Textured Porcelain Tiles cleaned in Chelmsford

“Our Porcelain tiles are unclean-able, please help”

We are always happy to help someone in distress, and this was the opening sentence of a conversation between ourselves and a very distressed home owner in Chelmsford. Chelmsford is a London commuter town situated approximately 30 miles from London.

The tile in question was a Porcelain textured tile, the owners had tried to clean and maintain their floor but due to the nature of the tile, which was very textured and coupled with incorrect maintenance it had left the floor looking very dirty and unloved.

We visited the property to see how we could help. The floor was across a large area in a kitchen diner so was subject to heavy usage, it had been down for some time and the new owners had inherited it from the previous owners who apparently had also had no joy in getting it clean. The floor looked very tired and in need of some attention. We discussed with the client what could be done and agreed a price for the work, booking a date for the following week.

Cleaning a Porcelain Tiled Kitchen Floor

Fortunately, dirt and grease are no match for the power of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, it’s a multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser that’s a very effective tile and grout cleaner. On this occasion I applied a strong dilution using two parts water and left it to soak into the tiles first.

Working in areas of around 2 to 3 square meters at a time the solution was scrubbed into the floor using a rotary buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. We then rinsed the floor thoroughly with water and used a wet pick up vacuum to extract not only the dirt but also any product residue leaving the tiles clean and fresh.

Textured Porcelain Tile Cleaning in Chelmsford

Apologies on only taking one photo, I usually take more but it slipped my mind on this occasion, however if you look closely it clearly shows the difference the cleaning process was making. The client was very satisfied with the work carried out, they knew the floor should have looked a lot better than it had and now it finally looked clean!

Before leaving we explained how to maintain the floor and left a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner to keep the floor looking fresh. Tile Doctor concentrated Neutral Tile and Stone cleaner has been especially formulated for the regular cleaning of Tile and Grout.

 

Professional Clean of a Porcelain Tiled Kitchen Floor in North Essex

Neglected Tumbled Travertine Floor Renovated in Saffron Walden

We recently visited a property in Saffron Walden, a pretty market town in Essex, where the owner asked us to look at her Tumbled Travertine kitchen floor. The floor had been laid and sealed around 10 years prior and the pits in the Travertine had become very dirty with trapped dirt, the floor now had a grubby neglected look about it. No matter how much they tried to clean with a multitude of household cleaners, the floor had become worse and worse which is not unusual as strong chemicals can strip off the sealer completely which protects the floor.

Tumbled Travertine Before Cleaning Saffron Walden Tumbled Travertine Before Cleaning Saffron Walden

It was clear that the original sealer was no longer doing its job and so I discussed the options for renovating the floor whilst carrying out a test clean. Sealers rarely last ten years, in my experience three years is about the maximum you can expect regardless of manufacturers claims. The test clean went well and we agreed a price and a timescale for the work and scheduled it for the following week.

Cleaning a Tumbled Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

It’s not a good idea to apply a different sealer on top of the original unless you know they are compatible, also you can end up with uneven layers so our first step was to strip off any remaining sealer and clean the floor. To do this we used Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is designed for the removal of coatings on tiles such as sealers, adhesives and paints. This product is also great for drawing out ingrained stains and removing heavy grease build-up. It can be used on both vertical and horizontal surfaces. We applied and let it soak into the pores of the Travertine for ten minutes before working it in.

To work the product into the stone and get deep into the pits a coarse 200-grit burnishing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine was run over the floor and lubricated with plenty of water. After than the floor was rinsed with water and the slurry extracted with a wet vacuum. With the floor clean the process was repeated with finer grades of pads from 800-grit through to 1500-grit. As before between pad the floor was rinsed thoroughly to remove any trace of slurry off the tiles and the slurry extracted with the wet vacuum; the more thorough the rinse the better the finish. By the end of day one the cleaning process was completed, stripped of any coatings and the floor looked much better and lighter in appearance which made the room seem bigger.

