Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Thought Beyond Repair Rejuvenated in Cardiff

Many property owners who are lucky enough to have an original Victorian tiled floor in their homes face the same conundrum: can an old and potentially very damaged floor be salvaged and restored to peak condition or should I replace it?

Some people would instinctively tell you that the answer is no – even trained professionals! In fact, a leading tile restoration company (which shall remain unnamed) based in Cardiff told a recent customer of mine that her original Victorian tiled floor, dating back to 1905, was beyond repair. The company recommended that she not waste any money on having it restored and instead that she should have it ripped up and replaced.

Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cardiff Before Restoration

It was in a bad state, however replacing the floor would incur a significant cost and the original characteristics of the period floor would be lost. The customer was feeling rather deflated and was left undecided on what to do. Fortunately after browsing the web for a solution, she came across Tile Doctor and I was asked to pop over and take a look.

I visited the customer at her home and removed parts of her hallway carpet to get a better look at the Victorian tiles beneath. The floor was certainly in a very poor state, there were many old paint splash marks covering the tiles and the surface of the floor was deeply darkened after many years’ worth of wear and tear. In my opinion however, it was still salvageable, and the customer was happy to see what could be done.

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

A week before I was due to start the restoration, I asked the customer to remove the foam-backed carpet to let the floor breathe a bit.

Before beginning the work, I ran a few damp tests and the floor proved surprisingly dry considering how old it is and the very probable lack of a damp proof membrane. I started by manually scraping as much of the old paint staining off the stone as possible and cleared other debris from the surface.

Knowing that clay based Victorian tiles like these easily soak up paint splashes, I knew it would take a thorough clean to remove them completely. I firstly soaked the floor with water and left it to dry slightly before mixing a concoction of Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, and Tile Doctor Remove and Go.

NanoTech HBU is a particularly powerful cleaner which uses nano-sized particles to penetrate the pores of the stone, while Pro-Clean is an alkaline-based cleaner that tackles heavy soil build-up. Remove and Go is a multi-purpose product which both cleans and strips away any old sealer.

I left this mixture to dwell on the floor for around half an hour, scrubbed it in firstly using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and then a wire wool pad. I followed by rinsing the products off with water and extracted up the excess with a wet vacuum machine.

This technique was repeated until I was satisfied with the condition of the floor.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

After leaving the floor to dry off completely overnight, I returned to the property the next day to carry out the sealing process. I applied seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which not only adds a protective covering to the tile, but also enhances its appearance.

The customer was absolutely thrilled with the results of the restoration, especially considering that she was told the floor was ruined by a leading company and not worth saving.

Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cardiff After Restoration

I think you will agree that its always worth trying to restore a period floor and my customer deserves praise for sticking to their guns.
 
 

Professional Period Victorian Hallway Floor Restoration in South Wales

Specialist Repair of a Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway in Newport

Newport is the third largest city in Wales with a long history that goes back to the Roman times so un-surprisingly it has many period buildings and problematic tiled floors. I was recently asked by a Tile Doctor colleague of mine to assist him with the restoration of an original Victorian tiled hallway at a property in the city.

You will see from my website that I have a lot of experience in rebuilding Victorian tiled floors and on this occasion my colleague required me to perform some specialist tile repairs before he could carry out the business of cleaning and sealing the floor.

The property owner had previously asked a different company in to carry out the floor restoration but the tile repairs made were disastrous. The repair attempts were never going to be successful as this was a particularly difficult situation and required real specialism in dealing with Victorian tiles.

Victorian Hallway Tiles Before Repair in Newport

The previous company had used dry plaster to bed the tiles in the hope of being able to achieve some sort of flatness to dry cut the pieces in place. This had also been done without consideration for matching the colours of the tiles. You can see the result of this in the photo below.

Victorian Hallway Tiles During Removal Showing Plaster Base in Newport

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

The first stage of the repairs was to remove all the plaster powder and cut out the very damaged tiles as far back as possible, being very careful not to cause any further damage to the existing tiles. Next, I cemented the base level to the desired thickness and left it to dry out, before dry cutting all the tiles (150 x 150) I had sourced to colour match with the original tiles.

Victorian Hallway Tiles During Base Rebuild with Cement Newport Victorian Hallway Tiles Cutting Replacements in Newport

Once all the tiles were cut, I moved them to the area to be tiled and proceeded to spread adhesive and install the tiles. Following this, I left the floor to dry out overnight. The next day, I returned to the property and grouted the tiles.

Victorian Hallway Tiles During Replacement in Newport Victorian Hallway Tiles During Replacement in Newport

Now that the repairs have been completed to the required standards, this Victorian tiled hallway is now ready to be cleaned and sealed by my colleague.

Victorian Hallway Tiles Grouting in Replacement Tiles in Newport Victorian Hallway Tiles During Replacement in Newport

 
 

Damaged Victorian Hallway Floor Repair and Restoration in South Wales

Dirty Terrazzo Floor Deep Cleaned, Burnished and Sealed in Bridgend

Terrazzo is a quite a bit different from the natural stone floors we most commonly work with. It’s a type of flooring material that was made popular by Venetian builders in Italy in the 1920s, but is ultimately descended from styles of design that date back hundreds of years. A typical Terrazzo floor consists of chips of marble or granite set in concrete and polished to result in a smooth surface.

This Terrazzo floor, installed in the hallway of a property in Bridgend, South Wales, was in relatively good physical condition, but it had clearly lost its shine due to the build-up of dirt and muck over the years. In fact, it was first installed in around 1940! The owner was keen to have it rejuvenated to its best possible condition, so they asked me to come in to see what I could do.

