Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth

The owner of this property had been intending to have her Victorian tiled vestibule professionally cleaned and sealed for several years but had always seemed to just ‘make do’ with an occasional clean with a mop and bucket. Having made up her mind to have it professionally cleaned and having seen previous examples of my work online after searching for her local stone and tile cleaning professional she asked me to come and have a look and see what I could do.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth Before Cleaning

Being the first stop upon entering the house the tiles were heavily soiled after years of not being sealed so after I conducted a moisture check which showed the tiles to be remarkably dry. I cleaned a few tiles using some diamond hand pads to test the area and give the customer an idea of what kind of result to expect. She was really pleased with the initial outcome of the test and booked me in to return shortly after receiving my quote.

Because the area was small I was able to tie it in with another job I had in the Exmouth area and was able to reduce the cost of the quote. This is a great option if you and your neighbour both have small areas to clean because I may be able to work on them concurrently which will save you both money!

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The working area was quite tight, so the tiles were scrubbed using a series of diamond impregnated six-inch burnishing pads fitted to a rotary hand tool. The pads are used in sequence starting with a 100-grit and finishing with a 400-grit pad. The floor was then thoroughly rinsed using a wet vacuum to remove the soil that was generated during the process.

The next step was to give the tiles an acid rinse; now we don’t normally recommend the use of acids on tiles but in this case the product was only on the floor long enough to remove old grout smears and mineral deposits before being rinsed off. I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up for this and it has the extra advantage of countering any alkaline salts which can hiding in the pores of the tile, this is very useful on old floors of this type with no damp proof course. If left unaddressed the salts can rise through the tile as moisture evaporates leaving unsightly white salt stains on the floor. This process is known as efflorescence and can be tricky to remove later if not dealt with quickly.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth During Cleaning

One done the floor was given a final rinse and then dried with the wet vacuum. I then made a few small repairs to some loose tiles and then left for the evening to allow the floor the whole floor to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels of both areas to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started work, applying a coat of Tile Doctor’s Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer which picks out and enhances the natural colours of the tiles, not only bringing the whole floor to life but helping to disguise any damage the floor has suffered over the years.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth During Sealing

After this coat had dried sufficiently I applied four coats of Tile Doctor’s Seal and Go to finish off the floor and give it that ‘wow factor’. I left the client with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of cleaner.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth After Cleaning

The client was very happy with the result and her sealed floor is now easier to maintain and keep clean. The Victorian tiles are now in keeping with the rest of the house.

 

Professional Restoration of Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule in Exmouth

Mid Victorian Farmhouse Hallway Clyst Hydon

The owners of this floor in the hallway of their Mid-Victorian farmhouse in Clyde Hydon just outside of Honiton, in Devon asked me to visit shortly after they had moved in. Whilst ripping out the old carpet throughout the house they had come across this stunning Victorian tiled floor. Honiton is a market town, more well known for its lace making. As it is my home town, it was a very short commute to work for me, so I was able to visit the property quickly and take a look.

Mid Victorian Tiled Farmhouse Hallway Clyst Hydon Before Cleaning

During my visit I took some moisture readings because these old floors will not have had a damp proof membrane installed and if the moisture levels are too high it can restrict when this type of work can be done due to the sealers needing the floor to be dry(ish), in order to cure. I also did a test clean to show the customers what level of cleaning could be achieved and looked at areas of loose tiles to see if any replacement tiles would need to be sourced. I always like to do a test clean as it demonstrates what can be achieved and it also allows me to work out which methods and products work best.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

With the customers happy with the quote I returned to complete the work starting by covering the wooden skirting and bottom of the stairs to protect the paint and carpet from splashing. I then applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on to the floor, ensuring even coverage and keeping an eye on the floor to make sure that it didn’t dry out. Pro-Clean is quite a flexible product than can strip off old sealers when applied in a strong dilution.

