Soiled Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor Deep Cleaned in Sydenham

The customer had Encaustic Concrete tiles laid in two bathrooms and a hallway around a year ago at their house in Sydenham, South East London. Encaustic tiles have been around for a very long time however they are currently undergoing a resurgence and are once again proving very popular due the varied patterns being created.

Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Sydenham

It’s probably difficult to appreciate from the photographs but this particular brand of encaustic tiles were very porous and had become very grubby since being installed and were now staining easily. I suspect they had only been lightly sealed after installation (if at all) and this had allowed dirt to penetrate the pores of the tile making it difficult to clean.

Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Sydenham Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Sydenham

Cleaning a Dirty Encaustic Tiled Hallway

The process I used for cleaning the tiles was the same one I would use on polished stone such as Limestone or Travertine. It involves applying a set of Diamond encrusted burnishing pads starting with a coarse 400 grit pad fitted to a rotary floor buffing machine and lubricated with water. The water becomes soiled with the slurry from the burnishing process and once all the tiles have been treated its rinsed off with more water.

You then apply the medium 800 grit pad, again with water to help lubricate and rinse off afterwards like before. The process is repeated with the fine 1500 grit pad and the tiles given another rinse.

Before applying the final super fine 3000 grit pad I scrubbed the grout lines with a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner that’s designed for use on Tile and Stone. I used a handheld narrow brush to scrub the grout and followed that up with another rinse with water using a wet vacuum to extract the water and dry the floor afterwards.

Sealing Encaustic Tiles

The beauty of honing the tiles with the burnishing pads in this manner is that the system closes up a lot of the pores in the tiles, making them less porous and easier to seal. Burnishing also uses less water so it wasn’t long before the floor was dry, and I was able to start the sealing process.

I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile and protects it from within. Three even coats with a drying time in between is sufficient for these tiles, and once the final coat had dried I went over the floor with the 3000-grit pad on my floor machine, to leave the floor with a slight sheen.

Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles After Cleaning Sydenham Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles After Cleaning Sydenham

After care is so important when it comes to maintaining a sealed floor, so I always leave the customer with a small bottle of a recommend cleaning product. In this case I left them with Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is made with vegetable oil extract and will help maintain the patina on the floor.

Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles After Cleaning Sydenham
 
 

Professional Encaustic Tiled Floor Renovation in Kent

Polished Limestone Tile Renovation in Beckenham

This modern town house in Beckenham had a Limestone tiled floor laid in the family room, kitchen, utility room and hallway. It had been some time since it was last polished and was now starting to look flat and even grubby in places.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Beckenham

A polished stone floor needs regular attention in order to keep it looking good and this is why we offer a maintenance program where we pop back to the property once a year to top up the sealer and re-polish. In this case a thorough clean, polish and re-seal was required and due to the large area to be cleaned and the need to move furniture around it would have to be done in three stages.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Beckenham

Stripping and Polishing Limestone Tiles

The best way to restore high quality stone like this is to hone the floor using varying grits of abrasive floor pads. Tile Doctor have developed a technique for this known as burnishing which is a version of stone polishing that involves the application of Diamond encrusted pads. Each pad in the system has its own level of grit and is applied in sequence from Coarse to Very Fine in order to clean and re-hone the finish on the stone.

I swept the floor to remove any loose dirt and grit and then began the burnishing process using a
Coarse 400 grit pad lubricated with water, then after rinsing and wet vacuuming the floor with water I moved on to the Medium 800 grit pad, Fine 1500 grit pads. The next step was to get the grout as clean as possible by scrubbing in a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with a narrow stiff brush. Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline product that is safe to use on Tile and Stone and is a good grout cleaner. With the Limestone tiles and grout now clean I gave the floor another quick rinse and finished honing the section with a very fine 3000 grit pad that gives the stone a final polish. You don’t need too much lubrication with this last pad, just a spray of water.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Once the floor section was dry it was sealed with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnated sealer that protects from within and really brings out the brown colours in the Limestone. Once the sealer was dry I polished the floor using Tile Doctor Shine Powder which is a stone polishing compound that is worked into the floor wet, left to dry and then buffed off with a white buffing pad to leave a durable high shine on the stone.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Beckenham