Old terrazzo hallway floor before polishing Bridgend Old terrazzo hallway floor before polishing Bridgend

Cleaning and Burnishing a Dirty Terrazzo Tiled Floor

My first course of action was to apply Tile Doctor Pro Clean liberally across the floor and leave it to dwell for a short period. This is a high alkaline cleaner that is designed to deal with light to moderate soil build-up, and to strip away any old sealer remaining on the floor. I scrubbed the product in using a black pad fitted to a rotary machine and vacuumed up the resulting cleaning with a wet-vac machine.

Next, to restore the shine to the floor, I undertook a process known as burnishing, which involves the application of diamond encrusted polishing pads. We will typically start with a Coarse grit pad to level off any uneven areas of the floor and grind down any particularly stubborn marks and stains. Then, we gradually refine the polish on the floor using Medium and Fine grit pads. A small amount of water is used as lubrication with each pad.

After I had finished applying the first three pads in our four-pad system, I gave the floor a thorough rinse and left it to dry overnight.

Old terrazzo hallway floor during polishing Bridgend

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

I returned to the property the next day and immediately ran some damp tests to check for excess moisture issues, which one might expect with an old floor like this one. Thankfully, the floor proved dry – and I could finish the burnishing process with the fourth and final Very Fine diamond encrusted burnishing pad, which achieved a beautiful shine finish.

Finally, I sealed the floor with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection and enhances the coloured patterns in the Terrazzo.

Old terrazzo hallway floor after polishing Bridgend Old terrazzo hallway floor after polishing Bridgend

As you can see from the photos above, the floor is looking so much more colourful and bright after a deep clean, polish and a fresh seal. The customer was over the moon!
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty Terrazzo Tiled Floor in Bridgend

Uneven Travertine Tiled Floor Levelled and Polished in Swansea

The customer, who lives in Swansea, the second largest city in Wales after Cardiff, had been searching for a company to rectify the problems with his Travertine tiled floor for a few months with no luck. Fortunately, he discovered Tile Doctor online and as their local agent I was asked to assess the problems first hand.

Uneven Travertine Floor Before Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

Upon my inspection, I was quite astounded by the way the Travertine floor had been installed. It covered an around 60 square metres and suffering severe lipping of 2-3 mm in some areas between tiles. Lipping occurs when you have variation in the height of adjoining tiles, and it can be quite a trip hazard.

Uneven Travertine Floor Before Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

The floor was laid in September 2016 on a new screed, so I knew there would be no damp issues. I checked the spare tiles the customer had in surplus and determined they were 13mm thick so the solution I proposed was to grind down the tiles by 2-3mm using coarse diamond encrusted milling pads and then restore the polish with a set of fine burnishing pads. You can only do this with natural stone and given the tiles were 13mm thick it shouldn’t present a problem.

Levelling an Uneven Travertine Tiled Floor

I used a set of Tile Doctor milling pads, starting with the 50 grit Extra Coarse pad to remove the lippage throughout the whole floor. It was a large area and with 2-3mm to grind off the tile it took four days nearly three pads to complete.

Uneven Travertine Floor During Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

I then used the 100-grit coarse pad to further smooth the surface the 50-grit pad had etched, followed by the 200-grit pad to refine the finish even further. After every pad application, I rinsed and vacuumed and the area to remove the slurry.

Uneven Travertine Floor During Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

Restoring the Polish on a Travertine Tiled Floor

After removing the tile lippage, I knew that the floor would be a lot easier to polish using our set of four Tile Doctor burnishing pads, which would do the job of restoring the desired polish. I started with the Coarse 400 grit pad and worked my way through the system of burnishing pads using a little water to help lubricate and rinsing away the slurry between each pad. The pads were applied in sequence from Medium, Fine and then Very Fine pads to achieve a fantastic polished finish.

Next, I needed to fill a lot of cavities remaining in the stone. I did this filling after the burnishing to avoid the filler coming loose during the work in progress.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The final step in the restoration process was to seal the floor using our impregnating sealer, known as Tile Doctor Colour Grow. I highly recommend this product for stone as it not only does add durable protection by occupying the pores in the stone it also enhances it’s natural colours.

Finally, I removed any surplus sealer with a cloth and left the floor to dry for another hour, before using the Very Fine pad to refine the polish and ensure that no smears were present.

Uneven Travertine Floor After Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

The work took eight days to complete and both myself and the customer were delighted with the results of the restoration of the floor which was a total disaster to look at when I first inspected it. The customer thought it was beyond repair – until he found Tile Doctor.

Uneven Travertine Floor After Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

 
 

Professional Tile Milling, Burnishing and Sealing for a Travertine Tiled Floor with Lipping Issues in Swansea

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Restored in Penarth

This Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in Penarth needed a deep clean and seal but also there was the added complication of what to do with the under stairs area as you will see in the photographs below. There were many options to consider and after many visits to the property to discuss various options we finally decided on adding new replacement tiles that complimented the main colour in the floor.

Victorian Hallway Penarth Before Restoration

This floor was in quite a bad state covered in paint splashes and cement after new damp proofing also under the staircase there were no tiles just cement which the customer hoped could be tiled. I assured the customer that they made the right choice by contacting Tile Doctor that they would be very happy with the outcome of their project.

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Using a Kango hammer I first removed all the cement from area under the stairs that was to be retiled to get the main mess out of way then scraped off as much cement and paint off the tiled surface as possible. Once this was done and the area clear I was able to re-cement the area to be tilled to the right level and once dry tile the area with tiles in the chosen colour from a company known as Original Style which produce good tile replicas.