Sealing a Tumbled Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

The Travertine tiles were left to dry off fully overnight and I started on the second day with a floor inspection to ensure the floor was ready for sealing. At that point I could see that there were a few small areas that needed further attention, so I spot treated them with Hand Burnishing Block. This was followed by spray-burnishing the floor with a very fine 3000-grit polishing pad which is applied using a little water sprayed on to the Travertine. This very fine pad left the floor with a natural looking sheen.

Once we completed this and were satisfied with the finish, all that remained was the sealing of the floor, this will protect it and prevent the dirt from impregnating the pores in the stone. Three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied, leaving thirty minutes drying time between each coat. Colour Grow is an impregnating and colour enhancing sealer which leaves the floor resistant to staining and spills whilst improving the natural brown shades in the Travertine resulting in a lovely finish.

The client was very satisfied with the finish, the whole room had been lifted, looking much lighter and brighter.

Tumbled Travertine After Cleaning Saffron Walden Tumbled Travertine After Cleaning Saffron Walden

 

Professional Restoration of Tumbled Travertine Tiled Kitchen in North Essex

Cleaning a Flood Stained Limestone Fireplace in Chelmsford

The UK has been experiencing an increasing amount of rain over the last few years and this has resulted in quite a few areas being flooded. One of those areas is the old city of Chelmsford in the middle of Essex which is prone to flooding due to the rivers Cam and Chelmer that run through the town.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Flood Staining Chelmsford

I was asked to visit a property in the town that had been flooded over winter and the red dye in the carpet that was lying on the floor adjacent to their lovely Limestone Fireplace had stained the hearth in several places but primarily around the edges.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Red Dye Staining Chelmsford

The fire place had never been sealed and because of this the stone had sucked up the flood water like a sponge. They had drying equipment installed and as the moisture evaporated the red staining became more and more evident. Since then several companies had been to try and remedy the problem and each one was unsuccessful. The couple contacted us, and we went to assess the problem fully equipped to carry out the work.

Cleaning a Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth

Had the Fireplace been sealed we our first task would have been to remove to ensure we would have no issues sealing the fireplace later. In this case however that wasn’t an issue, so we were able to move straight onto cleaning up the stone using a set of diamond encrusted hand-held burnishing blocks. We started with the coarsest block (50 grit) and rubbed the stone with a bit of added water as lubrication, before wet vacuuming away the excess residue. This process was then repeated with progressively finer blocks (100, 200 and 400 grit), and the hearths were given a final rinse with fresh water.

The burnishing blocks are excellent tools to remove scratches and marks from tile and stone and did a good job of removing the red dye from around the hearth. They also took care of some marks that had appeared where the owner had placed a couple of slate tiles on the flat part of the hearth.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Along with these marks were some corrosion spots where a metal ornament had been sitting on the hearth for several years. I treated these with Tile Doctor Rust Away which is a specialist product for removing rust stains from tile and stone after a few applications the stain was gone.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace Hearth

After we had cleaned the fireplace up to the satisfaction of the client we used a smail dryer to dry everything out so that we could finish the job and seal the fireplace the same day. Once the stone moisture levels were at the correct level the Limestone Fireplace was sealed using three coats of Tile doctor Ultra-Seal leaving twenty minutes between coats.

Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen product that impregnates the pores of the stone protecting from within without changing the look of the stone thereby leaving it with a natural appearance. I’m please to say our efforts paid off and the Limestone Fireplace and Hearth is now stain free and looking like new.

Limestone Fireplace After Rust Stain Removal Chelmsford Limestone Fireplace After Flood Stain Removal Chelmsford

 

Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace and Hearth Restoration in Chelmsford

Cleaning Farm Office Safety Flooring in Saffron Walden

It’s worth noting that I don’t just cover Tile, Stone and Grout, the equipment I use works equally well cleaning all types of hard floors including Patios, Vinyl and industrial flooring. An example of this being a request to clean the floors at an office farm near Saffron Walden which is a lovely medieval market town north of Stansted Airport.

Inspecting Farm Office Flooring

It was an incredibly muddy area with lots of tractors and lorries in the yard and poor drainage. As you can imagine all that mud and dirt was regularly being walked into the office and they were struggling to keep it clean. The main issue was that the floor was covered in a specialist textured surface which increases grip and significantly reduces the chance of anyone slipping.