As I mentioned at the start this was a large area that had to be completed in three sections, so it took a few days in order to complete the whole floor. It was worth waiting for however and the customer was very pleased with the finish. For general day to day cleaning of polished stone we recommend using Tile Doctor Stone Soap which not only cleans but also adds patina to the finish, I left with a complimentary bottle, so she could try it.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Beckenham

 
 

Professional Renovation of a Large Polished Limestone Floor in Kent

Deep Cleaning Bathroom Tile & Grout in Beckenham

Recently I was asked to renovate the tile and grout of this windowless bathroom in a Beckenham flat which was not looking its best. The Ceramic tiles had become dull due to a build up of Limescale and the grout had become stained from shampoo dyes and mould.

Ceramic Bathroom Tiles Grout Before Cleaning Beckenham

Without strong ventilation and regular cleaning most bathrooms can end up with these problems however with the right products and techniques they can be renovated as you will see below.

Ceramic Bathroom Tiles Grout Before Cleaning Beckenham

Deep Cleaning Bathroom Tile and Grout

My first action was to apply a liberal amount of Tile Dr Oxy-Gel which is a strong alkaline tile and grout cleaning product that comes in a gel form. Being a gel it’s able to sticks to vertical surfaces for longer allowing it to break down the Limescale and soap residue that had taken up residence. Once it had been left to dwell for around thirty minutes, it was scrubbed off with water and a pan scrapper and then dried with a micro cloth. You can use this process with glazed ceramic tiles like these but for natural stone I would have used a different approach.

I then sprayed Tile Doctor Duo Clean, which is a grout cleaner and mould remover, onto the grout lines. I left the grout with the Duo Clean on it for about ten minutes before scrubbing and rinsing off with water.

The process was repeated where needed until I was happy that the tile and grout were as clean as possible however to really give the bathroom a fresh look I decided to completely renovate the grout with the application of a Grout Colourant.

Grout Colouring Bathroom Wall Tiles

There are ten colours to choose from in the Tile Doctor range of Grout Colourant’s and in this case I felt the best outcome would be to use a White colourant to match the tiles and restore the original look of the bathroom; the customer however wanted a grout colour that would provide a contrast against the white tiles, so in the end we opted for a light grey colour.

The colourant is easily applied directly to the grout and in this case I waited for the tiles to dry before applying two coats with the aid of a small brush making sure to remove any excess that comes into contact with the tile.

I finished the renovation by cutting out the original mastic sealant from around the bath and replacing with a new mould resistant silicone in white to match the bathtub.

Ceramic Bathroom Tiles Grout After Cleaning Beckenham

The bathroom now looks transformed and the epoxy grout colourant adds a layer of protection to the grout that will keep it looking good for some time to come.
 
 

Bathroom Tile Renovation in Kent

Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Extended and Refreshed in Sevenoaks

This customer has recently purchased a house in Sevenoaks and was looking to extend and reconfigure the interior layout. As part of this, they had removed a wall, effectively extending the hallway which had been tiled in fantastic original Victorian tiles. Naturally, they felt the extended hallway should look the same and wanted the Victorian tiles extending into this new area with matching tiles.

Victorian floor before cleaning Sevenoaks

Also, the existing tiles had not been cleaned and sealed for some time and were now overdue a deep clean and fresh seal, this however would to work to our advantage as cleaning the existing floor and then sealing the whole floor in one go would help the new tiles blend in with the original.

Victorian floor before cleaning Sevenoaks

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway

To clean the floor, I applied several different products. When cleaning Victorian tiles, I usually start by applying our heavy duty cleaner known as Tile Doctor Remove and Go because it is particularly effective at breaking down grime that has been built up on these tiles over many years, and as its name suggests strips away any old sealer. This is left to dwell on the tile for ten to fifteen minutes before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer.

Once the cleaning slurry from the Remove and Go had been vacuumed up and cleared completely from the area, I then applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, a high alkaline cleaner which helps to get deep into the stone to eliminate ingrained dir and staining.

