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

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

Cleaning Concrete Paving and Steps in Folkestone

I am sure you will be able relate to this client in Folkstone who had a concrete and brick path and steps to the side of their house that had turned black with dirt. I know many of you reading this post will probably own a Karcher pressure washer and would be happy to do this job themselves, however for those that do not it’s good to know that we don’t just cover expensive patios and driveways and happily deep clean concrete paths as well.

Concrete Path and Steps Before Cleaning Folkstone

The machine I use for this type of work operates at very high pressure, far higher than that of a Karcher and is so large and heavy its actually installed in a van. This type of machine is known in the trade as a Truck Mount and results in a much deeper clean that cleans and extracts the waste at the same time.

Concrete Path and Steps Before Cleaning Folkstone

I popped over to see the client to see what needed to be done and gave them a quote for the work. Having looked round the property I was confident of making a difference. I also noted that steps were not only black with dirt but had become green with algae in places which is slippery when wet and dangerous for the elderly.

Concrete Path and Steps Before Cleaning Folkstone

Cleaning an Outdoor Concrete Path and Steps

Before going over with the machine, I wetted the path with Tile Doctor Patio & Brick Driveway Cleaner and left it to soak into the concrete for a good twenty to thirty minutes so it could breakdown the dirt and deal with blackspots, lichen, moss, and general staining.

The concrete path was in several sections so whilst I was waiting for the cleaner to soak into one section, I was able to run the Truck Mount pressure washer over another section. When you use the jet wash at home, it can be a very messy business, bringing up all the dirt and spreading it around the nearby walls and usually the user. With our machine washing and extracting the dirt at the same time there is zero mess, and you can literally see the path become transformed in front of your eyes which is very satisfying.

Concrete Path and Steps After Cleaning Folkstone

Once done the concrete path looked like it was laid yesterday. The client was amazed saying it now complimented the work they had recently done on the front and back patios. It does show up the neighbour’s path though so I would not be surprised if I get a call soon to do their path as well!

Concrete Path and Steps After Cleaning Folkstone

There was no need to apply any type of sealer to this path. Regular cleaning will maintain it and a once a year deep clean like this would keep it in great shape.


Professional Clean of a Brick and Concrete Path and Steps 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

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