Farm Office Safety Flooring Before Cleaning Saffron Walden Farm Office Safety Flooring Before Cleaning Saffron Walden

Manufactured by a company called Altro this product is known as “Safety Flooring” and given then environment I’m sure it was well specified. The downside of a textured surface however is that it traps dirt and once trapped it can be difficult to shift with conventional cleaning methods and equipment.

Farm Office Safety Flooring Before Cleaning Saffron Walden Farm Office Safety Flooring Before Cleaning Saffron Walden

Deep Cleaning an Altro Safety Floor

The first thing we did was to break out a set of brushes and vacuums in an effort to remove as much dry soil as possible. Once this was done the floor was wetted with a medium dilution of Tile doctor Pro-clean, this product is a great degreaser and after a short time the soil started to lift out of the non-slip textured surface.

After a dwell time of about ten minutes the Pro-Clean was worked into the floor with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffer machine. The machine was run evenly over the floor at a slow speed to reduce splashing. The cleaning solution had turned black at this stage with all the dirt that was being released from the flooring. Once this had been carried out we rinsed the entire floor using our truck mounted cleaning system which is a very efficient machine that applies clean water under pressure to rinse the floor whilst simultaneously extracting the soil back to a recovery tank on the vehicle.

Farm Office Safety Flooring After Cleaning Saffron Walden Farm Office Safety Flooring After Cleaning Saffron Walden

The truck mounted system utilises a powerful vacuum to extracts a lot of the moisture from the floor but to ensure the floor was completely dry we left drying equipment in place to ensure a quick turn-around for the company.

Farm Office Safety Flooring After Cleaning Saffron Walden Farm Office Safety Flooring After Cleaning Saffron Walden

 
 

Industrial Safety Floor Deep Cleaned at an Essex Farm Office

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

We had a request to visit a beautiful Barn conversion on the Essex side of the market town of Bishop Stortford, the lady of the house was concerned about her Terracotta tiled Kitchen Floor which was dirty and had become difficult to maintain.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

After taking look I could see that the sealer had worn down and was no longer preventing dirt from becoming ingrained in the pores of the Terracotta tile. This is a common problem with Terracotta which needs a sealer in place if you want to keep the floor looking its best. I recommended we strip off what was left of the old sealer, give the floor a thorough clean and then re-seal it over the course of two days. As it turns out the floor had not been cleaned and resealed in ten years, so my client was happy for me to do the work.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Floor Tiles

The first step was to strip the floor off any remaining sealer using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The solution was left so soak into the tiles for about twenty minutes before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. At this point I also ran a stiff grout brush along the grout lines to get those clean as well.

The now soiled cleaning solution was rinsed with water and mopped off the floor. Any stubborn marks were then retreated using the same process and when I was happy that the floor was clean the floor was given a thorough rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product.

Having removed the old sealer and cleaned the tile and grout the next step was to apply a new sealer however the tiles needed to be dry to do. I decided therefore to seal the floor the following day and left an industrial air mover in place overnight to help dry out the tiles.

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles

Returning the next day to seal the floor I checked the floor first to make sure it was dry. All was well, so I proceeded to seal the floor starting with a base coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tiles, protecting them from within whilst simultaneously enhancing the colours in the tile.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

Once the Colour Grow had dried I followed up with three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which like Colour Grow is a fully breathable sealer that lets moisture rise through the floor. Colour Grow however is a Matt sealer whereas Seal and Go adds a gives the floor a nice sheen.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal in Bishop Stortford

 
 

Terracotta Floor Tile and Grout Cleaned and Sealed in North Kent

Lustre Restored to Dirty Slate Tiles in Thaxted

The single most important thing you need to do after having a new natural stone floor installed is to seal the tiles. The sealant acts as a barrier of protection for the stone against ingrained dirt, so without it the floor will become very difficult to keep clean.

