Cleaning and Sealing Rough Chinese Slate Floor Tiles in Dorchester

The photographs below are of rough Chinese Slate floor tiles installed at a house in Dorchester; they had not been deep cleaned in a long time and the combination of pets and grandchildren had taken its toll on the floor. Rough Slate from China is a relatively inexpensive product and although long lasting and value for money the texture of the Slate is difficult to maintain and thus difficult to keep clean even if fully sealed

Chinese rough slate before cleaning Dorchester

Cleaning Chinese Slate Tiles

To clean the tiles I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the Slate for a good ten minutes before working it in with a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This action removed the ground in dirt and any old sealer and a stiff brush was then run along the grout lines with more Pro-Clean to get them as clean as possible. The floor was then rinsed thoroughly and any stubborn areas retreated; a wet vacuum was used to extract the soiled water from the surface of the stone in order to get it as dry as possible.

Sealing Chinese Slate Tiles

The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal using three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealer which is a water based sealer (so no smell) that leaves a nice subtle shine to floor.

Chinese rough slate after cleaning Dorchester

The slate and the grout looked really dull and dirty before we started and now the floor looks like it was recently laid.

For aftercare we don’t recommend the use of a Floor Steamer as they work on a 100 degrees and this damages the sealer; for regular cleaning use Tile Doctor Ph Neutral Cleaner using a two bucket system, whereby you apply the cleaning solution with a jug, wipe the floor and then squeeze off the excess into the second bucket, this stops you reapplying dirty water onto a clean floor..
 
 

Chinese Slate Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Dorset

Cleaning and Sealing A Black Limestone Patio in Broadstone, Dorset

Earlier in the year I was contacted by a client down in Broadstone (a town supposedly named after a local legend) to revamp 100 square metres of black Limestone patio, which hadn’t looked right ever since it was first laid. The main problem was water ingress where water had been allowed to seep into the stone due to a poor sealing job. This had caused natural salts to form, and the resulting rough surface had collected grout haze at installation. I decided to run a test on a small patch of the patio to determine the best methods for cleaning and removing the grout haze.

Cleaning Limestone patio with water ingress and grout haze

I decided to conduct my test on just one square metre of the Limestone patio. First of all, I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up on the grout, a cleaner which helped to remove the grout haze by penetrating beneath the surface and lifting the muck out.

After cleaning the grout I moved onto cleaning the tile itself, using a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and clean water in combination with a black buffing pad. After achieving some great results with this cleaning method, I left the test area to dry completely before the seal, as any excess moisture left on the surface could potentially affect the performance of the sealer.

Sealing the Limestone patio

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a multi-use product which works well on both internal and external unpolished surfaces. One of the great things about Colour Grow is that it is a colour intensifying sealer, meaning it really helped to bring out the black colour in the Limestone which had previously been affected by dirt and water ingress. The sealer will also provide durable protection against these types of problems in the future.

black limestone patio test clean patch in Broadstone

As you can see from the photos, the result of my test was very good – the stone became almost completely black once again, and the defects in the grout were successfully removed. Nonetheless, I decided to leave the test patch for a month to see how well it withstood the effects of the weather. The test patch proved very durable – proving that the sealing had been done properly this time – and my client subsequently hired me to restore the remaining 99 square metres of patio!
 
 

Cleaning a Stone Patio in Dorset

Repairing and Sealing a cracked Travertine tiled floor in Sandbanks, Poole

Every now and again, I get a call from a client located on the small peninsula of Sandbanks, Poole. Sandbanks, sometimes referred to as ‘Britain’s Palm Beach’, is known for its fantastic beach and high value property. My client asked me to take a look at a Travertine floor in his kitchen which was, in fact, more highly polished than he had wanted. The polished finish had worn off the travertine tiles where they had been walked on, leaving a dull trackway running down the centre of the kitchen. With its distinct characteristics, travertine is a popular choice for kitchen flooring, although it is also quite often used in bathrooms. In any case Travertine tiles will need regular maintenance to keep them looking their best.