Victorian Hallway Penarth During Restoration Victorian Hallway Penarth During Restoration

Deep Cleaning Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles

The floor was checked for moisture which proved dry and then cleaned with a mixture of Tile Doctor products including NanoTech HBU Remover (HBU stands for Heavy Build-up), Remove and Go to tackle the paint splashes and to ensure any sealers were removed and Pro-Clean which is another powerful cleaning product. All these products are safe to use on tiles floors and were worked into the tile and grout using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

Once the floor was clean the soiled cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the floor then thoroughly rinsed down with water, again extracted using a wet vacuum. Problem areas were re-treated by hand and scraped using wire wool and Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is an acid product designed to remove cement stains and grout smears. The floor was then rinsed again to remove any product traces, dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum and left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Floor Sealing

I came back the next day to seal the floor, checking the tiles for moisture first using a damp meter. To seal the tiles, I used Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds that protective layer and a nice sheen to the floor.

Victorian Hallway Penarth After Restoration Victorian Hallway Penarth After Restoration

The replacement tiles blended in well with the original Victorian floor tiles which now following the deep clean and re-seal looks like a new installation.

Victorian Hallway Penarth Before Restoration

 
 

Restoring a Victorian Tiled floor hidden in South Wales

Deep Cleaning and Sealing to Restore Original Victorian Tiles in Maesteg

The owners of this property in Maesteg, a town in the Llynfi Valley not too far from Port Talbot, had decided after many years to remove the carpet covering the downstairs hallway. Upon doing so they revealed some truly fantastic patterned Victorian tiles, and decided that instead of replacing the old carpet with new carpet, they would restore the condition of the original flooring.

Victorian tiled hallway before cleaning Maesteg Victorian tiled hallway before cleaning Maesteg

Whenever you remove carpet that has been hiding tiled flooring, it’s almost inevitable that you will find traces of rubber underlay, glue and cement deposits, and paint stains – or, in this particular case – a combination of all the above. The best course of action to bring original tiles back to their peak condition is to seek professional restoration. Everyday cleaning products and DIY methods rarely achieve the desired result. As the local Tile Doctor, these property owners contacted me to get the job done efficiently and effectively. Here’s how I did it.

Cleaning an Old Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Upon arriving at the property, I started by checking the floor for any inherent moisture problems. This was important to do considering that the tiles appeared quite old; thankfully there were no major issues that would have affected the restoration.

After checking for moisture, I began the cleaning process by manually scrapping off as much of the heavy glue and cement deposits as possible to clear the area and give the cleaning products an easier time of penetrating deep into the tiles.

I then mixed a strong cleaning solution consisting of three of our products: Tile Doctor Pro Clean, Remove and Go and NanoTech HBU. Pro Clean is a reliable cleaner that cans be used on most natural stone floors, Remove & Go helps with the removal of glues, adhesives, and old sealers, and NanoTech HBU uses nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate beneath tough stains, dissolve them, and lift them out.

This solution was worked into the tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a coarse black pad, before I rinsed the floor thoroughly. Then, on my hand and knees, I carefully checked every tile for any additional paint splashes or other deposits, using a handheld scraper and wire wool in combination with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up to remove any I came across. This cleaning method for this type of floor is generally always successful.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

After leaving the floor to dry overnight I returned to the property, once again checking for moisture. Happy that the floor was ready to be sealed, I applied six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which not only provides a protective layer but also gives the tiles to a beautiful low sheen finish. Seal and Go is best suited for use on internal, porous surfaces such as Victorian, Quarry, Sandstone and Slate.

The two photos below show the outcome of the restoration. The transformation achieved in the space of one day was exceptional and needless to say the customer was over the moon with their new Victorian tiles.

Victorian tiled hallway after cleaning Maesteg Victorian tiled hallway after cleaning Maesteg

 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in South Wales

Dirty Bath Stone Cill’s Deep Cleaned in Cardiff

Bath Stone is a material that we don’t often encounter. A variation of Limestone, its distinctive yellowish or ‘honey’ colouring is best associated with historical buildings in the City of Bath – hence the name ‘Bath Stone’. However, it has commonly been used as a building material throughout southern England and Wales.

The owner of this property in Cardiff was quite upset that her Bath Stone window sills had become so unsightly over the four-year period since her house was built, so much so that she contacted Tile Doctor to see if we could help.

Bathstone window cill before cleaning Cardiff Bathstone pillar before cleaning Cardiff

Cleaning Dirty Bath Stone Window Sills

While at Tile Doctor we most often work on tiled floors, patios and shower cubicles, I was more than happy to assist in this situation. I popped round to the property to carry out some initial cleaning tests on an inconspicuous area of one of the window sills.

I applied Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is our high alkaline cleaner, since it’s a very versatile and reliable product, and is suitable for use on most kinds of natural stone. Some fantastic results were achieved quickly, with Pro Clean working efficiently to remove the green and black algae that I presumed came from the trees which were plentiful around the property.

Bathstone window cill after test clean Cardiff
With the test clean a success, we agreed a date to complete the job. I returned on the agreed date with a ladder to treat the rest of the sills using Pro Clean, including the one on the first floor window.

Bathstone window cills after cleaning Cardiff
Before carrying out the work, I tested the stone for moisture and the readings were sky high. Therefore, I suggested to the customer not to seal the stone, but instead to maintain it using the same cleaning process as I had undertaken.

Bathstone window cill after cleaning Cardiff
The outcome of my restoration was brilliant, so now when the customer feels that the sills need to be rejuvenated again, she can do so very easily.

Professional Cleaning of Stained Bath Stone Window Sills in South Wales

Terrazzo and Quarry Tiles Restored at a Fire Damaged Church in Bath

Back in June, I had the absolute pleasure of undertaking a large scale tiled floor restoration at St. Mary’s Church in Bath. An architect who does a lot of commissions in Bath and the surrounding areas got in touch with me as they needed to restore the very weathered and worn Church flooring, which dates back to 1840.

