We had our work cut out for us restoring this Terracotta floor installed in the kitchen of a house in Clapham, south west London. Over the years it had been covered with many layers of metallised emulsion polish, this had been put on without a primer and Terracotta being porous it had soaked into the tile. Various efforts to remove it in the past had not been successful and had resulted in some damage to the floor. This had been covered by yet more layers of metallised emulsion which had yellowed and oxidised over time.
Cleaning Terracotta Tiles
Working in stages, I laid down Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a powerful coating remover, to break down the layers of metallised emulsion and then steamed the tiles and scraped and wire-brushed the remnants of it away. Once this was done more Remove and Go was applied to the terracotta tile to remove the polish that had sunk deep into the tile when it was first applied more than twenty years before. Again a steamer was required to help bring out what was left of the original misused sealer! Once I was happy this was followed by a thorough clean with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbed in with a black buffing pad fitted to a Numatic floor buffing machine. Last step was to give the floor a thorough rinse with water in order to remove any remaining chemical and neutralise the Terracotta.
Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles
After two days work cleaning the floor I left it to dry out overnight and returned to seal on the third day using six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the floor and also gives the surface an attractive low sheen. You can see the transformation in the floor and the customers were very impressed and preferred the lightened natural look compared to its previous appearance.
This unusual Emery and Cie Cement Encaustic tiled floor in Ealing W5 had been poorly installed by the tiler with grout haze on the tiles and the wrong sealer used. Cement encaustic tiles are quite delicate and difficult to restore.
Cleaning Cement Encaustic Tiles
I used a red burnishing pad fitted to a buffing machine to cut into the tile surface and remove the grout haze and old sealer. The next step was to apply a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean letting it soak into the tile before working it in to the tile with a red buffing pad. The soiled cleaning solution was then removed using a wet and dry Vacuum and the floor washed down with clean water. This cleaned up the floor well but there were some stubborn stains which were removed using a steamer.
Sealing Cement Encaustic Tiles
Once the floor had dried it was sealed using three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying sealer that provides durable surface protection. Last step was to burnish the tiles again with a green burnishing pad to bring up the shine.
Although the floor had been too damaged to be made perfect, it was very much better when I had finished and the customer was delighted with the result.
Cement Encaustic tiles cleaned and Sealed in London
This was a slate floor in a wet room in a house in Ealing W5. The black semi-riven slate had originally been sealed by the tiler on installation but had never looked how the customer wanted it to.
Cleaning Semi-Riven Slate Tiles
To strip off what was left of the old sealer we used Tile Doctor Remove and Go leaving it to soak into the floor for a while before working it in with a rotary machine fitted with a black buffing pad. The solution was then removed using a wet and dry Vacuum and the floor washed down with clean water. This work removed any remaining sealer but we still needed to give the floor a deep clean and so the whole process was repeated this time using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective heavy duty alkaline cleaning product ideal for cleaning up natural stone floors and grout. After we gave the floor a thorough rinse to remove any cleaning products and neutralise the floor ready for sealing, last step was to remove the water from the floor using the wet vacuum again and leave it to dry out overnight.
Sealing Semi-Riven Slate Tiles
The next way came back and sealed the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow as you can see from the photographs did an excellent job lifting the colour out of the tile.
The customer was very pleased to have a well-sealed black slate with a slight sheen instead of the dull-looking grey floor she had had before.
Semi Riven Slate Tiled Bathroom floor Cleaned and Sealed in London
These photographs are from an Edwardian Quarry tiled porch at a house in central London. The tiles had previously been sealed with several layers of varnish which was now beginning to wear off in places and was making the entrance to the house look very untidy.
Cleaning Edwardian Quarry Tiles
I used a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and Nanotech Ultra Clean and left it to soak into the floor for an hour to break down the old varnish. The floor was then rinsed with clean water and steamed to remove any remaining residue. Following this I used a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean cleaner worked into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a black buffing pad to machine clean the floor giving it another rinse to neutralise the floor of any chemicals before leaving for the day
Sealing Quarry Floor Tiles
The next day the tiles had dried out overnight and were ready for sealing for which we used three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a durable sealer that helps to lift the colour out of the tile.
You can see the difference in the floor from the photographs in fact the customer said that they had put up with the condition of the tiles in the porch for ten years and were very pleased to have found a solution with Tile Doctor.
Edwardian Quarry Tiled floor restoration in London
This Quarry tiled hallway installed in a house in South West London had been varnished many years previously and was worn through leaving a dark and uneven appearance and difficult to clean.
Cleaning the Quarry Tiled Floor
We started cleaning the Quarry Tiles by applying a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked into the floor using a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Although this had an effect on the Varnish it was proving difficult to shift so using a scraper tool it was manually scraped off the floor. The floor was washed down with clean water and then cleaned again using Pro-Clean before finally washing down three more times using clean water in order to neutralise the floor and remove any trace of cleaning products before sealing.
Sealing Quarry Floor Tiles
The floor was left to dry overnight and I came back the next day to apply the sealer. For sealing the Quarry tiles I used five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, it’s recommended for Quarry tiles and adds a nice low sheen to the floor; sealing does take time as it’s necessary to allow each coat to dry before applying the next so it took most of the day to complete the job. You can see the difference in the floor which has come up a lot lighter and is now much easier to maintain.
