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.
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.
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.
Removing grout haze from reclaimed Quarry Tiles in London
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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