Travertine tiled floor before cleaning in Sandbanks

Unfortunately, the kitchen floor must have experienced some sort of settlement or shrinkage as a long crack has appeared, which ran along the same line as the dull trackway. It is not uncommon for Travertine tiles to crack due to wear over time, or even bad fitting in some cases. While the exact cause of the crack was unclear, the homeowner concluded that the floor was certainly in need of restoration.

Repairing a crack in a Travertine tiled floor

Replacing the Travertine tiles was not an option due to a lack of spare tiles, so I opted instead to fill the crack in the floor using Harbro Stone Filler, an epoxy stone filler, matching the colour of the tile as closely as possible. I left this to set, before sanding down the excess filler.

My next action was to use a set of Tile Doctor Diamond burnishing pads to sand out any scratches and restore a more even shine to the floor, as per the client’s request. For polished stone, I recommend using a set of four burnishing pads applied in order: Coarse, Medium, Fine, and Very Fine. I used these one after the other with a little water to lubricate and restore the surface polish to the desired level.

Sealing a Travertine tiled floor

The next day, I returned to seal the floor with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. Colour Grow is a colour enhancing, impregnating sealer which penetrates deeply into the pores of the stone, thereby preventing dirt from becoming ingrained within. This particular sealer also enhances the natural colours within the Travertine tile, whilst also providing long term durable protection.

Travertine tiled floor after cleaning in Sandbanks

Although the crack could not be made to disappear completely, its appearance was much improved. The customer was also very pleased with the long-lasting lower sheen provided, describing it as “the finish I had wanted in the first place when the tiles were fitted”.
 
 

Cracked Travertine Tiled Floor Repaired in Sandbanks, Poole

Removing Glue from a Portland Limestone Patio in Poole Harbour

This Portland Limestone patio on Round Island in Poole Harbour had, together with a sun room indoors, been covered in a thick layer of carpet glue which had set hard in the warm sun over the years and the owner had found it impossible to remove themselves. There’s no bridge so the island is serviced via a boat from the mainland, which as you can imagine made it a bit of a task getting all my equipment over there.

Cleaning Portland Limestone Flagstones

I began by using 17″ Starke Silicone carbide discs which at 24 grit are much coarser that the burnishing pads we usually use. To get the right level of traction I used the disks on a Numatic buffing machine that had been weighted down and the combination worked well to cut through the glue and turn as much as possible of it to dust.

Portland limestone patio round island begin

To remove the remaining glue I soaked the Limestone in a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and left on the glue overnight under sheets of plastic and dust sheets so it wouldn’t dry out it. It also ensures the product remains in contact with the glue and kept it away from any wildlife which might use the patio when I wasn’t there.

The next day the remaining glue had softened and I removed as much as I could using a black buffing pad attached to the buffing machine together with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean before applying more Remove and Go again and steaming each tile in turn whilst brushing with a brass coated Spid wire brush.

Portland limestone patio round island during

This was quite a lot of work and as the stone was not dense and had wide pores the glue had sunk in deep when it was applied and I had to repeat this process several times before the stone was clean. Finally I used a pressure washer to thoroughly rinse and clean the stone before re-pointing where necessary.

Portland limestone patio round island finished

 
 

Portland Limestone patio deep cleaned in Dorset

Old Black Portland Limestone Flagstones restored in Weymouth

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.

Portland Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Weymouth

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.

Portland Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Weymouth

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.

Portland Limestone Tiled Floor After Sealing Weymouth

 
 

Black Limestone Floor Polished and Sealed in Dorset

Old Terrazzo tiled hallway floor restored in Southbourne

I do enjoy breathing new life into old floors as was the case with this Terrazzo tiled hallway floor in Southbourne near Bournemouth, installed in 1924 it had been knocked about by various building alterations and then finally covered in a carpet which had been glued to the floor.

