Apologies in advance for the quality of the photographs below, they were taken in the sitting room of an old 18th century cottage near Weymouth and the lighting was not its best, although I’m sure fans of the TV series Poldark would have loved it. The floor was 20m2 Portland Limestone flags which hopefully you can see was not looking its best and I suspect it had been some time before it had been given a thorough deep clean as it was now grey, grimy and generally tired.
This type of floor is quite common in houses before the 19th century and usually consisted of the beaten earth being covered with thick slabs of stone. When left over time it becomes grey and dry and flaky but when cleaned and sealed it turns almost as black as its near relative Purbeck marble and even shines when polished.
Cleaning Portland Limestone Flagstones
To get the floor clean I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the floor for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a Numatic buffing machine. I also ran a stiff narrow brush along the grout lines to get them clean.
The floor was rinsed down with water to dilute the now soiled cleaning solution and this was extracted using a wet vacuum. To add a little polish to the Limestone I ran over the stone using a fine diamond encrusted burnishing pad, the floor was still a little damp which helped lubricate the process. Once done the floor was given another rinse again using the wet vacuum to remove as much liquids as possible before leaving it to dry off fully overnight.
Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles
The next day I sealed the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer which impregnates the pores of the stone to provide lasting protection. The floor now looks clean and bright and a lot closer to the near-black colour that it should be.
Black Limestone Floor Polished and Sealed in Dorset
This Quarry tiled floor in Milton Abbas, Dorset was over 200 years old and had suffered from various attempts at maintenance over the years. Built at a time before the invention of damp proof membranes there was evidence of efflorescence where damp had risen up through the floor and deposited salts on the tile surface leaving white staining.
Cleaning and Efflorescence removal
Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up was applied to remove the Efflorescence, it’s an Acid based product more commonly used for the removal of grout from the tile surface but also just as handy for the removal of mineral deposits, rust stains as well as efflorescence; I should warn that you can’t leave the product on the tile surface for too long as being an Acid it can damage the tile so it needs to be washed off with clean water soon afterwards.
Once we had tackled the efflorescence problem we set about cleaning and neutralising the floor using a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed 50/50 with NanoTech Ultra Clean which adds nano sized abrasive particles to the solution to make a more effective cleaner. We allowed this to dwell for a short while before agitating it with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad working the solution into the floor. Once we were happy with floor it was washed down with a high pressure spinning tool which is a special floor cleaning machine. Once clean the dirty solution was removed using a Vet Vacuum and then left to dry.
Sealing Quarry Tiles
When the floor was dry we applied Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a specially formulated water-based blended sealer ideal for Quarry tiles that provides both a stain resistant surface seal with a durable low-sheen finish, six coats were required to completely seal the floor.
I think you will agree the floor has been transformed and given a new lease of life.
Efflorescence removed from 200 year old Quarry Tiled floor in Dorset
This Porcelain tiled floor with a faux stone pattern had previously been sealed with a type of Varnish to give them a shiny appearance however the coating hadn’t taken and had come away allowing dirt to get trapped onto surface giving a dirty appearance. It’s a fact that almost all Ceramic and most Porcelain tiles won’t accept a sealer and if they do it has to be one that works with Micro-Porous tiles.
Cleaning Porcelain Floor Tile and Grout
A strong coating remove product was required to shift the remaining varnish from the tiles so we applied a solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined 50/50 with Nano-Tech Ultra Clean which contains tiny abrasive particles. This solution was left to dwell on the tile for some time before working it into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. We took the opportunity to scrub the grout at this point as well using a stiff hand brush before removing the cleaning solution using a wet vacuum which I highly recommend for removing liquids from floors. The floor was rinsed with clean water and checked for any further issues; unfortunately the Grout did not respond as well as we had hoped from the cleaning and still had evidence of staining so after checking with the owner we proceeded to apply a grout colourant.
The stripping of the Varnish, cleaning and Grout colouring made a big difference on the floor appearance and now looks revitalised after we had finished and the customer was happy not seal them again.
These Marble Tiles were laid in an en-suite bathroom at a house in Bridport, the main problems to be addressed WERE that the floor had dulled and lost most of its shine, there was also a coffee stain in the corner which needed to be addressed.
Removing Stains from Marble Tile
To remove the ingrained coffee stain we used Tile Doctor Reduxa, which is a penetrating stain remover used in conjunction with a heat gun, it can take a little time to work but its very easy to apply, I’ve copied the instructional video below so you can see for yourself.
Polishing Marble Floor Tiles
Before polishing the marble tiled floor we set about giving it a quick clean using a mild dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to ensure there was no grit on the floor that could lead to deep scratches when polishing. The floor was then rinsed with clean water to remove and chemical residue and we then began polishing the floor using a set of burnishing pads fitted to a heavy buffing machine. There are four pads in the set each encrusted with very fine diamonds, you start the process with the Red pad which is designed to remove sealers, followed by the White polishing pad for the removal of ingrained dirt then the Yellow smoothing pad and finally the Green polishing pad.