The Church itself had suffered a lot from fire damage and the Terrazzo flooring had lost any shine due to both exposure to the smoke and, of course, a lot of wear and tear over the course of 176 years. There were also a number of missing tiles that needed to be replaced.

St Marys Church Bath Before Fire Restoration

In addition, some old carpet which was beyond repair had been pulled up to reveal some fantastic red Quarry tiles that the architect hoped could also be restored. They had discovered that some of the tiles had been removed in front of the Altar (an area of around 2.5 square metres) and cemented over due to the Altar being moved back a metre.

St Marys Church Bath Before Fire Restoration

Fully restoring both large areas of tiled flooring would take time however with numerous contractors and trades also working in the building at the same time I completed the work in stages over a period of two months.

Cleaning and Sealing Terrazzo Tiles

To begin, I took moisture readings over all areas due to be worked on. In some places, the levels of moisture were high for two reasons: first, a significant amount of water had been used to quell the fire, and second the red Quarry tiles had been laid with no damp proof membrane due to the age of the building.

Next, I liaised with the architect to decide what tile and pattern would be best to replace the cement area in order to compliment the surrounding red tiles. We decided on a similar shape and colour from original style. I then removed the cement, re-cemented and tiled the area accordingly. Following this, I removed the badly damaged Terrazzo tiles and replaced them with spare replica tiles that the architect had leftover from previous projects.

St Marys Church Bath Before Fire Restoration

My method for restoring the Terrazzo tiles was to use the Tile Doctor four pad burnishing system, applying each diamond encrusted pad in turn – from Coarse to Very Fine – to clean and polish the stone. I then sealed the tiles with an impregnating sealer known as Tile Doctor Colour Grow which enhances the natural colours in the stone. Finally, I went over the tiles again with the Very Fine burnishing pad to refine the shine. Needless to say, I checked for moisture before sealing, and thankfully the floor proved dry.

St Marys Church Bath During Fire Restoration

Cleaning and Sealing Red Quarry Tiles

In some areas, the red Quarry tiles had glue on them from the carpet being stuck down for many years. I manually scraped off the large, tough glue residues, and once this had been done, I used Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Tile Doctor Pro Clean to soften and break down any particularly stubborn glue deposits. After rinsing the floor, I went over it again with the Coarse grit burnishing pad to give the surface a really good clean. The remaining Quarry tiles were cleaned by using the same Coarse grit pad. using water to lubricate the process and rinsing periodically as I worked.

St Marys Church Bath During Fire Restoration

Having cleaned the tiles, I left the Church for a week to allow the builders and other trades to finish their work. Upon my return, I ran some damp tests to and found the readings were sky high, meaning sealing was not an option at this time. I discussed this issue with the architect and we decided to carry on with the completion in a month, leaving the floor enough time to dry out and for any other building work to be completed. By that time, the heating system would have also been installed and would work to help the floor to dry out quicker.

A month passed, and I returned to seal the Quarry tiles. However, before doing so I noticed efflorescence in some areas and neutralised it using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. I then left the floor a further two days to dry, by which time the Acid Gel had successfully removed all traces of efflorescence. To my satisfaction, the moisture readings I took upon my return were low, meaning the tiles were ready to be sealed.

St Marys Church Bath After Fire Restoration

To seal the tiles, I applied several costs of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which helps protects with no damp proof membrane, follows by a few coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a sealer which prices a nice satin shine finish. This really enhanced the old fire red pigment in the tiles.

St Marys Church Bath After Fire Restoration

While it was a long and difficult process to fully restore both sets of tiles, the outcome was very much worth the wait. Looking at the before and after photographs, it’s easy to see why the architect, priest and the parishioners were absolutely delighted with the results. I’m also really pleased to have contributed to the restoration and continued conservation of this wonderful building.
 
 

Fire Damaged 176-Year Old Terrazzo and Quarry Tiled Floors Retorted at Bath Church

Quarry and Victorian Tiles Repaired, Cleaned and Sealed in Swansea

The owner of this property in Swansea contacted me recently about a two-part job that would involve the restoration of both a Quarry tiled hallway and a Victorian tiled lobby. The property itself dates back to 1918 – making it nearly a century old – and its safe to assume that both sets of tiles are of a similar age. As you can see from the photographs, they had certainly had absorbed a lot of wear and tear over the years, and as these tiles get older it becomes in increasingly difficult to maintain their appearance.

Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Hallway

A number of the Quarry tiles had at some point in the past been removed to allow the installation of electrical cables below ground, with an unsightly layer of cement left in their place. At a later point I would need to replace these tiles, but initially I needed to remove the old cement, along with any old sealer remaining on the floor by applying and scrubbing in Tile Doctor Remove & Go.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Swansea

Next, I applied an undiluted solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, our effective alkaline tile cleaner, to break down and remove the ingrained dirt. I then rinsed with clean water, and removed the resulting slurry with a wet vacuum. With the floor freshly cleaned, I proceeded to retile the area where tiles were missing.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Lobby

The Victorian tiles in the porch/lobby room area were adjoined to the Quarry tiles. In this area there were several loose tiles, and I opted to recement and regrout them before beginning a clean.

Following this the tiles were treated to a thorough clean in a similar fashion to that provided to the Quarry tiles, however, in this case I mixed Remove and Go and Pro Clean to form a powerful cleaning solution. This was applied to the floor, left to dwell for a short period, and then scrubbed into the tiles, quickly bringing them back to life. I then lightly steamed cleaned the floor with a Karcher tool to eliminate or neutralise any chemicals that remained.

