Work by Category

Restoring Quarry and Terracotta Floor Tiles at a Barn Conversion in Hawkinge

I received a request from the owner of an old barn conversion in Hawkinge who was having their kitchen replaced to deal with their expansive terracotta and quarry tiled floor that was installed throughout the ground floor. There were so many issues with the floor my client was planning to have all the tiles ripped out and replaced. Fortunately, she contacted Tile Doctor before doing so and I got a call to pay them a visit first.

Terracotta and Quarry Tiled Floor Before Renovation at Old Barn Conversion Hawkinge

I went over to the property and surveyed the floor compiling a list of the issues as I went round. The main issues being dirty tiles and missing, cracked or very dirty grout. I explained the different steps to getting the floor restored conducted a small demonstration. Impressed with the difference that could be achieved and aware of the expense involved in replacing the floor I was asked to quote for renovating.

Terracotta and Quarry Tiled Floor Before Renovation at Old Barn Conversion Hawkinge

The client was happy with my quote, and they decided it made sense to try renovating the tiles and I was given the go ahead.

Deep Cleaning and Restoring a Quarry and Terracotta Tiled Floor

Restoring such a large floor would be very time consuming with many stages, so I recommend spreading the work over the course of a month to allow plenty of time for drying between stages. This is especially important when dealing with old porous tiles like Terracotta.

Working in sections and focusing on the kitchen area first the first task was to perform a deep clean of the floor to remove deep seated soiling and to strip off old coating such as sealers. For this a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a cleaning/stripper that’s designed for use on tile and stone was scrubbed into the tile and grout using a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. This process releases the dirt from the tile, and I then used a van mounted high pressure cleaning system to give the tiles a high pressure clean and extract the dirt.

Terracotta and Quarry Tiled Floor During Renovation at Old Barn Conversion Hawkinge

The loose and cracked grout was raked out and the floor was left for a day to allow it dry out. Once dry the tiles were given their first coat of sealer which was an impregnating Tile Doctor Ultra Seal. Once this was done, I moved onto refixing a couple of loose tiles and regrouting the floor.

Terracotta and Quarry Tiled Floor During Renovation at Old Barn Conversion Hawkinge

When the grout had gone off the floor was given a second clean with a light brush followed by an acid wash with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up. This action removes the last remnants of grout haze and cleans up the tile further. This was then rinsed off with the high-pressure cleaning system and the soils extracted.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Barn Conversion Floor

The floor was left to dry out again, and on my return, a further five coats of sealer were applied to give the coarse floor a level of maintainability. On this occasion I chose Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle shine to the tiles and is compatible with Ultra Seal.

Terracotta and Quarry Tiled Floor After Renovation at Old Barn Conversion Hawkinge

It was a tough project, but I rather enjoyed bringing this old and challenging floor back to life, it was very satisfying and even more so when the feedback received greatly justifies the amount of effort expended in producing the result.

Terracotta and Quarry Tiled Floor After Renovation at Old Barn Conversion Hawkinge

 

Professional Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Barn Conversion in South Kent

Ruined Slate Patio Beautifully Restored in Pembury

Our client in the villager of Pembury was feeling really deflated after having a Slate Patio laid adjacent to the full length of her house, however the builder had not applied the sealer correctly creating a mess which ruined the appearance of the stone.

Slate Patio Before Renovation Pembury

Unfortunately, it is not that unusual to be contacted about this sort of situation, applying a sealer is not as easy as manufactures make out. There are lots of factors to consider, choosing the right sealer, is the stone damp, how do you know if you have applied too much, and it often catches tradesmen out. I was able to reassure them that with the right combination of products and equipment the problem could be rectified.

Deep Cleaning a Slate Tiled Patio in Pembury

The first job was to strip off the old sealer which was done using a product called Tile Doctor Remove and Go. The name of this product pretty much says it all and once applied to the stone it is left to soak in for ten to twenty minutes before being scrubbed in with a rotary machine fitted with an abrasive burnishing pad.

Tile Doctor Remove and Go is a multi-purpose stripper which will remove most coatings and sealers, including epoxy grout haze which is another common problem we encounter when tradesmen have not cleaned up properly after grouting. It is also good for removing heavy build ups of grease. I used several burnishing pads of different grits going from coarse to smooth on this patio, rinsing and extracting the soil after each pad.

It was a large area, so this process took up most of the day on its own, fortunately I use a van mounted high pressure cleaning and extraction system to remove the soil which is very efficient and leaves the stone bright clean and reasonably dry afterwards. This ensures the process can be carried out with minimal mess.