Terrazzo Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Southbourne

Removing Adhesive from Terrazzo tiles

Stubborn remnants of the carpet adhesive were removed using Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU Remover which is applied to the tiles and then left to soak in for a before being scrubbed in with a black buffing pad and a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. HBU actually stands for Heavy Buid-up Remover and it’s a great problem solver that penetrates through tough stains and coatings so they can be easily removed. The floor was then washed down with clean water and any areas that needed further attention were retreated until I was satisfied with the floor was clean and free of glue.

The next step was to re-polish the Terrazzo using a set of of Tile Doctor burnishing pads which are applied in sequence from Coarse through to Super Fine with a little water to help lubricate. The coarse pad removes any surface grime and old sealant and the remaining pads build up the polish to bring back the original shine. The floor is washed down between each pad to remove the soil generated during the process.

Sealing Terrazzo Tiles

Cleaning took most of the day so I returned the next day to apply the sealer testing the floor first to ensure it was dry. To seal the floor I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer that impregnates into the pores of the stone and prevents contaminates staining the floor.
The customer decided that she would conceal the concrete patches at the edges of the floor using Colours Stone Effect speckled spray paint which is available in B&Q in her own time.

Terrazzo Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Southbourne

As you can see from the photos the floor looked a hundred times better and the customer was very satisfied with the result.
 
 

Restoring a 1924 Terrazzo Tiled Floor in Dorset

Black Limestone Flagstone floor restored in Sherbourne

This Georgian house in the beautiful historic town of Sherbourne, Dorset still had its original floor of black limestone flagstones. These were in a sorry condition, having been smoothed over with a cement screed to make it level for a carpet and, before that, painted at various times with both red and green floor paint.
A combination of cement, hardened carpet glue and old floor paints all needed to be completely removed before I could even begin to clean the original stone beneath.

Black Limestone Sherbourne Before Cleaning

Removing Sealer from Limestone Floor Tiles

After chipping away the areas of cement with a chisel I used an application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the stone for a while in order to loosen the old floor paint before steaming and wire-brushing the entire floor. This I followed with an application of Tile Doctor “Pro Clean” scrubbed in with a black buffing pad under fitted to a Numatic buffing machine to further clean the slabs.

Next step was to cut back and re-polish the Limestone flagstone using of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse pad with a little water, then a medium pad, fine pad and finish with a very fine polishing pad rinsing the floor between each pad.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

Following all this treatment the flagstones needed a few days to thoroughly dry out after which I returned to seal them with Tile Doctor “Colour Grow”, a long lasting impregnating sealer which enhanced the natural colour of the tiles and turned them from a drab grey to a rich and shining black.

Black Limestone Sherbourne After Cleaning
 

Black Limestone Floor Polished and Sealed in Dorset

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles at Canford Cliffs

Slightly unusual job this one involving a Limestone tiled floor at a house in Canford Cliffs which is a beautiful part of Dorset near Poole overlooking the sea. The tiles had only recently been laid and then sealed by a tiler, unfortunately however too much sealer had been applied and it had been allowed to dry on the surface of the tiles causing a smeared and messy appearance.

Limestone Tiled Floor Canford Cliffs Before

Removing Sealer from Limestone Floor Tiles

To remove the sealer from the floor the surface needs to be cut back and re-polished using of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse pad with a little water, then a medium pad, fine pad and finish with a very fine polishing pad, this takes some time but the effect it quite transforming, it does build up slurry on the floor so it all needs to be rinsed down using water and a wet vacuum to remove the liquids the wet vacuum also helps to get the floor dry.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

The floor was left to fully dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal the Limestone tiles using a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow carefully applied using a B&Q paint pad. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that fills the pores in the Limestone to prevent other contaminates staining the stone; it’s also a colour enhancing sealer that lifts the natural colours in the Limestone. Once dry the floor was buffed using a Numatic buffing machine fitted with a soft white pad to give a perfect finish to the floor.

Limestone Tiled Floor Canford Cliffs After
The floor is now looking as it should and the customer was delighted with the result, needless to say the tiler was very relieved.

Limestone Floor Polished and Sealed in Dorset

Cleaning and Sealing Shell Slate Kitchen Tiles in Lytchett Minster

This Shell Slate tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a house in Lytchett Minster and had not been sealed after its installation over twenty years ago and had now become deeply ingrained with dirt which the owner could not remove however hard she tried.