After a short time, I set to work scrubbing the Pro-Clean into the floor with a 400-grit diamond pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. I also used 400-grit hand held burnishing block to cover the corners and any edges not reached by my machine. Once I was satisfied that the tiles were as good as they could be I rinsed the floor to remove the now soiled alkaline cleaner before giving the floor an acid wash with Acid Gel to neutralise with any inherent salts in the tiles.

Before I left for the day I fixed the loose tiles back in place, re-grouted the areas that I had replaced tiles and left an air mover on the floor to aid in the drying process. I also suggested that the radiators in the hallway were turned on overnight to further aid the drying process. Occasionally these types of floors need to be left for several days to dry but it is worth the wait and the floors can be used in the meantime provided only socks and indoor shoes are used and care is taken not to get the floor dirty.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Upon returning the next day I tested the moisture content of the floor and was pleased to find that it was well within acceptable levels for the application of the sealer that I was planning to use. I quickly checked the floor for areas that I felt may be able to be improved and once satisfied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer was applied to the floor. Colour Grow is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the tile thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there.

Once this was dry it was followed up by applying two further coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a compatible surface sealer that leaves a nice subtle sheen finish. Both sealers are fully breathable and able to cope with any damp issues that may impact the floor over time.

Mid Victorian Tiled Farmhouse Hallway Clyst Hydon After Cleaning

The customers were thrilled and said that they were going to reinstate the hallway as the main entrance to the farmhouse in order to show it off to all their visitors!

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Devon

100 Year-Old Victorian Hallway Tiles Renovated in Exeter

I was contacted by the owners of a Victorian terraced house in Exeter who had been lovingly restoring the property over the last couple of years and during the work they uncovered this section of tiled flooring and had decided to bring me in to make it look its best. It’s possible that this section of floor was all that was left from when the house was built over 100 years ago and at some point, in the past the rest of the floor was removed and replaced with something more modern.

Exeter has an abundance of character properties and there seems to be a bit of a trend to restore period features such as fireplaces and old floors at present. It’s always worth looking under old carpets and vinyl in the search of classic floors such as this, particularly if your neighbours have them, after all it will add value!

I visited the property to take a closer look and to take some moisture readings because these old floors were laid without a damp proof membrane and high moisture levels can restrict when this type of work can be carried out due to the sealer needing the floor to be dry(ish) in order to cure. I also did a test clean on one section of the floor to show the customer what level of cleaning could be achieved and inspected the floor for loose tiles to see if any replacement tiles would need to be sourced.

Small Victorian Tiled Hallway Entrance Exeter Before Cleaning

Cleaning Victorian Tiled Reception Area

With the customers happy with the quote I returned to complete the work starting by protecting the skirting and bottom of the stair carpet. Once done I began the cleaning process by applying a strong stripper/degreaser called Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on to the floor. For best results you need to achieve an even coverage and keeping and check it regularly to ensure it doesn’t dry out. After a short dwell time I set to work scrubbing the floor with a 400-grit diamond burnishing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This really works the cleaning product into the pores of the tiles releasing the dirt and removes any sealers or other old coatings in the process. These large 17” pads do struggle to reach into the corners and edges of the floor however, so I always finish off with a hand-held diamond block. Once I was satisfied that the tiles were as good as they could be I rinsed the floor of the alkaline cleaner and dirty water and extracted the soil using a wet vacuum.

Next step was to give the floor what we like to call and Acid Rinse or Acid Wash as some of my colleagues refer to it. We don’t normally use acidic products on tile or stone however they are particularly good at dealing with mineral sales and removing grout smears. Old floors like these are particularly vulnerable to a natural process called efflorescence which results in white mineral salt deposits being left on the surface of the tile as the floor fully dries out and can interfere with the sealer. To counter this, the floor is cleaned with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, which is an acid-based product that will neutralise the alkalinity in the floor. The solution is quickly scrubbed into the floor and then rinsed off with water.