This is the exact problem faced by my recent customer, who lives in the town of Thaxted in North Essex. Thaxted is a very historic place with over 1000 years of history and several fantastic medieval houses. The Slate kitchen tiles in the property had not been sealed after installation and, despite Slate being naturally durable and hard wearing, the tiles had quickly become dull and difficult to keep clean.

Despite valiant efforts at a DIY restoration, the customer required our professional assistance with deep cleaning and sealing the tiles to restore them back to their best condition.

Slate Tiled Floor Thaxted Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Slate Tiled Floor

To begin the cleaning process, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go across the floor and scrubbed it in using a slow speed rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. Remove and Go is a multi-purpose product: it strips away any old sealer, adhesive and paint stains, and draws out ingrained stains and removes heavy soil build-up. The resulting slurry was then removed using a wet-vac machine.

Next, I focused my attention on the dirty grout lines, treating them with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was then scrubbed in along the grout line using a stiff brush.

There was still evidence of some grout haze on the stone following installation some years back so the floor was then treated to an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner designed to life grout smears haze (smears).

Once done I pressure washed the floor using a specialised spinning tool which blasts the tiles and grout with water to remove ingrained dirt from the most difficult-to-reach areas in the stone. The water is subsequently vacuumed back into a holding tank in my van without causing any splashing or overspill.

Sealing a Slated Tiled Floor

The customer was keen for the restoration to be finished within the space of a single day, so I installed a few Dri-Pod floor dryers to get the floor dry and ready to be sealed in no time. We typically leave at least 24 hours for these types of floors to dry naturally, but in this scenario the floor dryers were able to remove any excess moisture.

To complete the restoration, I applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra to the floor to seal it. This a special acrylic-based sealer that protects the stone and allows for moisture vapour transmission. The makes it ideal for situations in which no damp proof membrane has been installed.

The addition of the sealer gave the floor a beautiful lustre – as you can see from the photos below – and will make the floor much easier to keep clean in the future. After months of difficulty, the customer was over the moon that the floor had finally been restored to its peak condition.

Slate Tiled Floor Thaxted After Cleaning

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty Slate Tiled Floor in Essex

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Repaired, Cleaned and Sealed in Willingale

This Terracotta tiled kitchen in the village of Willingale near Maldon, in the Epping Forest District of Essex had lost its finish and looked slightly dull. The client wanted the tiles restored to a shiny finish and additionally wanted the two cracked tiles replaced in the kitchen doorway.

Terracotta Tile Replacement

I started by removing the two cracked tiles using an angle grinder and cleared away the grout to leave the edges of the remaining tiles as smooth as possible.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Replacement in Willingale Before Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Replacement in Willingale After

Cleaning a Dull and Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

The next stage was to strip and clean the tiles and grout lines. I dampened the tiles with water before applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go, a product which breaks down existing sealers so they can be scrubbed off the tiles and rinsed away. To make the work easier I used a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad to work the solution in and then pressure washed them using a spinner tool attached to a wet extraction machine mounted in my van. This process blasts any remaining dirt and sealer from the stone and grout lines and vacuums the waste into a holding tank in the van.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Repaired and Stripped in Willingale Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Repaired and Stripped in Willingale

This process took most of the day, but just before I left I replaced the broken tiles with two new ones and re grouted them in place, fortunately these tiles were still available and so it wasn’t difficult finding replacements. The tiles and grout were left to dry over night.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

The following morning I damp tested the floor before beginning to seal the floor, this is an important check as damp can upset the sealer and lead to unexpected results.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Testing for Damp Willingale

Once I was satisfied the tiles were dry I applied five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, leaving the stone with a healthy lustre. Seal and Go is a topical sealer that is highly recommended for Victorian, Terracotta and Quarry tiles and being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Cleaned and Sealed in Willingale Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Cleaned and Sealed in Willingale

 
 

Terracotta Kitchen Tiled Floor Maintained in Essex

Shine and Lustre restored to a Limestone Tiled Floor Witham

These Limestone tiles had been laid in a modern property in Witham, an Essex town that sits between Chelmsford and Colchester. The property owners had spent many hours over the years cleaning and sealing the floor to maintain its condition, but while the tiles were in certainly in good shape, they had lost their shine and lustre. The result was quite a dull looking floor that could certainly be improved on.

