaning Newmarket

The floor had taken a battering over the years and was completely unrecognisable after being completely covered up with carpet that had been secured in place with a lot of adhesive. Removing the glue and restoring an old floor like this is a difficult task but something we are familiar with and we were confident it could be restored to a reasonable standard. We discussed with the client the process and agreed a price to carry out the restoration.

Cleaning and restoring a Victorian Terrazzo Tiled Hallway Floor

The first day consisted of adding protection to the wooden skirting and then carefully scraping off as much excess adhesive as possible. To remove the rest of the glue a thick coat of Tile Doctor Nano Tech HBU remover was applied. I had tried applying this product on the floor first, but it struggled to make any impact given the huge amount of adhesive that was present. Incidentally HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up which pretty much described the problem with the floor. I left the HBU to dwell for about fifteen minutes, scrubbed it in and then rinsed off the soil with water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

To finish the job, I then repeated the process with a coat of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was scrubbed it in to the floor to release the last bits of adhesive. Again, the floor was rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum. The floor was then inspected to ensure all the adhesive had been removed and stubborn areas were spot treated using a mixture of techniques until I was happy.

Removing the adhesive was hard work and took up the whole of the first day but was well worth the effort as the Terrazzo was now visible and the end goal was in sight. So, returning the next day we proceeded to build on the restoration by honing and polishing the Terrazzo with 100 through to 3000-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pads. They are applied in sequence i.e. 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500 and finally 3000 grit, using water to lubricate and then more rinsing and extracting between each pad.

With the glue was removed and the Terrazzo renovated a large crack was clearly visible across part of the hallway floor, whilst it’s not possible to repair this without taking up the floor I was able to improve its’ appearance by applying a matching filler to the cracks whilst the floor dried.

Sealing a Victorian Terrazzo Tiled Hallway Floor

The final stage was the application of an impregnating sealer. We selected to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing product that soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within. It had been some time since the Terrazzo had been sealed so it took more coats then usual to properly seal the floor.

Adhesive Covered Victorian Terrazzo Hallway After Cleaning Newmarket Adhesive Covered Victorian Terrazzo Hallway After Cleaning Newmarket

As you can see the floor looked a lot better once completed, the client was very happy with the final result and left the following feedback:-

”We knew that restoring our Victorian Terrazzo floor was going to be a very difficult job, so we were heartened when Tom was so positive about doing a good job and his quotation was very reasonable. He tackled the work very professionally, always turned up on time, explained exactly what he was doing and minimised our inconvenience. We are delighted with the finished job (at the quoted price!) and would have no hesitation in recommending Tom to anyone who needs a similar service.” Des B, Newmarket

Adhesive Covered Victorian Terrazzo Hallway After Cleaning Newmarket

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Terrazzo 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

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Repaired and Restored in Great Paxton

I was called out to a house in the Village of Great Paxton to quote for deep cleaning a sealing a Victorian tiled hallway floor, there was also a triangular cemented section at the bottom of the stairs that the owner wanted retiling to match.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Great Paxton Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning and Repair Great Paxton

Fortunately, the owner had discovered some spare tiles in the under-stair cupboard that would do the job; were not sure why this triangular section had been cemented in at some point in the past, but I was happy that the spare tiles would be enough to cover. My quote was accepted, and it wasn’t long before I was able to return to carry out the renovation.

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I started by taping up the skirting boars and other woodwork with protective tape. Once that was done I removed the triangular section of cement at the foot of the stairs. I noticed that the sub floor consisted of rubble and sand so once removed I was able to lay a section of a damp prof membrane and then back filled with self-levelling compound.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Cleaning and Repair Great Paxton

Once the levelling compound had dried I laid the tiles that the owner had found under the stairs continuing the black and red diamond pattern. I used a quick setting adhesive which enabled me to grout the tiles in before leaving for the day and leave it to set overnight.

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Day two was begun by inspecting the previous day’s work to make sure all was well with the tiling and then continuing the restoration of the floor. In general, the tiles were dirty and had white paint splashed from decorating and so were now looking dull and faded. To remove the ingrained dirt, I gave the tiles a soak in a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was scrubbed in using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. This process did a good job of removing the dirt and softened the paint splashes which I was then able to carefully scrape off.

After rinsing the floor with water and extracting the soil with a wet vacuum I could see the tiles were much cleaner but needed more work to get the replacement section to blend better with the existing. To resolve this, I honed the surface of the tiles with a 100-grit and then 200-grit pad rinsing with water and extracting after each pad.

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles

The floor was left to dry off fully overnight and I returned the next day to apply a sealer that would add colour and protect the tiles going forward. Multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied which a water-based product that adds a nice subtle sheen to the floor which works well on Victorian Tiles and put new life into the tiles.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Great Paxton Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning and Repair Great Paxton

My customer was very happy with the transformation and left the following feedback.

“We are very pleased with the restoration of our Victorian tiles in the hallway. We are also very pleased with the service and quality of the works carried out.”

 

Repair Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cambridgeshire

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

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