Before I left for the day I fixed any loose tiles back into place, re-grouted where needed and left an air mover on the floor to aid in the drying of the tiles. If there are radiators in the area I also suggest that they are turned on overnight to further aid the drying process. Occasionally these types of floors need to be left for several days to dry but it is worth the wait and the floors can be used in the meantime provided indoor shoes and socks only are used and care is taken not to get the floor dirty.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

Upon returning the next day I tested the moisture content of the floor and was pleased to find that it was well within acceptable levels for the application of the sealer that I was planning to use.

I quickly checked the floor for areas that I felt may be able to be improved and once satisfied I started the sealing process by applying a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and improving the colours in the tile beforehand. This was following with two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go that will add further protection and give the floor a subtle satin finish.

Small Victorian Tiled Hallway Entrance Exeter After Cleaning

The customers were thrilled and said that they wished they had brought me in sooner! For aftercare I left the customer with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of neutral tile cleaner.
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor in Devon

Deep Cleaning Dirty Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor in Moretonhampstead

Earlier this year I was called to the Dartmoor town of Moretonhampstead in order to take a look at a large Terracotta tiled kitchen/dining room which the owners had ‘lived with’ for over a decade but were finding it harder and harder to keep clean. Upon arrival, I could see that any sealer that had been used previously was well beyond its best and the floor was holding in the dirt and grime because of how porous unsealed terracotta is.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Moretonhampstead

I conducted a test on a small area of the floor which not only helped me to identify the most suitable product to clean the floor with but also to show the customer how much of an impact a professional clean and seal of a floor is likely to have. The first product I tried was Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which although cleaned the tiles very well I could tell was going to be a problem when it came to rinsing because the floor was absorbing it almost as quickly as I was able to put it down! My solution came in the form of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a very similar product to Pro-Clean and is a very powerful stripper/degreaser but has the added benefit of being in gel form, so it sits on the tiles rather than becomes absorbed into them. It is also a very good option for riven stone, uneven tiles or undulating floors because unlike a liquid it will not run off the high spots.

The clients were thrilled with the test area and couldn’t believe how much lighter the tiles were and as soon as I sent them my quote they booked me in at my next availability.

Deep Cleaning Terracotta Tiles

When I returned to the property my first task was to protect the woodwork from splashing by dressing the skirting boards and kitchen plinths in a blue plastic covering. I then set to work applying Oxy-Gel to the tiles and allowing it to dwell for about five minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff bristled brush fitted to a rotary buffer.

The scrubbing action released the dirt form the Terracotta and I was then able to extract it from the floor using a wet vacuum. I worked methodically in small areas at a time and when the whole floor was done it was given a thorough rinse to remove any trace of cleaning products from the floor. I also checked the floor carefully and spot treated any stubborn staining and used the wet vacuum to get the floor as dry as possible before leaving for the day.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Sealing Moretonhampstead

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

After I was satisfied that the tiles were all clean I then needed to wait for the floor to dry before I could seal. As I mentioned these tiles were very porous and so took longer than usual to dry out but once the moisture levels were at an acceptable level I returned to finish the job.

Once terracotta has been stripped it can reveal historic damage such as acid stains or from inappropriate cleaning products which look like lighter patches on the tiles. Upon my return I spent a while improving any areas like this by using diamond encrusted burnishing pads to resurface the tiles. In general, it is not recommended on terracotta because you lose the natural texture of the tiles and create a smooth finish but in this instance the customer decided that this was preferable to the stains remaining visible.

After both the customer and I were happy with the condition of the tiles I began to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go, an acrylic based sealer which would give the tiles a slightly glazed or freshly mopped appearance. Because of the porosity of this particular batch of terracotta tile it took eleven coats before the floor was fully sealed!

The customer was very happy, and the tiles lit the room up, transforming it.

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Moretonhampstead
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor in Devon

Flood Damaged Sandstone Flagstone Floor Renovated in Chagford

Chagford is a small town on the north-east edge of Dartmoor and so as you can expect is surrounded by plenty of old farmhouses, some still as part of a working farm, some long since converted to family homes with just a small area around the property remaining and some having made use of the land and reinvented farmland. I visited a property that falls into the latter category, having converted pastoral farmland into stables and a riding school with a family home at the centre. Whilst the owners were on holiday having a well-earned rest a pipe burst flooding the ground floor of their house, damaging the Sandstone flagstone flooring in the process.

