Honed Limestone Floor Renovated in Ecton

I was contacted by the owner of a property in the picturesque village of Ecton who was concerned that her Limestone floor spanning the kitchen and open plan breakfast area was starting to lose its natural appeal and was finding it harder to clean and maintain.

Limestone Tiled Dining Room Floor Before Renovation Ecton

I went over to take a closer look at the floor and carry out a survey. In order determine the best cleaning method I conducted a test on a small area of the floor. This gives the clients confidence in my abilities and a good idea of what result we they can expect. The Limestone was honed smooth but was not polished and the customers were keen not to add too much of an unnatural shine to the floor. The grout lines in some of the more heavily used areas, such as by the sink, were also discoloured and would require a decent scrub with an appropriate cleaning product.

I spoke to the clients about options for the finish to be applied after cleaning and they decided that they wanted to keep the tiles as light as possible with a slight shine. With the clients impressed with the test area I prepared I went away and produced a detailed quote which was e mailed to them along with our general T&Cs and the work was booked in to be completed shortly after.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Renovation Ecton

Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Floor

The floor covered quite a large area, some 38m2, and had some larger items of furniture that needed to be moved before starting. The first task was to scrub the grout lines with a specialist grout brush, designed to work the product into the grout. Limestone is an acid-sensitive stone, so a strong alkaline cleaner was required. I used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with warm water at a ratio of 3:1 which was left to dwell for around twenty minutes.

The area was then rinsed with water and the soil extracted before applying a series of diamond impregnated burnishing pads attached to a rotary scrubbing machine, ranging from a coarse 400 grit (200 in some of the more stubborn areas), a medium 800-grit and finishing with a fine 1500 grit to clean the stone. The whole area was then rinsed again and extracted using a wet pick up vacuum. The floor was then left to dry overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

The following day a very fine 3000 grit diamond pad was used to ‘spray burnish’ the floor which uses very little water and ensures that any remaining residues are lifted as well as finishing the floor in the highest level of mechanical polishing possible prior to sealing.

If the clients desired a higher level of shine a powdered high shine sealer would have been worked into the tiles to achieve a highly reflective surface, however the mechanical polish was the highest level of shine wanted.

My client requested a completely natural finish so to seal the stone after cleaning I applied an impregnating sealer called Tile Doctor Ultra Seal. Impregnating sealers soak into the pores of the tile protecting them from within and Ultra-Seal doesn’t alter the appearance of the floor and so maintained the natural appearance of the stone keeping it as light as possible.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor After Renovation Ecton

Aftercare instructions along with a bottle of suitable pH Neutral Tile Cleaner were supplied.
The customer was thrilled with the result and was surprised at the transformation of the floor, they even left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor website.

“Thank you so much Phil for a professional service resulting in my floor looking just as I wanted it too. You were attentive to all detail. I would strongly recommend Phil as a trustworthy, honest person to anyone who is considering work done. See you again in the Summer Phil to clean my patio. Natalie W, Northampton”

Limestone Tiled Dining Room Floor After Renovation Ecton

 

Cleaning and Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor in Northamptonshire

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Renovated at a Maidford Cottage

This Terracotta tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a cottage in the small village of Maidford near Towcester. The tiles were not looking their best and the owner of the property realised it was time to do something about it and contacted Tile Doctor to have the floor stripped and resealed. Stripping and Sealing tile and stone floors is our bread and butter so I was more than happy to pop round and survey the floor which was approximately 9m2.

The grout had darkened with dirt and the previous tile sealer was failing so dirt was now getting ingrained in the Terracotta making it difficult to clean in places and leading to a patchy appearance. We discussed the work involved, my quote was accepted, and a date agreed for me to return and complete the work which would take two days, one to clean and one to seal.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Maidford

Stripping Terracotta Kitchen Floor Tiles

After tidying up the Kitchen and removing the kickboards from underneath the kitchen units I set about working on cleaning and stripping the Terracotta floor of old sealers. To start I tested a small area with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Wax Away. Wax was quite often used on Terracotta so I figured this product would be a good place to start. My suspicions were proved correct, and I found this to be the best product for removing the many layers of sealant on the floor. Wax Away is a new alkaline product by Tile Doctor and ideal for cleaning clay-based tiles such as Terracotta.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Maidford

With my sights set on the rest of the floor Wax Away was scrubbed into the tile using a 17” rotary floor scrubbing machine and a black scrubbing pad running on a slow speed which helps to reduce splashing. This activity soon brought the dirt off the floor and the soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor was rinsed down with clean water. The cleaning process was repeated a couple of times until I was happy with the floor, a stiff hand brush was then used along the grout lines with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to clean up the grout.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Maidford