Victorian-Tiled-Lobby-Floor-During-Restoration-Swansea-114646

Sealing Quarry and Victorian Tiles

I left the two sets of tiles to dry out fully overnight. Upon my return to the property, I ran damp tests to confirm that the floors were ready to be sealed. The customer had asked for a satin finish on both floors, so I decided to use Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This topical sealer provides a durable sheen seal, and is a cost-effective option for Quarry and Victorian tiles. I applied seven coats of Seal and Go in total across both sets of tiles.

Quarry-Tiled-Floor-After-Restoration-Swansea-112352 Victorian-Tiled-Lobby-Floor-After-Restoration-Swansea-112433

The customer and myself were delighted with the results. In the space of just a couple of days these classic tiles have been brought been completely revitalised, and thanks to the application of a fresh sealer will be easier for the customer to keep clean going forward.
 
 

Restoration of an Old Quarry Tiled Hallway and Victorian Tiled Lobby in South Wales

Badly Stained and Mouldy Marble Shower a Cubicle Transformed in Beddau

Tiled shower cubicles can very easily become tired and grubby looking without the right care. The shampoos and soaps we use in our everyday lives can have long lasting damage if their effects are not sufficiently dealt with, with grout mould being a very common problem for property owners in the UK where we have a cold climate that encourages us to seal up our homes limiting natural ventilation.

Marble Shower Enclosure Tiles Before Cleaning in Beddau

At this property in the small village of Beddau, near Cardiff, my customer had a particularly poorly maintained Marble tiled shower cubicle suffering from bad staining. Since Marble is an acid-sensitive stone it is especially vulnerable to damage when exposed to even slightly acidic shower products. The grout was also in a bad way, having turned from a pleasant off white colour to black. The entire area was now well overdue from some attention from the Tile Doctor.

Marble Shower Enclosure Tiles Before Cleaning in Beddau

Cleaning a Marble Tiled Shower Cubicle

To begin the restoration of these tiles I had to remove any old sealer. I did this by applying a combination of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a versatile cleaner, stripper and degreaser, and Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, which is a more powerful product designed for the removal of heavy soil buildup.

As the old sealer came away, I left the two products to soak into the tiles to lift out the stains and ingrained dirt caused by the Marble’s exposure to shampoo and soaps. This really helped to alleviate the grubby appearance previously held by the tiles.

As previously mentioned, the grout lines were also in a really bad state. Undeterred, I attempted for three hours to clean the grout lines with unsatisfactory results, and so resolved instead to remove the old grout entirely and re-grout with a new Jasmine coloured grout throughout the bathroom. I did consider simply recolouring the grout with one of our Grout Colourants but, as an experienced tiler, I felt for me it would quicker and easier to achieve the required results by re-grouting.

Marble Shower Enclosure Tiles During Cleaning in Beddau

Sealing a Marble Tiled Shower Cubicle

After leaving the grout and tiles to dry overnight following the cleaning and regrouping, I returned to the property to seal the area. To do this I opted to use two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, our solvent-based impregnating sealer which fills the pores of the stone to act as a barrier against trapped dirt and stains, and to prevent further contamination.

As a colour intensifying sealer it really emphasised the natural shades in the Marble. Colour Grow can achieve similar results on other types of unpolished stone, including Limestone, Flagstones, Quarry, Sandstone and Slate.

Marble Shower Enclosure Tiles After Cleaning in Beddau

I added the finishing touches to the restoration by removing all the mouldy silicone and replaced it with new silicone. Though this wasn’t the easiest of jobs, the final result is one of which I am particularly proud. It certainly pleased the customer!

Marble Shower Enclosure Tiles After Cleaning in Beddau

 
 

Marble Tiled Shower Cubicle Professionally Refinished in South Wales

Heavily Soiled and Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in Pontcanna

Pontcanna is a popular residential area in the western district of Cardiff, in South East Wales. Known for its rather large houses and spectacular foliage, interestingly enough roughly a quarter of the population are English folk.

I was called down to a property in the area to take a look at a Victorian tiled floor which was in quite poor condition. Along with the typical amount of dirt and muck seen on poorly maintained tiles, there were a number of missing tiles and a fair bit of cement caked on the surface of the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration Pontcanna

It would require a robust clean, fresh seal, and several repairs to get this floor back into optimum condition.

Cleaning and Repairing a Dirty Victorian Tiled Floor

To begin, I checked for excess moisture problems using a damp meter in various places of the hallway floor and, thankfully, it was showing dry results. Any dampness could have potentially caused problems later on in the restoration process, so it was s good idea to run tests before starting.

Next, I manually scraped as much of the dry paint and cement off the tiles as possible, with no lubrication necessary. I then proceeded to clean the floor with a solution I mixed early, consisting of equal parts Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU and Tile Doctor Pro Clean, rinsing as I went. Both products are designed to tackle heavy soil build-up, with the former uniquely using nano-sized particles (as the product name suggests) to penetrate deep into difficult to reach areas in the tiles in order to lift out ingrained muck.

Following the initial clean, I removed all of the loose tiles and those heavily affected by cement, before retiling as necessary with fresh Victorian tiles, and grouting the whole floor. Of course, these replacement tiles were carefully sourced to ensure consistency, as far as possible, with the original pattern of the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration Pontcanna

The next day, I went over the whole floor with an application of the acid-based Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, diluted with a little alkaline Pro Clean to form a cleaning solution. I then used a black pad to scrub the cleaner into the tiles, similarly to the previous day’s cleaning. This was followed by a through rinse with water to neutralise the floor.

It was at this point that I noticed some stubborn cement stains remained so I set about breaking them down using a 60 grade hand held diamond polishing block, and this technique proved successful.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

After completing the clean, I left the floor to dry out for roughly 24 hours. Upon my return to the property to seal the tiles, I tested again for moisture. It is recommended to run damp tests before sealing, as excess moisture can cloud the sealer, affecting its performance in the long run.

Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration Pontcanna

Fortunately, no dampness was detected and I was proceeded to seal the floor with seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which enhances the natural colours in the stone and provides a nice satin gloss appearance, as requested by the customer.

Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration Pontcanna

I was extremely pleased with the results of this restoration, as was the customer. The extent of the soil build up and damage was such before the restoration that, after completion, the floor looked like it had been newly laid!
 
 

Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in South Wales

Heavily Worn Polished Limestone Floor Restored in Cowbridge

When given the right care, a polished Limestone floor can be an amazing asset to any house. If neglected, however, the tiles can quickly discolour from wear, especially in areas of high traffic, such as the kitchen.

Such was the case at this house in the small, picturesque town of Cowbridge, in South East Wales. My client had contacted Tile Doctor to see what could be done to improve the condition of the tile and grout which, as you can see from the photographs had not been properly maintained.

To get the floor back to its best it would need to be burnished which is a process that rejuvenating the appearance of polished stone through the application of different grades of diamond encrusted floor pads from coarse to very fine.

Re-Polishing Limestone Floor Tiles

Before beginning the burnishing process, I made sure to check that there were no inherent moisture issues using a damp meter, the home owner had informed me beforehand that the floor did have a damp proof membrane installed however it is always a good precaution to check and additionally it provides a good baseline for later when checking the floor has dried after cleaning.

Polished Limestone Before Burnishing Cowbridge Polished Limestone Before Burnishing Cowbridge

Burnishing and Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

The Tile Doctor burnishing system consists of four main burnishing pads. I began by applying the coarse pad to the tiles lubricated with a little water, before rinsing the floor and moving on to medium and fine grit pads again lubricating with water and rinsing after each pad. After finishing with the third pad, I paused to rinse the entire area a thorough rinse extracting the resulting waste with a wet-vac machine.

Polished Limestone During Burnishing Cowbridge

I then paid special attention to cleaning the grout lines, which had turned black in places. I applied undiluted Tile Doctor Pro Clean and agitated the grout lines with a stiff scrubbing brush to restore the original colour. This was followed by another thorough rinse.

Polished Limestone Cleaned Grout Cowbridge

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

I left the floor to dry overnight, before completing the burnishing process by applying the final very fine grit pad which adds that aesthetically pleasing shine. I used the damp meter to check the floor had dried and once I was happy I began the sealing process with the application of three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a great choice for Limestone as it penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within whilst enhancing the natural colours in the Limestone. As a final step and to ensure there were no unappealing marks left on the floor, I went back over the floor once more with the fine grit burnishing pad.

Polished Limestone After Burnishing Cowbridge

What was once a dull stone floor with dirty grout lines has now been restored back to its original condition and with the correct maintenance going forward should stay that way for some time.
 
 

Cleaning, Burnishing and Sealing a Polished Limestone Floor in South Wales

Restoring A Stained Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor in Cardiff

The following post is follows on from the Limestone tiled kitchen floor restoration I recently completed in Cardiff. You may recall that the floor had not been maintained properly since it was first installed in 2008 and one of the key problems I had to deal with during that particular restoration was a number of dark stains left on the tiles by the kitchen dustbin. Here’s a detailed account of how I tacked the staining.

Limestone Reduxa Before Stain Removal

Cleaning a stained Limestone tiled floor

To deal with the stains, I suggested to the client that I experiment with a Tile Doctor product called Reduxa, which is formulated to remove certain stains, including red wine stains, from natural stone. It is suitable on Limestone, Marble and Travertine tiles, amongst others. Nonetheless, I did have to advise the client that unfortunately some stains are unavoidably permanent and that there was no guarantee that the product would be able to remove these particular stains. Had the sealer been maintained on this floor, then the problem would have been much easier to tackle. However, in this case the sealer had worn off over the years.

I began treating the problem area by applying the Reduxa solution, before heating up the tile with a heat gun to lift out the stains. This process of spraying and heating was repeated around eight times.

Limestone Reduxa After Stain Removal

To cut a long story short, the process worked very well, and both myself and the client were amazed at the results the Reduxa stain removal solution had on the floor. This product really does what it says on the label!

Limestone Reduxa After Stain Removal

If you would like more information on the product, check out the video on the Reduxa page on the Tile Doctor website.
 
 

Professional tile cleaning restoration for badly stained Limestone tiled kitchen floor in Cardiff

Unmaintained French Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor Restored in Cardiff

This customer from the historic city of Cardiff was keen to see what Tile Doctor could do to put some life back into their treasured Limestone kitchen floor that was laid in 2008. My first observations were mainly centred on the horrific condition of the surface which although adequately sealed initially the floor had not received any subsequent maintenance and its condition had deteriorated over time. The light shining in from the patio doors highlighted all the imperfections in the floor caused by surface wear and tear commonly seen in high traffic areas such as a kitchen.

Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cardiff Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cardiff

Upon closer inspection, there were further problems: the floor was stained and scuffed, and in most places the sealer had worn off completely allowing the dirt to become ingrained into the pores of the Limestone. Additionally the grout was recessed but was now flush with the tile surface due to dirt build-up. There were also areas contaminated with grease and kitchen cooking oil.

The Limestone floor tiles were 20mm thick French Limestone, and had been laid very well so there was no requirement to do any tile or grout repairs however to get this floor back to its original condition the surface would need to be reconditioned using the Tile Doctor four stage burnishing system.

Restoring a French Limestone Floor

I started by giving the floor a wash with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, focusing mainly on the grout lines in order to remove the muck that had built-up there. I used a special stiff grout brush for this activity; it’s quite narrow and ideal for grout scrubbing.