I went over to inspect the floor and could see that the stone floor had dried out but was now dull from dirt and in addition some of the stones were now suffering from shaling. This is where the top layers of the stone start to delaminate, and the only treatment is to cut the stones back to a decent surface through a process called milling. Tile Doctor has available a set of very coarse diamond encrusted pads for this purpose which I was able to demonstrate. I carried out the demonstration on a small area so that the customers could be confident that there was a remedy and then I measured the floor so that I could work out the amount of products that would be needed and priced the job accordingly.

Flood Damaged Sandstone Tiled Floor Chagford Before Restoration

The customers were keen to go ahead with the quote and I arranged to go back and restore the floor at a mutually suitable date.

Milling Delaminated Sandstone Flagstones

On my return I prepped the skirting boards around the hallway with plastic tape to protect them from the soil generated during the milling process. Once done I started the floor treatment using a very coarse with a 50-grit diamond milling pad to cut the sandstone back and then followed with a 100, 200 and finally a 400-grit pad to get rid of any scratches caused by the coarser pads and to tighten the pores of the sandstone which would allow for easier maintenance. Water is used to lubricate the process and the floor is rinsed with more water, which is then extracted with a wet vacuum between the application of each pad.

Once this was completed and the sandstone floor was thoroughly rinsed and then dried with the wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible. The floor was then left to dry out thoroughly before I returned to seal. This was a large area and so the milling was done in various stages over a few days so by the time I had finished the last area the first one was nearly ready to be sealed.

Sealing Sandstone Flagstones

The customers wanted a slight sheen to the stone floor, but not too shiny and so Tile Doctor’s Seal and Go was used; this is an acrylic sealer which once fully cured will settle to a satin finish which works really well on this Sandstone. Like the cleaning the sealing was also staggered into sections to avoid the whole of the ground floor being out of action whilst the sealer dried.

Flood Damaged Sandstone Tiled Floor Chagford After Restoration

Similar to paint drying, the polymers in Seal and Go initially give the floor a semi-gloss appearance and so I warned the customer of this, reassuring them that it would dull to a satin finish over the next week or so. In fact, I called back two weeks later to check and they confirmed this had happened and they were very happy with the result.
 
 

Restoration of Water Damaged Sandstone Flagstone Flooring in Devon

Victorian Tiled Farmhouse Hallway Deep Cleaned in Broadclyst

I was contacted by the owners of an old Farmhouse in the East Devon village of Broadclyst to look at their Victorian Tiled Hallway floor which as you can see from the photograph below was heavily stained and had also been splashed with paint from decorating. Victorian tiles are very robust and can take a lot of punishment which you certainly get in a farmhouse, however once the sealer wears off dirt gets into the pores of the tile making it very difficult to clean.

I visited the property to take a closer look and to take some moisture readings because these old floors don’t have a Damp Proof Course and moisture levels too high can restrict when this type of work can be done due to the sealers needing the floor to be dry in order to cure. I also did a test piece to show the customers what level of cleaning could be achieved.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Broadclyst Farmhouse before cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway

With the customers happy with the quote I returned to complete the work starting by covered the skirting and bottom of the stairs to protect the paintwork and carpet. I then put a strong stripper/degreaser called Pro Clean on to the floor, ensuring even coverage and keeping and eye on the floor to make sure that it didn’t dry out.

After a short dwell time I set to work scrubbing the floor with a 400 grit diamond burnishing pad and using small hand blocks to get into the corners and any edges not reached by my machine. Once I was satisfied that the tiles were as good as they could be I rinsed the floor to remove the alkaline cleaner and soiled water.

This was followed by giving the floor an Acid rinse using Tile Doctor’s Acid Gel, this process counteracts any alkaline salts that can rise up through the tile as it dries out, a process which is more commonly known as efflorescence. This can be quite a problem on floors like this that don’t have a damp proof course (floors generally didn’t pre-1950s). I had to be careful not to leave the acid down for too long because these tiles are susceptible to acid damage.