After rinsing and extracting the floor again the floor was inspected, and I noticed there were a few stubborn paint splashes on the tiles. I managed to remove these and these by spot treating the affected area with Tile Doctor Remove and Go and a steamer to lift the stain out of the clay tile. Once happy the floor was clean it was given a thorough rinse to neutralise it and remove any trace of cleaning products and then left it to dry.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Maidford

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles

I allowed the floor to dry for several days before returning to seal the Terracotta using numerous coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is an ideal sealer for Terracotta and provides durable stain protection together with a low sheen finish. Terracotta is by its nature very porous and so it’s not unknown for it to take up to nine coats of sealer, which can take some time to apply as like paint you have to wait until it’s dry before it will take the next coat.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor During Sealing Maidford

The customer was so impressed by the results I achieved in their kitchen they decided to go ahead and book me in to carry out this process throughout the whole of the ground floor which included lounge, study and hallway.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor After Sealing Maidford

 

Renovating a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor in Northamptonshire

Ceramic Tile and Grout Deep Cleaned is a Rushden Sun Room

A customer from Rushden which is a large town in the east side of Northamptonshire, and my home town asked me to take a look at the Ceramic tile and grout in his Sun room. He has a large dog that sleeps on the sofa in this room and over the years the dog has walked in mud which has slowly degraded the grout lines and I suspect had probably never been sealed correctly or sealed at all.

The glazing on Ceramic tile is very resilient so we usually find it’s the grout discolouring that becomes most noticeable first due to the cementitious top layer which can trap dirt. In this case the Ceramic tiles had dulled over the years and as you might expect the white grout lines had become soiled and were almost black in places.

Ceramic Tile and Grout Before Cleaning Rushden Sun Room Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout Before Cleaning Rushden Sun Room

Deep Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout

To get the tile and grout clean the floor was first soaked in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and this was left to dwell for ten minutes. A rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad was then used to scrub the cleaning solution into the tile and release the dirt. The pad can struggle to reach the recessed grout so to ensure this was also clean it was given a good scrub with a narrow stiff brush.

Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout During Cleaning Rushden Sun Room

We then used a spinning tool which forces hot water under high pressure onto the floor whilst simultaneously extracting the dirty water with a powerful vacuum. The objective of this action is to power wash the floor whilst rinsing and extracting the dirty cleaning solution at the same time.

Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout During Cleaning Rushden Sun Room

We inspected the grout lines and stubborn stains were treated with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which was scrubbed in with hand brushes, this was then rinsed a second time until we were happy with the results. Grout Clean-Up is an acidic product that is particularly good at removing grout smears which can form a haze over a tile reducing its brilliance.

We then polished the floor with a white buffing pad and allowed the floor to dry overnight before returning the following day to apply Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal to all grout lines.

The furniture was too large and heavy for the customer to move out of the room, which was on a lower level than the rest of the ground floor. As a result, it was necessary to clean the floor in sections moving the furniture around the room on pads as needed.

Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout After Cleaning Rushden Sun Room

The Sun room floor look great afterwards, the grout especially looked clean and the sealer should ensure it stays that way for some time to come.
 
 

Deep Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout in Northamptonshire

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor with Severe Grout Haze Problem Treated in Cogenhoe

This newly installed Herringbone-style Terracotta tiled floor in a refurbished kitchen was heavily covered with patches of grout haze. The customer, who lives in the town of Cogenhoe, Northampton informed me that the tiler had supposedly sealed the floor before grouting. If this was true, the grout haze should have been very easy to remove.

However, the tiler had clearly not been entirely truthful as, when I arrived at the property to carry out a test clean, I found very little evidence of any sealer whatsoever. Nonetheless, I found that the grout haze was easily removed using a solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner which is designed specifically for the removal of haze, mineral deposits and efflorescence.

Herringbone design terracotta floor before Cogenhoe Herringbone design terracotta floor before Cogenhoe

These Terracotta tiles were very pitted and the original tiler was correct to fill the small holes with grout to complement the rustic look of the tiles, but he should have taken the correct measures to ensure that a white misty grout haze didn’t appear over the whole area!

The customer was happy for me to proceed with restoring the floor, but also very concerned that her newly installed hand painted kitchen units would be damaged by the chemical cleaning products. I assured her that I would cover them up completely and carry out all work along the plinths by hand.

Removing Grout Haze from Terracotta Tiles

Once on site, I covered the kitchen units to protect them and proceeded to mix up a solution of Grout Clean Up. This was applied firstly around the edges of the floor and scrubbed into the stone by hand using a stiff brush.

Working in areas of four square metres each so as to not the leave the product on the floor too long, I applied the solution to pre-wet the floor ready for the next part of the process. This was to apply Tile Doctor Acid Gel, our blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids, leave it to dwell for a few minutes has then agitate it to neutralise and remove the copious grout haze. Once each area had been treated I rinsed it with water to remove any chemicals.