Cleaning Shell Slate Tiles

To clean the tiles I used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted one part cleaner to five parts water, the solution was applied it to the floor and then left to soak in for ten minutes before working it in with a Numatic buffing machine fitted with 17″ medium firm brush. Next the tiles were steamed using an Earlex steamer and stubborn stains cleaned by hand using sections from a cut-up black buffing pad and a Spid brass-coated wire brush where necessary. Being riven slate the floor was too uneven to successfully clean using a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine as the sunken parts of the tile would have been missed and so cleaning tile by tile was the only option to ensure the slate was returned to the best possible condition. A stiff brush was also run along the grout lines before thoroughly rinsing the floor to remove any trace of cleaning product.

Shell Slate at Lytchett Minster Before Cleaning

Sealing Shell Slate Tiles

The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer which is a penetrating sealer that occupies the pores in the tile preventing contaminates from lodging there and enhances the many beautiful colours of the Slate as well as leaving a subtle shine to floor.

Shell Slate at Lytchett Minster After Cleaning
The customer was very pleased with the result and said that she hadn’t before seen the true colour of her floor.

Shell Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Dorset

Cleaning a Travertine tiled hallway in Sandbanks

Occasionally I get a call to pop down to Sandbanks on the Dorset Coast which is well known for containing the most expensive property in the UK outside of London. This particular residence had a Travertine tiled hallway which was badly in need of renovation, it had become very soiled and dirt had become trapped in holes that has opened up in the stone over time and now needed cleaning and filling.

Travertine Tiled Floor Sandbanks Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Filling a Travertine Tiled Floor

I began by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the floor for ten minutes before being worked into the tile and grout using a Numatic buffing machine fitted with a medium brush. I then dried the floor using a hot air gun and filled the holes with Harbro Stone Filler which is an epoxy filler as hard as the stone itself. I carefully scraped off the excess filler before leaving it to set overnight.

Burnishing Travertine Tiles

The next day I used 17″ wet and dry paper to remove the excess filler and to cut out some of the deep scratches in the travertine. This I followed by honing and polishing the floor using Tile Doctor burnishing pads which are diamond encrusted and come in a setup of four pads which are applied one after the other from Coarse, Medium, Fine and then Super Fine to restore the surface polish.

Sealing Travertine Tiles

On the third day I returned to seal the Travertine tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone occupying them and in doing so preventing dirt and soil from becoming ingrained into the stone. Colour Grow is also a colour enhancing product that brings out the colour in the stone

Travertine Tiled Floor Sandbanks After Cleaning
Unfortunately I didn’t remember to take a photo of the floor until after the initial clean but the effect of the filling and burnishing pad treatment should be visible.

Travertine Tiled Hallway Burnishing in Dorset

Cleaning old Yellow Ceramic Floor tiles in Poole

This fifty year old Ceramic tiled floor was installed in the communal parts of a small block of flats in Poole, Dorset. The tiles had not been given a deep clean in a long while and were now ingrained with dirt from many years of wear.

Yellow Ceramic Tiles Before Cleaning in Poole

Cleaning Ceramic Floor Tile and Grout

To clean the tiles a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied a left to soak into the tile for some time before working it into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. During this process it became clear that there was evidence that the tiles had been previously sealed using a metallised emulsion. This needed to be completely removed by buffing the floor and then steaming it; steaming also removed a myriad of paint spots that had accumulated over the years.

At this stage we took the opportunity to give the grout a good scrub with more Pro-Clean and a stiff hand brush before removing the cleaning solution with a wet vacuum and giving the entire floor a thorough rinse to remove and trace of cleaning product.

Sealing Ceramic Floor Tiles

The tiles were left to dry off overnight and we came back the next day to see if further work was needed. Now normally Ceramic tiles have a glazed surface that a sealer cannot take to however these tiles being were very old and the glaze had been worn off so sealed a small test are to see if it would take. The test was successful so I proceeded to seal the whole floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

Due to the age of the tiles some were more faded than others which I could do nothing about however they looked generally clean and bright after restoration and the new Colour Grow sealer should provide protection for years to come.