I finished the deep cleaning process by applying a solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is an acid-based cleaner that is good for removing grout haze and other mineral deposits such as effloresce. After diluting it with water, I used it to rinse the floor, neutralising any efflorescence and limescale. It also assisted in opening the pores in the clay based tiles to get them ready for an impregnating sealer.

Laying a Victorian Tiled Hallway

The next step was to extended the hallway using reproduction tiles which I had sourced to match the existing Victorian pattern. There were also a couple of areas where the existing tiles need replacing. Rebuilding Victorian tiled floors is quite a common request for Tile Doctor so over the years we have built up a good list of suppliers and often source tiles from ebay that we keep in stock in case someone needs them.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

One the new tiles were laid and the grout had gone off I returned to complete the project by sealing the whole floor with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour-enhancing impregnating sealer that leaves the floor richer in colour while retaining the natural looking matte finish requested by the customer.

Victorian floor after cleaning and rebuilding Sevenoaks

The photos show just how great the results were – the customer was very pleased with their newly extended and refreshed Victorian tiled hallway.

Victorian floor after cleaning and rebuilding Sevenoaks

 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration and Extension in Sevenoaks

Rebuilt Victorian Tiled Hallway Cleaned and Sealed in Bromley

Not too long ago I was called to the large town of Bromley, where my client was in the process of renovating an Edwardian house. The house has a fascinating original geometric Victorian tiled hallway which had previously been covered in carpet which my client now wanted restoring and extending.

Before beginning my work I had an initial consultation with the client and liaised with the builder. It was agreed that the existing floor joints would be strengthened and the current floorboards would be replaced with ply sheets, allowing for the area to be fitted with new Victorian tiles, ensuring that these were consistent with the original design.

Geometric Victorian Floor Restoration Bromley Before

Restoring a Victorian tiled hallway

The first task was to clean the original tiles so that they would blend in with the fresh, new tiles. To do this I mixed a solution of three parts Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (a high alkaline cleaner) to one part clean water, combined with a small quantity of NanoTech HBU. NanoTech HBU is a penetrating cleaner which uses nano-sized particles to reach areas other cleaners simply can’t in order to lift out difficult stains and ingrained dirt.

This solution was washed over the floor, and was left to dwell for five minutes. I then used my rotary machine with a black pad to agitate and work the solution into the dirty tiles. After completing this initial clean I used a wet-vac machine to hoover up the resulting residue.

There was also some glue residue around the edges of the floor from where carpet grippers had been placed years before. To remove this I used Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which breaks down adhesives, waxes and old sealers. I covered the treated area with plastic to prevent it from drying out, before leaving it to sit for a couple of hours. Once the product had begun to break down the glue I then agitated it with a scrubbing pad to remove the residue. The area was then cleaned with the Pro-Clean/NanoTech HBU solution.

Tiling with Victorian floor tiles

Once the old floor was clean I started laying down the new floor using a matching set of tiles I had managed to source. Victorian tile designs are still very popular so many of the original designs can still be found being made today.

Geometric Victorian Floor Restoration Bromley During Tiling Geometric Victorian Floor Restoration Bromley During Tiling

Once the tiles had been stuck to the new hardboard I was able to give both floors a general clean with a weak dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to remove any dirt from tiling etc, this was followed by a rinse and the use of a wet vacuum to get the floor as dry as possible before sealing.

Geometric Victorian Floor Restoration Bromley During Tiling

Sealing a Victorian tiled hallway

After leaving the house for more than 24 hours to allow the hallway to dry completely, I returned to seal the tiles. After inspecting the area to ensure no excess moisture remained, I applied five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, a water-based topical sealer, to both the old and new tiles.

This gave the entire hallway a nice sheen finish (as you can see from the photographs), as well as a robust surface seal to protect the tiles from dirt and wear in the future.

Geometric Victorian Floor Restoration Bromley Tiling Complete

Once the sealing process had been completed, it was near impossible to distinguish between the old and new tiles and as you can imagine the customer was very pleased with the end result.