Sealing Marble Tiles
The floor was then washed down to remove any remnants from the polishing process and dried off so it could be sealed. To seal the floor we used a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a premium penetrating sealer that gives a natural appearance and will provide long lasting stain protection going forward.
The customer requested the coffee stain removed and a high shine finish and was not disappointed, my photography skills aren’t brilliant but hopefully you can also see the improvement.
Cleaning and Polishing Marble Bathroom Tiles in Dorset
You can see from the photographs how soiled this Sandstone tiled floor was, any sealer had pretty much been worn away and dirt had penetrated into the pores of the sandstone flagstones.
Cleaning a Sandstone Tiled Floor
We cleaned the floor using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with 10 parts warm water, Pro-Clean has an alkaline formula so it’s safe to use on natural stone, acidic cleaning products can eat away at protective coatings and even dissolve calcareous stone over time. The cleaning agent was worked into the stone surface using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad; we also used a stiff hand brush on the grout lines as the machine can struggle here. The soiled solution was rinsed off with clean water which was removed with a wet vacuum which is a great time saver when you need to suck water off a floor. There were a few areas that needed further attention so we repeated the process until we were satisfied, there were one or two areas where stains had penetrated through to the grit in the Sandstone but we had managed to lighten them significantly, we then left for the evening so the floor could dry overnight.
Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor
We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The sandstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which gives a nice low sheen finish. Sandstone is fairly porous to it took five coats of sealer in the end, the sealer also reduced the appearance of the stains once it had fully dried and I think you will agree from the photographs there was quite an improvement.
This reproduction Victorian tiled floor comprised around 20sqm in the hall and dining room. It had previously been sealed using a rubber based sealer that had got dirty over time, the problem with wax and rubber based sealers especially is that dirt eventually gets ingressed in the sealer and then it just becomes un-cleanable.
Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor
The first step was to remove the old sealer with a product called Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a powerful coatings remover, once applied its best to leave it for a while to soak in before scrubbing the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad; A steamer was used to deal with stubborn areas. The floor was then deep cleaned using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline tile cleaner and the floor scrubbed again using a rotary machine fitted with black scrubbing pad to work the cleaning solution into the floor. The soiled solution was removed from the tiled floor using a wet vacuum and then washed down using a hot pressure wash.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor
We left the floor to try for a few days before coming back to seal it using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying penetrating sealer providing durable surface protection whilst allowing the surface to breath.
Reproduction Victorian Tiled Floor cleaned and re-sealed in Dorset
I had a call from a lady who wanted the Travertine tiled floor in her kitchen cleaned, the Travertine tiles actually extended further into the adjacent room but in this case it was only the kitchen she was concerned with. The sealer that had been used on the floor was ‘Lithofin Stain Stop’ which is sold primarily to the domestic market; it’s an appropriate sealer for Travertine but in a high traffic area such as this kitchen it had been worn down allowing dirt to get trapped in the Travertine.
Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Floor
The remaining sealer was easily removed using a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a heavy duty cleaner and stripper. I removed the kick boards from under the kitchen units and then proceeded to work in the Pro-Clean using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This was followed up with a manual scrub of the grout lines using a stiff brush as machines struggle to reach into the dip between the tiles. Once clean the dirty solution was removed using a Vet Vacuum and then washed down a number of times with clean water to neutralise the floor before re-sealing.
Sealing Travertine Tiles
Since this was a relatively small area of a 60m2 we re-applied the same sealer to ensure it would match up the rest of the floor. Personally for Travertine I always recommend Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a penetrating sealer giving a natural finish especially designed for food preparation areas such as kitchens, another option to consider is Tile Doctor Colour Grow which brings out the deep colour in the stone.
The customer was pleased with results and will most likely be asking us to return later to strip back the entire floor and re-seal.
This Victorian tiled floor had been discovered under a carpet in a house in Blanford Forum by the customer and they wanted it restored back as close to its original condition as possible. The floor had been preserved well under the carpet although it had lost its vibrance and there was evidence of adhesive staining along the perimeter so I suspect the carpet had originally been glued to floor.
Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor
Cleaning the floor was straightforward and just needed a deep clean using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline tile cleaning product together with a rotary machine fitted with black scrubbing pad to work the cleaning solution into the floor. The soiled solution was removed from the tiled floor using a wet vacuum and then washed down with a hot pressure wash. To remove the adhesive staining we used Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a multi-purpose coatings stripper that will usually remove pretty much anything, unfortunately even when applied with a steamer we couldn’t remove the staining completely; sometimes damage and stains to old tiles like this are permanent and you can never guarantee removal of everything all you can do is your best.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor
In order to blend in the stained tiles we choose to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying penetrating sealer providing durable surface protection whilst allowing the surface to breath, overtime further coats of Colour Grow will help to blend in the staining. All in all the results were fantastic and the floor was well worth restoring despite the permanent stain.
