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

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

Deep Clean and Seal for Dirty Slate Kitchen Tiles in Honiton

Honiton is an old market town in East Devon with some interesting history. Most of the main buildings in the centre town are Georgian – dating back to the 18th century – and the town has been the site of the annual Honiton Agricultural Show since 1890.

I visited this quaint area not too long ago to visit a customer. The customer’s Slate tiled kitchen floor, as you can see from the photograph below, was looking worst for wear. The sealer had worn off and dirt and grime had penetrated the pores of the stone, this made the tiles difficult to clean and the new owners of the house were having trouble improving the appearance of the floor. They thought that the tiles were laid about eight years previously but that there had been no real cleaning or maintenance on it.

Sealers are the sacrificial-lamb for tiles and stone floors and do a great job of protecting and enhancing the floor but only last around 2-4 years on normal-traffic floors such as this. Regular maintenance can extend this and topping up of the sealer once a year can see this continue indefinitely. Tile Doctor can help with any maintenance plans and can be discussed as part of any visit

Kitchen Slate Tiled Floor Honiton Before

I was called in to get this Slate tiled kitchen floor back to looking its best and easy to clean.

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

In this case the sealer that had been used was past its best and was attracting dirt and holding it in, so the only option would be to completely strip the floor and re-seal. The grout had also been discoloured over the years and there are a few options to get grout looking its best again.

Grout is more prone to discolouration than the tiles but usually comes up well using Tile Doctor products Remove and Go, Pro Clean or Duo Clean. If the grout is discoloured beyond repair a grout recolour is the best way forward and a variety of colours are available.

This floor was stripped of old sealers using Tile Doctor’s Remove and Go, a strong alkaline stripper and degreaser plus coarse buffing pad on a rotary scrubber to remove any traces of previous sealers plus normal kitchen oils and stains. The grout was also scrubbed for good measure using a special grout brush and the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water and a wet vac to ensure that any remaining chemicals were neutralised and removed.

This process left the floor fresh and clean – and ready to be left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

After leaving the floor to dry overnight, I returned to the property to seal it. Before doing so, I ran a few damp tests – aware that the property is reasonably old and may not have a damp proof membrane installed. Any excess moisture can cloud the sealant and damage its performance, but thankfully this floor proved to be dry.

I proceeded then to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is our impregnating sealer which enhances the dark natural shades in the Slate, as you can clearly see from the photo below. As an impregnating sealer, it penetrates the pores of the stone to fill them and block dirt and stains from becoming ingrained.

Kitchen Slate Tiled Floor Honiton After

The restoration was truly transformative and as you can see from the picture above the grout came up very well so a recolour wasn’t necessary.
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Devon

Dirty Travertine Kitchen Tiles Burnished and Sealed in Exeter

This Travertine kitchen floor in Exeter was mistakenly bought unfilled so there were deep holes on the surface of the stone that attracted grime and dirt in addition the floor had not been sealed to protect the stone and the whole floor was now in need of a deep clean and seal. The owners had installed the floor about five years before and were disappointed by the appearance from the onset. In fact, the floor had never lived up to their expectations and were close to ripping it up and starting again.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter Before Burnishing

Travertine is a lovely stone and really adds to the appearance of any room however being a form of Limestone and acid sensitive it naturally suffers from pitting corrosion which leads to the creation of small holes in the stone. These small holes rapidly become ingrained with dirt and this ruins the appearance of the floor. Typically, Travertine tiles will be bought with the pitted holes pre-filled with a resin to avoid this problem.

After an initial visit to test the floor to identify the best products to use and a chat with the owners to talk through options, duration and processes involved a quote was produced along with standard T&Cs and the work was booked in to be completed shortly after.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter Before Burnishing

Burnishing a Dirty Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Burnishing is our tried and tested process for restoring polished stone such as Travertine, Limestone and Marble which has become stained and dirty. It involves the application of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads of varying grit levels from 100 to 1500.

The first pad, which is Coarse, was applied to the stone together with a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, a strong stripper/degreaser to get into the pitting and lift the grime and completely strip away the top layer of dirt, exposing the clean layer underneath.

