The client had recently moved into this property in Forest Hill SE23 and the previous owner had used a professional cleaning company to give the house a thorough clean prior to moving out. Unfortunately, they had used an aggressive acid based cleaner on the reclaimed encaustic tiles around the shower, causing white staining. I was contacted to see if it was possible to remove the stains and correctly seal the tiles to protect them.
I was pleased to tell them it was indeed possible to restore the tiles and we discussed how I would do this. I gave them my quote which they accepted, and we arranged a mutually convenient time to carry out the work. Encaustic tiles are quite unusual they were traditionally made from clay, but today, most modern versions of the tile are made using cement and are often referred to simply as cement tiles.
Cleaning and Restoring an Encaustic Tiled Shower
The first step was to scrub the tiles with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, an alkaline cleaner that is safe to use on Encaustics. The solution was scrubbed into the tile to ensure any remaining soap scum and surface grime was removed. Once done the tiles were rinsed off with water and I moved onto the next of renovating the appearance of the tiles with a set of handheld burnishing pads.
These pads are made from industrial diamonds that clean and remove scratches renovating the surface and closing the pores of the stone. For general cleaning and honing I would normally start with a 400-grit, but with the staining on these tiles, I started with the 200-grit. Once I had gone over all the tiles with the 200-grit pad with water, I then repeated the process with the 400, 800 and 1500 and 3000 pads in sequence. The tiles were rinsed off after each pad and finally left to dry.
Sealing an Encaustic Tiled Shower
Once the tiles had dried it was time to apply a sealer that would further enhance their appearance and protect them. For this I chose to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow as it’s an impregnating, colour enhancing product. It works by soaking into the pores of the tile where dirt can collect, thus protecting it from within.
The sealer was applied thinly with a cloth to all the tiles and allowed to dry for 30 minutes before the next coat was applied. Due to the porosity of these tiles, I applied four coats until I was satisfied, they were fully sealed. Once the tiles were dry, I buffed them with a dry 3000 burnishing pad to leave them with an appealing satin sheen.
The client was pleased with the result and I explained the best way to clean and maintain the tiles for the future would be to use Tile Doctor Aqua-Pro which is designed for use in bathrooms and gentle enough to use every day. They needed to avoid using strong household cleaners on these tiles otherwise the same issue would occur.
Professional Renovation of Encaustic Shower Tiling in Kent
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.
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.
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.
Professional Encaustic Tiled Floor Renovation in Kent
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.
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.
Professional Renovation of a Large Polished Limestone Floor in Kent
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.
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.
Bathroom Tile Renovation in Kent
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.
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.
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.
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.
Victorian tiled Hallway restored, rebuilt and extended in Kent
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.
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
Kent Tile Doctor