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