Slate Patio During Renovation Pembury

Sealing a Slate Patio in Pembury

It was a nice warm summers day and although cloudy we didn’t get any rain overnight, so after checking the forecast I was able to return the next day and apply a fresh sealer to the Slate.

My client wanted a natural look, so I used Tile Doctor Ultra Seal. This product is a no-sheen, natural-look, impregnating sealer which is formulated to provide maximum stain protection. These impregnating sealers work by penetrating the stone, occupying its pores, and thus preventing dirt from residing there.

Slate Patio After Renovation Pembury

The client was so happy and relieved to see the results on what a very expensive patio and commented she was eager to get the first barbecue of the season underway.

We recommended that a regular with the jet wash should keep the patio in good condition and in a few years time we could return to reapply the sealer for them.

Slate Patio After Renovation Pembury

 

Professional Restoration of a Slate Patio in South Kent

Victorian Tiled Hallway Repair and Restoration in Tonbridge

Many of our Southeast towns such as Tonbridge grew significantly in the Victorian era, especially with the arrival of the railways and so we come across original Victorian tiled floors a lot particularly in hallways and vestibules. Victorian tiled floors are very durable but over the years daily wear leaves them in poor condition, the good news is thought they respond well to restoration.

Here we have an entrance hallway which over the years has been butted with many different types of flooring and in the process had suffered. Additionally, there was a poor cement repair between the wooden floor and the Victorian tiles which was cracked, and the client wanted it removing and the area restored with matching tiles.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule before repair Tonbridge Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule before repair Tonbridge

Sourcing replacement Victorian tiles is not a problem with our contacts in the industry so once a plan was agreed I set about looking for reclaimed tiles to match the existing. Once a I had managed to track down suitable matching replacements a date was set for the work to commence.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

Before I could start cleaning the floor it made sense to do the repairs first. This in itself took two days of intricate work and involved carefully removing the cement and damaged tiles, cleaning up the subfloor. Once done I was able to cut the replacement tiles and then rebuilding the tiles into what was essentially a jigsaw puzzle. It was important to match the existing tile pattern to ensure the repair is invisible and to the highest standard.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule during repair Tonbridge Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule during repair Tonbridge

Once that was done and the tile adhesive was set, I was able to clean the whole floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to remove the hundred years of worn in grime. I followed my usual process of allowing it to soak in for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. It is a very effective product particularly on heavy dirt build-up and removing old sealers as in this example. It wasn’t long before the cleaning solution turned black with the dirt released from the tiles. I was then able to use the pressure cleaning and extraction equipment fitted into my vehicle to remove the soiling whilst keeping the mess to a minimum.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

Due to the age of the property, there was no damp-proof membrane installed beneath the floor. This limits the choice of sealer that you can use on the floor to one which is fully breathable. Choosing a non-breathable sealer will trap moisture in the floor which can lead spread out to the walls resulting in rising damp.

Having previously discussed sealers with the owner I returned to seal the tiles the next day with Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is a fully breathable impregnating sealer which soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from with and enhancing the colours in the process. It’s a durable product that will protect the floor ingrained dirt and staining for many years to come.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule after repair Tonbridge Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule after repair Tonbridge

Even though it was a small area once it was fully restored it had a big impact on the overall feel of the property in a Grand Designs way. Needless to say, the client was very pleased with the result.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Vestibule in South Kent

Deep Clean and Seal of a Multi-Coloured Slate Kitchen floor in Hythe

This Multi-Coloured Slate floor looks nice in the Kitchen of this property in Hythe, however due to the riven surface of the tile and the deep grout lines my customer had struggled to keep it clean. Additionally, the Slate has lost all of its lustre over the years since it had been installed and it was now due a deep clean and reseal.

Multicoloured Riven Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Hythe

The combination of durability and price makes Slate a popular choice for floor covering, it is also available in a number of colours, ranging from plain black to a more diverse array of shades. Like any natural stone floor though it need sealing to keep the dirt out of the pores of the stone however sealers wear off with use

Multicoloured Riven Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Hythe

Hythe by the way is a lovely medieval coastal market town with its own beach on the edge of Romney Marsh and close to Folkestone.

Deep Cleaning Multicoloured Slate Tiles

Before starting I removed the kickboards underneath the kitchen units and protected the exposed woodwork with a thin film. To deep clean the Slate floor and remove any remaining sealer I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go and left it to soak in for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a light carbide brush. As well as removing the old sealer this process releases the dirt from the pores of the stone and brings it to the surface where it can be extracted.