Herringbone design terracotta floor during Cogenhoe Herringbone design terracotta floor during Cogenhoe

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

With the entire floor treated, I installed a dehumidifier to help the tiles to dry quickly overnight. The next day I returned to the property to apply two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. This is an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection while also lifting the natural shades in the Terracotta.

Each coat was polished in by hand, leaving an hour for drying between coats. I then waited another hour before giving the whole floor a final polish with a buffing machine to remove any excess sealant.

Herringbone design terracotta floor after Cogenhoe Herringbone design terracotta floor after Cogenhoe

The result achieved in the space of 24 hours was fantastic and the customer was exceptionally pleased. Despite the severity of the grout haze problem, the combination of the right products allowed me to handily resolve it. The addition of a properly applied and top quality sealer will help to ensure the floor is protected from staining, something which is essential in a kitchen.
 
 

Resolving Installation Issues with a newly installed Terracotta Tiled Floor in Northamptonshire

Travertine Tiled Kitchen With Badly Stained Grout Cleaned in Northampton

Earlier this month I was in the town of Northampton, to see a client who had reported a problem with her Travertine kitchen tiles. Basically the grout between the tiles was badly stained, to the point of appearing almost black.

Travertine Tiled Kitchen with Stained Grout Northampton

The Travertine tiles were also in need of some maintenance, and so I was commissioned to provide a clean, polish and a fresh seal. Travertine is a popular choice for kitchen flooring due to its relatively high durability and distinct features. My task was to get this floor back to looking its best.

Cleaning badly stained grout

My priority was to address the badly stained grout so I cleaned the grout lines by hand using a combination of hand brushes and Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. The surface was pre-wet with water, before a solution of Grout-Clean Up and clean water was applied to the surface. The brushes were then used to agitate the solution. Grout Clean-Up contains a mix of concentrated phosphoric acid and cleaner designed to penetrate below the surface of the grout to remove grout stains, smears and mineral deposits.

As you can see from the photos, Grout Clean-Up made an immediate difference to the appearance of the tiles. This product is suitable for use on masonry and acid resistant surfaces. After completing the clean, I gave the floor a thorough rinse to neutralise the floor after cleaning and removed as much of the water as possible using a wet vacuum.

Travertine Tiled Kitchen with Stained Grout Northampton

Burnishing Travertine tiles

Following this, I paid attention to the tiles themselves, cleaning them to achieve a polished effect by using a system of burnishing pads. Tile Doctor burnishing pads comprise a set of four pads varying in grit type, from Coarse and Medium to Fine and Very Fine. I applied all four pads in turn to the floor, stopping to rinse the floor in between each. The result was a high quality polished finish.

I then left the floor to dry completely overnight, before commencing the seal the next day. My choice of sealing product was Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying sealer that both enhances the natural appearance of the stone and provides a durable surface seal.

Travertine Tiled Kitchen with Stained Grout Northampton

My client was very pleased with the finished product, and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system: “efficiently done”, yielding “good results”.
 
 

Dealing with Stained Grout in a Travertine tiled kitchen in Northamptonshire

Cleaning up newly installed Grout in Titchmarsh

This customer from Titchmarsh near Kettering was unhappy that the Porcelain floor tiles that were installed in her kitchen six months prior were proving difficult to clean and that the grout line had turned from a grey to black and whatever she tried she just could not keep this floor clean. On inspection I soon discovered that no or very little sealer had been applied to the Porcelain which is not unusual as most Porcelain does not require a sealer however Micro Porous Porcelain does and she should have been advised by the shop that sold her the tiles that this was the case. A quote was given which she was happy with and I returned the following week to sort the problem out.

Deep Cleaning Porcelain Tile and Grout

To protect the kitchen units I covered them in a plastic and then moved onto to deep cleaning the tiles with a dilution of Tile doctor Pro Clean which was applied and left to soak in for a while before hand scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees with stiff brushes. This did made an improvement but something stronger was required to get the grout looking better so it was back down to the floor with hand brushes again but this time I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is an acid that can remove grout smears and mineral deposits, in the end I actually used two litres of Grout Clean-Up to restore the grout to about 95% of its correct appearance and once done I gave the floor a thorough wash down to remove any trace of product.

Dirty Grout in Titchmarsh Kitchen During Cleaning

Sealing Porcelain Tile and Grout

This grout should have been correctly sealed from day one and luckily for the client it came up to her satisfaction otherwise the only other option would have been to use a Grout Colourant which would have been more costly but cheaper than replacing the grout altogether. Had the grout been much older this may have been the best option as I suspect the result from cleaning would have been less effective. The last step was to seal the tiles and grout using Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural look sealer that provides maximum stain protection and is recommended for use in kitchens. Before leaving I gave the client written instructions on maintenance which she found very helpful.

Dirty Grout in Titchmarsh Kitchen After Cleaning

 
 

Cleaning and Sealing Porcelain Tile and Grout in a Northamptonshire Kitchen