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

Removing Limescale from Granite Worktops in a Folkestone Kitchen

Although expensive Granite makes the most beautiful and practical stone worktop you can install in your kitchen. It gives real wow factor to a room and this kitchen in Folkestone was no different. Normally granite needs little maintenance however Folkestone has very hard water (often referred to as limescale) containing high levels of calcium and over time the calcium in the water gets deposited on nearby surfaces. According to the Affinity Water website the water in Folkestone contains 287.5 mg of calcium per litre which is classed as hard.

Granite Sink and Counter top Before Limescale Removal Folkestone

The owner of the property contacted us explaining that due to this problem the build-up of calcium deposits had overtaken her sink and countertop to a degree that she couldn`t deal with it through normal cleaning and a restoration was required. There are several household products on the market that can remove limescale however you need to be very careful when using these on natural stone as they use acids to break down the calcium and this can etch stone making the problem worse (always read the label). I went and had a look at the problem and gave her a quote for resolving the problem, which she was happy to accept.

Removing Limescale from a Granite Worktop and Sink

Before starting the renovation, I protected the floor with dust sheets and the walls with a blue film that is easy to remove. Then to tackle the limescale I carefully went over each part of the Granite counter using a set of six-inch Tile Doctor Burnishing pads applying them in sequence from coarse to extra fine. To give extra cleaning power the coarser pads were applied with Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is an alkaline cleaning gel. The pads were fitted to a hand buffer and the soil generated by the abrasive pads was rinsed off between pads with water. For the finer detail such as the groves in the granite draining board, I used diamond encrusted handheld burnishing blocks of various grits. With the combination of diamond tooling and lots of elbow grease the job took around five hours to complete and the granite now has the polished look it deserves.

Granite Kitchen Worktop Aftercare

The granite worksurface does not require an actual sealer to be applied. However, maintenance is the key to keeping the stone in great condition so for aftercare I left the owner with a bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Patina Spray. This product is designed for cleaning stone worktops and contains a special ingredient that maintains the lustre. This should ensure the Limescale becomes manageable and can be cleaned more easily.

Granite Sink and Counter top After Limescale Removal Folkestone

I made a striking difference to the appearance of the Granite Worktop and the owner was over the moon with the result.


Professional Removal of Limescale Staining from Granite Worktop 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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