I have probably mentioned this before, but I’ve invested in a powerful van mounted pressure extraction system for removing the dirt, old sealer and emulsified soils released from the stone. The system works by applying water at high pressure on the floor via a spinner tool and then simultaneously extracts the waste under suction back to a grey water tank on the van. From the customers point of view, it makes light work of cleaning the floor and more importantly leaves the floor dry and leaves no mess.

Having a dry floor at this stage is important as it means I can usually seal the floor on the same day. Its not a good idea to apply a sealer to damp floor as it will affect the way it cures and lead to an undesirable finish. The way to make sure the floor its dry is to use a moisture meter and take readings in several places around the floor. You can use an air mover to improve drying times however older floors can take a very long time to dry and for those I tend to book another day to apply the sealer.

Multicoloured Riven Slate Tiled Kitchen Damp Reading After Cleaning Hythe

Sealing Multicoloured Slate Tiles

With the floor dry I set about applying the first of two coats of Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal which provides both a hardwearing sheen to the slate as well as enhancing its natural colourings. It has strong water repellency characteristics which makes it ideal for use in a kitchen where spillages are quite common.

Multicoloured Riven Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Hythe

This was quite a small kitchen, so the work was completed in one day. My client was amazed at the transformation and grateful for our advice on continued maintenance which for this floor I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Stone Soap for daily cleaning.

Multicoloured Riven Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Hythe

 

Professional Clean and Seal of a Multi-Coloured Slate Tiled Floor in South Kent

Renovating a Large Indian Sandstone Patio in Southborough

A customer from the Tunbridge Wells borough of Southborough got in touch with me regarding the renovation of their Sandstone Paved Drive and Patio. The paving surrounded the property and since all the facias had recently been renewed on the house the stone was letting the overall appearance of the property down.

Indian Sandstone Patio Before Cleaning Southborough Indian Sandstone Patio Before Cleaning Southborough

It had been sometime since the Sandstone had been cleaned and as you can see from the photos what was once a beautiful stone had now darkened and lost much of its natural colour. I went to the property to do a quick site visit to check what needed to be done. I worked out a quote for cleaning to the stone which was accepted and a convenient time to carry out the work was agreed.

Indian Sandstone Patio Before Cleaning Southborough Indian Sandstone Patio Before Cleaning Southborough

I have a very powerful high pressure cleaning system installed in my van which makes short work of cleaning stone and brick. Not only is it very effective at cleaning its designed as a closed system, so all the waste is extracted back to a large grey water tank in the van. Now you can use an everyday power washer to clean up external stone however they are not as powerful and so take much longer, also the result does not tend to be as good.

Deep Cleaning an Indian Sandstone Patio in Southborough

It was a large area, so I approached the job in sections and started by pre-wetting the stone with water. Then I applied Tile Doctor Patio & Brick Driveway Cleaner which is a powerful outdoor cleaning solution formulated to power through patio blackspots, lichen, moss, and stains. This is a commercial product designed for professional use so if you are looking at using it yourself, please take care and use the right protection.

The cleaner was left to soak into the really dirty areas whilst I focused on the cleaning the other parts of the drive and patio with the van mounted pressure washer. I was then able to return to the deeper stains later. Using a combination of the Tile Doctor Brick and Patio Cleaner along with our van mounted pressure cleaning system we were able to completely transform the properties kerb appeal.

Indian Sandstone Patio After Cleaning Southborough Indian Sandstone Patio After Cleaning Southborough

Applying a sealer now the Sandstone was clean would have improved the look of the stone further and made the patio easier to keep clean going forward; however, it was a very large area which would require a lot of sealer. Keen to keep the cost down it was agreed not to apply a sealer and instead they intend to do more regular cleaning. The patio did look in great condition following the deep cleaning and so difficult to justify at this stage.

Indian Sandstone Patio After Cleaning Southborough

My customer was very happy with the transformed patio and the look of delight was clearly visible. It’s a great feeling when you have a happy customer and this was one of those jobs where their satisfaction was so uplifting, especially during these times.

 

Professional Renovation of an Indian Sandstone Patio in South Kent

Stained Limestone Fireplace Facelift in New Romney

If you have a Stone Fireplace like this Limestone Fireplace at a house in New Romney, you will no doubt be very careful what you place on it in case it becomes stained. Water ring marks are an obvious problem, and you probably find yourself rushing for a coaster when a guest puts a glass on it.

Limestone Fireplace Before Cleaning New Romney

If can relate to that you will sympathise with my customer who being a divorcee faces a similar issue with his children when they come to stay every other weekend. Naturally, he loves having them over, but you can imagine his despair when fruit juices and mucky fingers came into contact with his Limestone fireplace. After several attempts cleaning the fireplace himself he gave up trying and called Tile Doctor instead.