Dealing with salt issues on these old floors (efflorescence) is essential because they can damage the sealer or become trapped under it, detracting from the beauty of the floor. Given the age of the farmhouse it’s difficult to know what the floor had been laid onto. Often it was compacted rubble and building works from the erection of the adjoining buildings; additionally some of the later Victorian floors were laid on a wet limecrete scree which contain a high salt-content.

Before I left for the day I left an air mover on the floor to aid in the drying of the tiles. If there are radiators in the area I also suggest that they are turned on overnight to further aid the drying process. Occasionally these types of floors need to be left for several days to dry but it is worth the wait and the floors can be used in the meantime provided indoor shoes and socks only are used and care is taken not to get the floor dirty.

Sealing an Old Victorian Tiled Hallway

Upon returning the next day I tested the moisture content of the floor and was pleased to find that it was well within acceptable levels for the application of the sealer that I was planning to use. I quickly checked the floor for areas that I felt may be able to be improved and once satisfied a single coat of matt-finish, colour-enhancing sealer called Colour Grow was applied before two coats of a Seal and Go sealer was used to give the floor a satin finish, which I think gives it a slight glaze and freshly mopped appearance.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Broadclyst Farmhouse before cleaning

The customers were thrilled and said that they wished they had brought me in sooner!
 
 

Professional Deep Clean and Seal of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in East Devon

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Deep Cleaned in South Molton Georgian Townhouse

This story follows on from a previous post on the renovation of a Victorian Tiled Reception Area at a listed Georgian Townhouse in the middle of the small market town of South Moulton in North Devon. You may recall he was struggling to clean the floor in the reception area and I was called in to sort it out. Whilst I was there he also asked me to deep clean and seal the Kitchen Quarry Tiles.

Kitchens as you can imagine are one of the busiest areas in any house and as a result the floors do see a fair amount of wear; in this case the Quarry tiles were dull and lifeless and I suspect any previous sealer had long since worn off.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning South Molton

Cleaning Kitchen Quarry Tiles

The Quarry tiles were in a better state than the Victorian tiles I discussed in the previous post so a less aggressive course of action was required. In this case I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to soak in. Pro-Clean is an effective tile cleaner which will clean and strip off old sealers in a strong dilution. This was important as I wanted to be sure any remaining sealer would be removed, typically sealers wear off in the high use floor areas first so it was quite possible some sealer would still be present on the less used parts of the floor.

After ten minutes I agitated the solution with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary scrubbing machine to really get the floor clean and then rinsed off the soiled cleaning solution with water and a wet and dry vacuum before leaving it overnight to dry off fully.

Sealing Kitchen Quarry Tiles

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started to seal the Quarry tiles in the Kitchen using Six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which leaves a satin finish once dried and gives the tiles a freshly mopped or slightly glazed look.

Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning South Molton

The customer was thrilled and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“The work was carried out in a professional manner, with excellent results.”

For aftercare I left the customer with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of tile cleaner.
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor in Devon

Victorian Tiled Reception Area Renovated in South Molton Listed Building

I was approached by the owner of a listed Georgian Townhouse right in the middle of the small market town of South Moulton in North Devon who was struggling to have any impact on the appearance of his Victorian tiled reception area, despite hours of back-breaking scrubbing and had become disheartened by it.

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles Before Cleaning South Molton

Upon arrival a survey on the floor was conducted where I tested the moisture level of the tiles because floors of this age and construction didn’t have a Damp Proof Course and as such were just tiled onto whatever subsurface was already there, which quite often contained rubble and other guiding materials such as lime from the construction of neighbouring properties!

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles Before Cleaning South Molton

Whilst talking to the customer he mentioned that he had some old quarry tiles in his kitchen that he also wanted cleaning, however I’ll cover that in another post. To continue I produced a quote for the work which was accepted and a date was agreed for me to return with all the equipment and products required.