Geometric Victorian Floor Restoration Bromley Sealed

 
 

Victorian tiled Hallway restored, rebuilt and extended in Kent

Reclaimed Quarry Tiles Patio Restoration in New Cross, SE London

This customer based in New Cross South East London had a significant problem with their patio. Their home is a period Victorian property so when choosing a stone for the patio, they bought reclaimed quarry tiles to marry up with the period of the house, and proceeded with their DIY project. Unfortunately they were not aware that quarry tiles are porous until sealed, and grout left on the tile and not wiped off immediately, will leave a grout haze or in this case stick to the tile altogether.

Quarry Tile Restoration Before
I inspected the tiles and confirmed this was the worst case of grout haze I had ever seen; un-deterred I proceeded to carry out a test clean (you can see this reflected in the photograph below) and this demonstrated successfully that the tiles could be restored.

Quarry Tile Restoration Tester

Cleaning Patio Quarry Tiles

Satisfied with the results of the test clean I proceeded to clean the rest of the floor. For this I used Tile doctor Grout Clean-Up which contains concentrated acid and is designed to penetrate below the surface to remove grout smears; this was diluted 1 to 1 with water which is a very strong mix. I sprayed the solution onto the tiles, working 1sqm at a time, leaving it to dwell on the tiles for a few minutes before scrubbing the tiles by hand with a rough pan cleaner. I then rinsed the area off with water and used my wet vac to remove the soiled solution. The strong mix had the desired effect on the Quarry tiles but it was necessary to go over the area again after spotting some of the worse stains the first application had missed. Happy with the result, I carried out this process across the rest of the patio, working 1 sqm at a time.

Sealing Kitchen Quarry Tiles

When I was finished the customer was very happy with the result, and now had a patio they could use. The customer was keen to carry on with their DIY project, and wanted to seal the patio themselves, so I advised them to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a colour intensifier and impregnated sealer; this will both protect and enhance the reclaimed quarry tile into the future.

Quarry Tile Restoration After
 

Removing grout haze from reclaimed Quarry Tiles in London

Bathroom and Kitchen Tile Refresh in Greenhithe, Kent

This customer from Greenhithe, Kent contacted Tile Doctor to have the tiles in her bathroom refreshed; the tiles which were looking tired and poor ventilation had caused her grouting to go black. This is not uncommon in the UK due to the inclement weather and tighter building regulations designed to promote draught proofing and insulation leaving moisture trapped in the house.

Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaning

I first started off by cleaning all the tiles down with a weak solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaning product; there wasn’t a large amount of grime on the tiles and just general wear and tear on the floor with Limescale and water marks on the wall tiles. I then set about cleaning up the blackened grout with a steam cleaner followed by Tile Doctor Grout Colourant Pre-Treat cleaner, an acid based cleaner that etches the grout in order for it to accept the grout colourant. After cleaning and etching the grout joints they were rinsed down with plenty of water to remove any trace of chemical and then dried them out to receive the grout colourant.

Bath Tile Before Cleaning Kitchen Tile Before Cleaning

Removing Grout Haze from Quarry Tiles

The grouting to the wall tiling in the bathroom was white, and the customer wanted it looking the same only fresher, so white grout colourant was applied. The grouting to the kitchen floor was originally a sand colour, but the customer wanted something more contrasting this time, so natural grey was used. Once the grout colourant was applied, it was allowed to set for 30mins before the edges were cleaned up. I finished by renewing the mastic sealant around the edges of the bath.

Bath Tile After Cleaning Kitchen Tile After Cleaning

The job took a day and as you can see from the photographs made a huge difference to the bathroom and kitchen, needless to say the customer was really happy with the end result.

Bathroom and Kitchen Tile and Grout Refresh

Cleaning and Removing Grout Haze from a Quarry Tiled floor in Kemsing, Kent

The attached pictures are of a Quarry Tiled floor in a kitchen and family room of a cottage in Kemsing, Kent. The cottage was undergoing a full renovation and extension, and the quarry tiled floor was recently installed, however it was not sealed prior to grouting, and a grey grout haze was now sitting across the whole floor. Quarry tiles are highly porous and if not sealed before grouting the grout sitting on the tile soaks in leaving the colour of the grout as a haze over the tile.