When the property owners contacted me about the problem, I informed them that due to the hardness of the stone only a process known as burnishing, which involves cleaning and polishing with special gritted pads instead of a liquid product, would do the trick to restore the Limestone tiles.

Burnishing a Limestone Tiled Floor

We use burnishing to restore several types polished stone to looking their best, including Limestone, Marble, and Travertine. Tile Doctor’s burnishing system consists of four diamond encrusted twister pads with varying levels of grit. The pads are graded so that each hones the stone to a greater degree than the previous one, resulting in the build-up of a durable polish and shine on the stone.

Using a small amount of water as lubrication, I worked my way through the system, applying each pad in succession, beginning with the Coarse grit pad, before on to Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads. While polishing the tiles, the diamond encrusted pads also serves to break down any dirt. Thankfully, these tiles were already well taken care off and were not currently suffering from heavy soil build up.

After completing the burnishing process, I promptly rinsed away any cleaning slurry and left the floor to dry.

Limestone tiles before cleaning Witham Limestone tiles after cleaning Witham

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

I returned the property once the floor had dried completely to seal the tiles, with my choice of sealer being Tile Doctor Colour Grow. I applied three coats of the sealer to the tiles, before buffing them for a final time.

Colour Grow is an ideal sealer for Limestone for two main reasons. Firstly, it is an impregnating sealer, meaning it penetrates deep into the pores of the Limestone to provide robust protection against ingrained dirt. Secondly, it contains colour intensifying properties which enhance the natural colours in the Limestone.

I took a couple of photographs before and after (above) in which you can see a significant improvement in the shine and lustre of the Limestone tiles. Most of the cream and tan shades in the Limestone were practically invisible before the burnishing was carried out and a fresh seal was applied – now the tiles stand out as the most prominent feature of the room. Needless to say, the customer was very satisfied.
 
 

Restoring the appearance of a Limestone tiled floor in Essex

Removing 20 Years of Dirt From a Terracotta Tiled Living Room in Halstead

The old town of Halstead, Essex, meaning ‘safe place’ or ‘place of refuge’ in Old English, was the site of this job. Similarly, historic is the property I was called to, a fantastic seventeenth century thatched cottage, situated just on the outskirts of the town.

The owner was keen to have her Terracottatiled living room restored; the tiles had been laid twenty years prior and had been given very little treatment over the following two decades. They were now very dirty and dull looking and were certainly in need of a deep clean, followed by the application of a fresh seal to maintain condition.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Halstead

Cleaning a Dull and Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor

To begin the cleaning process, Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a heavy duty, high alkaline product designed for cleaning Terracotta and many other types of natural stone, was applied liberally to the floor in a dilute form. The product was then left to dwell for a short period, allowing it to seep into the pores of the stone, before being scrubbed into the tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad.

The grout lines should usually be treated individually in the cleaning process since the dirt and stains found here can prove very stubborn, and so they were scrubbed carefully with a special grout brush.

Following this a high pressure spinning tool, which is powered by a machine in my van, was used to blast stubborn ingrained soils from the grout and tile. This tool also serves to rinse the tiles and vacuum all slurry and chemicals back into a waste tank on the van.

The floor was then left to dry fully overnight, allowing for any excess moisture to disappear and leaving the tiles ready to be sealed the following day.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

In the morning I arrived back at the property and promptly for any dampness. Once satisfied with the condition of the tiles, I proceeded to apply Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is an odourless, water-based topical sealer that builds up protection on the surface of the tiles, providing a durable and aesthetically pleasing satin finish.

Terracotta Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Halstead

Since Terracotta is a very porous material, I was required to apply five coats of the sealer, allowing enough to fill the pores completely to offer protection from within.

The results of the restoration were very pleasing for both the customer and myself. I think you will agree that the floor no longer looks like it hasn’t been cleaned for twenty years – in fact, it looks almost brand new!
 
 

Deep Cleaning a Badly Maintained Terracotta Tiled Living Room in Essex