Cleaning Victorian Tiled Reception Area

To clean the Victorian tiles in the reception area I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to soak in for ten minutes. I then set about scrubbing the solution into the tiles using a series of Diamond impregnated burnishing pads ranging from 100-400 grit.

Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was thoroughly rinsed with water using a wet and dry vacuum to extract the now soiled cleaning solution and I was able to see that the process had really brought the tiles up a treat.

Concerned about the damp readings I had experienced earlier I decided it would be prudent to give the floor an Acid Rinse with Grout Clean-up to counteract any potential salt issues (efflorescence) that can be a real problem on these old floors which have no Damp Proof Course. I highly recommend this step on old floors as salts can over time permeate through the tiles and the cleaning process draws them to the surface. Left unaddressed the salts can damage the sealer and leave the floor looking far from its best.

Once the tiles had been cleaned, I rinsed the entire floor thoroughly using fresh water to remove any trace of cleaning products, before leaving it to dry off completely overnight.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started to seal the Victorian tiles in the reception area. To improve colour, I first applied a coat of Tile Doctor’s Colour Grow, a solvent based impregnating sealer which picks out and enhances the natural colour of the tiles, not only bringing the whole floor to life but helping to disguise any damage the floor has suffered over the years. After this coat had dried sufficiency four coats of Seal and Go were applied to finish off the floor and give it that ‘wow factor’.

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles After Cleaning South Molton Georgian Reception Floor Tiles After Cleaning South Molton

The customer was thrilled and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“The work was carried out in a professional manner, with excellent results.”

For aftercare I left the customer with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of tile cleaner.
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Victorian Tiled Reception Floor in Devon

Original Victorian Tiles Restored at B&B in Bude

Bude is a lovely coastal resort in North Cornwall and is home to several B&Bs for visitors to the area. It became popular during the latter half of Queen Victoria’s reign, as sea bathing became a popular trend amongst the upper and middle classes, and as a result there are plenty of period houses.

In fact, I was recently contacted by a lucky Bed and Breakfast owner who had uncovered this late Victorian tiled hallway and entrance lobby which was around a hundred years old during renovation work. It had been under carpet for at least twenty years and had a variety of stains including paint, tar and glue!

The customer rightly wanted to reinstate it as a showpiece to greet clients upon entering the upmarket guesthouse but had no luck trying to remove stains themselves and had spent many hours on hands and knees but to no avail and were nearly ready to take the builder’s advice and cover it in a self-levelling cement and install a carpet throughout which would have been sacrilege!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

To begin with diamond-impregnated buffing pads were used with a rotary machine to scrub the floor and open up the pores. Small diamond hand blocks were also used to get into those difficult to reach areas such as corners and under the stairs.

Afterwards the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. This was followed by giving the floor an Acid rinse using Tile Doctor’s Acid Gel. This helped to remove old mineral deposits and residue from carpet underlay. I had to be careful not to leave the acid down for too long because these tiles are susceptible to acid damage. This is also a great product to use as par for the course on floors like this that don’t have a damp proof course (floors generally didn’t pre-1950s) and the acid will neutralise any salts coming rising up through the tile later.

Dealing with salt issues on these old floors (efflorescence) is essential because they can damage the sealer or become trapped under it, detracting from the beauty of the floor. Given the age of the house It’s difficult to know what the floor had been laid onto. Often it was compacted rubble and building works from the erection of the adjoining houses. Terraced and some of the later Victorian floors were laid on a wet limecrete scree which contain a high salt-content.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

Once the tiles had been cleaned, I rinsed the entire floor thoroughly using fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals, before leaving it to dry completely overnight.

Upon my return to the B&B the next day, I sealed the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection and intensifies the natural colours in the tile. It does this while leaving a natural-look matte finish which is befitting of a classic Victorian geometric patterned floor like this one.

Now cleaned and freshly sealed, the Victorian tiles will be in a much strong position to cope with the busy B&B season over the Summer. The owner was very pleased and I’m sure visitors to the B&B will be very impressed with this original feature!