Andrew was very polite, turned up when he said he would, rang the day before to say what time etc he would be here. He explained everything very well. – Mrs. Clarke
Victorian Tiled Floor cleaned and sealed in Blanford Forum
It helps to know the cleaning and sealing history of the floor, knowing this information can help with cleaning and sealing decisions. In this case however the slate tiled floor had been laid 15 years prior in a house in Sturminster Newton, around the time the house was built and had not been resealed since so that information was long forgotten.
Cleaning the Slate Tiled Floor
After testing I found it had been sealed with a wax based product which could easily be removed with Tile doctor Pro-Clean. I applied the pro-clean and agitated the solution and scrubbed the floor with a rotary scrubber followed up with a good rinse and hot pressure wash to remove any remaining solution.
Sealing the Slate Tiled Floor
After leaving the slate to fully dry for a few days the floor was sealed with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a topical sealer as opposed to a penetrating sealer. This low sheen sealer still has a adds a little shine and brings out the colour and darkens the slate tile. Interestingly enough she loved it but her husband hated it which just goes to show you can’t please everyone.
It wasn’t long before I got a referral to do the same work on the house next door, both floors were identical and after seeing the first one done the neighbour was keen for me to do hers. The job was the same but the neighbour preferred the raw rustic look of the slate prior to sealing so she chose to go with Tile doctor Ultra Seal which offers good protection but leaves a strong virtually invisible seal.
Both the photographs on this page are from the first house, unfortunately I forgot to take a photograph from the second floor to demonstrate the difference but basically it resembles unsealed slate.
Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Sturminster Newton, Dorset
These Victorian Tiles had been laid in a hallway floor of a house in Dorchester ten years prior and sealed with what turned out to be an impregnator that had long ago lost its strength through oxidation and years of cleaning with flash which is far too strong and attacks sealers. What was left of the sealer was easily stripped off with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean agitated using a rotary scrubber and then washed down with a hot pressure wash.
Sealing Victorian Tiles
We offer the customer a choice when it comes to choice of sealer as there are a number of sealers we recommend and each one can leave a different finish, we can also apply a sample of the different sealers to a few tiles but it isn’t always a reliable way of telling the difference. In this case we sealed the Victorian tiles with 8 coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which is ideal for Victorian tiled floors and leaves a low sheen finish.
However the story doesn’t end there, the customer decided the Victorian tiles looked too shiny and wanted a more matt finish. It’s the customer’s choice in the end so we removed the Seal and Go and sealed the tiles again using Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is a no-sheen, natural look penetrating sealer and the results were great. For regular cleaning of sealed floors we recommend using a Neutral PH cleaner such as Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner.
Cleaning and Sealing Reproduction Victorian Tiles in Dorchester
I had a rather long conversation with this worried terracotta flooring customer in Weymouth. This was a new installation of around 30 m2 of terracotta tiles. The tiler had laid the tiles and was in the process of sealing with a rather nasty rubber based yellow coloured sealer when his assistant walked through from outside with dirty boots. Being a very absorbent tile the dirty prints penetrated into the tiles within the sealer leaving lovely dirty chevrons all over the new floor.
To rectify this the tiler tried first of all with Nitromors and then with Gripex paint and glue strippers. Using these on any tile is not a good idea but on terracotta due to porosity all it was sink in and remain there along with the foot print. So at this point the tiler decided to try angle grinding one of the tiles which eventually he did manage to take out one of the prints although damaging the integrity of the tile. After visiting a tillers forum he was wrongly advised to sand the tiles with an industrial sander so he hired a sander for a day and set about sanding the tile back. After spending a fortune on sandpaper that just got gunked up with rubber sealer and a days of labour he had managed to sand around 5sqm and cover the whole house with orange dust…
This was when he said ‘ok enough is enough just don’t pay me for the tiling’ and walked off the job!
I spent two days stripping the sealer out with Tile Doctor Remove and Go and cleaning with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean assisted with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad in order to remove both the sealer and the dirty foot prints. After a hot pressure wash to clear the pores and remove any remaining chemical from the floor we left it to dry for a week.
Sealing Terracotta Tiles
We sealed the Terracotta Tiles with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a low sheen water based sealer recommended for Terracotta floors. Terracotta is quite porous and in this case the tiles required a lot of sealer where tops had been sanded off and in the end it took 12 coats before if was fully sealed.
The results were outstanding, you wouldn’t know that there had been any damage at all and the customer was very happy, not only that the job cost less than what was due to the tiler.