This worked well, but the significant build-up of dirt along some of the grout lines meant more work was required. I tackled this problem with a hand scraper assisted with steam. At the end of this process, the whole floor was then rinsed down with water to remove any soil and the resulting slurry was then extracted using a wet vacuum.

Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor During Grout Steam Cleaning Cardiff Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor During Grout Steam Cleaning Cardiff

Burnishing French Limestone Tiles

The next step was to start the burnishing process, which basically involves applying four diamond encrusted floor pads in sequence over the floor. Each pad is a different grade, starting with the most abrasive coarse pad and moving through to the finer grades using a little water to lubricate and rinsing away any slurry between each pad.

Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Cardiff Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Cardiff

I eventually finished with the extra fine pad which builds up shine and lustre on the tile; it had taken two days to clean the grout and burnish the Limestone but the floor was much improved and so after a final rinse down I left the floor to dry off overnight with the aid of the underfloor heating.

During this time, I also addressed the stained Limestone in the area of the kitchen where the dustbin was situated. This had been a major upset for the customer and I’m happy to report I managed to deal with it. However, it was quite an involved process, so I’ll write about this in a separate post.

Sealing a Limestone tiled kitchen floor

On the third day I came back to seal the floor, checking first that it had dried sufficiently with a damp meter. Fortunately, the underfloor heating had done a great job of drying the stone and I was able to seal the floor using three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealant. This sealant not only provides a durable seal but also penetrates deep into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours of the Limestone in the process.

After the final layer of sealant, I worked over the floor again with the extra fine burnishing pad both to add shine again following sealing, and to ensure that no smear marks were visible as the lighting conditions were unforgiving and highlighted any imperfections.

Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cardiff Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cardiff

The customer was delighted with the results: so much so, in fact, that they booked me in to restore their Victorian hallway floor as well but that’s a story for another time!
 
 

Restoring French Limestone Kitchen Floor in South Wales

Tile Installation Problems Resolved in a Cardiff Bathroom

Sometimes my clients ask the question: “Why is the grout coming out of the joints in my bathroom floor, and what can I do about it?” This job at a house in the city of Cardiff had exactly that problem and I had been asked to resolve it, additionally one of the tiles had become cracked and need replacing.

Cracked Bathroom Floor Tile Repair Cardiff Cracked Bathroom Floor Tile Repair Cardiff

The cause was due to movement in the floor when walked on, causing the grout to dislodge from the tile; this is not uncommon on tiled floors where there is wooden base and there is a lack of flexibility in the adhesive, most likely because it was watered down upon initial installation or a flexible product was not used. In this case the floorboards outside the bathroom door would squeak when stepped on, suggesting that there was some degree of movement under the bathroom floor, making the substrate move very slightly – but enough to cause problems. All I could really do in this situation was to remove the existing grout with a small machine and re-grout the entire area using a highly flexible grout.

Cracked Bathroom Floor Tile Repair Cardiff Cracked Bathroom Floor Tile Repair Cardiff

These thoughts were confirmed when I came to replace one cracked tile in the centre of the floor. Upon removing the broken tile I saw that the tiles had been laid on 13mm of adhesive which was very brittle and soft, allowing it to be scraped off the tile and the floor easily. Only approximately 50% of the tile was covered in adhesive, suggesting that it had been laid rather carelessly. Tiles must have 100% adhesive coverage, especially in bathrooms with underfloor heating, because the heat and cold can directly impact the stone and cause cracks.

Cracked Bathroom Floor Tile Repair Cardiff Cracked Bathroom Floor Tile Repair Cardiff

Fortunately the customer had a spare tile and so I carefully chopped out the broken tile and removed the surrounding grout and adhesive causing no disruption to the surrounding area. The replacement tile was secured in place with adhesive and then grouted using a matching grout, this time using flexible products.

Cracked Bathroom Floor Tile Repair Cardiff Cracked Bathroom Floor Tile Repair Cardiff

The next job was to take a look at the shower cubicle where I was disappointed to see that the contractor who was responsible for the initial installation of the floor had used a very cheap silicone between the base and the shower wall. It was now mouldy and had de-bonded in places that it had to be cut out and replaced by a stronger, high quality silicone. Generally speaking, silicone should last more than 2-3 years (this floor had been installed in 2012).

Shower Tile Refresh Cardiff

I cut the old silicone out with a sharp knife, cleaned up the edges and replaced the silicone with a quality product.

Shower Tile Refresh Cardiff

The ceramic and mosaic tiles were in good condition so this really was just a case of resolving some installation problems however for general cleaning I would recommend Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is a new Biodegradable organic product ideal for cleaning bathroom tiles.
 
 

Bathroom Installation Problems Resolved in South Wales

110 Year Old Quarry Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Merthyr Tydfil

The pictures below were taken at a house in the town of Merthyr Tydfil, which is located not too far north of Cardiff. My client was keen to keep her very old Quarry tiled floor – which dated back to 1905 – intact. The floor had understandably seen a large amount of traffic in its lifetime, and was now in dire need of a professional restoration, including a thorough clean and seal.

Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil before cleaning Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil before cleaning

First, I completed a survey of the area and provided my client with a quote. After completing many similar jobs in the past, I generally have a good idea of what the final result will look like. I passed on some images of a final result to my client, who was happy for me to begin my work.

Cleaning a Quarry tiled floor

On the first day, my first task was to take run some damp tests which were fine; it’s always good to know up front if there are likely to be any damp issues. Next I covered the floor with water to take the surface suction out and waited fifteen minutes before applying a cocktail of Tile Doctor NanoTech Heavy Build-Up cleaner mixed with Pro-Clean and Grout clean-up covering the whole floor. I then immediately starting to work the solution into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a coarse black pad. The solution was then rinsed off with water which was then extracted with a wet vacuum as I worked. For stubborn areas I applied more of the previously mixed solution scrubbed into the floor with coarse wire wool by hand followed by further rinsing with water.

Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil after cleaning Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil after cleaning

Each of the products used serves a particular purpose. Pro-Clean is a strong high-alkaline cleaner for natural stone, while NanoTech HBU is a particularly powerful cleaner that uses nano-sized particles to penetrate deep into the stone to get underneath and lift out ingrained dirt and stains. Grout Clean-Up, as the name implies, is a product for resolving grout related problems such as removing grout smears from tile surfaces aka grout haze.

Sealing a Quarry tiled floor

After completing the clean I left the house for 48 hours, to leave enough time for the floor to dry completely in preparation for sealing. Upon my arrival back at the house I conducted some more damp tests to check that the floor was dry enough to seal using the previous readings as a benchmark. The results indicated that I was fine to proceed with the seal, so I applied a total of eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go for durable protection. This was the product I recommended to my client as she wanted a nice, soft shine for her surface seal.

Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil after sealing Quarry tile floor Merthyr Tydfil after sealing

As you can see from the photos, the desired result was achieved to a high standard and needless to say my client was delighted with the transformation.
 
 

Very old Quarry tiled floor restored and transformed in South Wales

Victorian Chequer Tiled Hallway Floor Deep Cleaned in Cardiff

Sometimes you survey a job and you know that if you get the chance to restore it the results will be totally fantastic! This was the case with this Victorian black & white chequer tiled floor in the hallway of a large terraced Victorian house in Cardiff which dated back to around 1900 and was now looking well past its best, I know this because my family used to live in the house opposite. It was a well laid floor with no readings of dampness; I believe it’s imperative you check a floor for dampness before starting so you know what the baseline damp level is and which sealers will work with the floor.

Black and white chequer Victorian Tiles Cardiff Before Black and white chequer Victorian Tiles Cardiff Before

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor

My first action was to hoover the floor and then scrape as much debris off the surface as possible, and then as always I mixed 50/50 Tile Doctor HBU (Heavy Build-Up) remover with Pro-Clean and on this occasion because I wanted the white tiles to become really white I added the same amount of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. This special recipe created a very formidable and strong cleaning solution which is what the job called for. I swept it over the whole floor letting it soak in for about ten minutes and then worked it into the floor using a scrubbing machine fitted with a coarse black pad adding more of the solution to the floor where it was drying out as I went.

Black and white chequer Victorian Tiles Cardiff During Cleaning Black and white chequer Victorian Tiles Cardiff During Cleaning

The next step was to rinse the floor twice with water and extract the now filthy cleaning solution using a wet vacuum. At this point I inspected the tiles and I could see there were still a few stubborn areas with spots of paint and glue which I addressed with a decorators steam plate together with a scraper and hand held scrubbing pad.

I was now happy that the floor was clean and ready to be sealed, before sealing though it’s important to remove any trace of cleaning solution as it may contaminate the sealer so I gave the floor a thorough rinse and extracted as much of the water as possible to reduce drying times.

Sealing a Victorian Floor Sealing

I left the floor to dry for 48hrs before coming back to seal the tiles taking a reader on my damp meter first to establish they had indeed dried out. To seal the floor I used eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which really works well on Victorian tiles and in this case made the whites really stand out.

Black and white chequer Victorian Tiles Cardiff After

The customer wanted this floor to look good because they were selling the property and were due to have an open day. The clean tiles really gave the house the wow factor and period features are so desirable these days so I don’t think it will take long to sell.

Black and white chequer Victorian Tiles Cardiff After

 
 

Victorian Tiled floor restored in South Wales

1920’s Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Restored in Pontcana

The new owner of this house in Pontcana, Cardiff recently discovered a 1920’s Victorian tiled floor hidden under carpet in the hallway and was keen to restore it as an original feature. They contacted Tile Doctor to have it repaired and I popped round to do a survey. I could see there was a great deal of movement in the floor by the front door area where the old brittle cement base had buckled causing the tiles to become loose and uneven.

Victorian Tiled Floor Pontcana Before Repairs

Most contractors would consider this beyond repair however I suggested we take up the main area of buckled tiles and keep them for the repair to the centre of the hallway where a copper strip had been laid in the cement. I suggested that in the area which we lifted up the tiles by the front door that we made a mat well which not only looks good but serves a purpose and remedies the main problem of the cement base.

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first task was to check moisture readings then to remove the tiles carefully as I could in order to save the pieces for the repair of the other damage in the centre of floor. I then chiselled the raised areas of cement away with a small Kango hammer in preparation for the self-leveller which would be needed to make the base suitable for the new doorway mat.

Victorian Tiled Floor Pontcana Starting Repairs Victorian Tiled Floor Pontcana Removing Damaged Section

Once this was done I proceeded to repair the other damaged parts of the floor using the original tiles that were now spare. I laid the tiles through the damaged areas and grouted them in.

Victorian Tiled Floor Pontcana Before Repairs Victorian Tiled Floor Pontcana During Grouting

Once the grout had gone off I was able to start cleaning the floor starting with an application of Grout Clean-Up to remove the grout smears followed by a solution of Tile Doctor HBU mixed 50/50 with Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the tile and then rinsed off before steam cleaning the floor to make sure any dirt or trace of chemical was removed before sealing the tiles.

Victorian Tiled Floor Pontcana After Repairs

Sealing a Victorian Floor Sealing

The floor was left to dry out and I returned two days later to seal the floor checking that the moisture readings were acceptable first. To seal the floor I used six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which can even make an old floor look vibrant.

Victorian Tiled Floor Pontcana After Cleaning and Sealing

The floor now looks great and I’m confident the restoration of this period feature will add value to the property.
 
 

Victorian Tiled floor hidden under carpet fully restored in South Wales