Limestone Fireplace Staining Before Cleaning New Romney

Deep Cleaning a Limestone Fireplace

After protecting the wooden floor from splashing I set about cleaning the Fireplace and removing the staining using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. Being a Gel this stone cleaner sticks well to vertical surfaces allowing for longer dwell times which allow it to dissolve stains and dirt that get trapped in the pores of the stone.

That may sound straightforward but in fact it took several attempts and three hours of hard work and elbow grease to scrub the Limestone clean at the same time careful rinsing with water extracting the resultant soil as I went.

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace

After cleaning and drying the fireplace with a hot air gun I set about applying a sealer to protect it from future grubby fingers. For this I used Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is an impregnating sealer that works by soaking into the stone occupying the pores thereby protecting it from within. This product is an invisible sealer that does not change the colour of the stone leaving it with a very natural appearance.

Limestone Fireplace After Cleaning New Romney

As you can see the Limestone Fireplace looked new again after my visit much to my customers relief. The sealer will make it much easier to clean the stone, the benefit of which will definitely become apparent the next time the kids pay their dad a visit!

 

Professional Clean of a Limestone Fireplace in South Kent

Recently Laid Black Limestone Patio Renovated in Ashford

We were called out to look at this new Black Limestone patio in Ashford which was not looking as it should. The client had laid it himself but unfortunately had not managed to polish off all the grout from the surface of the Limestone thereby degrading the appearance of the stone.

Black Limestone Patio Before Cleaning Ashford
Grout Smearing or Grout Haze is a common problem when it comes to tiling and this problem seems to be on the increase due to new grout formula’s which are tougher but dry a lot faster. Usually, the excess grout can be removed using a mild acid however it is not possible to do that on Limestone as this Stone is acid sensitive and as well as etching the stone can cause it to turn white. I know Tile Doctor has resolved a few jobs like this in the past for builders who do not always understand the unique characteristics of the stone.

Black Limestone Patio Before Cleaning Ashford
I discussed with the client how Tile Doctor could help and gave him a quote for the work to be carried out. He was happy to go ahead so having consulted the weather forecast for a couple of dry days we agreed a date to return.

Cleaning a Black Limestone Patio Floor

To remove the Grout Haze and clean the appearance of the Limestone I applied a Tile Doctor Brick and Patio Cleaner and worked it in with a coarse 400 grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad. The coarse pad does leave the stone looking a little rough, so the surface was then renovated using the finer burnishing pads of 800 and 1500 grit using water for lubrication. By using the pads in sequence, it gradually smooths the surface of the stone. Once done the tiles were rinsed with water and the soil removed with an industrial wet vacuum. The patio was looking good, the day was nice and bright, so we left the patio for a few hours to dry in the sun.

Sealing a Black Limestone Patio

Once the stone was dry the patio was sealed with single coat of Tile Doctor Stone Oil which is an impregnating sealer that improves strength and restores colour to the stone.

Once dry the Stone Oil was followed by a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer which like the Stone Oil penetrates the pores of the stone improving colour and adding protection. The treatment and combination of products transformed the appearance of the patio and provided the client with exactly the look he required.

Black Limestone Patio After Cleaning Ashford
As you can see from the after pictures the patio had a rich black colour and looked as it should. The client was over the moon with the result and was thankful that we had managed to rescue his work. Lesson learned for any future project he might take on, beware of grout haze!

Black Limestone Patio After Cleaning Ashford
 

Professional Restoration of a Black Limestone Patio in South Kent

Old Tea Room Brick Floor Renovation in Royal Tunbridge Wells

This Brick and Quarry tiled floor belongs to an eighteenth-century property used as a Tea Room in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Over the years the property had experienced numerous building works leaving the floor surface a mixture of Concrete, Brick, and Quarry tiles. At some point thereafter the floor was painted in doorstep red paint which gave the different materials a more uniform appearance but had now become unsightly and had removed the floors character in the process.

Brick Quarry Floor Before Renovation Royal Tunbridge Wells

With the business being closed due to the COVID lockdown the manager had decided it was a good time to have the property renovated and as part of the work I was asked to restore the floor and its ‘old world’ charm. This worked well for me as all the fixtures had been removed so I was able to access the whole floor without obstruction and as I was on my own, I didn’t have to worry about COVID too much.

Royal Tunbridge Wells is a historic spa town, it was a very fashionable resort in the 1700s due to its’ spas which attracted many visitors. These declined over the years as people took to bathing in the sea. However, it still claims 30% of its income is from the tourist industry so I’m sure the Tea Room was a popular haunt.