Quarry Tile Floor Before

Cleaning Quarry Tiles

There had been a number of tradesmen working constantly on the premises so it was difficult to tell what was grout haze and what was builders mess so I the first job was to give the floor a good clean. For this I used a strong mixture of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with water in a 3:1 ratio. I also added a squirt of Tile Doctor NanoTech Ultra-Clean” which is an abrasive clean cleaner and processed to apply the solution to the floor. I left the solution to dwell on the floor for a short while and then scrubbed the floor using my weighted floor scrubbing machine fitted with a black 17inch scrubbing pad. The cleaning residue was removed using a wet vacuum and we could now see all the grout haze quite clearly.

Quarry Tile Floor Before

Removing Grout Haze from Quarry Tiles

To remove the grout haze one part Tile Doctor “Grout Clean-up” was mixed with three parts water and poured into a spray bottle; Grout Clean-up is a product specifically designed for removing grout haze. This was then sprayed onto the floor, covering an area of around 1m2 and spread so it covered the grout haze evenly. This was allowed to dwell on the tile for three to four minutes before I agitated the solution by hand with a pan scrubber and water. This was then vacuumed up before I took a scrubbing brush and clean water from another bucket and scrubbed the area, before again vacuuming up. This ensured that all the formula had been cleansed from the floor; this process was repeated across the whole floor, working on 1m2 at a time and then left to dry ready for sealing.

Quarry Tile Floor Before

Sealing Quarry Tiles

The floor was now ready for sealing; Quarry tile floors can accept two types of sealer, a topical sealer or an impregnated sealer. I usually recommend Tile Doctor “Seal & Go” for Quarry tiled floors which is a Topical sealer as it is easier to maintain. On this occasion however the customer wanted to wait until they had completed decorating and was happy to seal the floor themselves, so I gave them advice on what sealers to use and how best to use them and left them to it.

Quarry Tile Floor After Quarry Tile Floor After

 

Grout Haze removal from Quarry Tiles in Kent

Tired Black Slate Tiled floor in Sevenoaks restored

The photographs below are of a black slate tiled floor in the kitchen and utility room of a house in Knatts Valley, Sevenoaks Kent, it was laid around six years ago when the kitchen was installed. The owner was now having the whole kitchen re-decorated and was considering laying a new floor as the current slate looked so tired and was difficult to clean.

Black Slate Before Cleaning and Sealing

Cleaning Black Slate Tiled Floor

Normally I would use a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean solution mixed with Tile Doctor Nanotech Ultra-Clean and a floor buffing machine, but due to the deep riven nature of the slate, the floor would have to be scrubbed manually. The floor had been sealed originally and although old and broken there was still a lot of sealer on the floor which all had to be removed. I decided to use the blanket system, which involves a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove & Go mixed with Nanotech Ultra-Clean 70:30 mix. This mixture was applied to floor, and covered in plastic to prevent the solution from drying out. This was left on the floor for two hours, and then scrubbed off, you can just use a natural bristled scrubbing brush, but I find them cumbersome with the solution, so I opt for oversized pan scrubbers, which are pliable for getting into deep riven tiles. As the solution was scrubbed it was rinsed with water and removed with a wet vacuum. When everything was removed for from the floor and vacuumed up, I rinsed the floor again with water and vacuumed up to ensure all the solution had gone, the floor was then left for 48 hours to ensure it had fully dried out.

Black Slate Before Cleaning and Sealing

Sealing Black Slated Tiles

The slate floor was sealed using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which despite being a low sheen finish, it really enhanced the colour of the black slate giving it more depth. The tiled floor was ready for light foot traffic in a few hours, achieving a full cure in 24 hours. The beauty of using a topical sealer such as Seal & Go on a riven stone is that the feel of the stone is smoother and therefore easier to mop. For everyday cleaning purposes we recommend Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, diluted 1:30 with water.

Black Slate After Cleaning and Sealing Black Slate After Cleaning and Sealing

The customer was very pleased with the result and was pleased not to have to replace the floor.

Restoration of tired black slate floor in Sevenoaks