Restoring Victorian Grade II Listed Building Floor for Persimmon Homes

Earlier this year we had the privilege to be involved in the restoration of a large Victorian tiled hall at Stone Cross Manor in Ulverston which is being sympathetically redeveloped into nineteen apartments by Persimmon Homes at a reported cost of £4 million. The magnificent Grade II-listed stately home was built in 1874 for Myles Kennedy who was a Limestone Quarry owner and chairman of an Ironworks.

The property continued to be occupied by the Kennedy family until 1943 when it was requisitioned by the military who then sold it to Lancashire County Council in 1946. The council used it as a boarding school for some decades and allegedly had the central oak staircase removed so the hall could be used to play indoor football. Since that time, it has had different owners and states of disrepair until finally being acquired by Persimmon who contacted us to quote for restoring the floor to its former glory. This would be no easy task and would require plenty of help. However, we are a resourceful bunch and being part of a large network of Tile Doctors means we were able to draft in other Tile Doctors to assist.

Stone Cross Manor Ulverston

Before we took the job on, I went over to survey the floor and was immediately taken aback by the sheer size and scale of the project. The impressive Victorian hall has now had its large wooden staircase rebuilt and this sits in the centre of a series of architectural stone columns.

The floor was in a sorry state though and it certainly had a story to tell. At some point in its long history sections of the beautiful Victorian tiles had been cut out for the installation of central heating and then back filled with cement. There were also other areas that had been given the same treatment for some inexplicable reason. I suspect that the floor must have been covered in carpet during its later life to hide the mess.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

The biggest problem was the realisation that with so many tiles missing the only way we could get exact duplicates would be to have them made by a company such as Craven and Dunhill. They are specialist tile manufacturer who date back to 1872 and can reproduce old tiles using the same tones and colours to match the originals. This was a high spec job, so this was the right approach however the price for the moulds and the time needed to manufacture threatened to push the cost of renovating the floor off the scale.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

We discussed this with the developer and manged to come to a compromise by reusing tiles from another room in the property. Many of the tiles in that room had been damaged and were beyond restoration however there were enough tiles in good condition to fulfil our requirements in the main hall. They would have to be carefully lifted and cleaned but the tiles matched the colour and tone, size and texture to the main hallway perfectly. When you look at the before and after pictures on this page you will really struggle to see any difference and this is rare on old floor like this, the only exception being the black tiles underneath the radiators where a matching tone wasn’t available.

Rebuilding a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The first week was spent lifting and replacing broken tiles, it was a large floor area of about 120m2 which was set to be the main showpiece of the building, so it had to be right. As part of the floor prep it was also necessary to level parts of the floor with the application of a a self-levelling compound. We brought in Cardiff Tile Doctor Julian Iaconno to run this part of the job, he is an absolute master tiler and one of the best Victorian Tile installers in the country. At one point there was three of us working on the floor in order to keep to schedule.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Deep Cleaning a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The second week was spent cleaning the floor various Diamond burnishing pads, moving though increasingly finer girts until we achieved the desired finish. We also used a lot of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and Pro-clean to remove the old grout and dirt from the recycled tiles. As is always the case on a building site you get a lot of tradesmen who like to have a look at what we have done and walk all over our nice clean tiles, thus leaving dusty footprints everywhere. I must give credit to the Site Foreman for keeping these guys out although best intentioned they weren’t helping with the cleaning process, so all doors were locked off and access was limited to the site foreman and Tile Doctor only.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Sealing a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We applied a Matt finish sealer called Colour Grow, which copes very well with potential damp issues that can cause problems with old floors with no damp proof course, it’s also excellent at bringing out the colour of Tiles whether Clay or Stone. Four coats of Colour Grow were applied to the Victorian tiles and being such a large floor area, it took a few days to fully seal the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We cannot praise Persimmon enough for the dedication they have shown in the restoration of this historic property which has had a chequered past and will now have a long future.

 

Source: Listed Building Floor Restoration Service in Lancashire

Large Grout Restoration Project at Manchester HQ

We recently received a request from the Manchester headquarters of a global engineering and construction company which was founded in 1911 and now operates in over 160 countries. The company contacted us because they were keen to restore the tiled walls and floors in 20 different toilets and kitchens throughout the offices.

It would be a big job, but we were more than happy to respond to the enquiry. We agreed a complimentary visit to the office for us to test clean one of the floors to show what kind of results could be achieved. The management team at the offices was very impressed with the results of the test clean and asked us to complete the whole job.

Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices Manchester Before Cleaning

There was talk of replacing some of the grout completely and I explained that it would be less expensive and time consuming to restore the discoloured grout through cleaning and recolouring and they were happy to let us proceed on that basis.

Mens Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices Before Cleaning

Cleaning Discoloured Grout Lines

As there were 20 different rooms to clean and recolour, our team worked in a couple of rooms at a time to ensure firstly, that we got the job done in time and secondly, that we wouldn’t disturb the normal operations of the offices.

The process was as follows. To clean the grout, we used a strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, a strong Alkaline-based cleaner which reliably gets the job done in situations where most run-of-the-mill cleaners won’t. We applied the Pro Clean to the grout lines and tiles and left it to dwell for about 10 minutes. We then scrubbed the grout lines with specially designed grout brushes and followed by cleaning the tiles with a black scrubbing pad fitted to our rotary machine.

Ladies Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices During Cleaning

After scrubbing the tiles and grout, we rinsed and removed all the dirty water and cleaning
solution with a wet vacuum. We repeated the rinsing process several times to make sure all chemicals were neutralised. Similar cleaning techniques were used to clean the tiles on the walls, but the walls took a lot longer to complete as the tiles were much smaller and therefore had a greater number of grout lines. When all the cleaning process was finished, we left the tiles to dry until the next day.

Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices Manchester After Cleaning

Recolouring the Wall and Floor Grout Lines

To recolour the grout lines, we used the Grout Colourant from Tile Doctor’s own range. Available in ten different colours, this is a brilliant product as it rejuvenates and also seals the grout. The fact that the colourant is epoxy based will also make future maintenance easier, as you can just wipe off the dirt.

Mens Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices After Grout Colouring Mens Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices After Grout Colouring

For the floor grout lines, we used the Natural Grey colourant and for walls we used White. The application of the colourant is simple yet quite laborious when working in large rooms. After finishing, we wiped off any excess product.

Bathroom Wall Grout Refresh at Corporate Offices Before and After Cleaning

Overall, it took us two weeks to complete all the work but I think you will agree from the photographs that all toilets and kitchens look completely rejuvenated. We got lots of good feedback from the people who work at the company. They all stated that the toilets and kitchen look like new and even asked us about restoring grout in their own homes.
 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning and Restoration in Greater Manchester

250m2 Terrazzo Floor clean in Dagenham food hall

The photographs below are from a large commercial premises we were asked to clean recently in Dagenham, East London. The property had been used as a large furniture retail outlet and the 250m2 Terrazzo floor was in need of a deep clean before the new tenants moved in. The customer had struggled to clean and improve the condition of the floor and the tenant was going to use the premises as a food hall so it was important to get it clean. Time was tight so we completed the clean over a weekend between the old tenant leaving and the shop fitters moving the following week with fridges, counters and shelving etc.

Terrazzo Tiles Dagenham Food Hall Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Terrazzo Floor

To clean the floor we used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted 1 part cleaner to 2 parts water, Pro-Clean is a heavy duty alkaline cleaning product and this was left to soak into the Terrazzo tile for thirty minutes to help soften the ingrained dirt. We then started working the solution into the floor using black scrubbing pages fitted a Numatic buffing machine. This activity was continued for the weekend over and over until we were happy with the condition of the floor.

Terrazzo Tiles Dagenham Food Hall During Cleaning

There were a few stubborn stains in places and we tackled those using Pro-Clean again but this time mixed 50/50 with NanoTech Ultra Clean which adds tiny abrasive particles into the cleaning solution; again this was left to dwell on the Terrazzo for up to one hour in order to penetrate deep into the surface and soften the ingrained dirt before being worked in with a machine. Remove and Go was also used in some areas of the floor to tackle some of the stubborn areas and we also brought in rotary machines with a faster RPM to progress the work as we found the heavier and faster machines made a difference.

For some of the really stubborn stains we concocted a poultice made up of a strong dilution of Pro-Clean and NanoTech Ultra Clean which we covered in a plastic sheet and left on the floor surface overnight; it did improve the stain quite a bit, not perfect but a big improvement. The end result was good and can be seen in the photograph below . There were some rust stains that we could not remove in places, but the customer was ok about this given the deadline.