Removing Paint from a Brick and Quarry Tiled Floor

The first step was to remove the red tile paint which I was able to tackle using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go worked into the floor using a heavy buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. There was a quirky mix of substrates and I had to repeat this process of scrubbing, rinsing, and extracting numerous times before I was satisfied all the paint was gone. The floor was then left to dry out over the weekend.

Brick Quarry Floor During Renovation Royal Tunbridge Wells

Sealing a Brick and Quarry Tiled Tea Room Floor

I returned on Monday morning to apply a sealer that would protect the floor and make it easier to maintain. Commercial floors like this one see a lot of daily foot traffic and so need good protection.

Brick Quarry Floor During Renovation Royal Tunbridge Wells Brick Quarry Floor During Sealing Royal Tunbridge Wells

The sealer of choice for this floor was Tile Doctor High Shine sealer which works well on quarry and brick and added a nice shine. Hopefully, once lockdown ends people will be able to continue to drink tea, eat cake and appreciate the quirky floor.

Brick Quarry Floor After Cleaning Sealing Royal Tunbridge Wells

For aftercare cleaning I recommend the use Tile Doctor Neutral Tile cleaner. This is a pH neutral cleaning product specifically designed for use on sealed floors and will be much kinder on the floor than the commercial cleaners that they may normally use. These tend to strip the sealer from the floor over time and then in turn let the dirt get in. Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner is mild but effective and will be perfect for their everyday cleaning needs.

 

Professional Restoration of an Old Brick and Quarry Tiled Floor in South Kent

Limestone Floor Refurbished in Tenterden Ready for Kitchen Installation

The owner of this Limestone tiled floor in Tenterden was having a new Kitchen installed and called Tile Doctor to have it renovated beforehand. Consideration was given to replacing the floor, but this would have worked out to be far more expensive than renovation. Renovating natural stone floors such as Limestone involves deep cleaning, polishing and then sealing. Stone floors respond very well to this treatment so it’s an option well worth considering and is better for the environment.

Limestone Floor Before Polishing Tenterden Limestone Floor Before Polishing Tenterden

I was able to visit the property beforehand, inspect the floor and work out a quote for the work which would take two days. We then agreed a date do the renovation which would sit between the old kitchen being stripped out and the new one being installed. With the old kitchen removed it would be a perfect time to do the work as I would have full access to the floor and wouldn’t need to tape up the kitchen units to protect them.

Deep Cleaning Tumbled Limestone Tiles

The first part of the job involved giving the floor a thorough clean to remove what was left of old sealers etc that were still present on the floor. To do this a strong solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied to the floor and left to soak in for about ten minutes before being actively worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The solution soon darkened as dirt was flushed out of the pores of the stone, it was then rinsed off with water and extracted with an industrial wet vacuum.

Limestone Floor During Cleaning Tenterden

Following this, I moved on to a process known as burnishing that hones the Limestone to bring up the polished. This is done through the application of a series of diamond encrusted burnishing pads from coarse through to very fine.

The coarse 400-grit pad fitted to the rotary floor buffer and run over each tile at least three times using only water for lubrication. The water turns into a slurry as the pad does its job removing dirt and this is rinsed off the floor and extracted with the wet vacuum before applying the next pad. The process was then repeated with medium 800 grit pad for an initial polish followed by the Fine 1500 grit pad for the second polish using water for lubrication and rinsing and extracting in between each pad.

This process took up much of the day and so after a final rinse and extraction the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

The next morning I started with the application of the last pad in the four-pad set which is a very fine 3000 grit pad. The pad and is applied with only a little water sprayed onto the floor using a technique we call a Spray Burnish. This last pad really brings up the polished appearance of the stone.

To bring up the appearance of the stone even further and add a really durable polish Tile Doctor Shine Powder was applied. This is a crystallising powder sealer that ensures a very high shine and a tough, durable finish. This powder is applied directly to the tiles in combination with approximately ½ a litre of water and a soft white buffing pad.

Last step was to add to the protection provided by the Shine Powder with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t change the look of the stone and is applied to the stone and grout. This sealer works by seeping into the stone, occupying the pores and preventing dirt from becoming ingrained.

Limestone Floor After Polishing Tenterden Limestone Floor After Polishing Tenterden

By the end of the 2nd day the Limestone floor had an amazing deep shine which was a massive improvement on how it looked when we started. For aftercare cleaning I recommended a product called Tile Doctor Stone Soap which will help maintain its appearance.

 

Professional Renovation of a Tumbled Limestone Tiled Floor in East Surrey

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East Surrey Tile Doctor

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