Removing Varnish from a Quarry Tiled Floor in London SW11
This interesting unusual Granite and Limestone tile combination was installed in the kitchen of a house in Westminster, London. The black Granite was looking Dull and the Limestone had a dirty appearance of the tile surface which had lost its shine and was looking dull.
Stripping the Granite and Limestone Tiled Floor
To resolve we had to strip back the Granite and Limestone surfaces using a set of burnishing pads, these diamond encrusted pads come in a number of different colours each one has a different grade of coarseness and does a different job from scrubbing to polishing. I started with the red pad together with water and then carried on with the white, then yellow pads using water. Finally when I had dried the floor I used a green pad to buff the floor up. This activity took most of the day so left the floor to dry overnight.
Sealing Granite and Limestone Tiles
The next morning I arrived to find the floor had dried out sufficiently for it to be sealed which was done using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a a great sealer for lifting the natural colours out in hard stone flooring such as Granite and Limestone floor as well as providing stain protection. Once the sealer had dried I then finished it all off with a quick buff using a white buffing pad.
You can see from the photographs how the combination of the burnishing pads and sealer and really lifted the look of the floor.
We were asked to take a look at this Terracotta Tiled floor in Tooting, South London which were becoming difficult to clean and in need of a good clean and seal.
Cleaning Terracotta Tile
We started the task by applying a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a heavy duty alkaline product designed for cleaning tiles; this was scrubbed in with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. I had to repeat this process a couple of times and also use a stiff brush along the grout lines which cleaning pads often struggle to reach. Once we were happy the floor was clean it was thoroughly rinsed the floor with clean water to remove any remaining chemical and it was left to dry overnight.
Sealing Terracotta Tile
The following day we checked the floor was clean and dry and took care of any ugly spots that we have overlooked the day before and then proceed to seal. For Terracotta I recommend Tile Doctor Seal and Go, it’s a water based sealer so it doesn’t give off an odour when it’s drying and also offers durable stain protection together with a low sheen finish. Terracotta is a very porous material and in the end the floor actually needed seven coats of sealer applied with a paint pad before it was fully sealed, which naturally takes a long time to apply as you have to wait for it to dry before applying the next coat.
The owner of this house in Wandsworth had imported these hard magnesium Limestone tiles direct from Italy and fitted them into a conservatory three years prior; over they years however they had lost their shine and started to go dull and look uninviting. This is fairly normal for polished stone which does need to be re-polished for it to keep its appearance however the owner was unhappy with the finish and wanted it re-polished. There were also a number of naturally formed holes in the Limestone floor and these needed filling to give a completely even appearance.
Stripping and Polishing the Limestone Tiled Floor
To resolve we filled the holes using grout coloured to match the Limestone surface and then proceeded to strip back the tile surface using a set of burnishing pads. These diamond encrusted pads come in a number of different colours each one does a different job from scrubbing to polishing. I started with the red pad together with water and then carried on with the white, then yellow pads using water. Finally when I had dried the floor I used a green pad to buff the floor up. This activity took most of the day so left the floor to dry overnight.
Sealing Magnesium Limestone Tile
The next morning I arrived to find the floor had dried out and so began to seal it which was done using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which does what it says on the bottle and as well as provided stain protection lifted the natural gold colour in the Limestone floor. Once the sealer had dried I then finished it all off with a quick buff using a white buffing pad.
Apologies for not capturing a good before photograph for comparison, I can tell you however that the owner was very pleased with the results and reported they looked better than when they were new.
Hard magnesium limestone tiled floor polished in Wandsworth SW18
These ceramic mosaic tiles were fitted in square sheets in a shower cubicle at house in London NW1. You can clearly see from the first photograph that the tiler did not remove the grout from the tile before it set leaving grout haze on most of the tile and a nice white band of grout between the mosaic sheets.
Removing Grout Haze
To clean up the ceramic tiles and remove the grout we sprayed on Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is a specialist acid based product that penetrates below the surface of the grout to remove allowing it to be removed. It’s reasonably easy to apply, you need to wet the tile first and then apply a dilution of the Grout Clean-up, leave it dwell on the tile for a few minutes allowing it to get to work and then scrub it in. With it being an acid it’s important not to leave it on the tile very long and wash it off within five minutes and rinse down the tile with water.
Cleaning Ceramic Mosaic Tiles
Once the tiles were free of grout the next step was to clean the tiles for which we used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a versatile alkaline tile cleaning product that can be diluted in different strengths depending on if your looking to clean the tile or strip sealers. In this case we could also of used Tile Doctor Oxy-Pro shower Tile and Grout Cleaner which is a ready to use tile and grout cleaner that comes with a spray nozzle attachment, the spray allows the cleaning agent to mix with air making it lighter and easier to stick to vertical surfaces. This is important as you need to let the cleaning agent dwell on the surface of the tile and grout for a few minutes before scrubbing it by hand with a stiff brush and then washing it off with clean water.
The ceramic mosaics did not need sealing so the renovation was now complete, grout removed and tiles cleaned, and naturally the customer was very pleased with the results and the cubicle was transformed.