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

As part of the package a cleaning and maintenance guide is provided once the work has been completed but unfortunately the owner’s uncle didn’t consult this when house-sitting and attempted to clean the floor with white spirit. Fortunately, I was able to return and improve the damage that was caused much to the owner’s relief and just in time for opening!
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Geometric Victorian Tiled Hallway at a Bude B&B

Cleaning a 40m2 Light-Limestone Kitchen Floor at a Cottage in Ashprington

Ashprington is a small, picturesque village just outside of Totnes and boasts a quaint stream running through the centre of the village, several listed cottages and a pub, ‘The Watermans Arms’, which offers good food – including their now famous triple-fried chips!

I was approached by the owners of one of the beautiful listed cottages in the village, which had the river running through the garden and was a stone’s throw from the pub, because they had extensively developed the building around five years ago. This work included the installation of a lovely light-limestone floor spanning the kitchen and open-plan extension, however the floor was starting to lose its natural appeal and the owners were finding it harder to clean.

With summer fast approaching the owners were keen to get the property ready for their annual holiday and a visit was quickly arranged. I took a closer look at the floor and conducted a test on a small area to give the clients an idea of what to expect. The limestone was honed smooth but was not polished and the customers were keen not to add too much of an unnatural shine to the floor.

The grout lines in some of the more heavily used areas, such as by the sink, were also discoloured and would require a decent scrub with an appropriate Tile Doctor product.

Light Limestone Kitchen Floor Ashprington Before

I spoke to the clients about options for the finish to be applied after cleaning and they decided that they wanted to keep the tiles as light as possible with a slight shine. With the clients impressed with the test area I prepared I went away and produced a detailed quote which was sent to them along with our general T&Cs and the work was booked in to be completed shortly after.

Cleaning a Light-Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

The floor spanned quite a large area, some 40m2, and had some larger items of furniture that needed to be moved before starting. Because the house was empty at the time it was a straightforward task to divide the area into two and stagger the work over four days so that the furniture could be moved to suit.

The first task was to scrub the grout with a specialist grout brush, designed to get right into the grout lines and work the product in. Limestone is an acid-sensitive stone so a strong alkaline cleaner called Remove & Go was used which was then allowed to dwell for around 45 minutes to work its magic. The area was quickly rinsed before using a series of diamond impregnated burnishing pads attached to a rotary scrubbing machine, ranging from a coarse 400 grit (200 in some of the more stubborn areas) up to a fine 1500 grit to clean the stone. The whole area was then rinsed using a truck-mounted system that feeds pressurised water to the floor whilst extracting the dirty water at the same time. A rotary spinner tool was also used which helps to get a really thorough rinse. The first area was then left to dry overnight, aided by the underfloor heating which was installed with the tiles.

Polishing a Light-Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

The following day a very fine 3000 grit diamond pad was used to ‘spray burnish’ the floor which uses very little water and ensures that any remaining residues are lifted as well as finishing the floor in the highest level of mechanical polishing possible prior to sealing.

If the clients desired a higher level of shine a powdered high shine sealer would have been worked into the tiles to achieve a highly reflective surface, however the mechanical polish was the highest level of shine wanted.

Sealing a Light-Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

My client has requested a completely natural finish so to seal the stone after cleaning I applied an impregnating sealer called Tile Doctor Ultra Seal. Impregnating sealers soak into the pores of the tile protecting them from within and Ultra-Seal doesn’t alter the appearance of the floor and so maintained the natural appearance of the stone keeping it as light as possible.

Light Limestone Kitchen Floor Ashprington After

The following day the furniture was carefully moved to the recently sealed area and the whole process was repeated for the second area. Aftercare instructions and a bottle of suitable pH-neutral cleaner were supplied.

The customer was thrilled with the final result and was surprised at the transformation of the floor and left me the following feedback:

“Great service, and the floor looks new again.”
Elaine M, Ashprington
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Light Limestone Floor in Devon