Yellow Ceramic Tiles After Cleaning in Poole

 
 

Old Ceramic Tiled Floor Cleaned in Dorset

Cleaning a Tumbled Marble floor in Dewlish near Dorchester

This 50m2 Tumbled Marble tiled floor in Dewlish, near Dorchester had not been deep cleaned and re-sealed for at least five years and showed signs of the normal wear and tear associated with a busy kitchen/dining room and a dog that enjoyed muddy walks. The old sealer was now breaking down allowing dirt to become ingrained in the Marble making it difficult to clean.

Tumbled Marble in Dewlish Before Cleaning

Stripping a Tumbled Marble Floor

To restore the surface finish it needed to be burnished using a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The pads come in a number of different grades from coarse (used to strip off sealers and dirt from the Marble) too very fine (used for final polishing) and are applied one after another starting with the coarse pad and moving through to the very fine pad towards the end. Each stage requires a little water which captures the soil and is rinsed away and removed with a wet vacuum. This process completely removed the old sealer and surfaces scratches with a new shine. The floor was given a thorough wash down at this point again using a wet vacuum to remove as much water as possible from the surface before leaving it to dry for the evening.

Sealing Tumbled-Marble Tiles

The next day the Marble had dried and I started to seal the tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer which was first applied to a couple of test tiles first to ensure it gave the effect the customer was looking for.

Tumbled Marble in Dewlish During Sealing

Colour Grow is a colour enhancing sealer that brings out the natural colour of the tile and certainly the customer was pleased with the results so the sealing work continues until the whole 50m2 floor had been sealed with two coats.

Tumbled Marble in Dewlish After Cleaning and Sealing

When the whole fifty square metres of floor had been sealed using Colour Grow the effect was dramatic and the owners were so pleased with the result that they invited over a friend with a similar stone floor who immediately asked for her floor to be done in the same way.
 
 

Tumbled Marble Floor Restoration in Dewlish near Dorchester

Terracotta Tile and Grout Cleaned Following Freezer Leak

This small Terracotta tiled floor with tumbled travertine inserts at a house in Middlemarsh, Dorset was around 25M² and had been in place for over ten years, since before the owner moved in. After a recent freezer leak caused the tiles and grout to become stained in the utility area; the customer was looking to either clean them or replace them as she wasn’t that keen on them anyway.

Terracotta Tile During Cleaning

After a demonstration of what could be achieved she was happy to go ahead and have them stripped and resealed as opposed to the more expensive replacement option.

Terracotta Tile Before Cleaning

Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

The floor was covered in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and this was left to dwell on the floor to allow it to soak into the tile and get to work on the dirt and breakdown any remaining sealer. The solution was then worked into the tile and grout using a heavy 17″ rotary scrubbing machine and then rinsed down using a high pressure wash to remove the soiled solution and neutralise the floor of any remaining cleaning solution before sealing. The grout proved to be stubborn to clean so we had to repeat the process a second time and use stiff hand brushes along the grout lines to get them clean.

You should be able to appreciate from the photographs below how we have managed to get the floor back to its original state and the difference in the grout particularly which was looking very dark prior to cleaning.

Terracotta Tile After Cleaning Terracotta Tile After Cleaning

Sealing Terracotta Floor Tiles

The customer had opted to seal the floor themselves with Tile Doctor Seal and Go naturally I was keen to see how it came out so I asked them to send me some photographs a couple of which are shown below. The final result is a practically new floor and the customer is very happy with it.

Terracotta Tile After Sealing Terracotta Tile After Sealing

 
 

Terracotta Tiles Transformed in Dorset

200 year old Quarry Tiled Floor Restored in Milton Abbas

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.

Quarry Tiles Floor Before

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.

Quarry Tiles Floor Cleaning Quarry Tiles Floor During

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.

Quarry Tiles Floor During

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