Terrazzo Tiles Dagenham Food Hall After Cleaning
 
 
Source: Terrazzo Tiles Deep Cleaned in East London

Removing Stubborn Chlorine from Leisure Centre pool tiles

Not sure if these pictures do the job justice but we had a tough job on our hands cleaning the anti-slip ceramic tiles around this swimming pool at a leisure centre near Kendal in Cumbria. Including the changing rooms the area measured approximately 1110m2 and fortunately most of the tiles were just in need of a good scrub and clean but there were also some areas where there was a build-up of hardened chlorine around the drains and dips in the floor allowing it to settle and calcify on the tile.

Hardened Chlorine Around Spa Area Hardened Chlorine Around Changing Area

To clean the tile we used Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is a heavy duty cleaning product specifically designed for tile cleaning. The area was large but fortunately only about 10m2 needed to be cleaned by hand for the rest we were able to use a rotary machine fitted with and a Black Buffing pad; lots of rinsing was required and we used a wet vacuum to remove the water as naturally it was important not to let any chemical contaminate the pool.

Swimming Pool Tile Cleaning in Action

For the difficult areas that had to be done by hand we used a Fein Multimaster which is a versatile electric tool that has a special attachment that allowed us to remove the Chlorine build-up

Spa Area After Cleaning

The area took two of us four days to complete and the client was pleased with the different we made and left the following feedback on our website.

They arrived on the day they said and they finished on the day they said and we were well satisfied with both their work and professionalism and would have no hesitation in recommending them to future clients
 
 
Source: Swimming Pool Tile Cleaning in Cumbria

Cleaning Slate Tiles at a London Phone Retailer

Shop floors see a lot of foot traffic and this Slate Tiled floor installed in a mobile phone retail outlet Chapel Market, Islington was certainly no different resulting in the floor becoming dull and tired over time. Were happy to cover Residential and Commercial property however in this case we had to wait until the store had closed for the evening before we could get to work.

Cleaning the Slate Tiled Floor

The first step was to clear the floor of any moveable displays and anything we couldn’t move was covered in a plastic sheet to protect it from splashing. We then set about cleaning the slate tiled floor by applying Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted one part Pro-Clean to four parts water, this was left to dwell on the floor for a short while before working it into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. We used a grout brush to clean out the grout lines and then removed the soiled cleaning solution with a wet vacuum to see how it looked.

Slate Floor London Phone Shop Before

A quick inspection revealed more work was required, there were a few areas of ground in dirt and a stronger dilution of Pro-Clean was applied to clean these up, a number of these areas were proving stubborn so we mixed the Pro-Clean with NanoTech Ultra Clean which adds tiny abrasive particles to the cleaning agent which makes for a very effective cleaner.

The wet vacuum was brought in again to remove the soiled cleaning solution and we inspected the floor again. We were happy with the results so we rinsed the slate tile and grout down with clean water a number of tiles to wash away any remaining cleaning agents and neutralise the floor before sealing. A number of fan blowers were then switched on to help the floor dry and we took a break.

Sealing Slate Tiled Floor

Once the floor was dry we proceeded to seal it with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides good stain protection with a low sheen finish, slate is quite porous and it took five coats before it was fully sealed.

We managed to complete the job in a single evening and the shop manager was very pleased with the results.

Slate Floor London Phone Shop After

 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Sealing in Islington

Factory Floor Cleaning

We recently carried out a clean for a printing company in the London Borough of Croydon, who had removed some machinery and had found that the exposed floor had large amounts of latex glue left on the floor. In fact the floor was in such a bad state due to the amount of dirt, oil and glue no one could determine what type of floor we were dealing with.

Factory Floor Cleaning

My first task was to scrub the dirt away using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean followed by a good rinse, Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner so it’s safe to use on all sorts of floors and won’t eat into the surface like an acidic cleaners. Once the dirt was removed we discovered the floor was in fact resin based.

Latex Glue Removal

The next thing to do was remove the glue for the floor which was really hard to do due to the thick build-up. We first started with steamers to heat the glue and then used large floor scrapers to lift as much as we could, finally we soaked the area with Tile Doctor Remove and Go and left the solution to Dwell for an hour after which we were able to scrape the remaining glue off.

Last but not least we gave the floor one more scrub with a weak dilution of Pro-Clean and a final rinse.
 
 
Source: Removing Glue and Cleaning a Factory Floor in Croydon