The floor is rinsed with water and the soil extracted before the application of the Medium, Fine, and eventually the Very Fine pad to build up the polished appearance of the stone.

As well as using the burnishing pad system, I also applied to the floor Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which removes any old sealer and penetrates the pitted holes to lift out and dissolve the ingrained dirt.

At the end of the first day the floor was thoroughly rinsed to remove the dirt and chemicals from the now clean floor and the majority of the pitting was filled with a suitable filler.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight with the assistance of underfloor heating and then the following day a 3,000 grit extra fine diamond pad was used to clear off any remaining residue and give the tiles a slight shine before moving onto the next step of sealing the tiles.

I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a natural look penetrating sealer that leaves a matt finish. The sealer will ensure the tiles are more resistant to staining and allow the floor to look as the customer originally wanted it to look for a lot longer.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter After Burnishing

For after care I left the customer with a bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is a very easy to use, neutral pH cleaner for natural, sealed stone which not only cleans the tiles but continues to add to the natural patina so the more you use it the better the floor continues to look.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter After Burnishing

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Un-Filled Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor in Exeter

Dirty and Damaged Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Kitchen Tiles Rejuvenated in Rackenford

Rackenford is a tiny village in North Devon, with a population of approximately 400 people, and is surrounded by many farms as agriculture is the main source of employment in the area.

I recently visited one of the farmhouses in the area at the request of the property owner who needed help restoring an area of Victorian quarry tiles which were around one hundred and twenty years old. The floor had been extended with a new batch of tiles which ran into a later extension about ten years prior. Both areas were dirty and attracting grime and the older tiles had some heavy damage to some tiles and had lost the colour which was indicative of being covered by carpet for a long period and salts had dried in to the tiles, damaging them and creating an orange peel type of surface.

In the past, the floor had been sealed with a topical sealer i.e. one that sits on top of the tile rather than being absorbed into it. In most areas, the sealer had long since worn off but in a few areas that it remained it had been scratched by the chairs near the large inglenook fire at one end of the room.

The customer was looking to clean and re-seal the whole floor to try to improve the look of the damaged tiles but also to make the floor easier to keep clean and maintain and were hoping that the divide between old and new tiles was less striking.

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor

When it comes to cleaning natural stone tiles, our go-to cleaning product is Tile Doctor Pro Clean. Pro Clean is a multi-purpose, high alkaline cleaner that serves to both strip away any old and ineffectual sealer, and clean heavily soiled stone. The product is suitable for use on all types of natural stone and tiled floors.

I mixed a strong dilution of Pro Clean and water before spreading it liberally across the whole floor. I then left it to dwell for roughly 10 minutes before proceeding to agitate it with a scrubbing brush fitted to a heavy rotary machine. This helped to eradicate the soil build-up. Any resulting cleaning slurry was promptly removed using a wet vacuum, before the floor was left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor

Returning to the property the next day, I immediately ran some damp tests to see if there was any excess moisture present on the floor. Knowing that this was an old property, I expected that there would be no damp proof membrane installed and this would increase the chances of damp issues.

Thankfully, the floor proved to be completely dry and I was able to seal the floor using eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is a water-based acrylic polymer sealer that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable, aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish that helped to return the natural reddish colours to the Quarry tiles. Although the top layer of the damaged tiles had been lost the colour had returned and were now looking much healthier.

With a fresh seal in place, the floor will now be much easier to clean and maintain. The customer was really pleased with the outcome of the restoration, which you can see in the photos below. Another satisfied customer!

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford After Cleaning

Although nothing can really replicate a hundred years of patina, the difference between the old and new tiles was reduced with a good clean and a consistent finish throughout. Certainly, the customer was happy and left the following feedback:

We are very pleased with this refurbishment of old quarry tiles, which have regained colour and texture. The overall slight gloss added to both these and the newer tiles next to them makes a huge difference to the whole picture. The cleaning and maintenance guide is also very useful. The bill was also very reasonable for two intensive days work – many thanks

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford After Cleaning Panorama

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor in Devon